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Potty Training Regression & Little Wins

Right, I think it’s time for a little potty training update… I won’t lie: moving from nappies to using the toilet with Wriggly hasn’t been the smoothest or most straightforward of journeys. She stayed in HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® almost as long as Beanie did and she still likes the idea of wearing training pants rather than knickers half of the time. We’ve had a fair bit of potty training regression, number 2s have never made it to the toilet (not one single time) and I have thrown away at least a dozen pairs of knickers… Doesn’t sound great, does it? It’s not all doom and gloom though, so bear with me…

Potty training regression can be really stressful, but HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® and the 6 Steps to Potty Success are there to make this milestone a lot easier.

When I hear of people potty training their offspring in 2 days and revelling in their resounding success, I just want to shout, “Stop lying!”

Just me? Seriously, I might not always be 100% consistent, but although a couple of my children were pretty quick at the whole potty training thing, there were little accidents along the way for all of them.

A month or so ago, I was out of my depth, and asked the lovely people at HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® for some help and advice about potty training regression. I learnt quite a lot from the information they sent, by mum of four and child psychologist Dr Heather Wittenberg, so I thought I would share some of it.

Could it be potty training regression?

Right, first of all, let’s not confuse setbacks and regression. Setbacks happen as your little one learns a new skill. They can be frequent and they are part of the process. They can also happen when your child is excited, engrossed in a game or asleep soundly. Setbacks are nothing to worry about.

Potty training regression is different. If your little one has been dry for a few months and suddenly starts having regular accidents, they could be going through a period of regression.

What causes potty training regression?

Quite often, regression is stress-related and linked to a big change in the child’s life (e.g. moving house or starting nursery). When Beanie was born, Crevette went through a period of regression and we went back to HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® for a couple of months. I think he must have needed more attention.

“A urinary tract infection can make it difficult and painful to control the bladder, which results in accidents. Even constipation or a painful poo can trigger regression. Seek medical advice if you’re at all concerned that your child might have a medical problem, then try again once the condition has cleared up.” Dr Heather Wittenberg

Beanie had issues with repeated urine infections between the ages of 3 and 5, and that made it really difficult for her to get dry.

How do you overcome potty training regression?

Here are some tips from Dr Wittenberg:

  • Give lots of support and encouragement
  • Going back to basics with potty training
  • Reward charts
  • Reminding your child to go to for a wee regularly
  • If your little one is getting upset, take the pressure off for a few weeks and use Pull-Ups®
  • Avoid negative reinforcement by giving too much attention to accidents

Potty training regression can be really stressful, but HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® and the 6 Steps to Potty Success are there to make this milestone a lot easier.

Little wins:

  • Wriggly now recognises when she’s wet.
  • She goes to the toilet on her own.
  • She’s occasionally dry at night.
  • She loves being a big girl!

Potty training regression can be really stressful, but HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® and the 6 Steps to Potty Success are there to make this milestone a lot easier.

Things that really helped Wriggly:

  • Getting a sticker or moving up our reward chart when she has a wee on the toilet.
  • Getting herself dressed and choosing her knickers in the morning.
  • Pride in being a big girl and doing things her siblings do, like climbing on the toilet by herself, flushing the toilet, staying dry, choosing her outfits, etc.
  • Shopping together to buy ‘big girl pants.’
  • A relaxed attitude towards potty training – despite feeling frustrated at times, I didn’t make a big issue of accidents and kept as cool as a cucumber (most of the time!).

Potty training regression can be really stressful, but HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® and the 6 Steps to Potty Success are there to make this milestone a lot easier.

How HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® and the 6 Steps to Potty Success helped us:

  • The 6 Steps to Potty Success gave us both direction (and confidence!). We are still on step 3, but getting closer and closer to step 4.
  • Rather than a military-style ‘potty train your child in a day’ kind of approach, I found the 6 Steps to Potty Success to be a very gentle approach, both for the child and the parent, with very little stress involved and clear goal-posts.
  • HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® provided the perfect transition between nappies (wetness indicator, grown up look, no velcro) and knickers (learning layer, stretchy sides: Pull-Ups® feel and look a lot more like underwear than nappies; they can be pulled up and down like pants).

Potty training regression can be really stressful, but HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® and the 6 Steps to Potty Success are there to make this milestone a lot easier.

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Potty training regression can be really stressful, but HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® and the 6 Steps to Potty Success are there to make this milestone a lot easier.

Disclosure: This is a commissioned post as we are working with HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® this year but all opinions and photos are my own. You can get HUGGIES® Pull-Ups® from the baby aisle. For more information, tips and advice about potty training, click here.


  1. Ketki Sharangpani
    17/08/2017 / 8:27 pm

    So useful! My little one will soon be getting into potty training age, and I’m almost dreading it! the hits and misses loll

    • Mel
      18/08/2017 / 10:47 am

      Tell me about it! It’s been a rocky road here, but I think we might be getting there in the end (sort of!).

  2. Made Adayasa
    18/08/2017 / 1:37 pm

    Interesting post to read . I don’t know is this potty training is exit in my country of perhaps in another name of kid training . Or perhaps I don’t know because we don’t have have children yet

    • Mel
      18/08/2017 / 2:47 pm


  3. arv
    18/08/2017 / 2:23 pm

    Frankly, I don’t think most men can undertake potty training of a child. I guess it is about natural abilities….don’t you think so?

    • Mel
      18/08/2017 / 2:47 pm

      I couldn’t disagree more! I really think parenting is a partnership and dads should be as involved as mums are.

  4. Rhi
    18/08/2017 / 5:39 pm

    A very useful post. Potty training is such an individual thing for each child, I had two totally different experiences with my two and I’m sure number 3 will be a challenge too.

    • Mel
      18/08/2017 / 5:58 pm

      Same here. I had such different experiences with my 4!

  5. 18/08/2017 / 6:06 pm

    Some fab tips here, I had no end of issues potty training my eldest. The other two weren’t as difficult, but I still found it horrendous. Really useful post xx

    • Mel
      18/08/2017 / 8:00 pm

      Thanks lovely. My eldest was a breeze too for potty training. One of the girls potty trained herself 🙂 The other two girls have been a nightmare though!

  6. 18/08/2017 / 6:14 pm

    Urgh you’ve just reminded me we are coming back into potty training territory. My eldest was difficult to “train” and we just left him too it in the end. My little one is showing the signs he’s ready but I’m not – will be following these 6 steps!

    • Mel
      18/08/2017 / 7:59 pm

      The 6 steps are really reassuring actually – nothing complicated, just simple milestones 🙂

  7. 18/08/2017 / 6:34 pm

    This is helpful, i’m single now but i know in future i’ve to deal with this, bookmarked this post.

  8. g taylor
    19/08/2017 / 12:04 am

    We are going through the regression stage and gone back to nappies. However it is rather saddening when companies like this charge so much for these types of pull up nappies when they usually go through more nappies in potty training as they don’t won’t stay in a wet nappy. So please lower the price for us poor mummies!!

    • Mel
      19/08/2017 / 10:52 pm

      To be fair, Pull-Ups are so much more than nappies with their stretchy sides, their thinness, the wetness indicator and design that makes them look more like underwear. I know it’s a temporary stage and I’m happy to pay a bit more for a short period of time.

  9. 19/08/2017 / 1:58 am

    I remember the days of potty training. So many people would say, by the time mine was this age they’ve been potty trained already. Honestly, it always made me feel a little anxious. Finally, I stopped worrying about it until they showed an interest. After that, it was really quick an (relatively) painless. Love the idea of a cute reward system! Good job, mom! x

    • Mel
      19/08/2017 / 11:02 pm

      Thanks Ali. I was anxious for my 1st one to be potty trained, but I was far more relaxed with my other 3 🙂 I just can’t wait for my ‘baby’ to finally be dry!

  10. Michelle Kellogg
    19/08/2017 / 4:10 am

    When I potty trained my oldest he was potty trained in two weeks. My youngest took a long time though because we found out that he had some bladder control issues so it made potty training harder for him. I certainly don’t miss those days though, lol

    • Mel
      19/08/2017 / 10:54 pm

      It’s my least favourite stage of development and I really can’t wait for it to be over!

  11. 19/08/2017 / 7:59 am

    Been there done that! My little girl is now a responsible girl (8 year old). I had a hard time though. I wish someone had told me about these steps when I was struggling.

    • Mel
      19/08/2017 / 11:13 pm

      With two of mine, potty training Was fairly ‘painless’ but the other two have given me a bit more of a challenge!

  12. Tushar S
    19/08/2017 / 1:34 pm

    Too soon for me to read this. But I guess it’ll surely gonna make things easy in the future.

    This could help a lot of moms and dads around the world. Keep writing wonderful posts! 🙂

    • 19/08/2017 / 1:35 pm

      Correction: It’s surely gonna make things easier*

    • Mel
      19/08/2017 / 10:55 pm

      Thanks a lot!

  13. 19/08/2017 / 6:28 pm

    Ava knows when she needs the toilet but refuses to use the potty and shouts for a nappy even when wearing big girl pants! I’m glad this will be my last time potty training. Really useful tips, thanks.

    • Mel
      19/08/2017 / 10:56 pm

      Same here: I’m so glad it’s my last time going through that potty training lark!

  14. Joanna
    20/08/2017 / 12:04 am

    I don’t have children but this is an interesting and helpful post for families who have toddlers of around the age when they start potty training. This post can help a lot of parents who might not know why the regression is happening.

  15. Alice
    20/08/2017 / 6:09 am

    So helpful for soon to be mums. Love how children grew so fast

    • Mel
      20/08/2017 / 5:00 pm

      They really do! It’s so important to enjoy every single little thing x

      • Alice
        21/08/2017 / 12:52 pm

        True. such an adorable cutie you have there.

  16. 20/08/2017 / 3:12 pm

    I agree that regression happens in anything that you do and being encouraging will help them get through it. Rewarding them i.e stickers like you did will help them learn x

  17. Via Bella
    20/08/2017 / 7:21 pm

    These tips are helpful. All mine potty trained at different times. So you are not alone in the struggles.
    XO Via Bella Blog

    • Mel
      20/08/2017 / 7:51 pm

      Same for my 4!

  18. 22/08/2017 / 11:44 am

    These are fab tips. We had and still have a long journey with potty training as my little man has special needs. He’s almost 5 now and we’re definitely nearing the finish line. It’s so important to take your time and do it when the child is ready. Good luck and hopefully she’ll be nappy free before you know it x

    • Mel
      22/08/2017 / 12:26 pm

      Thanks lovely! I agree re. taking your time and listening to your little one. x

  19. 22/08/2017 / 3:32 pm

    Being a new mom potty training is one of my biggest fears haha. We take so much pride in such small wins right, good luck!

    xx, Kusum

  20. Claire Santiago
    04/09/2017 / 12:59 am

    Thanks for sharing this. My youngest is now 3 years old and I want him to stop from using disposable diapers especially when he poops. But I am finding it really hard to train him. I hope this works.

    • Mel
      04/09/2017 / 1:25 am

      Same here! Some children take longer than others and my little Wriggly is definitely in the latter category! Good luck to you Claire.

  21. bany
    05/11/2017 / 2:21 pm

    Nice read. My little one is still not at that stage but I am looking forward to using some of these tips when the time comes.
    Can’t wait to be there.

  22. parentingpassage.com
    11/01/2018 / 1:00 pm

    Great tips! Thanks for sharing more information on 6 steps to potty success.

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