- 3 mins
Potty Training Regression – Helpful Tips for Parents and Caregivers
If your toddler, who you worked so hard to help potty train, is starting to have accidents – don’t fret. It’s actually very common for potty-trained kids to regress even in the following years after successfully conquering the toilet. This regression can be fixed with a bit of retraining, time, and patience.
What Causes Potty Training Regression in Toddlers?
There are many factors to consider when you notice your little one regressing. To name just a few:
- Childhood stress during times of transition (i.e. moving house, a new sibling, or starting a new school)
- Health conditions – if your child is having bowel troubles, it may result in them being nervous around the potty
- Distraction – if they’re fully consumed in something, they may simply ignore or not even notice the urge to go
- Toilet anxiety (i.e. fear of the flush or of falling in)
- Control – kids want to feel a sense of control and that often translates to toilet training and eating.
A factor that most parents forget to consider is if their child was ever fully potty trained.. There’s a lot of pressure around potty training for parents. From making sure to reach milestones to pressure from other parents to a daycare or nursery that has a “no diapers policy” – it’s commonplace for parents to rush through the process. And, unfortunately, this does tend to result in quick potty training regression for your toddler.
Important to Note: Wetting the bed during sleeping hours is very common as kids’ bladders develop and grow. It isn’t considered a sign of regression. Use pull-ups during sleep time. When they start to wake up dry, that’s a good sign they are ready to sleep with no diapers.
Helpful Tips for Parents and Caregivers
Avoid punishment and shame
Shame can lead to anxiety which can result in further regression. Provide positive reinforcement, sympathize with your little one, and set expectations for the next time they feel the urge to use the potty. By creating a positive experience, even when an accident happens, you’ll open the door for better communication with your child.
This could be on your phone or even your child’s tablet (if they have one). Gentle reminders keep the process at the forefront of your child’s mind and will break any locked distraction they may be participating in. Put them in charge – the more control they have over the process, the better the outcome.
When your child is sitting on the toilet, don’t rush the process. The longer they sit, the more time they have to do their business. Provide a basket of books or fidgets to make the experience worthwhile.
Go back to diapers
If having accidents is the new norm after toilet training, it’s okay to go back to diapers for a while, perhaps pull-ups to still give them the opportunity to practice pulling them up and down.
Reward charts offer a visual representation of your child’s progress in a fun and playful way. Kids respond to the immediate positive feedback and feel motivated to keep earning it — often with a prize for consistency in mind.