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…
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
- 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!
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!).
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).
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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.