Tuesday, 22 January 2019

PRE-SCHOOLER: Our Experience of Toilet Training Regression and What Helped

PRE-SCHOOLER: Our Experience of Toilet Training Regression and What Helped
At the end of 2017 we decided it was the perfect opportunity to start potty training Isabella, at 2.5 years old she was able to communicate when she needed the toilet and we had around a month with no real commitments. Though I felt very apprehensive about the whole 'potty training' world we took the plunge and put her straight into pants. After a few accidents Isabella seemed to take to potty training really well; my worst fears quickly washed away and I started to feel confident that we could do this big milestone in her life. Months and months passed where there would only be the odd accident, mainly if we were on a long journey or not near a suitable toilet quick enough. I couldn't believe our luck!

However, after around six months of pretty much being 'dry' Isabella started wetting herself on a regular bases. It started at nursery (where she was spending two days a week) where each day I would be greeted with seemingly endless nappy sacks filled with wet clothes. I didn't know what to do. Isabella had taken to potty training so well as the beginning that we had never needed to use reward charts, stickers or any incentive at all really. But when the accidents started happening at home as well as at nursery I knew we needed to take action, as our word of encouragement simply weren't working. 
Weeks passed as I tried various ways to try and encourage Isabella to use the toilet when she needed it and reminding her how good she is at going by herself. But to no avail and she was having up to six accidents a day. They were consistently worse at nursery, but I guess that's to be expected as there is a lot more going on there and the staff can't solely concentrate on Isabella. Below are some of the ways we tried to re-teach and encourage Isabella to use the toilet again:
  • Stickers - I built this one up to be a huge incentive and found the biggest, shiniest stickers I could because I knew they would be something Isabella would want. The deal was that if she had an accident free day she could choose a sticker and put it on her celebration poster (a piece of paper that I wrote 'Isabella's Celebration Chart' on). This had varying success and needed a lot of reminding about.
  • Timer - This is something the nursery did; they put a sand timer up and every time is ran out Isabella would try for the toilet. I'm not sure exactly how long there was between each 'try', but I think it was half an hour. This worked really well in the busy nursery environment and Isabella's accidents dropped significantly. 
  • New Pants - We let Isabella choose some new pants and discussed how we needed to try hard to keep them dry. She chose some Frozen ones and really engaged with the idea of not getting Anna and Elsa wet.
  • Don't dwell on it - When Isabella started having accidents it was hard not to become frustrated with the situation, but as soon as we started almost ignoring the accidents the number started reducing. There is a box of pants in the downstairs toilet for Isabella to help herself to if she does have a little accident and she knows to put the wet pants in the washing machine. Since not really talking about her accidents, instead just swiftly dealing with them, has meant the attention has been taken away from them and that seems to have really helped.
The accidents carried on for around four months until we started noticing an improvement. Each day the number of accidents would get less, then they turned into little trickle accidents  (enough to need a change of pants, but not a full blown accident) and eventually we seem to be turning a corner now.
I read that a toilet training regression is very common, though it is usually when change is happening in their lives. At the time Isabella didn't have any big changes happening, so the cause of the regression will forever remain a mystery. I'm just so glad that we seem to be out the other side now (touch wood) and there's a bit of a break before we have to start potty training Poppy!

Did your little one experience a toilet training regression at any point?

Feel free to leave a comment - I love reading every single one :)

Helen x
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19 comments

  1. We are just about to embark on potty training with my youngest. We delayed it due to her needing an op last year and didn't want her to regress back to nappies. I'm bookmarking this in case things don't go to plan

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  2. We didn't have toilet training regression but we did have a huge struggle to get dry at night - every child has their thing!

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  3. Great advice in this post! I haven't got children yet but will keep these tips in mind for when I do!

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  4. Fab advice and we went through the same. I think having patience is the main thing with potty training!

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  5. I think this is fantastic ideas and teaching for parents! Giving them an incentive like stickers as a reward is a cute idea :) xx

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  6. These sound like great ideas and amazing she was able to learn how to use the bathroom independently. I will keep these in mind for when I have children 🙂

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  7. great advice. I work in a nursery and agree with your tips. New knickers or undies always works for us. The little ones try so hard not to get their new pants wet.

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  8. It must be so tough thinking that you've nailed potty training and then having to deal with regression x

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  9. These are great tips! My daughter didn't suffer and regression however she did take her own time to potty train and wasn't actually dry until just after she turned 4! Potty training can be such a stressful time for everyone involved.

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  10. It is so frustrating when this happens, but it is important to maintain consistency and try not to get frustrated with them

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  11. I don't have kids but I being the oldest of three and having to help my sisters when we were kids I totally understand it can be frustrating. They eventually got it, but it took patience and consistency! I think I am supper ready to a mommy :-)

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  12. We waited until they showed an interest in being potty trained (well, toilet trained as we skipped the potty part). I think my son was 3.5 years old. We used a reward chart (downloaded from Supernanny I recall) and when he reached the top he could pick a treat or day out somewhere. Worked a treat. Have to say though, it was the worst part of parenting I've been through (twice) so far!

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  13. We didn't have any regression but at 5 our son still has the odd accident. This happens mainly when he's distracted and engrossed in things like films or playing games. But thankfully you seem to be out the other end and the thibfs you tried will surely help other people.

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  14. I love the idea of incentives with stickers. Will have to try that out someday.

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  15. Sophie had a mini regression for a few weeks, it is so frustrating & so hard not to get cross! Some great ideas to help tho x

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  16. I’ve just gone through this 6 months ago and I understand how you must be feeling about potty training.

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  17. I think it's great that you shared this experience because there'll be other parents out there going through the same thing with their little one and not knowing what to do. I really like that you offered solutions that worked for you as well so it shows that theres light at the end of the tunnel! xxx

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  18. The same thing happened to my nephew and his regression was more picking up on what was happening in the family but a few months later he stopped.

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