Q&A: My son has regressed with his potty training after the arrival of his little sibling. Help!
We have a four-year-old son and an eight-month-old daughter. We had potty-trained our son and were doing well until the baby arrived. Now, my son constantly poops in his pants. We have tried everything, from giving rewards when he does go on the potty, to taking away his favorite toy when he doesn't. Nothing is working.
When we ask why, he just says, he didn't have time. What do we do? This has been going on now for eight months.
Developmental regression–sliding backwards on some skills–is not uncommon during times of stress in a preschooler’s life.Your son had a major life change eight months ago. Although overall it’s a happy one for your family, it’s still a huge adjustment for him.
He is no longer your ‘baby’, he is no longer your ‘only’, he has had to move over and start to share his parents.
As long as your son isn’t constipated and has no medical issues, it is likely that this is part of an adjustment reaction. When he gets past this, his skills will return, but only he can ultimately decide when. You can ride this out more easily by doing two things:
- Take all the negative pressure off him; punishment only puts extra stress on the situation.
- Encourage him when he uses the toilet. Reward him for sucesses, but also let him know in advance how special he is as the new big brother, how he has abilities his younger sibling can’t yet even dream about—drawing, running, singing and, yes, even using a toilet.