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Even though it would appear that my sweet girl is very much potty trained, I’m reluctant to shout it from a mountain top. I’m so incredibly proud of how she’s done, but in the course of potty training, I’m fairly convinced we’ve faced every form of regression known to man. Last Summer, she was showing some signs of readiness, so we gave it a go. Turns out, she wasn’t quite ready. No big deal. ‘Take Two’ started off impeccably. More than once, I boasted to my husband, “This just shows, when they’re ready, they’re ready!”
If Things Were Going So Well, What Suddenly Changed?
In the case of my daughter’s little world, A LOT. Potty training started about a month after I started back to work part-time. My daughter is a sensitive soul and the combination of changes in our routine at home (I went back to work), then some unexpected stress, then us moving created uncertainty when she was trying to master something hard. The reason I persisted, when outsiders may assume regressions were a sign of a lack of readiness, is because I could really tell she was ready. Intellectually, she more or less had it. In fact, she could hold her pee longer than I could, would remove herself from the room to get privacy when going number two in her diaper; and, would tell me she needed a diaper changed. Also, when she regressed, I could pinpoint why it happened. So, we soldiered on. As a result, I’m the furthest thing from a potty training expert. I can’t provide testimonials on the one-day, three-day, one-week, or any other method of training. However, I can offer several tips on moving through potty training regressions.
Here are some things that helped us when regressions hit.
8 Tips For Moving Past Potty Training Regressions
- Adopt an “accidents happen” attitude. There is a lot of evidence that suggests any chastising or over-emphasis on accidents likely will lead to more accidents. Showing a little bit of understanding, but overall, making them the non-event that they are will minimize shame and maintain motivation in going potty.Adopt an attitude of 'accidents happen' & other tips on dealing with potty training regression #parenting Click To Tweet
Read books on potty training. TV shows and books that cover the subject are fascinating for little ones & help them conceptualize what they need to do. iTunes and Amazon are chalked full with such resources. When I was growing up and when my daughter was potty training we used, Once Upon A Potty (disclosure: if you purchase it through Amazon, I will receive a small commission, but you will pay the same price).
Create stories where either your child or someone your child knows struggles with and eventually succeeds at potty training. My rendition was “When Mama was your age, she was learning to use the potty too. Sometimes I had accidents. Nana and Grandpa would say, ‘That’s okay Mama. Everyone has accidents. It means you’re learning.’ And then Mama kept trying. Sometimes she still had accidents, other times she didn’t. Until one day, Mama didn’t have accidents anymore! Yay!”
Change the location of the potty to somewhere more convenient. When my daughter no longer wanted to go potty, we would try putting the seat on the toilet, moving the potty out of the bathroom and closer to where she was playing.
Use a sticker chart. There can be a prize for completion. Just bare in mind, a prize at the end of the week for a toddler is too remote or abstract for them to understand. If stickers in and of themselves are enticing, then delaying the prize may be fine.
Keep the time until the prize is collected short. Frequent, simple rewards keep motivation high. For a toddler, use end-of-the-hour rewards; for the preschooler, end-of-the-day rewards; for the school-age child, end-of-the- week rewards. A month is an unreachable eternity for any child. For the preschool child, rather than set a calendar time, refer to an event such as “dinner time” or “after Sunday school.” Novelty wears off quickly for children. Change charts frequently.
Read more here.
Use a small treat. The government resources I read urged against this, but it actually yielded my best results. I read an article that suggested one M&M for trying, two for pee, three for poo. I will admit, we were a bit more generous than that (but don’t tell the experts on me 🙂 ). We nevertheless started with M&Ms for tries, pees, and poos. Then, only treated her when she went. Then, after some time, I explained that she was a big girl and doing so well, so she would only get treats for pooing (the aspect of potty training she struggled with the most). Once in a while, she has asked for them for peeing, and I’ve had to re-explain myself.
- Waiting to go diaper-less at night time won’t hurt. As far as bedtime went, we waited until our daughter asked to go without a diaper. It hasn’t gone off seamlessly, by any means, but she now is dry at night.
- Remain adaptable & patient no matter what doesn’t work. And know unequivocally, your child will be potty trained. You won’t be potty training your child at his high school grad. You just won’t. And believe it or not, there isn’t a Pinterest award for the fastest potty trained kid. So be okay with it all.
Do you have any tips I missed? Please share! Also, check out my Pinterest board with different articles on Potty Training!