Potty Training: Dealing With Regression

I thought Bam Bam was doing so well going into his third month of potty training.  He’s peeing in the potty.  He’s pooping in the potty at least ninety percent of the time.  All seems well and then wham…he’s not going to the potty.  He’s not even mentioning that he has to go to the potty when usually he does.  He will come to me with a wet potty training pants or training pants filled with poop.  I thought that he was making progress…something’s amidst.  Some days I would have to fight with Bam Bam to use the potty.  Some days Bam Bam will hand me his diaper to tell me he wants his diaper again. Bam Bam was so proud to use his potty so what gives? I’ve found out that Bam Bam’s going through POTTY TRAINING REGRESSION!  DA DA DUM!

If your child is going through ‘potty training regression’ what do you do about it?  Do you back off?  I wouldn’t back off, especially if your child is making progress.  This is what I’ve learned about potty training regression that I hope will help you if or when your child regresses on the potty:

  1.  Find out what’s causing the regression:  You have to find out what’s causing it.  Could he/she be teething?  Could he/she going through a developmental stage?  Could the child just want to play and feels he/she doesn’t have time to go to the potty?  You just want to make sure it’s not an illness that’s causing the regression instead of thinking it’s something else.
  2. Stick with the potty training: If you find out it’s a regression of some sort, it’s best to go right through it.  I’m not suggesting ignoring the regression; recognize it, but still focus on potty training.  Bam Bam was going through a mix between his terrible two stage (yes, he hit his early) and his secondary molars coming in.  Although Bam Bam wasn’t in the mood to go potty, I still made him go potty.  Why shut down potty training when the regression may last a couple of days to a couple of weeks?
  3. Congratulated them when they go potty: Yes, you know they know how to go potty.  Your child knows they know how to go potty, but get excited when they do show them that you approve of them going in the potty.  Although your child may be going through ‘something’, they like to still please you and to know that their doing a good job.

Dealing with a child with any regression is frustrating because you want to see your child progressing and you think there’s something wrong when they don’t. It’s important to know that’s its normal for a child to regress, but it doesn’t mean you should stop.  It’s good to show your child that you want them to progress even through they regress.  Bam Bam regression last for about a week and now he’s going to the potty as normal…but more vocal to if he has to go to the potty or not.  He’s been accurate in telling me nine out of ten times if he really has to go or not.  He’s learning his body fast and if I backed off him when he regressed, I don’t know how much I could of delayed his progress.

Potty training regression is the worst but you’ll make it through.  Keep. On. Potty. Training!


Potty Training: Catching Poop

The hardest thing that I realize about potty training isn’t to get Bam Bam to go pee in the potty.  Granted, there are times when he has an accident and he knows that he went pee pee and will tell me or not depending if he’s having fun or if he’s bored.  All in all, he knows that pee pee belongs in the potty.  Poop on the other hand, is a whole different level of potty training.  You see, unlike pee where if you try to hold it for a long time it won’t work because the urge is too strong and you have to let it go somewhere.  But, if you have to poop, you can ignore the urge to go poop before you have to go.  Trying to potty train Bam Bam to poop in the potty is a challenging feat.
For some reason, toddlers don’t mind that poop is in their diaper.  They would walk around stinky butt all the time if it was up to them because the poop doesn’t bother them.  I don’t know why, but it doesn’t.  It’s hard to sensitize poop to a child if they don’t mind it being on their body.  Well, I shouldn’t say on their bodies.  Most likely, the poop is hanging a little away from their butt hole and if the diaper is big enough, the poop will hang below the butt where they don’t notice it.  But you can see it in their diaper because you’ll see something that looks like a tennis ball behind their butt.
So you ask, “How do I get my toddler to poop in the potty?”  Well, the best way to get them to poop in the potty is to wait until they really have to go poop then make them sit on the potty until they poop.  Let me explain. Since you can’t sensitize them into getting rid of the poop, ‘unless your child poops watery like poops everyday and if they do you need to get them check out by a doctor’, the only thing you can do is wait.  You see, when you ask your child to poop in the potty, they won’t do it because their so use to going in their diaper.  There’s no reason to go in the potty for them and just because you want them to won’t motivate them either.  In turn, they will hold it.  I’m saying not to ask them to go poop in the potty by all means you need to.  But keep in mind they will hold it and wait until that diaper is back on.  Don’t give up.
What will happen is that they will go in their diaper and you have to watch for it and when they do, rush them to the potty and sit them on it.  Your child may be in the middle of their bowel movement and may stop because you rush them to the potty.  That’s ok.  They may already finish their bowel movement quickly to avoid going to the potty.  That’s ok.  In either of these cases, you need to put the poop in the potty, make them sit on the potty for about two to five minutes and tell them that ‘poop goes in the potty’.  This new poop area will take awhile to get use to. 
Once the child knows you know when they’re going to poop, they will most likely 

A.  Hide to go poop in their diaper, or 

B.  Hold it.  

This is where you need to know your child’s poop schedule.  Meaning, if you know that your child usually poops morning and night and this particular day your child didn’t poop all day and went to bed without pooping, you know that poop will come the next morning.  Since you know this and it’s usually hard to hold poop like that especially if your child is regular, they will need to poop badly.  They may poop when they wake up or at least after breakfast, those are the times that you need to put them on the potty and make them sit at least fifteen to twelve minutes (I say this long because most likely you will get resistance) so they can poop.  If they hold it even after breakfast, you just have to watch them and any sign of poop, rush to potty.  Once they poop in the potty, celebrate with them and say, “Yes, poopy in the potty.’
With Bam Bam, our poop word is ‘Doo Doo’.  Once we got over the hump of getting him comfortable sitting and pooping in the potty, when we say, ‘Go Doo Doo,’ he knows what that means.  We give him things to play with and let him be. If we know he needs to poop and he gets up, we make him sit back down until he poops or when twenty minutes is up whichever comes first. If your child is resistant to poop in the potty, try to keep them occupied by having a toy they only use while going poop, or a favorite app, or a book, or anything that can keep them on the potty for twenty minutes.  Once they’re preoccupied, try not to sit or stand near or in front of them.  Pooping is a very private moment, so act like you’re doing something else like cleaning or reading something because if your child knows you’re expecting poop by hovering over them, they wouldn’t poop.
The one mistake I made when training Bam Bam to go poop in the potty is putting him on the big potty with the toddler seat first.  He was so scared that no matter how I reassured him that he wouldn’t fall in, he would scream and cry to get down.  I figure since he can pee standing up with a stool to the big potty that he can poop as well and it would be less clean up…for me, of course.  But Bam Bam is comfortable with the little potty and is pooping in the potty.  He knows when he poops because he’ll spring up from his little potty and says, “Doo Doo”, smiles and claps for himself and then wait for us to clap and cheer with him. 
If you’re persistent and stick with it, eventually your child will get the hang of pooping in the potty.  It’s about repetition, encouragement and knowing your child’s bathroom habits in making pooping in the potty possible.  You will get frustrated and upset and it’s human to have those emotions, but don’t let it stop your child from succeeding in potty training.  All the hard work you and your child put through will pay off in the end when they are diaper free in the daytime. Your child will be so proud of themselves that once they master pooping in the potty that they will be ready for the next phase.

Potty Training Bam Bam- Phase 2-Scheduling Potty Breaks

About a month ago, I’ve started to potty train my now twenty month old son.  So far, Bam Bam been doing good.  For the past month, I’ve been putting him in potty training pants and sensitizing him to feel the pee on his skin really works. If you haven’t read Phase 1 Potty Training: Sensitizing, please read it…it’s very helpful.  
Bam Bam starts to get really uncomfortable with wet potty training pants and started to sense himself peeing on himself to the point where he points to his penis under his pants to signal that he went pee pee. This is the point of sensitizing your child, to feel the uncomfortable feeling of warm, wet pee against their skin.   Successful sensitizing from disposable diapers to potty training pants is important in order to be successful in potty training because if the child don’t sense that they have to go potty, then there’s not reason to use the potty. Poop is a little harder to catch, but I’ll explain how you can help your child to poop in the potty in another post. 
Happy to use the potty
What started as 8-10 training pants a day, within a month, Bam Bam is down to 4-6 a day…Not counting any wet diapers from being out and about, nap time, or nighttime.  
Since I know that Bam Bam knows when he goes pee pee on himself and understand what the potty is used for, it’s time for Phase 2-Scheduling Potty Breaks.  By this time, I know how long he can hold his pee (about an hour to an hour and a half depending on how much he has to drink).  I’ve scheduled a routine for Bam Bam to go potty.  It goes something like this:
  • As soon as he wakes up in the morning,
  • After breakfast
  • When we leave the house
  • When we come back to the house
  • After lunch
  • Before Nap
  • After Nap
  • Before Dinner
  • After Dinner
  • Before Bed
So about ten times a day, I take him to the potty whether he goes or not.  This helps him get into a routine of the important times to go to the bathroom.  Of course, if I know he has to go in between those points, I’ll take him to the potty.  Remember this is potty training so once they get older you won’t have to remind them to go at certain time because they’ll be able tell you and to hold their potty needs until they can get to the bathroom.  I’ve even taken him to the bathroom when I go to Target or any place that have a bathroom the minute I get there to help train him to go to the potty at public places.
You should see the diaper pale less often and that’s a great feeling especially money wise. Also, your child should start understanding what the potty is used for and to express that they went potty or about to go potty by pointing to their privates or saying “pee pee’ if they went on themselves. Expect that there are still going to be accidents.  Just like learning to crawl, walk, or remembering the alphabet, it’s going to take practice and repetition in order for them to get it right. Be happy when they go to the potty and when they don’t, just stress the importance of going to the potty next time.
Hopefully in the next month or two, Bam Bam will be ready for Phase 3.

Potty Training Bam Bam: Phase 1-Sensitizing:Disposable Diaper Withdraw

I would like to thank the disposable Diaper industry for making Bam Bam depend on diapers.  Bam Bam is wondering why he should start using the potty now.  I know what Bam Bam is thinking, “Why in the world would I want to stop what I’m doing to use the potty when I can potty in my diaper and not have to stop? That doesn’t make sense mama!”  I can see his point but it’s time for Bam Bam to start using the potty.

Bam Bam not liking the potty

Thanks to the desensitizing effect the Disposable Diaper has for extracting pee away from my sons skin for the past nineteen months, I have to now sensitize Bam Bam to feel how nasty it is to be wet.  Poop doesn’t seem to matter with or without disposable diapers.  It seem like poop doesn’t bother him much….go figure.

I started on Tuesday to potty train Bam Bam.  My mission is to sensitize him into feeling the wetness at this early stage of potty training.  The tools that I will need for this mission are as follows:
  • Potty
  • Cloth Potty training pants
  • Paper towels (For clean up)
  • Clorox cleaning wipes (For disinfecting purposes)
  • Extra sets of clothes for accidents
  • Patience (Ok, patience isn’t a tool but if it was I would get plenty of it)
The plan is to sensitize Bam Bam to the point that he is VERY uncomfortable wearing pee pee and poop in his cloth potty training pants and would want them off him.  Also, putting him in cloth training pants helps Bam Bam to be aware of the function of his penis and know that pee pee comes from there. Finally, this will help him in the long run to learn to hold his pee and poop long enough until he gets to a potty.
Since starting potty training two days ago, Bam Bam is doing pretty well with the sensitizing or what I like to call it, “Diaper Withdraw”.  He will let me know when he wets himself by calling “MAMA!” or he will pull on my arm if I’m sitting down or if I’m standing, he would grab the bottom of my shirt and pull me where he wants me to go to notice that his training pants are wet.  Bam Bam did these things before the training pants so I knew that these were the signs that he went pee pee.  But with the cloth diapers, if they get too wet, Bam Bam would start crying loudly and whimper to let me know that it’s an emergency to take his training pants off.  That is the result that I was looking for….the feeling of uncomfortable wetness.
When Bam Bam tells or cries that he is wet, I tell him “You have to say, “Potty” so I know that you have to go potty.”  Then I take him to the potty and have him sit or stand up to pee to see if he has anymore. Every time he is wet, I take him to the potty.  I try not to schedule the times he goes to the potty as of yet.  My focus is to get Bam Bam to realize that it’s not appropriate to pee or poop on himself.  If he has to go to the bathroom, he needs to go to the potty.  Bam Bam is only in training pants during the times that he is awake. I still put diapers on him when he naps, bedtime, and if we’re out and about.  I will gradually change from diapers to training pants or underwear once he’s able to hold his pee long enough.  
I think one of the mistakes that parents make when potty training is to put them on the potty straight away and sitting with them to see if they will go to the potty.  Learning this from The Don, the child will wait until the diaper is on them and then go because for the first year or two of their lives, they peed and pooped in their diaper.  It’s important to sensitize the desensitize child into feeling the wetness and they will understand that peeing and pooping on themselves doesn’t feel good.

I will continue to sensitize him over the next couple of weeks to see if he understands to go to the potty and see how long he can hold his pee and poop for at least an hour or so and then take potty training to the next phase.