What to do if you child starts having toileting accidents over Christmas

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What to do if you child starts having toileting accidents over Christmas


Imagine the situation…

Your previously potty trained child suddenly starts having toileting accidents in the run up to or over the Christmas period.


It’s actually pretty simple, and very common.

Three words; potty training regression

Regression simply means that potty training progress appears to come undone when a child begins having accidents, forgets to ask for help, or just doesn’t want to try anymore.

It’s not unusual for children to experience any or all of these things – especially at Christmas when there is so much going on.

The biggest cause of regression is distraction.

The child may be distracted by all the other excitement, days out and guests arriving. The grown ups may be sidetracked from the usual toileting routine by running around after everyone else and making sure they get to where they need to be!

It’s natural for accidents to start happen when attention is focused elsewhere.

For us parents though, it can feel like 2 step forward, 2 steps back.

How to address potty training regression

The thing to remember is that it’s not always technically regression. It could be that the child is not fully potty trained.

A child that is potty trained completely will ask to go on the potty because they know that’s where they do their business. So a child that has an accident because they left it too late to ask, isn’t regressing. They just need reminding of the routine and to allow enough time to make it to the potty or toilet.

The key to addressing potty training regression is to not overreact.

Showing disappointment can unnerve your child and make them feel anxious about the whole thing. That can actually be more damaging to the process than the actual accident itself.

Our advice in times of potty training regression is to:

  • Stay calm
  • Try to identify the cause – what has happened, are there triggers, what were the changes in the environment or circumstances e.g. at a party, with other relatives etc.?
  • Revisit and reestablish the potty training routine
  • Reintroduce a potty training reward system – download your free potty training reward chart

We hope that helps and wish you a happy Christmas!


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