Potty training: What to do when regression hits

Imagine this – accidents are rare, and you think you’re officially ready to ditch the diapers, when suddenly, Baby’s potty training expertise starts to disappear, and he starts to regress. Though the reasons for regressions vary, it’s common for a newly trained toddler to take a step back. There are a few common causes of potty training regression, and a few common strategies for helping your family overcome that hurdle.

  • Change in routine: Having a shakeup in his day-to-day schedule can have a big impact on Baby, and can even cause him to regress in some areas, including potty training. Changes that can trigger regression may include starting school, moving to a new house, or adding a sibling to the family. If you suspect he is regressing due to a change in his routine, do your best to ensure that his potty routine isn’t affected by the change, as much as you can. Continue to take him to the potty at least every two hours, even if he’s been having trouble with or been resistant to the potty, and remind any new caregivers to do the same.
  • Digestive issues: If Baby is constipated, he may avoid using the potty altogether to avoid the potential discomfort of having to move his bowels. You can address this by taking a look at his diet, and make sure he is getting plenty of water and fiber. If he is constipated, try to distract him when he’s on the potty with a fun game, a story, or a video to take his mind off the problem.
  • Not truly trained yet: Many parents consider their child trained the day he uses the potty, but the reality is, it takes some toddlers months before they fully grasp the concept. If Baby was using the potty regularly for a few weeks, and is now having lots of accidents, consider what has changed. Perhaps you were using rewards in the beginning, and moved away from that system once he got the hang of it, thus making the novelty wear off for him. Toddlers who will use the potty when prompted, but do not initiate going, and don’t mind when they have an accident, are not yet fully trained. Consistently keep up your routine to continue getting him used to using the potty.

Accidents are part of life with a newly potty trained toddler, and do not necessarily signal a regression. If Baby has an accident, remember to respond calmly, so he doesn’t get scared or stressed about using the bathroom. When toddlers regress, there is usually an underlying cause, so be sure to take a close look at his daily routine, leading up to the regression to see if you can get to the root of the problem. Keep your expectations consistent, and soon you’ll be done with diapers for good!

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