Potty Trained 3 Year Old Is Now Regressing

Updated on August 02, 2011
T.W. asks from Winter Park, FL
5 answers

My 3 year old has been potty trained for "peeing in the potty" for over 3 months now. He still does not consistently poop in the potty. I don't use pull-ups, only underwear and we give lots of praise when he does go. We started out with a sticker chart and he'll now just go on his own, doesn't need the reward. I thought we were doing great until the last 2 days...he's had several "accidents" where he just chooses to pee/poop in his underwear. He knows he's not supposed to do this, I don't know what's going on with him. No major changes in his life or anything. We tell him what he needs to do and he just smiles at us and an hour later does it again. Do I give him a consequence, like a timeout in his room when he does it? Also, how did you get your son to poop in the potty...rewards/praise are not working for him. He's 3 yrs. 2 months.

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answers from Honolulu on

Kids have accidents.
It just is.
It is childhood.
Even if they are potty trained, kids have accidents.
It is not necessarily a regression.

Their body is still developing... physiologically.
They have accidents.
ALL of my daughter's Teachers, from Preschool to Kindergarten to 1st Grade... ALL said this. Kids these ages, have accidents.
They are not 100% error free, even if they know mentally in their heads.
It happens.

Your child, is very young.

Also keep in mind, that night time dryness is a whole SEPARATE thing from day time toileting. Night Time dryness, does not occur, BIOLOGICALLY, until even 7 years old, and this is NORMAL and per Pediatricians too.
You cannot 'train' for night time.
It is biological.

At about 3 years old, in already potty trained kids, this is the age when hiccups, occur.
Their brains and biology, is not synchronized..... or they THINK they can hold it longer, but can't. They don't know how long they can hold it.
Kids this age, do not yet have, accurate ability to 'gauge' how long they can hold their bladders.
This is typical at this age.
Even for my daughter when she was that age.
MANY kids at that age, they mis-cue, how long they can hold their bladder.

No, don't scold him.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Albany on

I think there's a certain amount of regression with every milestone passing. Sometimes they are just too busy, they forget. It's not yet second nature for him.

I wouldn't make a big deal over it or punish him. It'll just make him nervous.

I think keep doing just what you're doing, (pretty much dancing on tables when he DOES get it right, nothing, no words at all when he has an accident).

He'll get it, don't worry!


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

My older son is 4yr old. He potty trained at about 2 1/2 yr but he was one that had to go about 2mo with nothing on below the waist or he would pee in them. I don't remember how I got him to go poop on the potty, I think he didn't want to go in his underwear and we threatened (and did on a couple of occasions) "butt medicine", aka glycerin suppositories. Cause he would have to go, sit on the potty, and wouldn't go but complain that his butt hurt or his belly hurt.
The only "regression" he has is not really regression at all. He just gets too into what he's doing (watching TV or movie, playing, etc) that he has accidents in his pants. My MIL has given him time outs for that, but what we find works MOST of the time is that if he hasn't gone in a few hours we tell him to go or we're taking away whatever it is he is doing. Or if we are going somewhere he has to go potty before we leave the house. He will go to the potty without any hesitation if he has to go poop, peeing in his underwear is the problem we have, but like I said, it's only when he's busy doing something and doesn't want to stop - totally an age thing too.
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dayton on

If it's a one time thing, let it slide. If it's a habit, I'd punish it. Send him to his room a good long time, and once or twice is all he'll need. I know other people disagree, but I've had it work 3 times doing this. And with 2 younger than your son. In generations not that long ago, like when our grandmothers were raising kids, the kids were trained a lot younger than they are now. Humans haven't changed that much in 50 years, so kids can do it these days too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

I just got my lil guy almost potty trained at 2 1/2. we have been doin really good for a lil over a month. he has days where he want use the potty and just pee where ever he is i ask him y he did it and y he didnt use the potty and tell him that he needs to use the potty and the next time he will. think they just have off days and forget or dont relize they have to go. I do put him in time out cuz accidents will happen and u dont want to disaplene him for it. and as for poopin on the potty if u can figure out how to please let me no cuz mine still wont got him to twice and now he stands in the corner i tell him to poop on the potty and bring him to it and he crys no momma no momma. i started a sticker chart yesterday so maybe it will work.

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