Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What To Do About Potty Regression After a New Baby Arrives

My daughter was 99 percent potty trained this past summer, and with a new baby on the way, we were ecstatic at the thought that only one of them would be in diapers! Well, that unfortunately has not been the case. Our daughter has now totally regressed in her potty training now that her baby brother is two months old.

I've read that this is common for older siblings to regress in potty training once the new baby arrives. However, I was certain it would not happen to us, as Taylor was doing so well using the potty. Boy, was I wrong!

I decided to do a little research to find some tips on how to deal with regression- there is a lot of good information out there on the topic. Hopefully what I have found will help others out there that may be experiencing the same thing!

First off, what causes potty regression? The answer is simple: stress! Your oldest child may be feeling emotionally charged about the arrival of a new baby as it takes attention away from him or her. Refusing to go to the potty or asking to be “changed” may be your child’s way of regaining some control of the new situation and refocusing the attention back on them.

Once regression begins to happen, it is important to talk to your toddler about how much you love them and how the new baby is not taking his or her place. It is also important to make time for your oldest child and do special things with them. This may mean some of the household chores go by the wayside for a while, but making your preschooler feel loved and secure is much more important.

Here are some tips on how to deal with potty regression.

- When you get frustrated about the potty regression, it’s time to take a step away from training. Try revisiting training in a few days when you are calmer about it. Your toddler will sense your frustration and this will continue to make them regress.

- Make it a completely positive experience rather than a negative one. Use potty charts and reward stickers, potty treats, or lots of love, hugs and praise. Do not use negative reinforcement or try to discipline your child when accidents happen. Frustration and negativity displayed during potty training and regression will only create more obstacles.

- Allow your toddler to be your “big helper” when it comes to the new baby. The more you allow your child to be a part of the new baby’s routine, the more they will get used to the idea that the baby is here to stay and they will learn to adjust to sharing mom and dad. And once your child begins to feel less threatened, he or she will feel less stressed and hopefully get back on track with potty training.

- Use the words “big girl/big boy,” “big helper,” and “big sister/big brother” as often as possible. Making your toddler feel like a big girl or boy will make them strive to live up to the moniker and want to do big girl/big boy things, such as use the potty.

- Minimize the amount of talk you use while cleaning up accidents. Be matter-of-fact, and simply say, “Pee and poo poo go in the potty, not in your underwear.” Do not harp on the accident and do not belittle your child.

- If your child continues to experience potty training regression after several months and you continue to feel frustrated, contact your pediatrician for further advice. Sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to help you with this trying time.

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