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Grumble grumble


May be using this journal more often again; the lawsuit against the guy who hit me in the car accident last year is moving forward, and if I'm going to vent about it I'm going to need to do it in a moderately secured space.

Right now, though, I'm just depressed about potty training. We've been trying now for almost five months, making the slowest progress possible. We finally got to the point where one day he'd be fine, use the potty all day, and the next he'd have 10 accidents and not even care. Rewards only perk up his interest for a day or two. Last week his daycare finally got sick of mopping up after him and have asked us to put him back in pullups. As we needed a break from the constant messes too, we agreed. After a few days of that, he's regressed completely, to where it takes a huge battle even to get him into the potty, and he hasn't actually gone on it in days.

And it's not as simple as "wait it out, he'll learn when he's ready". He can only be in his current classroom for four more months (until he's 3 1/2), and then he has to move up to the next one (he's already by far the oldest kid in his room). And if he doesn't train soon after moving, they'll kick him out.

I can't take care of him full-time; I'm not physically capable of it. Four more months may seem like plenty of time, but not when we've already been trying for five. It's like an ax looming over my neck. I don't know what we'll do if it comes to that.

We know he's smart. We know he has the muscle control to hold it. What he doesn't seem to have is any sense of when he's about to not be able to hold it any more. And we are having no luck motivating him. All the typical things - peer pressure, wanting to be grownup, parental disappointment, rewards, fancy underwear - he just doesn't seem to care.

Considering blowing $27 on this ebook - but I'm also guessing it will be 90% the same stuff we already know that hasn't worked.

What my brain is telling me is to let him be for a couple of weeks. See if, without the pressure from us and school, he decides to move forwards on his own. Knowing him, it's plausible. But I'm scared that every day without pushing is getting us farther away from the goal, and closer to that ax.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 11th, 2009 10:41 pm (UTC)
first recommendation is take him to the toilet on a timer and have daycare staff do the same. While sitting on the toilet, if he can not seem to go have him put his hands in abowl of very warm water.

when you have exhausted other options, you could consider the following tough love:
I recommend you put him in undies and denim and let him go play outside. He will come in when the denim is wet and cold. Then you can "wow potty is icky. That is why we put it in the toilet."
Nov. 11th, 2009 11:28 pm (UTC)
Potty training can be such a pain - my office mate is experiencing much the same problem you are - a kid who is partly trained, but not motivated to make it 100%, and a day care that wants him in underwear, not pull-ups. My friend Colleen went through this before you. You are not alone!! (And, believe it or not, most kids do get it eventually, although it may seem like an eternity between here and there. Now that M is mostly reliable, the months of accidents are already fading.)

I found that the book 'potty training in one day' was pretty good - some of my friends have used it with relative success to actually accomplish quick training. (Madeleine's co-nannied friend went from no training to reliable enough for underwear in just a few days, which seems about normal.)
However, i bring it up not so much because i think you'd want to use the method straight up, but rather because i think it has some interesting ideas in it. We started M young, so we didn't really try to attempt the quick training, but i did use some of the techniques.
My favorites:
1) potty practice - an accident has to be followed with a 'practice run'
2) self-sufficiency - she is responsible for cleaning up after her self, and getting new clothes on. (And getting to the potty, and using it, with minimal input from us.)
3) teaching the 'accompanying skills' - like being able to take on and off one's own pants, being able to climb on to the toilet, and up to the sink.
4) the focus on being dry, instead of going to the potty.

(My office mate is trying the last one - sitting on the potty has become such a power-struggle between them, that she is going to try focusing on this and letting the potty be almost a side effect. Don't know how its working yet.)

We had luck using the 'timer' approach while Madeleine was still learning - it removed the emphasis from 'we want you to go potty', to, 'its time to go potty'. Again - it put her in conflict with something not us. It also helped her get down staying dry for days on end, and get lots of chances to experience success. A key was that, while she had to go sit on the potty, she didn't have to perform. Eventually, to get her to her now pretty danged independent and reliable (but not perfect) state, we started asking her if she needed to go, and then emphasizing that it was her responsibility to choose to go. (eg., she says no, we say, 'okay, we know you'll take care of it when it is time.)

We also take random opportunities to emphasize why it is important - if she complains about a rash, we'd say 'well, thats why we are working on keeping your pants dry', or if she has an accident while out we'd say 'thats why its always a good idea to go before you start playing'. We *still* really try to praise her when she takes the initiative and succeeds.

(YMMV, we try similar things with eating, but without as good success - that appears to be her equivalent power struggle. The hardest part is to remain as emotionally detached as possible, i think.)

Good luck!
(and it would be fun to hear more from you again.)
Nov. 11th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
We were actually doing pretty well with him on a timer -about every 45 minutes, two hours on good days. But as soon as we started asking him to take any initiative whatsoever, boom, puddles everywhere.

I like some of your suggestions. I'll think on them.
Nov. 11th, 2009 11:53 pm (UTC)
It's been a long time since I went through this, but both of ours were trained at about age 3 1/2. My opinion of it now is that there will be yeeeeears of opportunity ahead for encouraging initiative and independence, and the important thing right now (for your sanity, which I vote is one of the more important things here) is that this gets done. If it takes a timer every day for the next 2 months, by all means use a timer.
Nov. 11th, 2009 11:56 pm (UTC)
yeah, M needed a time for about a month or two... But, i know one of the issues my office mate has is that school is unable (willing?) to remind kids as frequently as they need to be reminded, so school gets in the way of what happens at home. =( I actually got M a 'potty watch' which was a timer she could wear and reset herself. Seemed like a great idea, but didn't really take for her... maybe would work better for some other kids.
Nov. 11th, 2009 11:54 pm (UTC)
It occurred to me after the fact that you hadn't actually asked for advice - i can't seem to help myself - but thanks for accepting it so graciously!

I really do wish you luck - this seems like a frustrating bit of parenting to me.
Nov. 12th, 2009 01:50 pm (UTC)
Skip over this if you think it is too weird from someone you don't know well, but what really worked for me was emphasizing that mommy and, particularly daddy go potty in the toilet. It helped both my boys to go to the potty when daddy went. We would happily announce, "I have to go potty in the toilet now" and we would act like it was the neatest in the world and leave the door open when we went (embarrassing I know). Boys usually like to do what daddy does and this seemed to work pretty well. My oldest son was the most difficult. My youngest son within a couple of days brought me some of his brother's underwear and announced, "I wear these now mommy" and it was pretty much a done deal.
Nov. 12th, 2009 05:01 pm (UTC)
Actually we've done that - including clapping and cheering when we come out and rewarding ourselves with youtube videos. Quite the amusing spectacle :)
Nov. 12th, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
That is so hard to deal with. Christopher made us insane with it. In. Sane. He was the hardest to train. We had him poop trained for A YEAR before we got him potty trained. We finally had to do nothing but undies and the timer. Every 15 minutes we went in. We had to be in charge of timing for MONTHS. If we weren't, he had an accident. It may be that he just needs you still be in charge.

I am really lucky that they had the same rules for the three year old room, but didn't force them on us, and are very forgiving on the accident issue in the 4 year old room.

I feel your pain, sister.
Nov. 12th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
I have no useful advice, but maybe some humor might help. ;)

Nov. 13th, 2009 04:17 am (UTC)
My son (now 21 and potty trained) decided at 3 that peeing on things was fun. I was at my wits end, until I told him if he was going to pee in his pants (or on the wall!) like a baby, then he had to tax 10 naps a day, like a baby. He didn't want to be "a baby" so it worked... Try different motivations until you find something that he cares about.
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )


firesea: self-portrait
Heather Keith Freeman
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