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What to Try When a Potty Trained Child Reverts

This is a question I received from a mother whose "potty trained" child decided to stop using the potty. Below is the question and my response:

Everything was great, she loved the potty and was even able to go #2 in the potty. BUT ... after about a month she decided she doesn't like going to the potty anymore. It has become a kicking screaming tantrom to even get her IN the bathroom, much less to get her pants off and sit on the potty. I refuse to put diapers/pull ups on her except for bedtime ... but she still goes (pee and poo) in her panties. I feel that I've tried all the tips that people have told me about. I've done a sticker chart, given her stickers, prasied, danced, watched Elmo's potty time a million times, bribery of all sorts, and have even offered suckers for successful bowel movements. I need some serious help. Suggestions?

You can try the "currency" concept. Find something that she likes that you can give her when she's successful and take away when she has an accident. You can even use coins! Make it very clear WHY she's getting the "present" when she's successful and make it very clear why you are taking it away when she has an accident. My daughter loves those little princess figurines you can get at the toy store.

Here's an example:" are a big girl now. You know how to use the potty and I am not going to make you use it anymore - you have to decide on your own to use it like a big girl. Every time you use the potty, I"m going to give you one of these "thing-a-ma-jigs" that you love. BUT, understand that if you have an accident in your panties, I'm going to have to take it away and you won't get to play with it. Then we'll all be very sad."

Set the "bribes" out where she can see them but not get to them - to use as temptation! Then, try to step back and stay hands off. Hopefully the desire for the toys/coins/etc. will outweigh the stubbornness and the power struggle she's trying to have with you.

Hope that helps,Suzanne Riffel, Author of "The Potty Boot Camp: Basic Training for Toddlers"
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