Going Back to Diapers After Potty Training – Here’s What You Can Do

Potty training is one of the most challenging times in a parent’s life. It can be the source of endless frustrations. The worst is when you think that your child is potty trained, only to learn that they have regressed and need to go back to diapers.

While this does not happen with every child, it is not an uncommon occurrence. It is something that many families experience. Yet, few talk about it because parents feel like they’ve failed or done something wrong.

Going back to diapers after potty training is quite common and something that many families deal with. Experts suggest that you find out what the reason for the regression is. It can be as simple as they are not ready to potty train or something more complex like a medical issue.

By determining the reason, you will be able to make sure that there is no intervention that is needed for success. Learning to stay calm and come up with a potty training method that works with your lifestyle is also important. You need a training method that you can stick with. By doing these things, you will have a child who is potty trained in no time.

Don’t worry, your child is okay. You are both going to get through this. Take a deep breath and relax. Your child is going to be potty trained when they are ready. Rushing them will not work. As a mom, this is something that I too have experienced. 

Reasons for Regression 

Some reasons for potty training regression

The first thing that you will need to do is figure out what the reason for your child’s regression is. The following are some of the common reasons that children regress when potty training

  • Physical IssuesSome physical issues can make it harder for a little one to potty train. One of these is if your child struggles with constipation. If your child has large, firm, or hard bowel movements then you need to figure out why before your child will be successfully potty trained. Many times, children have pain when trying to go to the bathroom and are scared of going on the toilet, because they know that they will experience pain. Urinary tract conditions or infections can also lead to regression with potty training. Make sure to consult your child’s pediatrician if you think either is to blame.
  • Emotional Health Issues/Stress – If your child has gone through a stressful event, they might struggle with potty training or regress. Many things can be considered stressful to a toddler: going to a new daycare/preschool, having a new baby, parents getting a divorce, death of a loved one, or moving. Assess your situation and see if there is something that your child is feeling stressed about. 
  • Not ReadyYour child might not be ready. Not all children are ready at the same age. Some need to potty train a little later than others and that is okay. If you are constantly fighting and your child has no interest, it might be best to back up and wait until they are ready before you try again.

Once you know what is going on with your little one, you can address the issues and get ready to successfully potty train.

Successful Potty Training Tips 

Successful potty training tips

Potty training does not have to be a struggle. It does not have to be hard. Follow these simple tips and you will have a child who is potty trained.

Stay Calm 

While easier said than done, staying calm is the most important thing for parents who are trying to potty train. If you are frustrated, your child will be less interested in potty training.

Have Clear Expectations

Talk to your child about potty training. Set clear expectations with your child for going to the bathroom. 

Give Positive Reinforcements 

Think of something that your child enjoys. Offer them a reinforcement that is positive for potty training. A sticker chart that leads to a special outing or toy that they have been wanting is a great way to get them to potty train.

Reinforce What Worked 

If something worked when potty training, take a step back and try that again. Sometimes a new method or changes that happen too quickly can cause regression. 

Know When Your Child is Ready 

There are some things that you can look for to ensure that your child is ready to potty train. These include that your child can imitate behaviors, put things away, show that they are independent, shows interest in the bathroom, and can take clothes off and put them away.

No Consequences 

Accidents happen. You must not have consequences for accidents. Your child should not be punished for accidents. If your child has an accident, have them help you clean up and take responsibility for the accident.

Potty Training Methods 

There are so many potty training methods out there that choosing the right one can be difficult. The best thing that you can do is to pick a method that works for both your child and you. Choose one method and only one method. Consistency is really important for your child’s success.

  1. Motivation with Prizes – Some children are motivated with prizes. These children will do great with this method. You get a chart and each time that they pee or poop they get a sticker. When they get a certain number of stickers, then you give them a prize whether it be a bag of m&ms or a new toy that they have been eyeing. 
  2. Clockwork Method – The clockwork method of potty training requires you to set a timer or buy a special potty watch. You take the child potty every time that the phone/watch buzzes. Have them sit on the potty each time and have a book for them to look at or sit with them while you wait.
  3. 3 Day Potty Training (also known as the Naked Weekend) – While it sounds impossible, the 3-day method of potty training works. For some kids, it might need to be extended a few days. Your child runs around naked with a potty chair in the room that they are in. The next day your child wears only underwear. Finally, on the third day, they are ready for clothes. If your child has accidents on any day, extend it another day.
  4. Get Some Underwear – Take your child shopping and let them pick out their first pair of underwear. Explain to your child that they can only wear underwear if they use the potty. Have the underwear available for them each day. When they are ready, they will choose the underwear when they get dressed.
  5. Mix and Match – Some parents find that none of these methods work for them. Instead, they feel that they do best when they mix and match pieces of one or more methods into what works for their child.


Potty training can be an incredibly frustrating time, but it does not have to be. Even if your child has regressed, with patience and effort your child will be potty trained in no time.

Was this article helpful?

We're a group of writers, mostly parents, some medically certified, who publish helpful articles for all stages of your child from newborn, infant, toddler, to a big kiddo.

Leave a Comment