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Monday, September 05, 2011

Monday Mishaps with Mom - Potty Training

This week is for those moms with kids who refuse to go potty or cause trouble with the whole ordeal.

I tell you, I'm at my wit's end with this mess. We have been attempting to potty train our daughter for nearly a year now. She showed her first signs at 17 months and even successfully went potty (#1 and #2) several times during that first month. Then, around 19 months, she regressed. Came back to trying it again around 21 months and seemed to be well on her way toward success when her little brother was born.

Wanting the attention we were giving her baby brother by changing his diaper, she reverted to making messes in her pull-ups and refusing to go in the potty. She even climbed up onto his changing table and asked to be changed there.

We put a stop to that right away, and for the past month, we've tried her in big-girl panties, using pull-ups only at night and naptime. She's 2 years and 5 months old.

Have to admit, she's had some fantastic days, and we give her big rewards as well as praise when that happens. But for the most part, she adamantly refuses to go in the potty. Instead, she will tell us she doesn't have to go, then 5 minutes later, stand there and pee in her pants or on the floor. There are times when she takes off her panties and pees where she's sitting or standing.

Nothing seems to work. We've tried rewards with candy, stickers, little trinkets, clapping and tons of praise or hugs and celebrating, and even singing a silly song I made up for success. We've read books, watched videos, and talked about it. She's been put in time out, smacked once or twice on a bare bottom, scolded, and even had the trinkets/stickers taken away when she's had accidents. I've tried getting her to clean up her own mess, but she actually has fun taking the towels and patting the puddles. She thinks it's a game. And she especially loves the Spot Shot or carpet foam cleaner, so I don't do that when she's looking anymore.

This past week, she even started taking off her panties and hiding them from me, so I wouldn't see the evidence. And she's gone in more out-of-the-way locations, like right up against the couch or chair, or over by the wall in the play room. When I see she's without panties, I ask her where she went and what she did with her panties. She then walks right to where she hid them and points. Then, I go on a scouting mission to find the wet spot.

It was easier to train our dog than it's been to train our daughter!

She can say the words, get her potty seat and stool all by herself, and even turn on the light in the bathroom.

Praise God she doesn't mess her pants with a BM anymore. If I had to clean THAT up, I'd *really* be ready for the insane asylum.

Would that I could watch her during all of her waking moments, but that isn't possible with an infant who needs more of my attention. And I HAVE to work from home to supplement our income. But all of this is sapping my creativity for my writing, and it's making my clients suffer because I don't have enough blocks of time to do the design work necessary.

Of course, family comes first, so I make sure to spend a lot of quality time with my daughter, and I even engage her when playing with her brother. We read, we play toys and puzzles, we dance, and we run around. In fact, she probably gets more of my attention than her brother. So,I know this isn't an attention-getter.

I truly am out of ideas. Do YOU have any suggestions? In hindsight and further down the road, this will make for humorous stories. But for now, it's merely aggravating, exhausting, frustrating, and obvious defiance.

How about you? What potty-training struggles did you or someone you know have? And what worked for you? I'm open to just about anything at this point.

Tune in next week for the next "Monday Mishap with Mom." See you then!

And you can always look at the labels at the bottom of the right column to find "monday mishaps with mom" and read up on any week you've missed. My goal is to encourage mothers who feel a bit frazzled, and to help brighten your day as you start off your week. You're not alone.


Alison Strobel Morrow said...

We don't potty train at all. :) It's too much of a power struggle, as your daughter is so adept at proving! With Abby, I waited until she was 3 yrs 9 months, when I was positive she understood the concept of using the potty, paying attention to your body, etc., and then one days just said, "Okay, no more diapers." We stayed home for the next three days and I kept her bare bottomed the whole time so she knew there was no safety net. No accidents at all. PJ is almost 3 and a half, and she's a very different personality--she wants to use the potty, but not really. She'll go a couple days in underpants, and then ask for a diaper again. She's definitely not ready for me to tke the diapers away at all, so I leave it completely in her hands.

It sounds like your daughter is very spirited, which is a wonderful thing, albeit hard to parent sometimes. (GREAT BOOK: Raising Your Spirited Child) both my girls are spirited, though in completely different ways. PJ is spirited in the same way your daughter is, so believe me, I get it. :)

If she were my child, I would conclude that she simply isn't ready to be potty trained. She likes to experiment with it, which is great, but she hasn't reached a level of a) being physically able or b) being mentally willing to be completely potty trained. My advice would be to completely back off. Lave the child potty in the corner where she can still get to it, but cease all attempts to get her to uses it. Don't talk about it, don't ask her about it, don't drop hints or talk about how big girls use the potty, etc. That's just shaming--if she's just ready, then the isn't anything she can do about it, it's a developmental thing that she has no control over. She's not going to be 10 and still in diapers. ;) When she's ready, she'll either take the initiative herself, or your mama 6th sense will tell you she's ready.

And I totally encourage you to come join me on the message board at of very wise women with a lot of parenting experience under their belts. Lots of moms with spirited children to brainstorm with. I'm NovelMama there; come say hi!

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

You know, Alison, you make a good point. It seems we moms can fall prey to societal pressures of having our children potty-trained or reaching other milestones by certain ages. I know I'm guilty of it. As long as they're growing and progressing and aren't showing any developmental issues, we're golden!

But ironically, I wrote this post early and scheduled it, and maybe 2 days later, my daughter started going almost all the time in the potty. She says she has to go, she goes in alone and comes out to tell me, and she's only had 2 accidents in the past 5 days. One of those was at the Balloon Classic event where access to bathrooms wasn't easy. The other was because we let her nap too long. But if she's around the house, she goes on her own. If she's out, she tells someone.

All in all, I'm impressed, and it was almost as if she knew I was blogging about her. :) We'll see how it goes the rest of this week. I figure I need to relax. Even church doesn't "require" them to be potty-trained until age 3. At least that's the benchmark for them to move to the next classroom.

Oh, and if I get a chance, I'll check out the message board. But I'll be honest, I don't get to many of those these days. My "free" computer time is very limited.

Cheryl said...

Is this not the time to tell you I found it much harder to potty train my son than my girls?

I hope things are going better. I think I got smarter by the time the girls came along. My son was past his 4th birthday before he was fully potty trained. It was aggravating. I took a different approach with my girls and it worked much better.

First, I didn't force the issue. I started trying when the oldest of the girls turned 2. She used the potty off and on, but she really preferred her diapers or pull-ups. When our other daughter came along, any progress we made was lost, just like you saw with your daughter.

Two things made a difference. When the youngest was old enough to be walking around, she wanted to use the potty, so it became kind of a competition between them. More than that, though, I allowed the oldest to bring her potty chair out to the living room, remove all her clothes, and sit wrapped in a blanket while she watched TV. That probably sounds nuts, but it worked. She started going more on the potty more often. At some point the potty was brought back into the bathroom, and both girls were fully trained around the same time. The youngest wasn't even 2 yet.

My pastor's wife came from Muldova. Because they still use cloth diapers, they start potty training over there at 6 months. Sounds nuts, but she did the same thing with their daughter and she was fully potty trained by the time she was 18 months old.

Good luck.

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

Hmm, not sure leaving my daughter undressed and wrapped in a blanket would help, as when she's been without a pull-up, she's peed on the floor or couch or wherever she happens to be. And she actually hates the potty seat. She wants to use the "real" potty like mommy and daddy. So, we got rid of that for now. She only has one of the seats only that hangs on the wall if she needs it.

I've also heard boys are harder to train, but at least I have 1-1/2 years before I have to do this again. :)

Thanks for the support.