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 they start 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 their day-to-day schedule can have a big impact on Baby, and can even cause them 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 they are regressing due to a change in their routine, do your best to ensure that their potty routine isn’t affected by the change, as much as you can. Continue to take them to the potty at least every two hours, even if they're 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, they may avoid using the potty altogether to avoid the potential discomfort of having to move their bowels. You can address this by taking a look at their diet, and make sure they are getting plenty of water and fiber. If they are constipated, try to distract them when they're on the potty with a fun game, a story, or a video to take their mind off the problem.
  • Not truly trained yet: Many parents consider their child trained the day they use 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 they got the hang of it, thus making the novelty wear off for them. 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 them 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 they 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 their 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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