Potty training a child can be difficult enough the first time around. You feel like you did everything right and are finally free from diapers and pull-ups and wipes forever – or at least from this child if you have more than one. Then, for seemingly no apparent reason, your child regresses. They may start having frequent daytime accidents, nighttime bed-wetting, or some combination of the two.
Potty training regression is often very frustrating for the parent, but remember that it is also discouraging for your child. In order to help your child get back on track, it helps to understand why it happens and what to do (and not do) about it.
Potty training is a huge milestone for every child. Amongst other things, this event marks a great achievement and independence. Many children regress simply because they feel less attached to their parents now. They feel that they will get more attention wearing diapers or pull-ups than without.
Wetting accidents are another factor that often leads to potty training regression. Children who are encouraged and praised during potty training develop a certain level of pride in their accomplishments. Alternatively, when they have accidents, they may feel ashamed and discouraged. In order to avoid accidents, children sometimes seek the familiarity and security of diapers or pull-ups.
Since you have already helped your child potty train once with at least a temporary success, you probably have a good idea of what worked for your child and what did not. Essentially, you and your child will need to start the process all over again. The good news is that bouncing back is much easier the second time around.
The one thing you should NOT do during the re-training process is allow your child to wear diapers or pull-ups. Continue to clothe your child in underwear and make sure that they are making regular and frequent trips to the bathroom throughout the day.
Expect some accidents during this time, but deal with them in a positive manner. Let your child know that accidents are completely normal, natural, and okay. Praise, praise, and praise some more. Remember, your goal in life when potty training is to instill a sense of confidence, accomplishment, and independence in your child whether they make mistakes or not.
Don’t give up! Potty training regression, while it may be exhausting and frustrating, is completely normal and not permanent. Both you and your child know how to do it, so it is just a matter of helping your child get into the habit and teaching them to keep trying if they slip and have an accident. You will not be changing your child’s diaper when they are 30 years old, I promise!