Potty Training Regression

Potty Training Regression

Regardless of how much we'd like to deny it, often, as parents, we'll encounter periods of time when our children seem to arbitrarily take the day off from potty training.

They may have been moving along quite nicely; progressing towards the goal of potty independence only to go inexplicably go backwards.

They may have been at a point where they were able to head to the potty on their own after having felt the need to "go" and now they come to the parent with pleas to go to the potty with them.

Or maybe they were able to interpret their body's signals and were able to get to the potty in time nearly every time, but now, they are leaving potty accidents all over the home.

Some parents might find themselves facing the more challenging situation of a toddler who has decided that this is no longer something they want to cooperate with and begin to throw temper tantrums when they are instructed to

use the potty.

Whatever situation parents find themselves in, there are some things that can be done to identify the root problem.


When there has been a big change in normal routine or schedules at home this can provide a ripe environment for potty training set-backs.

Traveling at the holidays, bring home a new baby, or out of town guests or family can all lead to distractions for potty training.

Often with visiting cousins or friends it is simply a matter of having so much fun playing and visiting that the child actually forgets or tries to delay taking a moment to get up from play and go potty.

Parents can bring in extra potty chairs and place them strategically throughout the house or backyard.

Simply having more access to the potty will enable the child to "make it" to the potty in time.


Stress affects us all, no matter what our age. Toddlers are no less sensitive to emotional upheaval than their parents.

In many cases, toddlers may experience a much higher degree of stress since they are powerless to make changes to the situation or do not understand the circumstances.

Parents can reduce the impact of stress on training by taking a few extra minutes every day to spend some time with toddler on the potty with books, etc.

Parents may find this difficult, especially if there is an emotionally stressful situation the family may be working through.

However, taking little breaks throughout the day will have positive effects for both toddler and parent. NO! As toddlers come into their own, they can develop a real sense of self. Toddlers are now able to relate verbally to parents and have just discovered the word, "No." This isn't necessarily a bad then, when used with the correct attitude.

Sometimes this new found ability to refuse an instruction can lead to a power struggle. Often, parents may only need to step back and evaluate their parenting habits. This author has found that many toddlers are "Addicted to Choice". If a parent moves through the day giving the child one choice after another, this can foster an elevated sense of control.

Parents may be unaware of creating conflict by offering the toddler too much control of his or her environment. "Do you want orange juice or apple juice?" "Do you want the red cup or the blue cup?" "Do you want bacon or sausage?" and so on and so on. Then when the parent gives a clear instructions such as, "Sit on the potty before your nap." it may be met with a direct, "NO!"

If a parent suspects their child is addicted to choice, they can "test" the situation by removing choices and simply making the decision to serve orange juice in the red cup with bacon and eggs. If the toddler reacts with negative behavior, the parent can address the behavior with whatever consequences they have chosen for their home. Once the child understands that theparents is constantly in control they will be more cooperative.

Need more potty training tips and advice on potty training problems or just general advice, check out all of our Potty Training Articles!

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