Guest Blog: &*it Happens.

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I asked my brave sister to share her unfortunate experience with potty accidents in older children to help any moms who might be experiencing the same challenges.  Because I KNOW she is not the only one who has had to deal with this parenting issue.

Thank you, Suzanne, for sharing.

Potty Accidents in Older Children

Here is her story…

So, we all know potty training can be one of the WORST parts of parenting. Like, ever. The messes, the anxiety of accidents in the car or in public, the “I don’t have to go!” we hear from our kids thousands of times when you KNOW they have to go.  Even less fun is when your formerly potty-trained child regresses, but potty training regression in older kids can make life a living nightmare.

I know because it happened to us.

However, there is hope! With the help of our pediatrician, we nipped the problem in the butt (hee hee) so I felt compelled to share our experience with you.  I also feel that this regimen will help us immensely when I am ready to tackle getting our younger one to go on the potty!

Our initial try at potty training was pretty much a success.  My son was 2 years, 9 months when we spent a weekend in the backyard au natural. I was on bedrest with my second son and it was Mother’s Day weekend.  Good times.

He finally decided he wanted to wear his big boy Yo Gabba Gabba! underwear and we went for it.  I was pretty impressed how quickly it did happen with going #1 and #2 still took a few more weeks (I may have been blocking it out…it may have been a few months!).  So I thought we were finished potty training.

He went off to preschool a few months later and only had one tiny accident there in 2 years.

Flash forward to summer…

Pool Time = Poo Time (YIKES!) 

At 4 years old and totally potty trained for over a year, that summer during every trip to a public pool (or my parent’s jacuzzi…sorry mom and dad…) resulted in massive #2 accidents.  It was HORRIFYING.

I felt so out of control of the situation.  And since he was a BIG 4 year old, they don’t make disposable swim diapers that size. Luckily we found these swim diapers for big kids online and began to call them his swim underwear.

I could’t make sense of the situation because it seemed he was regularly going #2.  I thought he was maybe swallowing too much chlorinated water???  Whatever the case, we took a break from the pool.

[You’re welcome.]

So along comes the following summer and now he’s FIVE.

We had been having a lot of struggles in the #2 department over the previous months.  He began to hold it in because of a few instances where he was a tad constipated.  There is actually a term for holding poop in ~ encopresis.  Yep, always something new for us to learn in parenting, isn’t there?

The fear of going became a constant struggle between us.


Then, matters were made worse when I unknowingly gave him an accidental “juice cleanse”  with my excitement over my new  NutriBullet “smoothies” (affiliate link).

Let’s just say that more than one kale smoothie a day CAN be a little too much of a good thing.

So then he became fearful after having diarrhea and would hold it in also.  I was at the end of my rope with what to do.

Kindergarten Is Coming (Time to PANIC)

He was starting kindergarten in 4 weeks. The thought of him having consistent accidents there was giving me the worst anxiety.

The pool time accidents were still happening. He was (in our opinion!) old enough to know when he had to go and run to the stairs in time.  But it seemed as if he had no bodily control of it once he was in the water. It was one of the hardest parenting issues we have had to deal with.

What was I going to do about this problem? I called my amazing pediatrician for help, and she SAVED us.

If you are struggling with potty training accidents in older children, I hope this might help give you some ideas too. I know firsthand just how awful big kid accidents and potty training regression in older kids can be. I only wish we would have done this sooner.

Our Doctor’s Advice 

Our pediatrician helped my son understand the pee and poo are trash in our bodies and we have to take it out.  Every day.

And that when when mommy or daddy say go and you don’t feel like you have any in you…GO and try.

It was so nice to get some back-up on this!

She then explained to me that a pool (or bath) can be like a mini-enema and if he was holding ANY #2 in at that time, it would automatically need to come out once he was in the water.

We needed to get him on a regular bowel movement schedule, so his bowels were being emptied daily to help stop any urge to hold it in.

Operation Bowel Regimen was on.

Yes, a regimen was to be put in place to try to regulate his bowels. We were skeptical, but it WORKED. Moms, it worked. Here’s how we did it.


The goal is to get your child on a bowel regimen to go poop on a schedule, same time daily, with stools that are soft enough to not cause discomfort.

You can use a stool softener like flax seed oil in a smoothie, prune juice, apple juice, dried fruit or we found that fiber gummies worked the best for him [Please ASK YOUR DOCTOR before putting your child on any sort of stool softener FIRST.]

Time to Poop!

After a meal is usually the most successful time to go so choose a time that works for your family.  We chose after breakfast so that he could go before school.

Sit them on the potty with an activity…books, crayons, a small game, etc. whatever they can do to sit an relax.  I wouldn’t suggest an iPhone unless you have an Otterbox on it.  We lost one in this process in the potty.

Then wait.  Until they go.

Then PRAISE, PRAISE, PRAISE.  Make it a positive experience for them!!!!

It took us a few days of getting the formula right, but now he runs into the bathroom by himself after breakfast and just does his business.  All is right with the world.

I really hope this piece of advice can help someone out there struggling with this!  Do you have any potty training regression in older kids tips to share? Things that worked for you? Please share! 

© Ekostsov | Dreamstime.comToilet Paper On Holder Photo


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  1. 1
    Sanjiv says:

    Thank you for your candid advice on this extremely frustrating issue! I really like the idea of giving your little one a little project while they are on the potty so that they can relax. Sorry to hear about your iPhone though!

  2. 2
    Suzanne says:

    Thanks…I know it’s something a lot of parents struggle with so hopefully it can help some families out there. I am still mourning my iPhone though…

  3. 3
    Christy says:

    Suzanne – so awesome (and brave!) for you to share your experiences with us! I know this topic has come up in conversation in my mommy circles, and moms just don’t know what to do. Thank you for shedding light on what works for you and your kiddo. Xoxo

  4. 4
    Anne N says:

    My 4 year old had the same issue. I took her to the doctor and told us to give Miralax. Did that for a 2 weeks and no more problems! Glad I’m not the only one as it was embarrassing.

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