15 answers

Potty Training Regression?? - Dallas,TX


I have a two-year old boy who has been potty-training successfully for the last 4-5 months. He has been #1 and #2 in the potty at least half of the time and is dry for long periods of time.

All of the sudden this week, he is refusing to sit on the potty for #1 or #2. He'll do it occasionally, but not nearly as often as he used to do it. He'll find a corner when it is #2 and he doesn't want you to watch him. If I catch him, I ask him to sit on the potty and go like a big boy, but he refuses. He's not sick, so I don't think it is a physical thing. Could he be trying to gain control? We were almost there! I'm considering putting him in diapers again (instead of pull-ups) or going to underwear and letting him make a mess. What should I do?

Thanks for your help!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

I need more ideas too. My 3 yr old son is not wanting to do #2 at all on the potty (he has two times, but not since Easter) and is having frequent #1 accidents. I hope you get some ideas that I can use too! good luck

More Answers

not the end of the world; depends on how you want to approach. if it were my child i would not put him back in diapers as it will just cause everyone not to take it very seriously. i know i was more consistent with taking mine to the pott when in underwear b/c i didn't want to clean a mess. you may want to try a reward system again. take him proactively to the potty often. only let him do play, watch a show, etc only after he goes potty first. that is what we do with our daughter since she has been exerting her almost 3 year old behavior!! good luck

Do the underwear thing. There will be messes for a couple days but it ens up going so much faster than using pull ups. We only use pull ups if we are going out for an extended period where an accident would be really bad and there might not be bathrooms near by. It has worked really well even with my nonverbal twins.

I had a similar situation. 2 is still really young for a boy to be potty trained. My son started showing signs at 2 1/2 and was doing well for a little while and then reverted back. He just wasn't fully ready. It took about another 4-6 months for him to "get ready" again and fully embrace being potty trained. All kids are different and boys typically take longer than girls to get trained. Go with your gut and on his cue's to decide if this is something you need to push or something to wait and see. Good luck

All kids are different. So this might not work on your son but try something like a peppermint or something similar that he loves and let him have it only on the potty. Make it a fun thing to do. Above all be patient (which I'm sure you already are), learning to control our #1 & #2 isn't always as easy for some. Good luck.

About me - I have 3 successful grown children who my husband and I see weekly and 4 wonderful grandchildren.

Bottom line - he's 2.

Have you asked him "why" he won't go in the potty? You may have to start at square one again .... use the reward system. I'd probably put him back in pull-ups.

It could be a combination of the age and control. Two-year-olds can get really beligerant .... "No" is their favorite word and they will refuse to do something just because you want them to.


Has he been constipated lately? Maybe it hurt and it has discouraged him from going on the potty. You might want to make sure he is getting enough fiber and liquids. And the rewards might be a good idea to try also.


I think it is amazing that your got your 2 year old boy to potty train successfully! I think you are right, that this is his way of gaining some control/power, since children have such little say in things. This is one thing he can control. I think you should put him back in diapers and say to him, "I loved how you were such a big boy and went pee pee and poop on the potty, but now you are a baby again, so it's time for diapers." Say it with a smile and don't let him see you are upset. He wants a reaction out of you - don't give it to him! If you remain calm and act as if it's not a big deal, I think he will be back to going in the toilet in no time! Good luck.

Use my mother-in-law's trick. Get a basket and fill it with about 20-25 wrapped small presents....think dollar store. Then every time he has a success on the potty he gets to open a present from the basket. Mine would try to go in and do a few drips in order to earn another present. After a few days the novelty wore off and we never even emptied the basket all the way. The key was the positive motivation. Another trick is to put a few fruit loops in the toilet bowl and let him aim. Fun, fun, fun! Good luck. :)

DON'T PUNISH OR HUMILIATE HIM!! This is the absolute worst thing you can do.

Many children (especially boys) have a hard time getting complete control over their bodily functions.

Is there something new going on in his life? Some problem that has nothing to do with his potty training? Is her verbal?

Be patient. If he is "hiding" and fearful of your response, it shows he thinks he is failing you. Take the pressure off and try to figure out if something is bothering him.

When he fails to use the potty, just walk Sweetly to him and cheerfully say something like, "My goodness, we had a little accident. But next time we'll catch it...no problem!"

Hi Gals, thanks for this question and all the responses. I am getting very frustrated with what I guess would qualify as regression, but it looks like we are not alone.

My son is 2 yrs 5 mos and refused to put his diaper back on at daycare at 2 yrs 1 month after being in his new classroom with some of his friends, who are 3-4 mos older. I thought it was a bit early, but he wanted to do it, so since then we have been training. On the whole he has been very good, especially at school, where there are lots of teachers to help out. At home he is (we are) not quite as successful, and in the past week he has just been "slacking off". Every time I check him, he has sort of leaked in his pants and not told me. Today we went through three changes of jeans before lunchtime!

It drives me bananas because I think he can do better, but on reflection we have been travelling and his dad has been out of town a lot, so clearly there are some emotional distractions.

So I will try to stay calm and positive! I like the idea of the rewards basket.

I would say absolutely no more diapers or pull ups unless it is nap or sleep time. When he has an accident his "consequence" should be practicing the steps of goin gto the big boy potty 10 times. Walk to the potty, pull pants down, sit on potty, stand up, pull pants up, walk back to the incident location and repeat. Then have him be responsible (with assistance as needed) for taking off the dirty pants, putting them in the hamper, cleaning off with a wipe and putting new clothes on. Ask him through out teh day if he needs to go potty so he will be reminded. Let him choose if he goes or not which will give him control. Of course if he has an accident have him practice the above. Then at random times I would check to see if he is clean and dry. Whne he is praise him for having clean/dry pants and offer a treat.
If you devote a whole day to this method and at the beginning of the day let him know yoru expectations adn walk him through the steps of action he should be completely trained.

I successfully potty trained both my boy (now 5) and girl (now 2 1/2) before they both turned 2 years old. I had regression for both of them, but more so with my son on occassion. Mostly what I've seen in both of them is that they do want to "control" when they go around 2 1/2 years old, but I was insistant that they go on the potty when it was time to go. Usually, I used what ever motivator that was handy to help make the process more appealing. If we were watching cartoons, I'd say I'll turn them off if they don't go, or if I was going to turn on cartoons then I say they have to go before I do. If it's toy that they can take to the potty, then give them an option. Maybe a book or offer them a treat that you were going to give them anyway. The main thing is to stay consistent. If they know you will follow through and not allow them to revert back, you'll find that they'll ease back into the routine quickly. Hang in there, and just remember to stay calm when he has an accident. You wouldn't want him having accidents to just get a rise out of you either : )

Good luck and remain steadfast!

I think you should check out the constipation problem like one mom suggested. Could be he's just gotten scared to go because he's afraid it might hurt. I know with girls if you are constipated you can't pee much either. Can't remember if that's the same with boys. It's been too long. If that's the case, get some PlumSmart from the store. Much better tasting than Prune juice and works just as well!
Also, he could just be regressing for a while. My daughter did this. We potty trained her in a weekend when she was right around two. Was great for about 3 months, then boom for about a month and a half we had all kinds of accidents. We decided to not go back to pull-ups, but she stayed home with me so that makes it a little easier (except for all the washing). So it could just be a little regression for a little while and then one day you'll wake up and he'll be peeing and pooping in the potty like there was nothing wrong!
Good Luck!!!

I would NOT put him back in diapers. If anything, I would use pull-ups, only because they are more like underwear. In my house I use the phrase, "Now you don't wear diapers because diapers are for babies, and you're a big kid now!" So going back to diapers would be like saying he's a baby. But that's just in my house, so I don't know about at your house.

I would only use the pull-ups when you're out in public and can't clean up when he makes a mess. Otherwise I'd keep him in regular underpants (or those really thick training underpants) and let him mess himself, then make him clean himself up. Also make him clean his own underwear. Get a scrub brush that is exclusively for this job and tell him that when he poops or pees, he needs to scrub his underwear before putting it in the laundry machine. (This is what I did with my daughter who had trouble wiping herself enough after #2). Maybe this gross job will motivate him to just use the potty, since it's a lot easier than scrubbing skid marks out of underpants! Don't make him feel ashamed, just be very matter of fact: Mommy cleans out the stains of her own clothes, and you need to clean out the stains of your clothes too. I know you CAN do this. You are such a smart kid!

It will be a bit of a mess for a while, but it's just kinda the price of parenting a stubborn child. Good luck to you!

Oh, one last thing: It is not true that boys take longer to train than girls. At least, it's not a medical fact or anything. It COMPLETELY depends on the individual child. I have 3 kids potty trained and my daughter took longer than my 2 sons. My older son was trained, with NO accidents, at 2 years 4 months. It's an individual thing. If your son is ready now, don't put it off.

I need more ideas too. My 3 yr old son is not wanting to do #2 at all on the potty (he has two times, but not since Easter) and is having frequent #1 accidents. I hope you get some ideas that I can use too! good luck

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.