Potty Training Regressions

Potty Training Regressions

Your child was successfully potty trained and things were going great. Until they weren’t. Perhaps they
have began frequently wetting, refusing to use the toilet or holding their poo.

Let us explore some of the reasons for this, and how to support them.

1. Physical Reasons: Sometimes a physical reason such as a UTI or constipation can trigger a
regression. Constipation can actually prompt frequent urinary accidents (as the full colon places
pressure on the bladder). When a child becomes constipated they may find it unpleasant to pass
stools and so hold further to prevent the release. This causes further constipation which may
promote further urinary accidents. Therefore if a child begins frequently wetting or holding it is
important to speak to a GP to rule out possible UTI’s or constipation. A high fibre diet and good
water intake can help to prevent constipation.
In other cases children sometimes misunderstood the purpose of potty training. Some believe
that the aim is to keep their underwear or sheets dry (as opposed to recognise when they need
to go and use a potty or toilet). This may have occurred if they were praised for dry pants, told
off for accidents or potty trained too quickly. The child begins to hold, giving the illusion they are
potty trained, but they then reach a stage were they can hold no more and so frequent wetting
begins. In order to manage this, ensure not to praise for dry pants or sheets and do not scold for
accidents (these are normal and to be expected).
In other cases illness or medication may impact bowel habits – liaise with your GP for advice if
this is the case.

2. Emotional Reasons: Children can often develop fears of using the potty or toilet and these can
begin at any stage, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps they were splashed using the toilet or their
potty is uncomfortable. Reassure your child and go slowly in their own time. Never force them
to sit on a potty or toilet. Some children find it useful if you place toilet paper on the toilet water
to prevent it splashing them. If your child refuses to use the toilet it is sometimes advantageous
to take a break from the potty process.
In other instances a child may have experienced significant change such as a bereavement,
house move or family break down which may result in frequent accidents. Supporting them
emotionally and seeking outside support for managing emotions may be appropriate.

3. Social Reasons: It is not unusual for a child to be potty trained at home but they will not go at
nursery or at the homes of friends of relatives. Perhaps they are unsure of how to tell them
when they need to go, or perhaps they do not like going in groups. Try to make sure the
environment is as familiar as possible in all areas, and inform childcare providers and family
members of the language your child uses when they need to use the bathroom.

4. Environmental Reasons: Sometimes change such as a new baby in the home can trigger more
frequent accidents. Sometimes when the focus of attention shifts, children see potty training as
an easy way to redistribute this balance. Making little fuss when they have an accident, and
offering some 1:1 time and attention outside of potty training can help with this adjustment.
This information is meant as a general guide. If you have any concerns about your individual child’s
health or progress speak to your GP or health professional.

Potty Training and Nursery

With the new intake of nursery due in September, many parents may start to feel anxious about their child’s ability to use the potty / toilet when they start there.

Many nurseries have a policy which states that a child must be potty trained before they commence. Whilst this is often achievable for many children, other children are not developmentally ready to potty train before nursery begins. Legally nurseries are not able to insist that your child is potty trained. Many have this included in their policy as they are not able to potty train all the children in their care. But it should not be used to disadvantage those who are not ready to make this transition. If you are worried that your child is not yet ready, speak to the staff in the first instance. Many are very understanding when you explain that your child is not yet ready.

For those who are toilet trained, it can be helpful to work in partnership with your nursery. Here are some points to cover with them:-

  • Do they have the option of using either a potty or toilet? If they only use a toilet, it can be helpful to introduce this concept to your child a few weeks before they move into the setting
  • Ask them what terminology they use to describe the toilet, urinated and voiding. If your child refers to urinating as a ‘wee’ at home, and nursery staff say ‘pee pee’ then the child may not know what is being asked of them. If the nursery use generic terminology, perhaps begin to filter this into your child’s vocabulary a few weeks before they commence. Or better yet, ask the nursery to use your child’s terminology when speaking with them
  • Due to covid restrictions, many nurseries are unable to offer pre-visits to their settings. Ask if they have photos and / or a video showing their environment, and ask that it includes the toilet. Share this with your child before they attend. Children respond well to repetition so showing this regularly can help to make it more familiar
  • Ask nursery to never punish or scold your child if they have an accident – accidents are still normal at this age and a child should never be shamed for such
  • Be prepared: send a wet bag with several changes of clothes to nursery, to they are available should your child have an accident
  • Relax: most children are still learning at this stage and their bladders are still growing. Any concerns always speak to nursery staff in the first instance. Most will be supportive and reassuring.

Potty Training On the Go

When your child begins potty training, I recommend spending the first few days in the home, to allow your child the opportunity to get used to the process in a familiar environment.

However, the time will come, when you have to venture out of the house.

Here are a few tips to help make this as smooth as possible:-


  • Provide underwear. Supplying a pull-up or nappy when you are out and about is likely to confuse your child. It also makes it less likely that they will use the toilet / potty as required. You may wish to use training pants (underwear with a more absorbent core) on long journeys.
  • Accept that accidents are a normal part of the potty training process. Preparing for such is key
  • Place a waterproof car seat cover on your buggy, to ensure it is protected. If it gets wet, simply pop it in the wash.
  • Carry several changes of clothes, some wipes and a wet bag to put wet clothes in. If your child as an accident, do not make a big deal. Just say ‘opps maybe next time.’ Their little bladders and brains are only learning how to sync together.
  • The first few times you leave the house, focus on short journeys and travel somewhere they are familiar – perhaps to a relatives or home of a familiar friend. This helps ensure that they do not feel too overwhelmed in an unfamiliar environment.
  • Offer frequent opportunities for your child to use a toilet or potty – around age 2 – 3 most children can only manage around 2 hours at a time. It can be helpful to set an alarm on your phone, so you can time when to offer toilet opportunities
  • Public toilets can be very overwhelming for a child to use initially – very noisy and lots of people. If possible I would try to avoid using these until potty training is well established. However, this isn’t always possible. It can help to keep some supplies in your bag to make this process a little easier. I recommend some wipes (to make sure the seat is clean) post-it-notes and antibacterial hand gel. If the toilet uses an automatic sensor, it can frighten the child if it goes off to soon. Placing a post-it-note over the sensor prevents this happening until the child is off the toilet. Soap and water are the best way to ensure hands are clean. However having some wipes, coupled with antibacterial gel can be better than nothing, if the toilets happen to have run out of soap.
  • Carry some rewards. If your child uses the potty / toilet when out and about, it is important that they see this as a success. Reward them both verbally, and with a physical reward (perhaps a sticker of their favourite cartoon character). Having these in your bag, ready to hand out can be really useful. Also ensure to praise their efforts. If a child tells you they need to go, but has an accident before they get there, make sure to acknowledge by saying ‘great try’ and offering a sticker for their attempt. Children also love to overhear you praising them to others.
  • Making the environment to use the potty / toilet as familiar as possible to your child, can really
    help their progress. I recommend the Potette Max. This ingenious piece of equipment comes in
    an easy to carry, discrete, slim-line carry bag. It can be used in 3 ways – either as a training seat
    to be used on top of a toilet, as a standalone portable potty (with disposal liners for
    convenience) or as a regular potty. This allows your child to use the potty / toilet wherever they
    are, whilst allowing a familiar environment as home.

A Potty Designed to Travel

A Potty Designed to Travel

The Potette Plus is not your average potty. This streamlined, adaptable travel potty and toilet training seat in one, was designed to go places no potty has ever been before. Don’t travel without one this Easter!

Ready for adventure

Wherever you are going on your Easter adventures, the Potette Plus is your perfect travel companion. It fits easily in to your handbag, rucksack or in the basket under your buggy thanks to its folding legs and hygienic carry bag, so you can take it with you everywhere and be ready for anything.

The disposable, biodegradable liners fit neatly inside the potty and have an ultra-absorbent pad that turns liquid into gel for mess free potty training when you’re out and about.  Simply remove the liner, dispose of it and you are ready to go!

Adapt to any situation

As your child gets older, you can use the Potette Plus as a handy toilet seat. This is particularly useful when you are on holiday as you won’t need to take a separate toilet training seat with you which means more baggage allowance for you!

Not only will your little one feel more secure using the toilet because the Potette Plus seat is just their size, it also protects them from germs if you are using a public toilet that isn’t very clean while you are travelling, because they won’t need to touch the toilet seat.

Whether you are having a staycation or a vacation this Easter, the Potette Plus provides a convenient, clean solution to potty training when you are out and about.

Where will you take yours?

We want to hear from you with your stories. Have you used your Potette Plus somewhere out of the ordinary? Extreme potty training on the ski slopes? A poo with a view at the seaside? On a boat at sea and they needed a wee?

Get in touch to share your photos and tell us all about it using the hashtag #whennaturecalls and #potetteplus

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