Potty training regression in a four year old?

My four year old daughter has been potty trained for a while now. She can go potty all by herself and it's not an issue. She started pre-k this year, back in August, and until about two weeks ago has been fine. But every day for these past two weeks she has been refusing to potty at school and wets herself at least once a day there. I have spoken with the teachers multiple times, and we are both at a loss. My daughter refuses to talk about it, and the only response she will give us "I just don't like to pee there", meaning at school. I've asked her if someone has been mean to her or bothered her while in the school bathroom and she said no. Her teacher told me the bathroom there has only one stall, so only one child at a time goes on.

Nothing different has happened in our home life.

Has anyone else dealt with potty training regression? Has your child only shown this at one particular place? How do I get past this?


Do they do a buddy system? That might be why she don’t want to. No Privacy. That’s why my youngest has trouble. He didn’t like having anyone in there or near the door.

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My daughter hates public toilets its an anxiety someone will walk in on her etc she is fine at home . She used to be fine until kindy. Kids can be busting and try to rush you and they get embarrassed or kids make comments about going to toilet. It could be as simple as being scared of getting trapped. Talk to kindy and ask if one of the teachers would be willing to ask if she needs to go to the toilet n she will wait by the door.

Maybe the school bathroom scared her. My son is also in pre k this year and he told me the other day he is scared to flush the toilet at school cause it sounds like a scary monster so he said he uses the bathroom and runs out without flushing.

My son was scared of the auto flush in the Pre-K rooms, and they had the light and vent fan wired to the same switch so the fan automatically came on, They ended up having to let him pee without the light on, which solved both problems because the “eye” on a toilet is light activated. She may have a similar problem.


My son is 8 almost 9 and will NOT poop at school. He doesn’t like the environment and says their toilet paper is to hard. We may get flustered with our kids but they are smarter than we give them credit for, she may get a bad vibe in that bathroom and is going with her gut feeling to not use it. See if there is another bathroom close by that she might can use

Could be a phobia of public bathrooms


I hated the toilets from kindy all they way through primary. I always held on all day. I was just scared of the toilets at school. It’s not the same as home

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Does she have some problem in Walmart or anyone public washrooms

My kid wouldn’t poop at school literally he would hold it all day he just eventually got over it


I dont want to scare anyone but potty regression can sometimes happen if a child is being touched in an inappropriate way. And they are afraid to pull their pants down at the place where it happened . That’s one scenario does she always still potty at home regularly? Is a big question. Sometimes it’s an anger issue to get attention. She may feel anger that she is not with mommy at home anymore and is angry about it. I would ask her simple questions like when at school does anyone come in the bathroom with you? Does the teacher help you? Stuff like that. Ask her is she is upset anoit anything. Obviously ask in a way a pre k would understand . Hopefully it is just a phase

I know I hated the single bathroom in my kindergarten. It was a lot smaller space than the one at home, and I didn’t like it so I held it in until I got home. It’s when I found out I was claustrophobic and was allowed to use the bathrooms that was for the higher grade kids so long as I had a teacher or assistant take me, since there was multiple stalls and bigger spaces I was good after that.

She might just be to involved in playing. And leaves going to late. My daughter went through a stage of doing this. Xxx

My daughter did this exactly and finally figured out that she was scared of the toilet. It was a commercial toilet with the split seat.

Take her out that school. Pay attention to the signs rather she tells you or not

My 5 year old is going through this in kindergarten. I think she is afraid she is going to miss something. Unfortunately some days it’s happening more than once. And it’s driving us crazy. At a loss as well

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My 4 year old has an iPad, and kept having accidents. My parents watch him on most weekends and what worked for us was telling him that iPads are for big boys, and if he pees his pants that’s not a big boy thing to do, so he was told if you are good all week using the potty you can have your iPad back. I told the teachers about the deal I had with him so they could help keep him on track and also communicate to me if he had soiled his clothes or if he’d just gotten wet from water. And if he had one accident that meant a whole mother week, unless I could tell it was definitely an accident like not being able to get there in time before starting to poop or maybe he got a little wet and then made it to the toilet.

maybe scared of the bathroom

When my fully potty trained son started kindergarten he had several accidents the 1st few months. Mostly in the 1st week. It was short lived and when I talked to his teacher about it she told me it was pretty common and not to worry. So I didn’t worry and he quit having accidents as promised by his teacher lol

Might be that she’s scared of the toilets there or uncomfortable. My daughter (also 4) will gladly go at home but is scared of any other toilets

If you’re able to, take her in there with you before or after school. Give her an m&m candy for doing that. Then the next time take her in there and practice all the steps going potty. Reward her for all the steps with M&Ms. It may take more than 2 practice runs, but be patient. Then give her a chart where she can keep track of how many times she uses the potty at school. Reward her for each time with a treat at home or let her earn a big prize for reaching a certain number.

Maybe try offering a positive reinforcement or reward for going at school and not having any accidents each day or only 2 accidents for the week and going 3 days? Do the teachers going in there with her? Is she scared to go by herself? It could

It’s pretty common when they’re stressed.

I’m over 30 and still hate public bathrooms I’ll hold it till I get home :joy:


Sounds like something traumatic happened.

Molestation can cause that. Bullying may also be a factor or a teacher whose nasty to her for leaving class to use the bathroom

My almost 4 year old uses the potty at home, but refuses to use public bathrooms.

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My oldest daughter did this in pre-k and it turned out she had kidney reflux she would be fine with going to the bathroom and then not ok she went back and forth a few times but i would talk to your doctor

Maybe she doesnt like public bathrooms thats me 100% I would rather and will hold it then a bathroom other then mine …

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It’s definitely a phase. My daughter did the same thing but she was still at home. She had been fully potty trained for a year and then all of a sudden started having accidents again. It only lasted about a month and then fixed itself. Honestly, I would consider if there has been any big changes in her life recently. Loss of a loved one, new sibling, some big event that can cause stress. Check that first. Then just assume that it’s something she will get over. Maybe the daycare in and of itself is causing her stress.

Maybe she’s constipated. Sounds weird but it’s a thing! Feed her yogurt for a few days and lots of fruit. (Along with regular food) it will regulate her system.

Also have a talk heart to heart and find out if there’s a reason that she doesn’t want to use the bathroom.

Having worked with young children something as simple as the toilet being louder when flushed can be off-putting for them or the tissue being too far away or knowing there’s a line outside the door or hearing peers say things like “he’s pooping *giggles” … try your best to talk to her in a way that makes her feel like she’s not in trouble for it . Assure her that you just want to understand. Try talking to the teacher about letting her go at the end of the line or before everyone else lines up. I hope this helps :heart:


Yes my daughter did the same thing in pre-k, she was potty trained too. She just randomly had a stubborn streak and kept going in her underwear. The phase didn’t last long but still have no idea why she did it.

I feel her on her response. I don’t like to use the restroom outside of home more than I absolutely have to.


Uhm, my son did this. He was afraid to go in the bathroom alone.

Maybe the boys in the classroom pee on the seat and they don’t clean it before she goes in there.


Maybe she doesn’t like being alone in a scary bathroom?

My son used to get scared of the toilet bc it was loud and it flushed mad. His words :joy:

Maybe it’s not clean? Or there’s something she’s having trouble with. Is the toilet too high for her to get on comfortably, maybe the sink is too high to reach to wash her hands. Maybe the lighting in there is eerie. Kids are weird lol could be a number of things. Someone else made a good point by mentioning maybe the toilet flush is too loud.


Well if it hasn’t been an issue in the past and this behavior just started I would say something happened to her. I would definitely be questioning her and make sue she knew she was safe. In this day and age I trust nobody


Is it only at school? A UTI? I wouldn’t fully trust anyone, idk what your gut tells you about them.

My nephew did the same thing, he didnt like having to potty in a strange unfamiliar place at school and he also likes to potty with the lights off to make him more comfortable

The toilet can be very loud there , my daughter around that age would like to hold in to the sink and raise her feet off the floor so she didn’t get sucked in , when it was flushed. This happened alot when we were anywhere but at home . I was aware of her fear so that made it easier to understand.

She might not be comfortable going to the potty any where but home….does she have privacy when she goes? Meaning no teacher is in there and there is a door for her to close? Something changed in the past 2 weeks that’s making her uncomfortable to go there…please don’t think the worst ok! We toured a lot of pre schools and some didn’t have doors on the bathrooms and that was a no go for us, maybe another child walked in on her by accident and now she’s scared? My daughter is very particular about when she goes to the restroom only mommy or daddy are with her. She’s now in kindergarten and has no issues. Also could be a possible UTI. All of these are worth checking inyot

My son went through a phase of not wanting to use any toilets out and we discovered it was because he was scared of the hand driers. Just a thought

Maybe next time you drop her off take her to the toilet, and see if she will go with you there, if not ask her why, being there with you she may be able to tell you why she doesn’t like to go there because she will be able to show you what she doesn’t like, at that age they are still trying to figure out how to communicate their feelings and what upsets them / make them feel uncomfortable.
Maybe it’s as simply as another kid refuses to go to the toilet there and wets themselves so she is doing the same.
Or maybe she just doesn’t want to miss out on anything by taking time to go to the toilet.
My 5 year old step son was having quite a few accidents because he didn’t want to miss out on anything

I would go to the school and take her to the restroom .Find out if there’s something in there for children it could be anything as simple as writing on the walls .


My g-grandson is 5 and started kindergarten in Aug. He’s been toilet trained since 2. No problems in daycare or pre-k. He has had 2-3 accidents in the last 2 weeks, he cant explain and teachers can’t either. He was getting sick and went to the doctor yesterday … ear infection! Maybe, only time will tell.

Maybe just nervous and having to adjust to school.

Until you figure out why, put her back in a diaper to go to school. Pull-Ups? Maybe she’ll be too proud to wear them to school, and decide to be a big girl.

I had this problem I was advised to put back in nappies for a full month no mention of anything and start again and it worked x

Does this only happen at school ? No wetting at home? Does she pee more often than usual ? Is she thirst all the time? My 4 year old started wetting himself and turns out he had diabetes.

I’d ask if there’s a day you can sit in on the class or if this class provides classroom cameras. Something has to have changed, even if it’s small.


Tell her she has to start back wearing pull ups.if she don’t go to bathroom

The same thing happened with my son, I think most kids go through this stage (I remember similar with my other 2 kids - now in their 20s) x

Something may have happened that put her off from going at school. However, if she doesn’t fess up to anything, then you may never know. Unfortunately, you cannot continue to let her pee her pants, that isn’t fair to the teachers. And offering to put her back in pull-ups will only support her regression. She HAS to learn to go in school, and public places in general. We’ve all HAD to go somewhere we didn’t want to. She’s gonna have to, too. If you can’t figure out why, then I believe you may have to resort to some sort of discipline or consequence. I know that sounds harsh, but it truly isn’t, especially if she’s not willing to give you a logical reason why.
Or, don’t allow her to drink anything all day


She might just be uncomfortable in a strange bathroom. My son hated using the bathroom at school until he got into 3rd grade still didn’t like to use them but his bladder won.

Normal. She had a big change give her a break.

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My child hates that there is a drain in the bathroom floor so when she flushes she hears the sucking sound of the water in the drain. She also hates the automatic flush toilets. She is now a teenager and still doesn’t like some bathrooms.

New place, new people, big change! Pull ups or a maxi pad type in continent pad might relieve some stress for her and prevent teasing and embarrassment for her.

My nephew was using it when they had a fire drill… Poor baby, he can’t use any bathroom/restrooms with the doors closed. Someone has to be with him. He HAS to see you there. My sister and the teachers are working with him but I can imagine how horrible it was for him. Maybe, someone scared her and that is her reaction. Have you tried volunteering in her school, if your schedule permits you?

My grand has been doing this also. She said she was scared of the school potty because it was so lound when flushed

I told mine I wasn’t buying pull ups and she couldn’t go to school if she was going to pee herself. Kept her home a couple of days and she begged me to take her to school. After that she did just fine

It could just be nerves starting school a strange place but if it were my daughter I would casually take my daughter in the bathroom both look around and ask her is there something in here u don’t like? It’s all make believe this is where we go.to potty u are fine see.if that will help or ask one of the daycare ladies to escort.her in wait there with her encourage her its a safe place. :heart: she will feel so much.better when she’s done. And she can play good luck

May be she is being bullied in the toilets, or she is frightened of the toilet block. It may smell to her many reasons this can happen. Take her aside and have a fun time and slowly ask her what it is. It may take a few times but she will tell you. Make sure you cover stranger danger. Also.

My kids don’t like to go where it’s an automatic flushing toilet because it is so loud maybe that’s why she doesn’t like it??

I’d be concerned something happened to her. Is it a male teacher?


To excited and doesn’t want to miss out on fun at school! My daughter did the same thing! Please refrain from assuming the worst! Playing and having fun can make you not want to miss out or even just forget, she’s still learning! If there’s no other concerns I’d just ask her if she’s forgetting or if she’s to excited to be with friends. During a time where we have been isolated for so long I’m almost sure she’s just not wanting to miss out! It takes time to pee and wash hands that could mean missing a whole game of tag or hide and go seek!

I can’t say for certain cause I dont know ur daughter but my son had the same issue when we were outside playing. It was like he didn’t want to stop playing to use the bathroom. Maybe she doesn’t want to miss anything in class. I mean it’s new friends and a new environment maybe she is enjoying class and just forgets until it’s too late.

it happens a lot it’s embarrassed with strangers or it’s her nerve

My son had those issues a couple times. So right before I took him to school I had him go potty and then at lunch I had the teacher remind him/have him go again. Even if it takes the teacher walking with her to the potty and standing outside the door. She might not feel safe or be scared going alone. Having someone(a female teacher) there might help get things rolling.

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Absolutely we had my son steadily going at 3 years old then he got closer to 4 and just didn’t wanna try now that he’s in school he’s doing better.
But he’s also level 2 autism so the regression with him wa bound to happen. I just told him the school bathroom Is no different than the one at home just no bath tub is all. So now he uses it better for his teacher just tell her it’s no different than home is all. Maybe might help her or try asking if someone can stand outside the door to make her feel safe about going

I work at a school with preschoolers and we have some that are scared of the toilets at first because of how loud they are when they flush.

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If she doesn’t want to talk about it … throws up red flags for me., maybe have her talk to a professional.


Something may have happened. Trust your instincts. Is there a different restroom she could and would use? :thinking:

From experience, you need to show up there a few times a day, off and on for a few days.
Something has happened and she is scared to tell you.
It could be the toilet is loud. It could be the toilet paper hurts… It could be 100 different things that aren’t big deals to us, but, to a 4yr old, it’s scary. :blue_heart:


Maybe it flushes to loud. My daughter HATES loud toilets.

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If it is a self flushing toilet that scares a lot of children. We had pre-k that went to the big school then wouldn’t go we figured out it was the self flushing that scared them

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Bring her a personal potty to use there… why not

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Maybe it’s not clean , like maybe boys peeing and it’s dirty for her, naturally they don’t check after every use. Or maybe it smells bad, good luck…

My daughter wouldn’t use the school bathroom either but just held it.

Are they supervised on toilet visits ? If its only at nursery then something has scared her or made her uncomfortable
Maybe another child has pushed the door open and given her a scare. Maybe someone didn’t flush and it upset her. Maybe someone told her a silly story about something biting her bottom or being flushed away…maybe someone watched Harry Potter and told her theres someone living in there…who know what kids get up too or what upsets them.
Will they allow you to take her into the toilet to show you why she wont go ? You’ll know if she’s scared or upset then and can talk it through

Not wanting to talk about it is an issue. That means it’s definitely something. Keep trying to talk to her

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Something has happened which is y she refuses to talk about it and why she doesn’t want to go potty there. Take her to see someone to rule out everything.

Put a pull up back on her till things can be figured out. Make her potty before and after with you.


My daughter would absolutely refuse to use a toilet that was auto flush. She was afraid she would be flushed down the toilet. I would have to cover the senser with my finger so she would go.

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Bathrooms can be scary for them. My daughter did this to, about the same age too. Once she got comfortable it got better. But she still hates public bathrooms and she is almost 10 now.

My child was SUPER afraid of the sound of the toilets flushing. Maybe bring her a potty to use while there?

Just a big change like starting school can cause this.


Might be “pee shy” I don’t like using public restrooms at all! Maybe she’s just nervous

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May have fallen in the toilet, size, distance, cant reach the paper. (I HATE public toilets). Did you fear her of germs.

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From my experience as a teacher I’ve only seen this when something happens in the bathroom, did a friend shut the lights off and close the door and scare her? Is she maybe having a UTI and not telling? Did someone shut her hand in the bathroom door? I’d just be asking if anything has happened around the potty that could make her not want to use it. It could be as easy as a spider in the corner.


Something happened. I don’t believe that teacher for a second.


My daughter is almost 7 years old and while she won’t have accidents on herself she has totally fixed her poo schedule to go just before she gets on the bus and as soon as she gets home. Absolutely will not poo or pee at school and won’t give me a reason. She also won’t go in a self flushing toilet unless the sensor is covered. I have a pad of post it notes I keep in my wallet and purse for this purpose. Kids are weird.

Honestly go to the school, go in the bathroom with her and use it yourself. Maybe she got scared or something. Showing her you used it and it was fine might help. Idk my other thought is making sure no one violated her or made her uncomfortable.


Potty training regression is extremely common. Especially if school is new to her. Don’t worry momma, it will get better. Just don’t shame her for it. That is the worst thing to do. The school should be able to work with you guys. My daughter started school and would be playing and having to much fun and wouldn’t go on time. She never had accidents at home. It lasted a few weeks and then she was back to no accidents.

I don’t have experience with this with kids but personally the same thing happened to me.
For me, I was about 5 y.o. first year in school and I was terrified of talking to new people. Terrified of having everyone look at me. Terrified of getting in trouble for asking to go to the bathroom. As I got older I learned how to hold my bladder ALL day I didn’t start using public bathroom until I got my period and didn’t have a choice. And don’t even get me started on the bathrooms inside the classroom, if I could hear someone else go to the bathroom and flush the toilet there was no way in he!! I was going to use that bathroom.
Turns out it was and still is severe anxiety, only problem is 25ish years ago no one talked about anxiety. So if you can get some help, exhaust all help without medication first and try to eliminate the people that truly make her uncomfortable because sometimes no matter how long we know someone they can still make us uncomfortable and give us anxiety just being in their presence.
With her being so young, I’m assuming this is probably the biggest new group of people she’s been in and maybe even the first time she’s been without mom or someone she’s comfortable with for a extended period of time so it’s scary and she doesn’t know how to explain her feelings because they are BIG and new. Being in new groups of people when you don’t know anyone can be a struggle for those with severe social anxiety.