Despite a parent's hard work, potty training regression occurs. Regardless of the length of time the child has been working on training or using the potty on his own, some children take a few steps backward in their toilet training. While frustrating, there is nothing a parent can do but push on and remind the child of his training and the need to return to using the potty. Below are four steps to putting your child back on the toilet training track.
1. Reinstitute the Reward
If your child was trained using a reward system and you have since ended that system or fallen away from its continuous use, reinstitute the system. By again giving your child the reward, you will putting him and yourself back into training mode. This will jog your child's memory about using the potty and reinforce to him the need to do so.
2. Talk to Your Child
Sometimes regression happens due to a fear or other emotion arising about using the potty that you did not notice had developed. Talking to your child about why he stopped using the potty is the best way to identify whether this has occurred. If so, you can discuss the issue with your child and, likely, put an end to the reason why he is no longer using the potty as frequently or at all.
3. Eliminate the Diapers
Regressing from potty training often happens because the child has another option of where to go potty. Taking your child out of pull-ups or diapers and removing diapers from your home altogether (or at least from your child's view) will eliminate that option. Not using the potty is easier than using the potty, but if your child has to choose between having an accident and using the potty, he'll likely start using the potty again really quickly.
4. Get on a Schedule
A potty schedule not only requires your child to use the toilet at regular intervals, but it also trains his bladder, thereby reducing accidents. Create a potty schedule and stick to it, using a timer if necessary. At first, your child should be required to sit on the potty every two hours and 15 minutes after eating. The schedule can be altered and lengthened in the future once regression has curtailed.
Whether or not you tell your child of the newly implemented schedule depends on how fiercely your child is rejecting reusing the potty. If your child has stopped using the potty completely and your conversation about why has revealed no emotional reason for the cessation of use, institute the schedule without consulting your child. If your child has merely reduced the number of times he is using the bathroom, you can explain why you are creating a schedule.
If you do use a schedule, implement it throughout the household. If you, your child and any other children use the potty when the timer dings, going to the potty is much more fun. You can also include changing the diaper of a baby who is not potty training on the schedule.