Toddler Regressions and School

Although Gavin has been adapting to school a lot better than I had hoped, there are some toddler regressions that you should expect so you can be prepared for them.

1. Toilet training

When Gavin started school, he stopped wanting to wear his underwear and kept insisting he wanted to wear diapers instead.  He also stopped telling us that he needed to go to the toilet when he needed to poop or pee.

This should be expected because any major change in a toddler’s life is always likely to be accompanied by set-backs in other areas.  Should it happen with your toddler, just put off the toilet training for a while, bring back the diapers and wait until your child is over the initial adjustment of going to school.  There’s no point trying to fight a battle on two fronts.

Since we were expecting a regression in toilet training when Gareth is born, I wasn’t particularly alarmed or phased by this recent change.

Now that Gavin appears to be adjusting well to school, we have also resumed toilet training.  We still have our accidents, but at least he is willing to wear his underwear again.  Plus, he successfully peed in the toilet bowl for the first time last night!

2. Increased clinginess

When Gavin started going to school, I noticed an increased need for my presence whenever we were together.  He would insist I play trains with him, or just sit near him if he was engaged in solo activities, such as colouring or watching TV.

His increased need for my proximity appears to be related to the fact that he now spends almost four hours a day away from me.  It is as if he is making up for lost time.

It is normal for a child to require emotional refueling from a parent and will frequently make pitstops to touch that parent.  For instance, as the child plays, you will notice that from time to time, the child will return to his parent to make some sort of physical contact.  It might be to briefly sit on a lap, a hug, or a small touch of some sort.  I take it as a healthy sign of the strong bond between parent and child.

As Gavin adapts to school and grows accustomed to the separation, I have noticed a  marked improvement on the clinginess.  His relationship with the rest of the family appears to be strengthened as well.

So if your child is extra clingy during the first couple of weeks of school, fulfill his needs by being there for him.  As with everything else, as he becomes accustomed to the new routine, things will eventually return to normal.

These were the only two regressions we experienced, but I am sure there must be plenty of others.  If you have had other toddler regressions with your child after starting school, please share your experiences in the comments below.


Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of (a website on parenting, education, child development) and (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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