It’s been two months since we embarked on Freddy’s potty training adventure, using the Huggies 6 Steps to Potty Success.
At two and a half he was more than ready. He was super keen to switch from nappies to pull ups, and loved wearing his big boy pants over the top. He would also happily sit on the potty at first, although didn’t leave much behind. We had an absolutely flying start, then the regression came out of nowhere.
I thought I’d capitalise on Freddy’s enthusiasm one quiet day at home, a couple of weeks in, and just put him in pants that morning. It soon became apparent that he did not want to oblige, and in four hours had half a dozen accidents without a single success. It was obvious that the idea of going to the toilet was stressing him out. Then he told me this…
“I don’t want to be a big boy, I want to be a baby!”
The regression was a shock, but not at the same time. As much as Freddy usually can’t wait to join in with his older sisters, and copy everything they do, he’s a third child and his place in our family is to be the baby. I felt terrible to tell you the truth, and didn’t want to cause more upset, so completely backed off.
A little break was what was needed
For a whole month I didn’t even mention the word potty, or put pants over his pull ups. Then last week we had another quiet day at home, and Freddy after his potty, so I thought I’d try again. He was an absolute star, sitting on the potty without fuss – doing ones and twos all day without a single tear or bit of stress.
Some tips from a mum of three
Reward success in a language your child understands. For the first three days we gave Freddy a small nibble of dark chocolate every time he did anything on the potty. It was an incentive he wanted more of, and worked fantastically for us. From day four we did car stickers on his Huggies reward chart, you can download your printable chart here.
Ignore the accidents. This can be tricky, but is absolutely essential to ensure that they don’t end up having negative associations. My girls are very loud, and loved to shout from the rooftops when Freddy didn’t quite make it to the potty in time. Hubby and I had to explain to them more than once how important it was to not make their brother feel bad for having an accident. Seven years into parenting, I’ve not been phased at all by the little puddles. In fact I’m glad my floor is nice and clean – every cloud and all that.
Be creative. Here’s a photo of Freddy sitting on the potty while watching television. Nuff said.
Don’t complicate the clothing. Fortunately in the height of summer you can get away with dresses without tights, or t-shirts and pants.
You can’t remind them enough. In the first week of potty training in earnest I don’t think you can ask them too many times if they need to go. It’s a huge change for them, and I think it’s a bit much to expect a two year old to not just know that they need the loo, but also tell you in enough time to not have an accident. They need constant reminding at first, but in my experience the amount you need to ask dwindles down quickly. Before you know it you’ll realise you haven’t asked them for a whole hour (happy days).
You can’t praise them enough. Tell them they are clever and that you’re proud of them as much as you possibly can. Small children love high fives and smiles, and knowing they’ve done something awesome.
Resign yourself to a few days at home. I personally think that leaving the house during the first couple of days can lead to failure. Staying home, and allowing Freddy to wander around half naked made all the difference for us.
Face the fear. Venturing out for the first time can be super stressful, and could prompt a regression in itself. Make sure you’re prepared by taking out several changes of clothes, a full pack of wipes, and a travel potty if you can.
Don’t get upset if they have a regression. Days ones and two went so well, but on day three Freddy had more accidents than the first two put together. It was disappointing, but we persevered, and day four was really successful. We were so confident by day five that we went out for most of it and he coped just fine.
Have faith. They will all get there in their own good time end. Try not to compare your child with other kids (as tempting as it might be).
Some expert advice on regression from Dr. Heather Wittenberg
What triggers regression?
Regression can happen for a variety of reasons, but is usually stress-related. A big change to their routine, moving house, starting nursery, a painful bowel movement or other unpleasant experience on the toilet, or being teased or punished for an accident can all cause a phase of regression.
Another common reason is the arrival of a new sibling as feelings of jealousy can make the older child revert to baby-like behaviour in an attempt to win back some attention. Regression can sometimes be simply about wanting attention, even without the arrival of a new sibling.
A urinary tract infection can make it difficult and painful to control the bladder, which results in accidents. Seek medical advice if you’re at all concerned that your child might have an infection.
Getting back on track
Going back to basics is the best way to overcome a period of regression. With plenty of support and praise when appropriate, revert to your earlier routine of regular potty use and marking her progress together on a reward chart. Remind her to go to the potty when she’s busy playing and look out for signs that she needs a wee so that you can encourage her to go. If the accidents go on for more than a few days, or if it’s upsetting your child, going back to Huggies® Pull-Ups® for a while can also help.
Beware of negative reinforcement, as getting lots of attention for accidents may encourage that behaviour. While children prefer positive attention, they’ll take negative attention over none at all. Praise your toddler for returning to good habits, but do your best to make little fuss of accidents and to ignore bad behaviour so that she doesn’t come to use it as a way of getting your attention.
Huggies® Pull-Ups® are currently on offer at Morrisons, so stock up now while they last!
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