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Backtracking on Potty Training

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > The Potty > Backtracking on Potty Training



3 1/2 year old, trained at 2, is now peeing everywhere

Sept 2008

Our nearly 3 1/2 year old son has a new fascination! Peeing (and even one time pooping) in a variety of places. He has been quite successfully potty trained before he was 2 yrs. We practiced elimination communication which worked very well for him. He never had any shyness, shame or anxiety around using the potty and more recently the big toilet. He seems to find it interesting and amusing to pee in his pants, in the closet, in the car, in the middle of the playground. This started about a month ago and we're not quite sure what's going on with him. He does not yet go to school and is with us the majority of the time. I speak with him after each incident, telling him why he shouldn't do this....he will be uncomfortable in his wet clothes, we may not always have a spare pair of pants, the pee will stink and perhaps irritate his crotch and legs, wherever he pees will stink, he will ruin items by peeing on them, we have to take the time to clean it up, which means less play time. And of course, we speak of the unsanitary reasons. His potty or a toilet has been very close at hand with each of these incidents. He is very communicative but won't tell us why he is doing this. A few times he will say ''don't look'' and then proceed to do his business. Any advice on how best to handle this? After such success, we don't want to bring on shame around this, but we are so ready for it to stop! Any advice would be very much appreciated! Thanks! once again, diaper bag carrying parents


You might want to put him into pull-ups, and tell him that he can have underwear when his pull-ups stay dry and clean for 7 days in a row. This is what I did with my son (he started wetting his bed at night). He's also 3 1/2. I didn't want to fight about this, and I didn't want to clean wet sheets. He clearly doesn't like it, and is now dry again at night. Good luck
Hello~ I am a fellow EC mom and wanted to ask if there is any chance of an infection or irritation that might be making urination uncomfortable. The three year would easily avoid using the toilet until he couldn't control it if something might be going on. Your doctor would know what signs to look for. like wise a food allergy could cause a reaction. Are there any new foods in his diet? i am of a Waldorf mind about these things and feel that our three year old are still so young. sometimes my little girl becomes so overwhelmed or distracted that she just forgets and holds it until we are at dinner without a change of clothes! He may be showing you that he needs help remembering to empty his bladder in appropriate places as well. In this society we all are pressured to expect our little ones to be so grown up and accomplished! We can forget how they are still so little and need to feel we will still baby them a little if they ask :). Tuvalu
Tell him he has a choice: pee in the potty or toilet, or wear a diaper. And the next time he does it, when a toilet or potty is convenient, put him in a diaper. Don't make a big deal or get angry, just say pee goes in the toilet or a diaper, not on your clothes, car, playgrounds, etc. wouldn't stand for it
My oldest was fully potty trained at age 2. But at his current age of 4 1/2, I STILL ask that he pee before we leave the house, pee before we leave a restaurant, park, wherever, and to pee when we get to a destination if we have been in the car/train/bus for a long time. He doesn't like it but I ask him to always try - it's our ''rule''. And 9 times out of 10, he'll say, ''hey mama! i tried and I was able to pee!'' And more often than not, when he says he doesn't have to, the minute he gets to a toilet he pees like an elephant. Kids are still kids, and whether he was potty trained at 1 or 2 or 5, they should still be reminded because they are easily distracted. When he started peeing in his pants more often even after having reminded him, I then told then that perhaps we needed to have him use diapers instead of underwear. This pretty much did the trick. He will still on occasion have an accident, but now it's really an accident and not just because he was distracted or because he didn't care. Good luck. hates pee in pants

3.5 year old is having regular accidents since baby was born

Jan 2008

Hello, I would love any advice out there about my daughter and her pee accidents. She is 3.5 years old and has been potty trained since 2.5. At first she would have some accidents here and there, but mostly seemed to have it down. Then, at 2 years eight months, her little sister was born and that's when the trouble began. I know that regression in potty training is very common after the birth of a sibling, but her sister is now almost ten months old and we're still dealing with this! I looked in the archives and found the term ''power peeing'' and I think that is probably what is going on here--my girl definitely loves to be in control and is stubborn, like her mama. She has 1-5 accidents a day and nothing I've tried seems to work or when it does, it doesn't last long. Star charts (with a prize for a few dry days) worked for a while, but seemed to have stopped working. We talk about it, she says she's sorry, that she'll stop and then does it again. I try to stay calm and not get angry but it's really hard, especially when she pees at home, near to a potty and after I've just asked her if she needed to go. She often seems to strains to hold it in and angrily insists she doesn't need to go and then has an accident 5 minutes later. It's completely exasperating! I've suggested putting her back in diapers, and this idea makes her very upset--she especially doesn't want to wear diapers to her preschool and says that she will not go to school if I put her in diapers. I'm not prepared to try to force a sobbing, kicking kid in diapers to go to school. It clearly embarrasses her. I don't want to be punitive about this, but this has to stop! I think another issues is that small bladders run in the family--I myself have to pee quite often and yes, it's annoying sometimes--but how do I get her to understand this is just the way it is? Help would be much appreciated! Tired of laundry


I can totally understand your frustration. We've been having a similar experience with our daughter. She was potty trained when she turned three, but would always have pee accidents. Now she is ~4.5 and is doing a lot better, so for us the process has taken awhile. Part of the problem is that when she is busy playing she cannot be bothered to get up and go. Also power issues too, I'm sure. Basically we've learned that she has to decide for herself that it is time to go. I'll remind her, and when she stubbornly says ''no'' then I'll say ''ok, how about in 5 minutes.'' Sometimes that works. If she is about to start something, like watch a movie or go outside to play, I'll insist that she goes first or else the activity cannot begin.

We've also resorted to bribing. We'll say she can have a treat after dinner if she stays dry all day. This is obvious, but I make an effort to praise her when she goes or if I notice that she has stayed dry for awhile. I try to not get mad at her when she does have an accident (this is hard!) and to act as matter of fact about it as possible and not dwell on it to much. It has taken a lot longer than I thought for her to learn this, but I can see that over time she has improved. So hang in there. I'll be interested to see what other folks have to say. Also tired of laundry


I don't have a ''trick'' for you to try but I will say you are not alone. I have a 4 yo daughter who was fully potty trained until my son was born when she was 3 yrs. and 3 mos. That started a terrible downward spiral into almost daily accidents, calls to my office from the school requesting I pick her up because they were out of spare clothes, accidents at friends' houses, etc. We almost had to have a parent/teacher conference about the issue as my daughter was apparently the only kid in the class with potty issues. Luckily the winter break happened right before we had to go in. We thought they were going to ask us to leave the (Montessori) school because the policy required they children be potty trained. Anyway, I was at my wits end in December. My daughter repeatedly assured me that when she sat on the potty the ''pee pee didn't want to come out''. It took everything I had not to yell and chastise. Sometimes I did yell and didn't handle things well. Then when I was home from work over the holidays, she had only 1 accident the whole 10 days. During that time it seemed that she wanted me to stop reminding her to go pee, so I did. Since she's been back in school she has had just one accident. We're still not perfect (she had an accident about 2 weeks ago as well) but it's much better. She was very stubborn and wanted to be in charge of her pottying, even if that meant an occasional accident or even a lot of accidents. Once, we did put her into a diaper and she stood there crying and feeling quite humiliated, so I took it off immediately. That wasn't the answer. There are still days when I notice her in her room changing her underpants because she waited too long to pee and her underpants got a bit wet. I don't consider that an accident. I don't even comment on it. Anyway, it's an uphill battle that I never expected from my very easy-going daughter. Just goes to show how much the birth of a sibling can impact the older kids. Keep the faith that ''this too shall pass'' and consider stopping reminding her about going. She may respond favorably. Good luck. A
We had a similar thing happening with our daughter, who is a middle child, when our youngest was born. She was potty trained before her 2nd birthday...fully, nights as well...on her own terms and at her own insistence. When her little brother was born, she was about to turn 3. She began having weird episodes of wetting, mostly in the daytime but not every day. At preschool particularly, she would go through 3-5 pants changes in one day. For her, this was accompanied by pain with wiping. We think that this is all due to the new baby and the pain is due to chafing/diaper rash like situation due to wet pants. Fast-forward to just past her 4th birthday...she discloses that she is being abused. Probably NOT what is going on with your daughter, but I felt a need to put it out there. Really not trying to freak you out. I really doubt she is doing it ''on purpose''. Just keep giving her your love and patience. Good luck. anon
Are carseats punitive? How about holding mom's hand when we cross the street? If they are not good at cutting veggies, are we penalizing them by not letting them use the knives? No, these are just facts of life we all must deal with. We do things in a certain way until we are able to do them better.

You are the mom. I understand you don't want it to be punitive. You don't have to have that spin on it. It is simple fact. If you can't pee in the potty, you wear pull ups until you've had a week with no accidents. End of story. No negotiating. No feeling sorry about it either. She's not a bad kid because she makes messes. She just isn't ready yet, and that's okay (this is the stance you hold).

And yes, you DO have to go to school with pullups. If you cannot make it to the potty in time, that's quite alright. We wear pullups until that gets figured out.

You need to be firm, mama, and not let your daughter have all the power, and you none. Sometimes kids kick, scream and sob. Hey, especially if the method works! But, noone else is going to put up with this in the real world. Be the person who loves her most and show her, througb your actions, that she can kick and sob, but the results are the same: XYZ is still going to happen. This is how you help teach her to have solid boundaries.

I guarantee if you change YOU, being factual and firm, your daughter will quickly be motivated to leave behind her accidents, of her own volition. If you decide to continue being wishy washy, this is just the beginning. There will be many more issues down the road. You need to decide what kind of person you'd like to guide her to be. You CAN take back your power. anon


If you've tried everything else, you could take a very draconian approach to laundry: ''Oh, you wet your pants? Take off your pants. Take off your underwear. Put on clean underwear. Put on clean pants. Take your dirty underwear and pants to the laundry room/basket.'' And repeat this every single time. For some kids, all this extra work, with no help from mom, is enough to get them to stop. Of course, if your kid loves doing laundry, that's a different story. And if it doesn't work after a week, it's just frustrating for you and your kid. d
We handled our ''Power Peeing'' situation a little different than the other posters. Our daughter was toilet trained for a year, then started having accidents. I suspected right away it was for attention. She had a new sibling and a new preschool--I can understand it, but disagreed with her method of trying to get it. So I became quite strict and 1) made her clean up the pee spot on the floor with vinegar solution and a towel (I finished cleaning it later myself), 2) wash her panties and pants in the sink and 3) when we were at home, I took her into the bathroom every 4-6 hours with me, the baby, a magazine (the laundry to fold, what ever I needed), locked the door and made her stay until she peed. I wasn't mad or mean about it. I didn't force her to sit on the toilet, but I wouldn't let her out of the room until she took care of her body. It took two times and she decided to find more positive ways to seek attention. I called her bluff and told her how I would be happy to give her attention if she asked for it appropriately. I gave her examples and we play-acted them out. It's a common behavior for this age group, and I'm sure you'll find a good way to handle it. anonymous

3.5 's regular accidents after 6 months of being potty trained

August 2003

Here is the thing. Our daughter (middle of a family of 3 children) is now 3 1/2. She is (or rather was) potty-trained since she was a little younger than three. She was potty-trained very gently by letting her be naked and slowly moving to underwear. I never pushed her and did not mind changing diapers at all, since I was already changing her younger brother. Anyway, she started having accidents a month ago but lately it has increased to one accident a day and sometimes two. She even poops in her underwear every other day. At first I would change her and mention that if she wanted she could get her diaper back which she did not want. Yesterday, after another poop accident I decided to let her go naked again and not let her have underwear because I am tired of rinsing and washing dirty underwear. Today, after being naked all day, she peed on the floor. She does not show any sort of caring about the situation. So my question is, has this happened to anyone else? How long did it last? I know, in the big scheme of things, she will be potty- trained before she turns 16 and she will become a healthy grown- up but in the meantime, I'd like to get some input from people who have experienced this situation. mc


I don't have any concrete advice for you, but we're in a similar situation and we're seeing Meg Zweiback (510/836-1450). At 2.5 years old, my daughter ''pee-trained'' in a day and a half of wearing cotton training pants (and after almost a year of gentle suggestions to use the potty chair). She never has pee accidents, not even at night. However, 8 months later, she's still pooping in her pants while at daycare (M-F, 7-5). Most of the accidents are little poop smudges, not full-blown BMs. The first few months after she was pee-trained, I had her in underwear all the time, and she was always pooping her pants. Then I had the inspiration to let her be naked at home (weekends and evenings), and for whatever reason she always pooped in the potty. (If she's wearing underpants at home, she will have accidents sometimes.) Being naked at school was not an option, so I put her in pull-ups. I, too, HATED washing out 3-4 pairs of smudged underwear everyday, and I was getting cranky and resentful. My child seems okay with the pull-ups (I explained how I felt and she knows this is not a punishment). She knows that when her body big deal to wear pull-ups.

Before seeing Meg, I went through several reward/training techniques (some picked up from the UC Parents Network!): drinking warm water (to relax), reading stories while she sat, and offering stickers, big girl underpants, toys, and finally candy (2 gummi bears) for each poop success. What I noticed is that my child was motivated on her own, and the treat was a bonus. The treat DID NOT promote success. She would tell me, ''I'm going to poop on the potty Mommy,'' and sit and sit and nothing would happen. Then 10 minutes later she would have an accident in her underwear. I could tell she felt bad, and that she was really trying. What finally sent me to Meg was an incident with my mother. She told my daughter that if she pooped in her pants instead of using the potty at the park, they would have to leave. It happened, so they left. This seemed like a punishment for something that I felt my daughter couldn't control.

When I first talked to Meg (without my daughter), I realized the message I'd been telling my child was confusing to her, ''Try not to poop in your underpants, okay?'' My daughter was trying to please me, so she was holding in her poop. She would ignore her body's poop signals and her colon would keep filling up. This is stretching her colon and little bits slide out without her being aware of it (thus the little smudge ''accidents''). I also noticed that when she did poop at home, the poops were HUGE and long. More evidence that she was not voiding when she should. Meg was worried that my daughter would develop a constipation problem, so it was important to encourage her to poop when she felt the urge (whether in the potty or her pants). (Eventually we hope she'll connect the urge to getting on the toilet.)

We're in the middle of ''treatment'' so I don't have an end to this story yet. A week after my visit, I took my daughter in to see Meg. We talked while she played (and listened). The gist of the messages were, ''It's not good for people to keep their poop in their bodies,'' ''It's okay to poop in your pants,'' ''Some kid's bodies arenot ready to poop in the potty at school and that's okay,'' and ''Sometimes it's harder to do certain things at school than at home.'' My daughter has ''homework,'' which consists of blowing soap bubbles while sitting naked on the potty (only once a day for 5 minutes or until she wants to stop). The blowing is supposed to be a fun way to help relax her muscles (she is not expected to poop, and we don't even talk about pooping). My homework is to ease up, and to talk with her teachers at school about what's going on.

Our pediatrician and the school teachers were not very helpful (Meg says this issue happens in one in a thousand kids so it's not that common). I feel good that I'm seeking professional help (even though it's expensive) from someone who really knows what's going on. It also helps me to know that my daughter has a physical problem (vs attitude issue). I'm not ''encouraging/pushing'' my child to use the potty any more, and I think this is taking some stress off of her. I still give her a high-five and 2 gummi bears when she's successful. I admit I still worry about it, but I'm hoping Meg will get us through this.

Good luck! Signed, ''Mom is learning to ease up!''


We are in the same situation. Basically, I have gone to watching the clock and taking my daughter (often picking her up and carrying her) to the potty if she haven't gone in the last 3 hours. And if she has an ''accident'', we don't go to anyone else's house to play for the rest of the week (tho I allow friends to come here). I don't like that I have to make the potty a discipline issue, but this approach seems to work. Thought I was thru ...

Perfectly trained 4-year-old suddenly having accidents

October 2004

Help! My perfectly potty trained almost 4 year old has suddenly started having accidents, both at preschool and at home. Over the past two weeks, he's had nearly one every day, often making it to the bathroom and then going in his pants while standing next to the toilet. He's become somewhat more tempermental and cranky in the past few weeks, as well. I'm totally baffled, and haven't been able to get him to articulate what's going on - does anyone out there have experience with this, or have any advice about how to work throught it? I'm thinking of intitiating an incentive program for him (i.e., a sticker for every day with no accident) but am really hungry for some insight about what he might be going through. My husband's and my work schedules have changed somewhat recently (though he's always been very flexible), and I am 5 months pregnant, but as far as I can tell, his day to day life hasn't really been impacted by that (yet!) - I don't get the sense that either of those things lies at the root of the problem. I'll be grateful for any advice! baffled mom


Boy does this sound familiar! I could have written the same question a few months ago. In our situation, the regression was temporary--it only lasted a few weeks. But it made me realize that I had to make some regular potty times for my son--before leaving the house on an errand or adventure or before getting in the car to go home after the adventure was over; after two or three hours or doing anything, before bed. Those regular times helped support what he knew how to do. I think that even if he didn't feel like he had to pee, he was surprised to see he could. He sort of got the feel for preventing an accident, not just responding to the pressure of a completely full bladder. He still will sometimes just miss-- relax and have an accident while still pulling his pants down, but it's really rare. My advice: don't worry too much. Hopefully, by the time you read this things will be much better on their own Carolyn
Boy, I almost feel like I could write a book on this. My 4 year old has essentially known how to go potty since she was about 2 and a half. Then her brother was born when she was 2 and 7 months. She has had some sort of potty regression during every stage of advancement that he has. She'll go months without accidents and then all of the sudden because he is going through a stage that demands more attention, she starts wetting again. The lastest time was a couple of weeks ago when our son started speaking more in sentences coming out with these really cute one liners. Suddenly she ''forgot'' to go potty again. If it's just once or twice I ignore it. If it goes beyond and seems that it's an attention/stress reaction then I take a favorite toy away and it is earned back by staying dry and not having accidents and we keep a calendar for it. Once it was her beloved comforter on her bed but she earned it back in 7 days which we marked off on the calendar so she could see ! the progress she made. Then this last time it was her Leapster. She would have an accident playing with the Leapster because she didn't want to stop and go pee. The toy has a pause button so I didn't think it was a good excuse. So leapster went away for a week and she earned it back. I was so pleased yesterday when she announced she was pausing the leapster to go potty because she didn't want to get it taken away. Now, I'd have rather seen her just go potty because she had to and not because she didn't want a toy taken away but at least she went potty rather than peeing on the couch! been there, still there!

4-year-old backsliding - jealous of the baby?

May 2004

Not only does my (almost) 4 yr old not sit to eat, he also has been backsliding on the potty training. He consistently wets his pants while we're at the park or wherever. I try to get him to take a pee, but he almost always says he doesn't have to, even though I can clearly see he does. When I gently, but firmly say you need to take a break to pee, he insists he doesn't and sometimes even gets upset with me. With regards to #2, ever since he got strep in his bottom and got constipated, he has insisted on a diaper. Once in a while he'll go in the bathroom, but lately has become even more stubborn about the diaper. I try not to make a big fuss because I heard confronting him about it will make him hold it in. I do encourage him heartily when he does go on the toilet. We haven't even considered getting rid of the night-time diaper yet, since day time behavior is still so inconsistent. He's usually fine at pre-school, although he has mentioned to me he doesn't feel comfortable pooping there. I have an 8 month old son too, and I wonder if the potty training backsliding could be related to younger sibling jealousy or something. Any advice out there? Thanks Tana


This probably won't solve your problem, but it may help a little. When our baby was born our older son was 3 and had some backsliding too. It was difficult not to get upset, as we were under so much stress with the new baby anyway. What helped was to reassuringly tell our older son a few times ''sometimes when a new baby comes older brothers forget how to use the toilet like they did before. But it's ok, pretty soon they get used to the baby and then they are fine again''. He seemed to be very reassured to hear his condition 1- was temporary and 2- wasn't directly his fault. We're repeating the same lines now that we're moving to a new house and have had an accident or two... I know your baby is older, but if baby is part of the problem, an explanation like this might help your son. - Charis
Been there. Had that. Now (fingers crossed) my four-year-old is doing much better. He did his backslidding when we moved a few months ago and boy was it frustrating. I used to say we lived in Urinetown. But a couple of things helped: one was to offer some type of reward, a toy he wants or whatever and make a star chart. If he stays dry all day, he gets a star. When he gets 10 stars, he gets the toy. Tape the chart to the frig or put it somewhere where he can see it. It gave our son an incentive, and although it took awhile he began to see that there are benefits to staying dry. Now we've got a routine where if he stays dry all day he'll get desert (after he eats his dinner), if not no desert. It has amazed me how well that has worked.

Another thing we did: we made it into a sort of game by throwing some Cherrios into the toilet so he would try to hit as many as he could. Instead of saying ''let's go to the potty'' we'd say ''Let's squirt some Cherrios! How many can you get?'' and he would be more enthusiastic about the whole thing. Bobbie


Four-year-old began having "accidents" soon after our second child

Nov 2002

My four year old boy who was potty trained at 3 began having pooping and peeing "accidents" soon after our second child. She is now 9 months old and he is still having the accidents. I try and be understanding but it seems that it's been going on for too long now. He doesn't have a medical problem and I suspect he may be doing it to get attention, however, our family and his extended family does give him a lot of one-on-one attention. I would appreciate any advice on this matter.


The best advice I got was to remind my son to use the bathroom, regularly; ie either take him or remind him to try and go throughout the day. If they hold the pee or poop too much, they tend to loose the feeling of the need to go. The other advice that we were able to use in a limited way was to make him responsible for any mess. This was not overly successful, but did help us to focus on solutions and not on our own fears and frustrations- more of 'OK, let's clean up', than, 'Not again'. Hang in there. I know it's tough.

4.5 yo regressing to peeing in pants

Feb 2007

Our son was a late potty trainer to begin with. Didn't train until 3.8 years or so.

We had about a 6 month period where we only had a few mishaps which is to be expected. Then around November(at age 4.5), every evening around 6 or 7 pm I noticed he was peeing in his pants. Not just a drip, but peeing.

Then he started doing it during the day, and we've had some days where I'm changing his pants 3 or 4x per day. We've tried incentives, bribes, charts, punishment, yelling and doing nothing and not one thing has worked for any length of time.

He has recently gotten to the age where he will open the fridge and help himself to water, so I have less of a gauge of what he is drinking, and, therefore, may not be as in tune to reminding him to pee, but I feel like he is old enough that I shouldn't have to remind him every time.

A few of his school friends have similar issues and their moms are eagerly awaiting your reply as well, although they tend to think theirs is a control issue, whereas I think my son really just doesn't care that much about going. He doesn't mind being wet, doesn't mind changing himself, and I think just doesn't want to be bothered with the whole mundane task.

Took him to his dr. today, and she checked him for diabetes and infection both of which were negative. She said it will just happen, but I'm wondering if anyone else has gone through this.

I should mention that we don't live in the bay area anymore, we live in the desert, and his dr. does not recommend limiting liquids in any way.
tired of doing wash


I have been through this and looking back, here is what I wish I had done. I wish I had completely ignored it. In my opinion, all that attention / talking/ discussion/ bribes/ threats / punishments/ shame/ encouragement etc. only did ONE thing: DELAY his ability to be dry. The only thing it accomplished was make him feel bad, make me angry, etc. I am not convinced that you or a young boy, especially a 4.5 year old, have much control over it anyway. When my son was 6 I decided that I wasn't going to say another word about it, good or bad. I wasn't going to comment on wet days or dry days or smelly laundry or any of it. If he came home wet I very quietly pointed upstairs so he knew he had to change. But I didn't frown or scowl or look disappointed. The same kind of expression you would use to say go brush your teeth. It completley cleared up on its own when he was ready. I heartily believe all that attention makes things worse. Just relax, mama, and it will all turn out. When he does stay dry for a while, resist the temptation to celebrate; if he brings it up you can quietly say, yes, I noticed, you must be so proud of yourself. And leave it alone. Love your son, see that abnormal stress is removed from his environment, make him feel great about himself, and all will be well.
Anon mama with dry boy

4.5 year old regressing, wetting pants

April 2005

I'm hoping for some sage advice from you experienced parents out there. My 4 year old is wetting his pants several times a day and I am not sure what to do anymore. It seemed to start about 6 months after his sister was born and after he was fully trained for a year. It seems to happen whether he has just gone to the bathroom or not. I have asked him what I can do to help him (he said ''remind him'', didn't help). I have done the sticker chart/positive reinforcement thing. I have (shamefully) done the ''I'm very disappointed in you'' thing. I've put him back in diapers (he just goes in them). I've left the park/playdates, etc. when his pants are wet, with neutral tone. I've done the not so neutral tone. It's been about 6 months with some times better than others.

Help! My gut instinct is that it is a regression thing about his little sister, but has turned into a power struggle. Should I just ignore it? Any other suggestions?
Sign me Frustrated with mounting laundry


I'd put him back in diapers...but make him change them himself. And then I'd stop talking about it, positive or negative. Just make it his responsibility, refuse to do the extra laundry or give him any extra attention over the issue, and he'll eventually return to his former potty-trained habits. anon
This happened to my pre-schooler when her brother was an infant. It was soooo frustrating! I used to call it ''power-peeing''! I finally beat the dynamic when I made my older child hang up her own wet clothes whenever we got back home. She hated that chore, and began to get control over wetting very quickly once I insisted on that consequence of her behavior. The other thing we would do is leave any fun activity we were attending when we ran out of dry clothes, just like you describe in leaving the park, but that consequence didn't change things nearly as much as having her hang up cold, smelly clothes from the plastic bags in which they were stored in my diaper bag. I hope this works as well for a boy as it did for my daughter. dry now
Because I do not like public toilets, I have not pushed my boys away from diapers. I am always amazed by people who are willing to deal with the huge mess of accidents but not diapers.

I let the older one wear diapers when he was putting them on himself....he stopped when he started play school at 5 years old. He still wears one at night at 6! Puts it on & takes it off himself....the younger boy (3)loves to be naked so much that he is pretty much potty trained at home but wears one out thank goodness.....

I have had numerous experiences with my son's friends sitting in a pool of pee on my carpet. They get all wound up in the play and forget.

I just don't understand taking pride in having your kid out of diapers at 2-3 years old. Why? It is not that big a deal and another aspect of intimacy...... It just isn't that unpleasant.


4.5-year-old is reverting back to diaper

Feb 2002

Hello, Our 4 1/2 boy is reverting back to pooping and peeing in his bed and pants. Its seems that at his daycare, a large number of the 'graduating' 4 1/2 year olds are going to the same school for Kindergarten. My son is not. The wonderfully perceptive daycare provider thinks that he is reacting to the situation of not going with the others in the group. Has anyone else experienced this? Thanks ahead of time, The Diapering Mom


I have been where you are, and it is not pretty, first of all. My son, who will be 6 at the end of this month, is just now (I don't want to jinx it, though!) back to being potty trained after a very long regression after the birth of his brother. My one piece of advice is this -- don't push it! We had him in preschool programs that would not allow him to attend in pull-ups or diapers, so he spent 2 years (!!!) in underwear and used them just like a diaper most of the time. We tried everything -- incentives, bringing him to the potty, talking about it, ignoring it. It got us nowhere. at 5 1/2 we gave up, took him out of preschool and put him in pull-ups, saying "when you're ready to use the potty, you will wear underwear again." He changed his own pull-up (made for some messes, but at least we didn't have the frustration and headache of changing messy pull-ups), was responsible for his own choices, and mostly didn't use the potty for about 5 months. We took him to the doctor at that point, expecting a referral to a specialist, but instead got an incentive program (every dry day is a star, 4 stars is an ice cream sundae or a toy or....). We were skeptical, having tried incentives many times in the past, but it worked! I can only conclude that have a few months of no pressure, no attention paid to accidents, and total control over his choices caused him to be ready to move on, with the right incentives, of course... The doctor said we did the right thing by trying as much to lay off him and make it "his issue." As a result, we didn't end up with constipation and the other problems that often happen with late potty-resistance. Anyway, I only wish we could have kept him in pull-ups at age 3 -- maybe this would have been done with a lot sooner. The best thing to keep in mind is that no matter what the cause of your son's regression, he will get over it when he is ready, and there's probably not too much you can do about it except deep breathing and patience. ML
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