Potty Training Regression In 3 Year Old: 17 Tips To Help

Potty Training Regression in 3 Year Old: As your child starts to fight using the toilet or is struggling to keep up with potty training at daycare or pre-school, you may be wondering how on earth to get through this regression – you thought you were done with regressions!!

What you’ll find in this article are realistic tips & tricks on potty training regression including how long it should last, why it happens and what on earth to do about it. These tips are taken from my own experience with Freddie and Delilah, as well as health professional help given to myself & other mum (mom) friends.

Dive in – and don’t forget to comment with any of your own tips & tricks at the bottom of this article!

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How To Deal With Potty Training Regression

Even if your child appears to have mastered toilet training, a new circumstance can throw them off. Their focus and energy are focused on the new thing rather than remaining dry and locating a bathroom. They may also lose interest once they’ve mastered the potty, especially if toilet training was accompanied by a lot of pomp and attention.

Potty training relapse can be difficult to deal with, so here are some suggestions to help you deal with the potty training regression:

1. Stay Calm

Remind yourself that a time of regression is natural, even if you’re frustrated. It could be occuring for a variety of reasons, but it is fixable. A power struggle isn’t going to help either of you!

2. Find Out Why

potty training regression in 3 year old

Accidents in toddlers are frequently linked to a child’s lack of control over his or her surroundings. Try to figure out what’s going on in their heads. Knowing what’s causing the problem can help you find a solution. Let’s talk about it and get the problem out in the open – remember, every child’s toilet training journey is different.

3. Sympathise

You should admit that you understand how difficult it is to stay on top of everything going on in your child’s life. You can tell them a tale about a period when you regressed as a child and explain that it’s perfectly natural.

4. Don’t Punish Your Toddler For Accidents

If your child has an accident, don’t show disappointment; doing so can make your little one more anxious, which can lead to more potty problems. When you check to see if your child is dry, clap and cheer if they didn’t have an accident. If not, remain nonjudgmental and say, “Oops. You had an accident. Let’s go sit on the potty.” Remember to remain upbeat and never yell at or scold your child.

5. Provide A Regular Schedule

Make a basic potty routine for your youngster or remind him or her to go every 2 or 3 hours. When they wake up and after meals, have them sit on the potty for 4 to 5 minutes. Most children are more likely to have a bowel movement during those periods. Praise and extra attention should be given merely for attempting.

6. Reinforce Potty Training

Remember that what you did previously worked. Set aside some time to sit on the potty to reinforce this. It could be before or after a nap, a bath, or a meal. Make it a part of your daily routine. Make it a point not to make using the restroom a big thing — and certainly don’t force it — but rather to fit it into your child’s day. A bit of positive reinforcement goes a long way!

7. Give Gentle Reminders

potty training regression

Accidents frequently occur when a child is having too much fun playing or enjoying an activity and refuses to stop to use the restroom. Explain to your child that forgetting to use the potty is normal, and reassure them that they are still a “big girl” or “big boy. Then, at home, take them to the potty every several hours, and ask their teachers at daycare/pre-school/school to make sure they use it often. Reassurance and gentle reminders to use the bathroom will help a child get back on track. Encourage your child to use the potty first thing in the morning, before meals, before bedtime, and right before you leave the house.

8. See Your Doctor

Give your pediatrician details of the regression. You want to eliminate the possibility of infection and make sure you’re on the right path.

9. Reward Time

A reward system for days when your child does not have an accident, as well as reading some toilet training books for kids, might be beneficial. A sticker chart can work wonders! Remind your child (and yourself) that they are capable of completing this task. They will eventually.

10. Urinary Tract Infections

For little girls, in particular, if their potty training regression appears suddenly – it may be a case of them having a urinary tract infection. A trip to the doctor and a short course of antibiotics should fix the issue right up!

11. Is it a different medical issue?

Urinary tract infections aside, there are numerous medical issues that could be causing your little one’s potty training regression. If you feel like something is going on, and none of these tips and tricks work, it may be worth a trip to the doctor or pediatrician.

12. Start Potty Training right in the first place

Your 3 year old may be regressing because they weren’t ready in the first place, or the technique used didn’t sit right with them. Revisit how you potty trained them in the first place and see if there are any new techniques or strategies you can utilise.

13. Is it just occasional accidents?

If this is the case, it may not be a regression at all but simply that your toddler is still learning to read their bodily cues – which at 3, is totally normal! Hang in there mama, they’ll get there soon.

14. Practise, practise, practise!

Remember, potty training is a new skill and some kids may not get it right away. It may not be a regression, it may just be that they are still learning how to do the thing!

15. Poo Troubles

One painful bowel movement can scare anyone off going to the toilet again, let along your little 3 year old. If they have recently had a hard time getting a poo out, the idea of going to the toilet again may be hard to face. It may mean a week or 2 back in nappies for poo poos, then transitioning back to potty.

16. Consider the environment they are in

Have you just moved to a new home, or are you travelling? A new environment comes with new learning, and if they are new to potty training, they may take a few steps back before they start moving forward again.

17. Consider Physical Reasons

As well as medical issues, they may not be physically comfortable on a potty, they may be too tall, too short, too big, too small – watch them next time they go – you may need to upgrade your potty chair or potty seat mama!

What Can Cause Potty Training Regression?

Regression might occur as a result of distraction or a refusal to give up a toy or hobby. Your child may put off going to the bathroom until the last minute and therefore misses the opportunity. Many children do not want to stop playing in order to go to the bathroom.

Your Toddler Wasn’t Actually Potty Trained

Begin by determining whether or not your child was truly toilet trained in the first place. Remember, a fully potty-trained toddler should actually want to use the toilet. As a result, a child who has multiple accidents per day and doesn’t seem to mind should not be labelled ‘potty trained.’ Sorry!

Stress & Other Big Emotions

potty training regression in 3 year old

Potty training regressions are frequently caused by stress. A regression can be triggered by changes such as starting pre-school, or changing daycare teachers. Regressions are frequently caused by changes at home, such as the arrival of a new sibling / new baby, the purchase of a new home, or the divorce of a spouse. If your child was embarrassed by an accident at school or elsewhere in public, they may regress in their potty training.

Toddler Health Issues

Potty training regression can also be caused by medical conditions, the most common of which is constipation. If a youngster has trouble with bowel movements, they may avoid using the potty entirely to avoid pushing and straining. Make sure they’re receiving enough fibre and water, and if you’re worried, talk to your child’s paediatrician.

They’re Easily Distracted

Your child may be engrossed in what they’re doing to the point where they ignore the need to leave. Once things start moving in the bladder or bowel department, they won’t have enough time to get to the bathroom.

Why trust My Toddler Life?

My Toddler Life is run by mum’s, for mum’s. All information provided on our site is thoroughly researched and takes in to consideration our lived experiences and the opinions of industry professionals. How are we different from other sites doing the same thing? We have fun while doing it (often with a glass of wine in hand) and don’t take ourselves too seriously!

Potty Training Regression In 3 Year Old: To wrap it all up…

Hopefully the above information gives you a great starting place, if not to help guide you the whole way through the toddler potty training regression.

Remember – there is no hard or fast rule that says how to deal your toddler’s potty training regression – and you know your child best!! So take your time, take a deep breath, have a glass of wine and dive in ! GOOD LUCK!!


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