5 Reasons Preschoolers Regress


Young children do not have very good communication or language skills at their age. This can cause them to become frustrated, which may lead to temper tantrums.

You’ve survived the terrible twos (and threes); you’ve battled, and won, the bedtime woes; and you’ve managed to successfully potty train your child. Now your rapidly growing, adorable little one is at the preschool age, and you’re preparing for the new challenges that are just around the corner …

But what’s this? Did my child just throw a tantrum? We ended those!

Who’s climbing into my bed in the middle of the night? I thought we were past this clingy behavior. What is with all these potty accidents? We’re done with potty accidents! Why is my child regressing!?

Take a breath. You are not alone. Regression can be frustrating and alarming, but it is actually a very common, and usually simple, problem. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, kids go through phases of learning and then regression. The most common instigator of regression is change—even positive change. (Of course, be sure to rule out other possibilities, such as physical problems or abuse.)

MORE: What is Normal Toddler Behavior? }

Review the following list of common changes that can cause regression, and determine if any of these match what is happening in your family right now.

  • pregnancy or a new baby
  • moving
  • divorce or marriage
  • death or illness
  • new preschool or daycare facility

Any of these seem familiar? If so, then you may have identified the culprit. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Just as you may choose to drop your diet or exercise routine during a difficult period at work, your child may take some time off … to adjust to [his or] her new home situation.”

What do you think?

5 Reasons Preschoolers Regress

Tell us what you think!


  1. Profile photo of mommy nhoj mommy nhoj says:

    A good read as when to expect regression.

  2. Profile photo of LIZ says:

    good things to know to keep attention to my child behavior

  3. My middle child will be 4 in a couple weeks and has been potty trained since she was 2 1/2. My 2 year old is potty trained and has very minimal accidents but with my almost 4 year old daughter she had begun to wet the bed and just potty in her pants ( thank goodness its only #1 lol; but still its the point in the matter) I try and talk to her and tell her if she keeps doing it she will be in diapers like a baby and she feels bad about it but its the only thing that seems to work as of now. its frustrating especially being an expectant parent grrrrrr, I just want to scream some times about it but I count to ten and breathe and start over…

    • Profile photo of Evelyn Evelyn says:

      I know it’s frustrating and upsetting for you but for heaven’s sake stop shaming her by calling her a baby and threatening her with diapers! She obviously feels bad enough about it–your distress is making it worse.

      The less of a big deal you make of it, the more she can relax. Don’t lecture or scold her, just change her pants calmly when she has an accident without showing any anger or frustration. And definitely make some one-on-one time with her to play and hang out, and talk about all the changes that are happening–she’s getting older and bigger, so is her younger sibling, there’s another baby on the way…that’s a lot for a 4-year-old to deal with!

      If you have a doctor’s visit coming up, you might want to mention it, and inquire about seeing a pediatric urologist to make sure everything’s working right. A lot of kids who potty-train before the age of 3 can develop constipation (even if they’re pooping regularly, there might be a mass up there somewhere) and that interferes with their ability to hold their urine, believe it or not. Check out this article: http://www.babble.com/toddler/dangers-potty-training-early/.

      Good luck and remember that this too shall pass!

  4. Profile photo of Kristin Kristin says:

    We are about to have a new baby any day now and in the last couple of weeks my 4 year old has regressed in many ways. She has been having potty accidents, throwing fits and wanting to sleep with me. She is very excited for the baby to come, I think it is all of the changes that are making her do this.


Send this to a friend