What if your child already showed consistent signs of being potty trained and now is showing signs of regression? While very frustrating for everyone, regression is also very common.
I initially found my daughter’s potty training regression disheartening and frustrating. The only time an “accident” ever happened was at school. It took me awhile to understand the reasons: difficult access to bathroom, toilet paper out-of-reach, ridiculously heavy door to bathroom, and the normal stress of starting preschool at age 2.
These were significant obstacles, but we were able to ease her angst and this common potty training issue slowly resolved itself. If you follow the tips below, you can get your child back on track too.
Tips to end potty training regression:
- Empower your child. Show her you know she can do it.
- Be consistent!
- Provide a lot of positive reinforcement for remaining dry.
- No negative attention and very few words regarding wet clothes.
- Regular reminders to go to the bathroom to help create the habit (even just the habit of considering the need to go to the bathroom). Not as a question, “do you need to go”, instead as a statement, “ time to go to the bathroom”.
- Encourage your child to help with cleaning up the messes (children enjoy helping; this is not a punishment).
- Be consistent (I can’t repeat this enough!)
- Don’t engage in long discussions, just clear, matter-of-fact directions and lots of praise (Check out my praise posts, because this is a critical piece).
- Do not turn this into a disciplinary matter!
What ever you do, don’t despair, throw your hands in the air, and revert back to diapers. It’s time to reflect on the process: stop the battles, recalibrate, and start fresh.
Experts identify the following reasons for regression:
- stress (new sibling, divorce, move, new school, any change in schedule)
- medical reasons
- natural regression that occurs with the mastery of a any new skill
- ignoring the body’s message
Keep in mind that recently trained children need reminders to go to the bathroom. This is how you can help your child to feel successful. Help her get to the bathroom on time.
Do not take “no” for an answer if you feel it has been too long between bathroom breaks. Honor what the child is focused on at the time, while also imparting the importance of listening to one’s own body (an important life message). For example (please extrapolate to your own circumstance), “I see that you are very focused on your activity, but it is time to take a break to sit on the toilet and then you can return to your activity.” This is not a question. This does not need an apology. This is a directive. Directives can be said in loving and assertive ways.
Your child will be inspired by your renewed faith in her abilities. Maximize this momentum!
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