Potty Training Tips for a Child Who Has Reverted to Wetting Her Pants Again

Potty Training Tips

Note: This is the second part in a two-part series on helping a child who has started wetting her pants after being fully toilet-trained. Since this is the answer to a specific question posed by a parent, please read the first part of the potty training tips before reading this article, so you'll be able to put these tips into perspective.

  • Talk with your husband and agree that you are going to gently help your daughter regain her mastery of potty training and take on her role as big sister to the new baby. Even though it can be exasperating and inconvenient to have a three-year old who is going the bathroom in her pants after being fully potty trained, resolve that no matter how tired or annoyed you are, you will act in your child's best interests. Have your husband agree that if one of you is tired, the other one will step in and help your child when she goes in her pants.

  • Of all the potty training tips, this is the most important: set reasonable expectations. Understand that your child will regain her toilet training skills over time, as she begins to feel secure in her new home and in her new role as big sister to the baby.

  • When your child goes in her pants, help her. Talk to her, but do not shame her in any way. Acknowledge the consequences of her going in her pants. When you peel off her wet underwear, say, "That must feel yucky against your skin. If you can get to the toilet next time, your skin will stay clean and dry."

  • Ask your daughter to help out with the baby. When she is assisting you, note that she is a helpful big sister. Ask how it feels to be a big sister. Does it feel good to help someone who can't do things for herself? When you change the baby, point out that the baby goes potty in her diaper. Talk about how yucky it feels to have a wet or poopy diaper against the skin and how good it feels to stay clean and dry. Point out that as the big sister, she is lucky because she can go to the toilet when she feels the need to go, so she doesn't have to have something wet or poopy against her skin. If you're using a disposable diaper, secure it shut and ask your daughter to throw it away, then wash her hands.

  • Use potty-training CDs to help inspire your daughter or son to go in the toilet and remind your child of the benefits of doing so.

    The following potty training tips address the events which I believe are the triggers for your daughter's regression in toilet training.

  • Help your daughter develop a relationship with her new sibling that is based on her feeling good about being the big sister. Point out how the baby is helpless, but she is a big sister and she can help. Read books about what happens when a new baby comes home. Continue to spend one-on-one time with your daughter, helping her to feel safe and secure in your love.

  • Help her to feel relaxed and comfortable in her new environment by asking her to help you make her bedroom the way she likes it (don't go overboard here, since you have a lot on your hands). Make a few simple changes—a new bedspread, a new photo (perhaps a framed photo of the family and another one of your daughter cradling the new baby) or hang a few of her drawings on the wall. Another good activity is to help her plant a small flower garden in a planter or in your yard. Let her water it with a child-sized watering can every day. Show her how her care for living things helps them to grow.

  • Give yourself and your daughter time. Your daughter's regression in potty training reveals that she has been overwhelmed by stress and changes in your household. Although the regression may have happened abruptly, the readjustment will take time. Give your daughter the time she needs and she will blossom under your patient guidance and loving care, just like the flowers in your garden.

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About the author:

Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting It is the only book that combines ancient native ideas with heart-centered psychology to show parents how to raise children to develop their innate strengths and grow up lead uniquely purposeful and fulfilling lives. It is Laura's belief and experience (as the mother of two boys) that as you take the time to see into the heart of your child, you'll see more clearly into your own.

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