Thursday, September 29, 2005

When Potty Training Lapses

By Christina VanGinkel

My grandson is twenty-seven months old and has been potty trained for several months. He still wears a diaper at night, but even most nights he stays dry. So imagine my daughter's dismay this past week when he suddenly peed in his pants in the middle of the day. She said he told he had to go, but never made it to the bathroom. She did not make a big deal out of it, exactly the opposite. She just washed him up and put clean clothes on him, and that was it.

He stayed dry the remainder of the day and the following morning and afternoon. Late the next evening though, he again told he had to go to the bathroom. This in itself is unusual, as he usually just heads to the bathroom and after he is there, he may shout for some help, but announcing beforehand that he is going to the bathroom is outside his normal routine. Well, this time he did not only pee his pants. This also explained why he had the accident the day before. His stomach was most likely becoming upset, and at his young age, even with his advanced verbal skills, was not able to explain that his stomach hurt. As she cleaned him up this time, she asked him if his tummy was feeling bad. He said he had fishes swimming in it! (You have to know my grandson to understand this one. He likes everything there is about fish; they are a natural magnet to him. He must have put the unsettled feeling of his stomach to the notion he must get when he watches a tank of fish swimming around.) He ended up having a mild bout of some stomach bug or virus, and after another twenty-four hour period, he was fine. She made sure he was well hydrated, and just paid extra attention to his bathroom needs during the following few days.

Imagine how some parents may have reacted to their child who has been toilet trained for a few months, then have an accident as he did the day before his stomach bug became apparent. This can work as reminders to not over react when a toilet-trained child has a lapse backwards. Sometimes it is because of a scenario such as this, or maybe because the child has developed a new interest in some toy and just forgets to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, a child who is toilet-trained, will just lapse a tad. For whatever reason, or non-reason, the best tactic is to not react, or make a big deal. Ask them why, they may have a reason, or they may just tell you they do not know. Leave it at that, and chances are it will not be recurring. If it is, deal with it in a calm manner. Too often parents become upset when a child lapses in their toilet training, but in all regards, it is actually quite natural. They are busy little beings who are taking in so much knowledge that it is perfectly normal, even expected, that they occasionally become overloaded and something has to give. Oftentimes what gives is their dry bottom. Take it in stride and before you know it, they will be right back to potty training 101 earning a well deserved A+ grade.

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