You Can Prevent Or Minimise Potty Training Regression

Potty training regression is a nasty and painful experience for a toddler and it sneaks up on children and parents quickly and quietly – they have no idea when, why or what caused this and suddenly everyone in the home is unhappy.

Parents are not pleased because the child cannot or will not use the potty BUT the real victim here is the toddler – their innocent mind can’t work it out and that little mind is certainly not developed enough to deliberately sabotage the potty training routine.

Parents – your child is NOT plotting against you!

There are a number of factors that cause this such as fear, change in diet, change of environment, changes to sleep habits, unexpected events, change in water supply.

These factors should be examined.

Fear – don’t make your toddler afraid of potty training. Words like “If you don’t go potty, Daddy will be mad when he gets home” or “If you don’t go potty I’ll take away your favourite toy”. There are many more utterances but you get the general idea – don’t frighten your toddler into not performing. Through fear your toddler will retreat to the first toilet they ever knew – a diaper.

Change in Diet– a little child who consumes cereals, fruit, vegetables and meat as part of a balanced diet will find coping with things such as fast food, excessive sweets, etc difficult and can experience potty training regression because typically their whole digestive system has been upturned and it has trouble recognizing these food products need to be eliminated. This is most often the case during trips away from home and vacations.

Change of Environment– Shopping malls, public facilities, travelling facilities present a huge challenge to a toddler during potty training. They are suddenly in an unfamiliar place and away from the safety and privacy of their home, so a negative result is not unusual.

Changes to Sleep Habits– When a toddler’s sleeping habits change both the child and the parent have to move on to a new schedule for potty training and its necessary to maintain this new routine. Although a toddler may be sleeping at a different time the potty training routine needs to be adjusted accordingly, positively reinforced and maintained so the child continues to learn what is expected.

Unexpected Events– Visitors have a huge impact on a toddler. The excitement of seeing a much loved grandparent, aunt, uncle, friend is all consuming and potty training is the last thing on their mind if its there at all. The toddler is focused on showing off their new toy or their latest work of art on a chalkboard and for parents entertaining guests, its all too easy for the hours to slip by and potty training goes unnoticed and unrecognized. When the party’s over, many parents can’t work out why their child will not go to the potty on command – parents must be mindful of time and make time no matter what entertaining is going on to take the toddler to the potty at the regular time.  A new baby in the house often results in potty training regression for a toddler. The young child does not know what jealousy is but at the same time the child sees the newcomer as an intruder on their domain and feels put out because they are not the centre of attention., and quite often potty training is overlooked by busy parents. 

It is difficult to juggle the chores of tending a toddler and an infant but parents must make time to focus on the toddler, particularly the potty training regime.

Change in Water Supply– a sudden change in water consumed by a child can cause constipation and with it comes reluctance due to discomfort. Actually, adults can experience the same condition.  I strongly recommend that toddlers be gradually introduced to bottled spring water a couple of weeks prior to any lengthy time away from home. While on vacation continue to give the toddler the same bottled water then gradually wean them off that back to the regular water supply on returning home. By doing this, it will lessen the impact of an unfamiliar environment as mentioned above.

Potty training is not any easy task for parent or child but responsible parenting is essential – especially potty training. If, as a parent, you think potty training is harder on you, you’re wrong! That innocent little child is trying to learn something new, something unfamiliar, something uncomfortable and they are desperately trying to make sense of it all and coming up with no answers that mean anything to them. Now who has the hardest job?

Many parents reach a breaking point and then throw up their arms and walk away because its all too hard. This is exactly the time they should not – if you allow your toddler to run around the home and yard naked so you don’t have to bother, you are creating a monster that will take months to rectify and the child has learned nothing.

Just because you’re tired or busy is no excuse to neglect your child’s potty training needs.  Instead of complaining its time to put your shoulder to the wheel and work harder.  Responsible parenting is not easy, in fact its more difficult than any paid occupation you can think of but one factor remains constant – kids are kids – they always have been and they always will be.

Do not ever scold or punish a toddler for not getting potty training right when you want them too – that will only instill fear in their little minds and they will actually be afraid to go potty.

Toddlers still eat and poop the same as they did a hundred years ago – today’s tiny tots are not some high tech gadget you can walk away from when you’re done playing with it – they are little human beings who need guidance and help from parents to teach them what they need to learn for life.

Parents must always remember that they too were once toddlers and they too had to be potty trained by their parents or elders.

Patience and time is a prerequisite of every parent potty training their toddler and quiet diligence with some common sense will lessen the possibility of potty training regression.