Once we had figured out the right incentive for our 2 year old son, he was potty trained. It was magical and wonderful and we were thrilled it was as easy as finally figuring out the right incentive – this reusable sticker book. He would get a large vehicle sticker for going poop in the potty and a smaller sized one for pee. Worked awesome!
So when the potty training regression hit a few months later, we were stumped. We tried pulling the sticker book back out, but this time with only moderate success. Our son was peeing at friend’s houses, at our house, and didn’t seem to really care.
In fact, he once ran over to his little potty seat (this one which works great for boys and girls and is super affordable and easy to clean), stopped trying to pull down his pants, stood there, stared at me, peed himself, and then cried. Clearly, he had given up.
The last day he got as bad as four potty accidents by lunch time. And this was at home, where the excuse of “a new environment” or “he was too busy playing” didn’t prove applicable.
I was fed up.
So, I did what any modern 21st century parent does in dire situations as these – I asked my friends on Facebook.
Potty Training Regression Solutions
There were a few suggestions thrown around, including a cold bum wash, and even the idea of sticking him back in a diaper, because he’d probably hate it since we had already ditched the diapers. While I considered both of those, and was already making him help me clean up his accidents (which was also suggested), another friend, my husband’s aunt, suggested I tell him I missed my big boy.
My two year old son loves telling people that he’s a big boy! With a baby sister, and two older sisters, he’s a bit obsessed with the idea of being a big boy. As we were potty training we, of course, emphasized that using the toilet is what big kids do.
So, I figured I’d give it a shot. Why not? It wouldn’t involve figuring out the right punishment or reward or consequence or involve yelling or spanking.
It would mean a simple conversation. I could handle that.
Plus, if it didn’t work, I had a few back-up options.
The Question that Stopped the Potty Training Regression
As he was sitting on the potty later that day (as I had resorted to putting him on the potty every hour to avoid his frequent accidents), I asked him a very important question:
“Michael, do you know where my big boy went?”
He was very confused. He furrowed his brow, pointed at his chest and said “I’m your big boy.”
I said “No, I don’t think you are anymore. I think you turned back into a little boy. Only little boys pee their pants.”
He again furrowed his brow. He didn’t like this idea.
“No, I’m a big boy!” he assured me.
“I don’t know. I think my big boy turned back into a little boy. I bet he could turn back into a big boy again though if he made sure to pee in the potty.”
“Yeah, I pee on the potty! I’m a big boy!”
“Okay, we’ll see if you can keep it up and turn back into my big boy again, because I miss my big boy Michael.”
He hasn’t had a potty accident since.
For the following two or three weeks he would proclaim “I’m a big boy!” every time he used the potty. After a day or two of him successfully using the potty, I decided our episode of potty regression was over and told him he was a big boy again.
He was thrilled to hear it.
Now, we just need to work him wiping his butt by himself….
While I am sure this won’t work for every child going through a potty regression phase, it was such an easy, quick, and painless (for him and for me) solution. I would definitely recommend it! What do you have to lose?