Toilet training regression: what to do
So your child has been using the potty or toilet reliably for weeks, or even months. Then she stops. What do you do? Don't panic...
How you can you get your child back on track?
Think about your toddler. Think about everything that's happening in her world, and you may just find the answer to toilet problems. Regression in toilet training sometimes happens when your child is going through a change in her life. Perhaps she can't tell you verbally that she feels unsettled or insecure, but it might show in her refusal to use the toilet .
For instance, has she started at a new preschool or daycare, or has she got a new babysitter? Have you moved house? Or are you preparing for a move? Have you had another baby or is your growing belly prompting lots of attention?
Just think about how confused you feel when you’re going through a big transition; starting a new job, moving house, getting married or having a baby. Well, your child has to go through through some major life changes as well, and without the same life experience that you have. She might not be able to talk to you about it so she's telling you she’s stressed in other - possibly messier, and certainly less convenient - ways.
So what do you do?
Reacting to stress by refusing to use the toilet is perfectly normal. How do I deal with set-backs and accidents? Try to imagine how your child feels and do your best to help her talk through those toilet fears, if she can.
It doesn’t hurt to ask a few gentle questions in an attempt to pinpoint the problem. For example, you may want to ask,'What's it like at your new preschool?' or 'What do you think it’ll be like once the baby is born?' Sometimes if you just acknowledge her fears, she will feel more secure. It may take some time, but eventually, she’ll regain the toilet training ground she lost and will be comfortable using the toilet again.
Regression can drive you crazy, but keep in mind that it’s not unusual and it’s not permanent.
- How do I know when my child is ready for toilet training?
- Your toilet training questions answered
- How do I deal with set-backs and accidents?
- How do I deal with temper tantrums?
- Toilet training with public toilets
- Dealing with a distracted toilet trainee
- The best toilet training products
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This article was written for Kidspot, New Zealand's leading pregnancy and parenting resource
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