Baby T was “fully” potty trained in August with the exception of still wearing diapers to bed. I did not have the expectation for a one year old to be accident free throughout the night. In October, we took a trip to Washington to visit my best friend (Baby T’s Godmother). Baby T did not have an accident the entire flight or trip. I was surprised and very proud. In December, that all ended and she started having accidents almost every day. Potty training regression is extremely normal especially for how young Baby T was, but that doesn’t make it less frustrating. Here are the steps I took to help solves Baby T’s potty training regression.
Related Article: Potty Training
Figuring Out Why
One of my first steps when Baby T’s regression started was to figure out why this was happening. December is a busy time of year. Our house was decorated, schedules were constantly changing and family was in town visiting. No day was like another because that’s what the holidays bring. I believe all of these reasons led to Baby T’s potty training regression.
Lack of control and a changing environment are understandable reasons for potty training regression. Help your child feel safe as possible during these times. Consistency and a schedule are key to potty training.
Bring Back Choices
When we started potty training Baby T had two potties. A potty seat that went over the big potty and a small potty that she could sit on herself. After she was mostly potty trained I removed the little potty (mostly for selfish reasons, cleaning it out, etc). Removing the small potty removed one of her choices in the bathroom and limited her independence. When I brought back her little potty the accidents lessened instantly.
Choices are a huge part of potty training. Children want to feel independent and empowered through their own choices. Most children react badly when those choices are taken away.
Stay Calm & Be Patient
I had to remind myself daily to be patient. Especially after cleaning the third accident off the floor. Sometimes I just needed to walk away from the situation , take a couple sips of water then come back refreshed and ready to handle it.
Accidents can be frustrating and they are not fun for your child either. Regression is a phase that will be over come. Be patient and remain calm when accidents happen. Your child watches your behavior and mimics it. If you need to walk away from a situation and come back calmer that is a better reaction verses exploding about the situation.
Do Not Punish or Scold
At times I caught myself starting to scold Baby T about her accidents. The truth is accidents are part of potty training. They are normal and if she is having them consistently then I need to change what I am doing, not punish her because of it.
Punishment for potty training regression/accidents will never work. You cannot force a child to go to the bathroom, only encourage and help along the way. Be sure to set boundaries and communicate with your child about the exceptions you have for them.
This was the biggest part of potty training Baby T. This is what she responded to the best. We celebrated every time she went to the bathroom. We talked about accidents and how we can over come them. She started to celebrate herself. Cheering whenever she went on the potty. Talk herself through it whenever she had an accident.
Positive reinforcement works better then any punishment or discipline. Encourage your child to remember to go potty. Praise them when they do it correctly. Allow them to help clean up their accidents and talk about ways to prevent them to happening. Hugs and kisses go a long way while potty training.
Get Back to the Basics
Baby T was potty trained once before, so I thought about what worked for her the first time. One part that made a huge difference for her the first time was setting a timer to help her (and us) remember to go potty.
Reflect on what helped the first time around. More often then not that same method will work again. Be consistent and follow your routine.
Potty training regression happens, you are not alone! It can be extremely frustrating in the moment, but remember to be as patient as possible. Punishment has been proven not to work, but positive reinforcement will make all the difference.
4 comments / Add your comment below
Great potty training tips! You made some valid points. Regression can be frustrating but it’s so important to remain positive so that it remains a happy experience.
I love this! We haven’t started potty training yet but I know this is going to be so helpful for me to look back and reflect on.
Yes! My son was doing pretty great with potty training but then we went on a three week vacation and that just turned the dial back a bit. We just started back up once we were home and a bit over jet lag. It didn’t take too long after that to get back into it. Patience is key 🙂
Yes I believe positive reinforcement works best in most situations. I love your tips of using a timer and giving choices.