Potty training regression can be an incredibly stressful occurrence for everyone. As parents, we have no idea what to do, and for our children, it can be a really upsetting time!
The main thing to do is to stay calm and support your child. Then we need to get to the root of the problem…
There are lots of reasons as to why potty training regression can happen. More often than not it’s due to stress or changes in the home environment. This can include but is not limited to moving homes, the arrival of a new sibling, difficulties at school, parental separation, among many other things.
Once we’ve identified the problem we can start to move forwards.
Take a deep breath - let’s find out how to tackle this together.
The first question we need to ask ourselves when faced with potty training regression is this:
“Were they actually potty trained?”
Being potty trained means wanting to use the potty, not simply using it when placed on it. If your child is asking to use the potty and has been successful in doing so, they were probably potty trained and are regressing.
If they weren’t asking to use the potty, simply start from square one! Though it might feel like a long road, it will be worth it in a couple of months.
First and foremost, we need to stay calm. Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and getting frustrated about the situation will only make things worse and lead to your child fearing the potty!
Take a breath, clean up the mess, and work through the next steps.
Punishing our children will only create negative associations with using the potty. When accidents happen, simply help them out of their dirty clothes, ask them if they would like to use the potty, and find some clean clothes for them to change into.
Seal it up with a kiss and cuddle for good measure.
Set an hourly reminder on your phone to ask your child if they would like to use the potty. If they say no, don’t force it! Remember, we need to keep the experience positive and give them a little power to make decisions for themselves - kids lovethat.
Take a few moments to discuss with your partner and any school teachers whether there might be a reason behind the regression. Has anything changed in the home? Are they feeling stressed at school?
Once you’ve found the underlying problem, offer your child lots of support to overcome it.
Use sticker charts to reward successful potty use! This includes sitting on it even when there’s no elimination.
Be clear with your child about what you’re both aiming for - dry pants and lots of pees and poops on the potty!
Let them know that they can ask you at any time - day or night - to assist them with using the potty, and make sure that you’re always ready to give a helping hand.
Stay strong, sympathetic, and on the same team as your toddler - you can handle this together!