Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Why? Potty Why?

I thought we had it licked. I thought it was sorted. I thought I could rid my hands of the messy business.

But no.

This gig, I could foresee, was going to take months, possibly years ...

Potty training is an onerous, frustrating mission. Two steps forward. Ten steps back.

Little A first began her 'ascension to the throne' back in January. That failed.

So I waited until she'd danced, skipped, and bunny hopped passed two and a quarter. This met with more success. Every day we held potty training sessions. A few hours in the morning. A couple in the evening. Little A sat on her potty like a true monarch. She climbed on her toilet seat like a record breaking mountaineer. She aimed. She fired. The wee wees flowed. A tinkle here. A flash flood there. But no poos. Those were still the reserve of her nappy ...

Then one day, of her own volition, Little A decided, "Mummy, I want to put my clothes on, on my woone (own), and my pants too." I spotted the opportunity. I saw the opening. And like a Roman with a big, big plan I carpe diemed with gusto ...

 "Okay Little A, you go for it , but from now on, apart from nap times and bed times, you are wearing pants. If you want to do a wee or poo, you have to do them on the potty or toilet."

 "Okay  Mummy."

Hallelujah.

The first poo on the potty, after a few months of cajoling (and bribing), was undoubtedly a mile stone...

"Look Mummy, I've done a wiggly worm."

More followed ...

"Look Mummy, I have poo all over my hand."

"Noooooo Little A, we don't wipe poo with our hands."

And then it all came to a grinding halt. The sticker charts (we have a separate one for wees and poos) lost their glittering appeal, even the extra, extra special stickers for number twos.

Little A, protesting her anal rights, refused to do anymore poos on her potty.

"Mummy, I want to do my poo in my nappy."

There was no argument to be had.

Why? Why? Why? .....

Why won't you poo on the potty?
Why do you poo under the kitchen table?
Why do you poo (in a leisurely manner) just before bedtime?
And, whilst I'm on the subject, why do you insist on looking down the toilet ... when I'm on the toilet?

And... then we found ourselves in the throes of a vicious cycle. Little A needed a poo. But by the time I'd fastened the nappy, it had gone away. And over the course of a few days of 'nappy - no poo', she became constipated, scared of emptying her bowels, of doing what she describes as a 'hurty poo'. And when it did eventually arrive (after nearly a week's abstinence), it caused her considerable discomfort.

So now we find ourselves in the situation whereby Little A is scared of releasing her number twos in either her nappy or on the toilet (she still won't go on the potty, but we've managed a few successes on the toilet, which is actually a better result). And it takes her ages to go. She feels a bowel movement, then clenches her buttocks, withholding with all her might. She whimpers. She cries 'help'. I sit with her, rubbing her back, calmly coaxing, reassuring, that it will be okay, that she will feel much better after she's done the deed. Its almost akin to helping a birthing mother through transition and second stage.

Last night it took her nearly four hours to let go and release her goodies. In the end she did it in her cot - the act of falling asleep enabled her to relax enough to go. She felt very pleased, relieved that the battle of her bowels was at an end, for now .....

So... What have your challenges been with toilet training? Have you encountered a similar problem? How did you solve the issue?

This post was meant to be a response to a tag from the wonderful Bibsey but it morphed into something else entirely. The tag was for a meme called 'Why' - A kind of parental revenge for every 'why' asked by a demanding toddler. 

27 comments:

  1. Oh dear. Poor you! Have you not heard of Maltesers / chocolate / bribes? I never used the potty with either of my boys - went straight for the loo and, on the advice of their Nursery teacher, let them wee and poo their pants - as they only do it once or twice. My youngest couldn't get his pants off quick enough when he did a no. 2 and it went all over the loo walls. Put me right off Nutella it did! ;) Good luck. XX

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    1. This comment made me laugh out loud! x

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    2. We are headed in that direction - chocolate buttons all the way! Now that advice from the nursery teacher sounds very sensible. I love Nutella - better make that loved - all over the loo walls? That made me chortle verily loudly too!

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  2. Big waves of empathy! We had a horrendous tme with constipation when it came to potty training in the end we resorted to a diet of dates and lactulose. We did get through it and then the rest of potty training was a breeze.

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    1. Thank you! What a mission - all those books make it sound like it will be so easy - they don't seem to cover the challenges you might face - Little A is eating lots of raisins and fruit at the moment! Glad you made it to the other side!

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  3. You have my every sympathy! My daughter was exactly the same but she is the wilful one! Everything had to be done on her terms or not at all. It turns out, that children really don't like the sensation of the poo falling out - it feels like their insides are coming away from them. If you think about it, they have never experienced this sensation before. Eventually, after many months of trauma, hair being pulled out and me bribing her, she got it.....your daughter will too :) x

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    1. Thank you for your lovely, supportive comment. Little A is also willful - I had also read that - that the sensation of pooing is very strange outside of a nappy. I think the chocolate buttons will be coming out! X.

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  4. Oh dear, I used chocolate buttons with my oldest. Good luck xxx

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    1. I think I'm going to too! Thank you. X.

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  5. Dear Older Mum - I have just started on the potty training in this last fortnight. And yes, it is two steps forward (we had three full days of weeing and pooing on the toilet / potty whichever takes his fancy at the time) but yesterday he abstinately insisted on peeing all over the floor (systematically in every room) and in the end I resorted to going back to the pull up. Then spent the next three hours questioning that if I do that am I just confusing him completely? It is a minefield. And my little one also has the same fascination with inspecting the toilet when I have been on it - must be a toddler thing... So I am in complete and utter sympathetic cahoots with you on this one. Perseverence - I believe that is the only key!xxx

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    1. A very similar thing happened with me - Little A was so enthusiastic to begin with and then she just lost interest. So out came the sticker charts - more interest - then she lost interest in that. Now the chocolate buttons may have to come out.

      No I don't think it will confuse him if you have to use pull ups now and again - I still use them when Little A needs a nap. She is so used to wearing pants and weeing in her potty/toilet now that she actually asks if its okay to wee in her pull ups (she knows she's not supposed to in her pants).

      Stiff upper lip all the way!X.

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  6. You have my sympathy. I was relatively lucky with Pip (although frankly, he challenged me in so many other areas I deserved for one thing to go right!). But, my best friend's little girl, was. v. similar to Little A. Would only poo under the kitchen table, and needed to be naked apart from a nappy. It did continue for quite a long time. She was nearly 4 when they cracked it and she finally started going to the loo to do a no 2. I think by this point she was old enough to understand/ have a conversation about it.

    One piece of advice I was given (but didn't try) was to give them a pot of bubbles to blow when on the potty trying to do a no 2. Apparently the act of blowing means they can't clench their bottom muscles. May be an old wives tale...as I say, haven't tried it ( not myself obviously, Pip I mean.) x

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    1. When you are going through these challenges you are tempted to think its just you, just your child having these problems - so its good to know (your friend) that there are others who have been through similar situations. Apparently, with holding poo is quite common. Love the idea of blowing bubbles (I might try it :o)) - that makes a lot of sense! Glad you got lucky with Pip. X

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  7. Oh my goodness, we had the EXACT same problem in our house! It lasted months... (sorry!) We eventually had to take him to the doctor for laxatives, the constipation/pain/hoding in cycle got so bad. That sorted it out though, finally... Good luck!! x

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    1. No worries - I'm kinda preparing for this to go on for months, and months, and months. I'm also prepared for a trip to the doctor and laxatives too! We'll get there. Thank you X.

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  8. We are potty training at the moment. Completely dry and clean in the house, but as soon as i put clothes on and big boy pants and step out of the house, it all goes horribly wrong!I tried it once, and now put pull ups when we go out( I haven't had the strength to persevere!) So this week end I intent to go for it. . .wish me luck!

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    1. So far, its taken months, and each week seems to bring up a new challenge. I remember the first time I went outside with Little A in pants - I was nervous - kept asking her if she needed a wee every ten minutes ... I wish you luck - the more you do it - the less accidents will happen!

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  9. Ah yes, it all sounds so familiar. Just one difference, I went straight for a toilet training seat and skipped potty stage. We had the same thing happen in Jan, all good for a short while, then complete regression - for us it was the result of a tummy bug, thanks tummy bug.
    We went for it again mid summer, when we had the first brief hot spell. In general it is good, but then we have days like last week, when she suddenly started pooping in her pants, that's now passed, but instead, yesterday, come the evening, she peed in her pants twice in a row, even though she could easily have asked to go to the toilet. Might have been a reaction to being unsettled at new ballet class, I don't know. But one thing I know is that I really don't like the succession of washing going into the machine, not least when it includes my clothes because MP has peed in her pants then come and sat on me!!!!!!

    Good luck soldier, we will get there!

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    1. It's very stop - start isn't it? Little A now insists on pooing in her cot at bedtime, a phase I'm sure will pass! I think you are probably right - that the stress of ballet might have caused Ma Puce to go! Wet, cold knees from wet cold pants - not nice !!!

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  10. Oh bless her. Poor thing. Sounds a bit like the fear of pooing after child birth. Bibs is the same, in that she won't poo on the loo or potty. She needs a nappy for that and has a special place where she does it as well. My thinking is that one day she will just decide that she wants to do it on the loo. Keep us posted!

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    1. I know! Oh yes, I can remember that first poo after childbirth wasn't very pleasant! I'm trying to take a relaxed approach - Little A can poo how ever, where ever, she will get it one day!

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  11. Poor you. I totally understand. I thought we were getting there, but now several months on after starting the process we still aren't anywhere near. I'm trying to be relaxed - ha!

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    1. It just goes on and on and on .... doesn't it? We'll get there in the end - I'm trying to be as relaxed as I can be too - ha!

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  12. There is definitely an issue with poos with a lot of children and I think that they just don't like the sensation which can make it really difficult. My A has potty trained well and even she struggles with the poos. She goes on the toilet and we make a big fuss about the "splash" or sing silly songs which seem to distract her a bit. Good luck x

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    1. Yes definitely. Little A just can't tell when she's actually done them - but we have seen a big improvement over the last week - she's done a few o the potty with my help. Singing silly songs - good idea! X

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  13. We used chocolate buttons to encourage poos on the potty but like Little A, he didn't like the sensation of going so would hold it in.
    I will not lie to you, it was stressful and it did not get better overnight. There is no magic formula, but one day he just did it. Just sat on the potty and did a poo. We've not had any problems since but it felt like an age until we got there. Good Luck! She'll get there in the end, just hang in there x

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    1. Hello! She's just starting to get the hang of it - we've had a few more poos on the potty, and she's a little less nervous, but I still have chocolate at the ready. And like you say, she will get there in the end. X.

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