Regression of your toddler’s potty training: why it happens and what to do – what to expect | Wonder Mind Kids

Hooray! Your little girl has removed her diapers and there is much joy in the house. But wait a minute – does she suddenly have accidents again? Or ask to wear diapers instead of cute yellow daisy underwear?

Unfortunately, as with other types of regression related to sleep, language, and behavior, potty training regression in infancy is common.

To help deal with that bump in the road, here’s what potty training regression is, some of the causes behind it, and how long it can last. As with most stages of childhood, remember that a good dose of patience and a little humor should help this moment pass quickly enough – just in time for the next stage!

What is potty training regression?

The decline in potty training is a setback in your toddler’s hard-fought efforts to ditch their diapers and regularly use their mini-potty or sit on the large toilet with a training seat.[1] It’s not the same as having an accident here and there (almost all toddlers will eventually wet the bed or “forget” and just pee their pants). Accidents are just that: occasional age-appropriate mishaps.

True potty regression occurs when a child who has been potty trained and has been dry a fair distance suddenly starts having a few days or even weeks of wet and accidents. Your toddler may also announce seemingly out of the blue (and maybe at top volume!) that they’ve decided against underwear and want pull-ups or diapers back.

Causes of regression in potty training

The causes of potty training regression in toddlers are often related to life events beyond their control. Here’s what could happen in your toddler’s world to lead to potty training regression:

  • There’s a new baby in the house. A major external stressor for young children is the arrival of a brand new sibling. Whether through pregnancy, surrogacy, or adoption, the spotlight has shifted from your big girl to the baby, and this new mood at home can lead to potty training regression.
  • You moved. A strange house with all its strange noises like radiators rattling or branches scraping on the windows can be frightening for a toddler.
  • There was a divorce. When parents separate, children often move between two houses. This disruption to normal daily routine and family structure can lead to frequent accidents and potty training regression.
  • Mom or Dad are back at work or had a change of plans. Another big change in young children’s lives is a shift in a parent’s work schedule, e.g. B. when he returns to the office in person or has an evening performance.
  • There’s a new babysitter. Getting to know a new sitter takes time and effort. And that change could be stressful if your child was close to the old babysitter and misses her.
  • Daycare or preschool started. Leaving the house for hours to play with a new group of children can also cause anxiety and worry, leading to potty training regression.
  • Pooping is painful. If pooping has been a challenge or your toddler has been constipated, she can equate the pain with going to the potty — and she can reclaim her diaper if she thinks it feels better.
  • The potty is creepy. Has she ever almost fallen? Or does the loud flush scare you? These and other aspects of toilet use can lead to potty training regression.
  • It could be physical. While it’s fairly uncommon, there could be a medical reason why your child is frequently wet. Talk to your pediatrician to see if this is the case.

Tips for dealing with potty training regression

Whatever the reason for your toddler’s potty training regression, it’s best to deal with it matter-of-factly. To help, try these smart tips to help your tot regain potty mastery:[2]

  • Offer positive reinforcement. Do whatever you can to pump up their ego. Tell her that accidents are normal and that she’ll get over that hump – and you’ll believe in her!
  • Stay calm. As frustrating as potty training regression is, don’t get upset. If you start yelling at them or scolding them, you’ll only make the situation more tense. Instead, speak softly and calmly as you work to address the issue.
  • Talk about it. Probe a little to see what might be behind the potty training regression.
  • Start at square one. It’s okay to go back to square one and give your toddler a chance to relearn the basics and work on understanding potty training again.
  • Ask about laxatives. If your child’s hard stool is persistent, contact the pediatrician. She might recommend laxatives to make her pain free.
  • Avoid the noise. Is flushing scary? Offer to do the work for her when she’s done.

Is potty training regression normal?

Yes, potty training regression is common and completely normal, especially if a toddler has had a bad experience during the process, such as almost falling in or painful pooping. And mastering toilet training is a major developmental milestone that can take months and certainly has some setbacks. Fortunately, potty training regression is usually temporary.

How long does potty training regression take?

While some instances of potty training regression don’t last long, others may linger behind the stage depending on stress levels. Make an appointment with the pediatrician if your child refuses to go back to the potty or poops. And you can always call if you’re running out of ideas that might help you, or not seeing much progress in your retraining efforts.

Losing a mastered skill like potty training can be frustrating for everyone involved. But if your toddler falls behind on potty training, try to put up with it. Given enough time and patience, your little one will be potty-training like a champion again—and those difficult potty-training days will be a thing of the past.

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