My toddler's BACK in nappies
The toilet training seems to have gone well and your little one is staying mostly dry during the day - and has been for weeks. Then suddenly he starts to have accidents, and lots of them. What's going on?
You thought you'd ticked the toilet training box on the parenting checklist weeks ago, just before the due date of Baby No. 2. Now, just as you're trying to cope with a newborn, your 2½-year-old has started to have multiple accidents every day and has demanded he start wearing a nappy again.
This situation is so normal it even has a name - toilet training regression. It's when a fully toilet-trained child starts having numerous accidents or refusing to use the toilet or potty.
What causes it?
A major cause, according to experts, is the addition of a new sibling. It can cause the child to start acting more like the baby who's now dominating, according to the toddler, Mum and Dad's attention.
In fact sub-conscious attention-seeking, even without the sibling rivalry, is usually behind the regression. Maybe the primary care-giving parent has returned to work, or become involved in a more consuming project?
Experts advise that in the case of regression, parents return to the basics of toilet training in which a child is placed on the potty at regular intervals and praised for their efforts. If your child is old enough, talk rationally with him about what's happening, without getting cross or acting too disappointed.
If it's an attention thing, try giving a little more attention, if that's possible, and reward him when he makes the effort to sit on the potty or toilet, or goes without having an accident. Experts advise strongly against strong negative reactions as this provides the attention - albeit negative - that the children crave.
This article was written by Fiona Baker, former editor in chief of Mother & Baby, Pregnancy & Birth and Wondertime magazines for Kidspot, New Zealand's best resource for pregnancy and parenting.