Battling Potty Training Regression

Remember that time I blogged about how Caro potty trained herself?  Yeah… forget I ever said that.

She was pretty much fully potty trained when I wrote that.  And then?  Then she went to Arizona with Tyler for Thanksgiving, and he put her in diapers the whole time.  And she promptly un-potty-trained herself.  I cannot, for the life of me, get her to go on the potty.

I’ve written about degprogramming after visitation before, but this is way worse.  If we’re all being honest, this is pretty much grounds for murder.  Right?  I picture the scenario to go something like this:

Judge: You are here to be sentenced for the murder of your ex-husband.  Do you have anything to say for yourself?

Me: Please, your honor, he un-potty-trained my almost-three-year-old.

::dramatic pause::

Judge: Case dismissed.

(Brutally obvious disclaimer: I am kidding about that, okay, people?)

I know, I know, some of you warned me in comments and tweets that potty training regression might happen.  But I guess I had hoped they were vicious lies.  Turned out you were absolutely correct.  I’ll never doubt you again, internet!

I shouldn’t completely blame Tyler, because regression seems like a pretty common thing.  And I probably shouldn’t have made the final push on ditching the diapers shortly before she went on that trip.  Oh well… poor planning on my part.  But the end result is the same: she will sit on the potty, but she won’t go, and sometimes she’ll beg to put a diaper on and throw a tantrum when I tell her that we don’t do diapers anymore.

(I swore I’d never be that mom who talks about potty stuff on the internet, but well, here we are.  Great to be here with you guys.)

I know that potty training is something that can’t really be pushed, and she’s definitely the sort of kid who has to make it her decision, so I’m kind of at a loss as to what to do.

So I turn to you all, who gave me such great advice about ditching the binky: what do you do about potty training regression?  I hope someone out there has something that worked for them, because preschool age is rapidly approaching, and I’d like to have her re-potty trained so she can start on time!

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  1. by Emily

    On December 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    So far crying and wine have been the only things that have worked for me. And by me, I really mean just me. I still have a “was once 90% potty trained and is now .2% potty trained almost three year old who screams and begs for diapers” as well.

    Potty training sucks sucks sucks.

  2. by AFB

    On December 19, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I think you are going to have to just lay low and let her work her way back to the potty. I think sometimes it is a sense of control for the little ones. One thing that really helped my daughter was a little peer pressure. She wanted to be a big girl like her friends and use the potty. Tell Tyler that yes, diapers are so much easier but she is at the age where it is time (as she has shown on her own). One of the BEST most awesome potty training accessories to get is the Potette! Available at Amazon and Toys R Us! God send! For moms and dads. Helps everyone ease into going to the potty easier. Check out their website:

  3. by Jennifer

    On December 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Hi Julia,
    Long time reader, first time commenter. :)

    This is what worked for my very stubborn 3 year old:

    I have recommended it to countless friends after our success (my girl is 4 1/2 now) and everyone has come back to me raving about their results.

    P.S. I have a copy of the Potty Boot Camp “handbook” in PDF and if you like I can email it to you.

  4. by Deborah Betancourt

    On January 16, 2012 at 10:24 am

    Hello Julia. I am going thru the same thing but just the.different for my daughter is that she used the bath room a while week. I left her with daddy for a couple of hours n she she just want diapers know. She is 2 n she should learn by now. So yes I stuck on what to do. If Mrs Jennifer sent you the baby boot camp on PDF could you please send it to me.. I would love the help!!! Even if Mrs Jennifer sees this could you send it to me. My email is myname at thanks much…

  5. by Tammy

    On January 16, 2012 at 11:50 am

    I took all the advice and waited patiently for my daughter to “be ready”. When she turned 4 and was still attached to her pull ups I hit the wall. After many failed attempts at potty training, potty day, potty accessories, I finally pulled the plug. I gave her fair warning that it was coming and one glorious Saturday, I hid every pull up in the house (I also have a 2 1/2 year old that I did at the same time) and declared it potty day. We had lots of treats and stickers, both which were unmotivating until this day. After much screaming and many tears, she reluctantly used the potty and we have never looked back. She needed to be pushed or she would have gone to kindergarten in pull ups. I know it.

  6. by Bobbie

    On January 17, 2012 at 6:55 am

    I am having the same problem. My almost 3 year old son(who is diagnosed with having PDD-NOS) was almost potty trained and now I can barely get him to use the potty…..i dont know what to do…….cry cry ry….

  7. by Jessica Dean

    On May 7, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    I would LOVE a copy of the potty training bootcamp PDF, if you still have it??? Not sure if the offer was for anyone.

    I have a 2 1/2 yr old that is refusing to potty train, and I’m desperate. I’ve heard good things about that method. We shall see.

  8. by Dan

    On June 11, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Was that PDF for anyone? I would love to get a copy if I could, Please!

    Thank you in advance!!!

    PS. Everyone keep up the good work, set backs happen. Just remember, you are all doing a great job hang in there cause there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

  9. by Sandra

    On July 10, 2012 at 5:01 am

    I almost had my daughter potty trained several times. I have pretty much given up for now.
    Last time I kept her at home, naked, for several days. Dad did not approve and this method was abandoned. She will tell me potty when it’s done or say diaper when she’s in need of a dry one. She’ll even be so kind to take them off and put them in the trash.
    I get so frusterated. I bought stickers and candy and left in the bathroom as bribery. It seems more adults get candy… I guess everyone needs to be rewarded if they come to my house.
    Big girl panties are not an option. She treats them like a diaper and gets upset when we change to clean ones.
    I have so many ‘kid books’ on the subject that I read to her. All the kids she plays with are out of diapers.
    I am just at a loss.

    (Jennifer, if you could send me the pdf I would greatly appreciate it. Bigdad57 at

  10. by Sandra

    On July 10, 2012 at 5:05 am

    sorry I typed so much then messed up on my email

    bigdad57 at windstream. Net

    I would appreciate any ideas or suggestions.

  11. by Cindy

    On August 22, 2012 at 2:37 am

    Jennifer, I’d love that book too! I’m cindra_1999 at THANKS

  12. by Angela

    On October 13, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    we are now going through the same thing w/ my son. he was doing absolutely wonderful going to the potty and was accident free… but now he doesn’t want to have anything to do with the potty. it is very frustrating. is it possible to get a copy of the potty boot camp book? if so my email address is

  13. by Catharine

    On November 2, 2012 at 4:32 pm

    We are struggling with potty training as well. My daughter, who is almost 3, was close (or so I thought) to being potty trained. She will tell me when she has to poop, but not pee and continues to have accidents. But what bothers me even more is the fear of the public toilets where she won’t even try! And she is more than happy to wear a pull-up or a diaper, and we were only putting those on for a nap or nighttime sleeping. I would love a copy of the PDF as well Jennifer if you wouldn’t mind? My e-mail is Thanks!

  14. by Holly

    On March 8, 2013 at 2:17 am

    I would be very interested in a copy of the potty bootcamp book. My daughter has decided she just doesn’t care about the potty. I took away the pull-ups and she just goes in her pants. She could care less if she’s soaking wet and she thinks it’s fun to clean out poopy panties. She will go if we set her on the potty, but she just refuses to take it upon herself 0r go on her own because she can’t be bothered. I know she can control her bladder if she wants to. For the last seven months, she goes to bed dry, wakes up to go potty in the middles of the night, and wakes up dry. She just doesn’t want to do it while she is fully conscious. I am pulling my hair out. She is as smart as a whip and more stubborn than any child I’ve ever met. Gah.
    emailforholly @ gmail dot com