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Potty Training Regression Tips to Save Your Sanity

Tips for Potty training regressions

I wish I could attest to a potty training technique that effectively teaches children. If only I could say that what worked for us was either the three-day, three-week, or three-step potty training program. I have no such affirmation to provide you with. I have no tales of expedient success. Potty training both my daughter and my son was a lesson in patience, humility, and well more patience.


Parenting is such a humbling process, isn’t it? And my kids like to make sure that I stay really nice and humble.

The only thing I’m proficient at when it comes to potty training toddlers is riding the waves of potty training regression. While it’s way less of a prestigious skill to put on my parenting resume, both of my children have taught me a lot in this domain.

[bctt tweet=”The only thing I’m good at when it comes to potty training is riding the waves of regression” username=”parentfromheart”]

My daughter was three months shy of her third birthday when we were fairly sure she was ready. The first week was almost seamless; her accidents, negligible. “When they’re ready, they’re ready,” I smugly said to my husband.

Then, we had a few unexpected life events come our way… and my daughter’s incredible start turned into a series of accidents and a need to regroup and start again (and again!).


If you've been hit by potty training regression(s) and need perspective and a plan of attack, this post is for you. Find a handful of tips and mantras to face potty training regressions and maintain your sanity!


Then came my son. We were home for the holidays when he suddenly refused to wear his diaper. Knowing that life should be pretty darn routine when trying to potty train, I was reluctant to say the least. But when a toddler is adamant to take on a new skill, it’s hard to say no.

Maybe this is a case of ‘when they’re ready, they’re ready,” I hopefully wondered. After two weeks of next-to-no-accidents, we flew back from our vacation. It is as if the landing of the airplane tipped the scales of potty training success against me and our life became filled with accidents from then on.

Sigh. Like I said, I’m very proficient at regressions. If you and your child find yourself in a similar situation, here are some potty regression tips to save your sanity.


First, when faced with a potty training regression, say these phrases to yourself:

“There’s no gold medal or place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest potty trained child.” If one of my kids potty trained really quickly, I absolutely would have been proud. I may have even bragged a little (to my parents). But there’s no way on God’s green earth, I would have a plaque made, write on their kindergarten enrollment form, or make a speech at their wedding about the speed at which they learned to use the bathroom. So in terms of regressing, it isn’t monumental.

“Accidents happen. It’s just laundry and a bit of cleaning.” Yes, the accidents can be gross. Really gross. But years from now, I doubt they will be remembered. At least, most of them won’t.

“Though potty training may seem to be taking an eternity, my child won’t go to high school in diapers.” It’s amazing how when you’re in the thick of it with parenting, whatever stage you’re going through seems to be unending. Though the end may not be in sight, this too shall pass.

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  1. I really needed this today!! It’s like you’re in my house haha. We’ve been having some trouble with night time. He refuses to do pull-ups or diapers, so I’m just doing laundry pretty much every night. I just need to remind myself it’s a phase and try not to look too closely at the water bill when it comes haha.

  2. Omg we go back and forth with potty training! I actually feel bad for her teachers at school because there will be weeks where I pack her pull-ups and send her on her way knowing she won’t have a mistake, then the next where I’m packing diapers because she’s at school and refuses to go to the potty and diapers hold up better -_- I guess she will get it 100% when she’s ready…..

  3. Potty training my son was terrible! After weeks of refusals we finally got him to cooperate by placing the potty in front of the television. I like to joke that he was being a typical male! I am happy to say that phase has passed.

  4. This is such perfect timing for me! We’re in the midst of potty training my daughter, and every time I think we’re making progress we have a bit of a setback. It’s basically a slow and steady walk for us to getting there. I’m trying to follow my daughter’s lead whatever pace that is. I just have to remember to pack ample changes of clothes for her 😉 Thanks for sharing those great tips, especially remembering that this won’t be forever!

  5. I needed this, we are still waiting for that we are ready moment. Several attempts here and there but she’s still very unmotivated. Im hoping soon!

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