My potty trained three-year-old has regressed to peeing in his pants. What can I do?

My three-and-a-half-year-old son was potty trained a year ago and was able to wear underwear for 5 or 6 months before regressing. He is constantly peeing his underwear so I switched to pull-ups, which he hates, however he continues to pee in these as well. He shows no motivation for wanting to be a “big boy” again. I’ve been trying to wait him out but it’s been a long time, 6 months. What else can I do?

I don’t know if he had some trauma or medical difficulty that triggered the regression. Was he afraid of the toilet?  Did someone scare him with threats? Did he have an infection? Did it hurt when he peed in the toilet?  If you have not talked to his doctor about this, you should.

Otherwise, you have two options. Option 1 is to accept his wearing pull ups and don’t worry. He will eventually decide to get out of pull-ups and pee in the toilet.

The other option is to increase his motivation to have dry pants. To increase motivation, you can try a “No more pull-ups” chart. Try to get him involved in setting it up. Start with rewarding him with a sticker every time he tinkles even a bit in the toilet.  Set it up so he wins and gets enough stickers to exchange for a small treat or privilege every day.  After a while, you can switch to “dry pull-ups” for a small period of time (an hour or two) as the target for getting a sticker. Then, when he gets to be dry for a period of time, switch him to underwear and continue the chart. Make the criterion easy enough for him to win but gradually increase it. Use praise as well as the stickers.

I would advise against criticism, punishment or even taking away stickers at his age.

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One Response to My potty trained three-year-old has regressed to peeing in his pants. What can I do?

  1. Rika says:

    , what worked for me may not work for you but here’s what I did for my ltitle boy. When he was ready showing interest and peeing on the potty daily we went to full underwear (pull ups only at nap and overnight, if necessary). I had my son sit down to pee, because it was an easier concept for him to grasp (as opposed to aiming!) and it was easy to “catch” a poop, if that makes sense. If he was standing up and he discovered he had to poop, guess where it went?? EW! I started on a Monday and put him in underpants. I set the timer for every 15-30 mins, and we went to the potty. That ended up stressing me out, and throwing him off his game (though others swear by it!) On day 3 I said, “Forget the clock!” and I took him whenever he asked to go or if it had been more than an hour or two, we tried to go potty. We had a few accidents that day, but once he realized he was in control of when he went to the potty he was game!So we started on Monday and by that Sunday we took an all day trip to the zoo with no accidents. We started three days after his 2nd birthday.I hope you get some good advice here, and that you find what works best for you! With two, there may be more tricks you can try References :