Friday, March 18, 2011

Potty Training...What Else

There's a lot of information out there on potty training. I've done gobs of research. I've also listened with an open mind when I'm reminded that every kid has his own timeline, it may be a control issue, and I should be patient and let him go when he's ready.
I know that.
I've learned that Ender's "case" is unique as far as internet help goes. I'm not going to find someone else's question to fit mine exactly. But who really wants to pose the question out in the Random Internet? I'd prefer the acquainted side of the internet. That is, my blog readers.
First of all, here's a little background of Ender's current status after about six months of  potty training.

pull down his pants
pull up his pants
climb/sit on potty
wash hands with soap
dry hands with towel
avoid pee accidents (stay dry at night, stay dry during naps, stay dry when he wants!)

aim [pee] properly - we've had a tiny bit of success a few times
wipe properly
avoid poop accidents

And Ender wears only underwear. We have put him in pull-ups when he's had diarrhea, and that's it.
I'm not too concerned about his peeing habits; he never wets his pants. We've trained him to pee sitting down, and he has recently started learning to go standing up, too. He's good at it, and he's willing, so it's not the main issue on my mind.

Ender knows when he has to go, but he'll only tell us if he has to pee. He knows that poop belongs in the toilet. He's not scared of it, he's seen how the whole process works, he loves to flush, and he has had some success in pooping on the toilet.
I think one problem is that he likes to poop standing up. But I don't want to bend to that because that method isn't applicable in every bathroom. He'd have to completely pull his pants off, and he's not tall enough to make it work over a full-size toilet.
Ender changes his mind over which toilet to use, trainer or not, and he doesn't seem to care either way except that it's fun to have a choice.
Sometimes he will hide when he has to poop. Hiding can be something kids do when they want privacy to poop. Boy do I understand! So we've tried different ways of giving him privacy; sending him to the toilet by himself, getting him situated and then leaving, standing behind a closed door, etc. We ask him what he'd like, but he changes his mind all the time about whether he wants us there or not.
On the other hand, maybe he hides because I tend to get cranky when he poops in his underwear. You can bet I know I'm not supposed to make a big deal out of it! And you can bet I try so hard not to--with success most of the time. But you know what, I'm very human when it comes to poop. Poop is gross. Poop is not pleasant. Therefore, I am not always pleasant when I have to deal with poop.

Also hard to deal with is Ender's 3-year-old logic. He knows the poop goes in the toilet, but he doesn't seem to care. He'll say cheerfully after we flush some poop from his underwear, "next time go in the toilet!" Yeah right, this was that next time. He used to get washed in the tub after these incidents, but even when it was cold water he kind of liked it. He even seemed to poop on purpose so he could ask for the bath/shower, so we scratched that method.

I ask Ender often if he needs to go. He'll give me a panicked look and say "NO!" if he seems to think I'll rush him to the toilet. But I don't do that. Ever since he was teensy and still in diapers, I've been careful to leave that choice up to him. Still, it's not fun when he poops just half a minute after I've asked the question. It does make me wonder if he's afraid to poop on the toilet, but we've talked about it with him, and he has gone on the toilet some few times (with great rewards/praise). It does make me wonder if it hurts his stomach/bottom to poop, since he will often wait long periods between bowel movements. It's totally possible. I'm totally considering a child-safe stool softener.

I have read SO many suggestions, and I've finally compiled a list of all the many things we will try (it is a BIG list, I'm not kidding). We will try each thing for at least 2 weeks, if not more. We will do our best to be consistent with whatever method we feel will be best.
It's important to me to potty train Ender completely. I know he's young, but I know he can figure it out. I feel like he needs to be potty trained completely when Scarlett is born (I am aware it's possible to make things work otherwise, but I'm sticking to this). When Michael was a kid, he pooped his pants for years, and his mom just dealt with it, including having him clean up on his own.
But I don't feel like this needs to take years.

...Was it really as easy for my mom as she made it sound? She just expressed her sadness and gentle disappointment when we had an accident in our panties, and we felt so sad and disappointed ourselves that we made a greater effort to use the potty. Drinking juice on the potty and enjoying books helped, too. Voila! (It didn't work with Ender, and I tried that method the most consistently. Maybe she was only talking about the girl potty training, since she did that five times).

In the beginning of it all, it seemed simpler...there weren't any bad potty habits yet. :( The scale has tipped a little to the other end since then, and the negative seems to outweigh the positive. I certainly try to stay optimistic...

Please indulge and tell me your suggestions or success stories, if you have any. I have a lot of suggestions already, but I don't think it would hurt to ask for more. I just feel tired of the process. It's getting old, that's all.
I do feel right about persisting with training him.

To see the suggestions and information I've gathered in a big list, click here.

Oh help! Please!


  1. I wish I had some magic trick to pass on and make things easier. I've decided that potty training is THE hardest thing I do in the first five years. The only thing I can add that wasn't already on your long list (that I can think of right now) was something we've been doing with Esther. Can you believe she's still not consistent? Oh, it drives me bonkers. But now she cleans up after herself, with my coaching so at least I don't have to touch it. That's not the idea I wanted to share though - we bought flushable wipes and a fun liquid soap dispenser that are ONLY for her. They're exciting to her, and the wipes make it so much easier for her to wipe well.

    Just keep at it and eventually it'll happen.

  2. I understand your pain! With Max he was fine going pee but pooping in the potty was the harder part. We put up a sticker chart and when he peed he got one sticker if he pooped in the potty he got 2 stickers. Before we made the chart we took him to Walmart and let him pick out one toy that he could earn when he got 10 stickers. That did the trick with him. I agree with Abby, the flushable wipes helped a lot with teaching him to wipe too. Good luck! It will get easier. :)


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