How to deal with regression in potty training?

In collaboration with Rokiyah Hosen

Relecture professionnelle

Potty training can take time. As with all types of learning, setbacks are possible. Accidents" are common and are very different from regression. They can be frustrating. But don't worry, we've got our tips for helping your child to be potty-trained again.

What causes potty training regression?

There are many causes of pottytraining regression. By identifying the cause, you'll be able to solve the problem more easily.

Arrival of a newborn in the family

One of the main causes of potty training regression in children is thearrival of a new family member: a little brother or sister. Some children see this arrival as rivalry, and feel jealous. They'll want to win back their parents' attention, and this can sometimes have an impact on the child's hygiene.

Stress and changing habits

If your child has regressed in terms of potty training, it's highly likely that he's under stress. Has his routine or lifestyle changed recently? It could be thestart of school, a new childcare arrangement, a move, and many other reasons. These changes can be a source of stress for your little one, who will then express himself by ceasing to be potty-trained.

Fear of the toilet

If your child has had a bad experience on the toilet, for example, being reprimanded, being punished after an accident, having pain during a bowel movement, etc., this can lead to regression.

Constipation or urinary infections

Medical causes can also lead to a regression in potty training. For example, if your child suffers from a urinary infection, bladder control becomes more difficult and painful.

Similarly, if your child is constipated and has difficulty going to the bathroom, he or she may start to fear the potty and avoid the effort involved.

Finally, some children (often older) are so busy playing that they end up going to the toilet far too late.

How can you tell the difference between toilet regression and an accident?

There's a difference between toilet regression and accidents .

Accidents are normal and linked to your child's learning process . They should remain occasional and unforeseen.

They're not worth worrying about, because accidents are how your child learns to be completely potty-trained. Here's how to recognize a potty training accident:

  • If your child has an accident (or two) within a week, but is potty-trained again the following week;
  • Your child is three years old and has a few accidents after 8 months of being potty-trained;
  • Your child forgets to go to the toilet because he's fully absorbed in the activity he's doing.

Regression can be distinguished by its non-isolated, non-occasional nature. Your child will have accidents over several weeks, even though he or she has been potty-trained for some time.

If your child starts to wet the bed regularly , or asks to be put back in diapers, this may be a sign of regression.

How can I help my child potty train after a regression?

If your child's potty training has regressed, there are a number of things you can do to help him relearn. The Montessori method, for example, is widely used to help your child become independent and potty-trained.

Determining the cause of regression

First of all, the most important thing is toidentify the causes of potty trainingregression. Refer to the various factors we discussed at the beginning of this article. To help you identify the cause of the loss of hygiene, you can ask your child questions and pay attention to what he or she says. For example, if he or she tells you about a classmate or day-care classmate who is not yet potty-trained, perhaps he or she wants to imitate him or her? If he tells you about his fears when going to the toilet, perhaps he's got it into his head that there's a monster in the toilet, etc....

You can tell your child that you've noticed he often has accidents, while reassuring him that it's nothing serious. Ask him: maybe he knows why he's regressing. Listen carefully to his answers and put him at ease so that he can communicate.

Always show compassion. Regressing in cleanliness is not a serious matter, and you can share your own experiences with him if the same thing has happened to you. Make her feel that her emotions are totally valid.

Resuming a potty training routine

To get your child potty trained, you need a plan of action. If the reason your child is no longer potty-trained is that he's stressed, put things in place to make him less so, if he's seeking your attention, spend more time with your child doing activities that amuse him etc.

Avoid going back to diapers as much as possible! However, you can equip your little one with training pants. These replace diapers.

Here's a typical example of a routine you can put in place:

  • Going to the potty in the morning straight after getting up;
  • At every meal;
  • As soon as you leave the house;
  • And finally in the evening before going to bed.

Having regular potty times will create a routine for your child and make potty training easier.

Use potty training aids and games

There are a number of potty training aids that can help you potty train your child:

  • Potty training chart: simply create a chart with the days of the week. You can hang it up in your toilet or bathroom. Each time your child goes to the toilet, you can stick a sticker or draw on the corresponding day's square;
  • There are also potty training games. See our article on this subject;
  • Last but not least, there are potty training books. They enable your child to discover or rediscover potty training through stories.

Using positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement involves rewarding your child with stickers, treats or physical demonstrations. Staying positive and encouraging your child is essential for learning to go smoothly.

Don't punish your child for accidents

Even if accidents are frustrating, there's no point in punishing your child. It will only increase their insecurity and anxiety. It would be counterproductive to show annoyance or irritation.

The FAQ of potty training regression

Is it serious if my child's potty training regresses?

It's normal for your child to have a few accidents. They're part of potty training. On the other hand, if a lot of accidents happen in a short space of time, it could be a sign of regression. Don't worry: this is not a serious phenomenon. You simply need to put things in place and support your child so that he or she becomes potty-trained again.

What to do if potty training regresses at age 2?

At 2, your little one is still a little too young to clearly express the cause of his regression. You can observe him to try and understand why he is no longer potty-trained. You can also put things in place to facilitate learning, such as the learning chart.

What to do if potty training regresses at age 3?

If potty training regresses at age 3, you can give your child potty training books to help him relearn how to be potty trained.

How to deal with potty training regression at age 4?

Sometimes, your child may lose potty training a few years after being potty-trained. This often happens when he's immersed in activities and doesn't take the time to go potty. To reintroduce your child to potty training, you can create a routine with specific times when he or she will go to the potty.