You have finally done it! You’ve potty trained your child. Or so you thought. Maybe your youngster was going to the bathroom by himself, but now, all of a sudden, he seems to be experiencing potty training regression. Don’t worry, if you’ve already figured out how to potty train a boy - or how to potty train a girl - you’ll surely be able to get him or her back on track, and we’ll help you do it in five strategic steps.
1. Regression or not?
Ask yourself, is your child really going through potty training regression or did he never fully master it in the first place? Experts say that a truly potty trained child should want to go on the potty, while one who is having accidents daily but doesn’t really mind can’t yet be labeled “potty trained.” Perhaps you were trying to figure out when to start potty training and did it a bit too soon. Did you know girls can often be trained sooner? (See how to Potty Train a Girl.) No worries: consult your pediatrician on when to retrain your child and get back on the task.
2. Don’t panic!
If your kid really is going through a regression, don’t panic. When he has an accident, don’t overreact—you could make him even more anxious about the process, leading to further problems. Stay calm and nonchalantly point out the accident, encouraging him to go visit the potty. If you check to see whether or not he’s dry and he is, make sure to clap and cheer him on.
3. Let’s address the root cause.
Many kids start having accidents in times of big change or upheaval—a move or a new sibling, for example. Talk to them about the stressful changes in their lives, and, most likely, once they get used them, they’ll master potty training once more. But don’t be surprised if mishaps continue to happen at night or during naps—that part may take longer for many children. Also, decipher whether there are any physical issues, like constipation, preventing their success. If your little one has trouble pooping, he or she may start to fear the potty, hoping to avoid the strain involved (if that’s the case, talk to your pediatrician about a solution, such as an increase in fiber). And make sure you’re using soft toilet paper that won’t irritate them—Charmin Ultra Soft toilet paper is a great choice, or Charmin Sensitive for an extra gentle touch. If they like the feel of their TP, they won’t mind the potty process as much.
4. Remind your child to try the potty many times throughout the day.
Often kids get so wrapped up in an activity that they simply don’t want to stop to go to the bathroom. Make sure you—and other caretakers—take your child to the potty frequently to at least try to go. Do this when he or she wakes up and before going to sleep, as well as right before leaving the house and whenever you sense there’s a need.
5. Repeat whatever worked the first time.
Did you offer your child incentives, like a sticker chart? Well, bring it back! Many parents give a sticker for every accident-free day and then a special treat after a certain number of stickers. Get creative: maybe your child will appreciate extra story time, for example. And for some kids, the very best reward is your praise: “You’re doing such a great job!” or “You’re such a big boy!”