12 March 2014

non-linear: on eventual child-led toilet training

Oh my good god/goddess/all-that-is, just when I thought Della would never potty train in any way, ever... she did.

Backstory: Over a year ago in daycare she was using the potty there. She would occasionally use the little one here. But just occasionally.  We always celebrated appropriately, and I thought it would just be that way. Then she was pinched by a toilet seat at daycare, and that was that.
The end.

We live in a small carpeted apartment. The whole, let her go nekkid thing was never going to work. Also, while she is smart and wily, rewards (stickers) were of no interest. Not even chocolate chips...
But then...
Suddenly (and I do mean suddenly), a few weeks ago during a visit at my sister's, something clicked and she just started using their toilet.
Not that it has been linear-- a week of perfectly perfect perfection then a strong desire to be back in diapers... somehow (like her momma) taking a few steps forward and a few backwards, maybe afraid of letting go of being "little".
A few pees in pants when distracted, and then days in underwear with no issue. Then a few days in pull ups again...
wow. It is happening, finally, but non-linearly, and this is all about bending my knees and riding out the bumps without freaking out. (But why can't you use the potty today? You used it for the past week? what the heck?)-- well, it comes down to poop.

HOLY CRAP PEOPLE, this child is textbook retentive.
We're talking hours of intense crying, arched back, tiptoes, terror, holding it in with all her might. Don't touch me! MOMMA! horrible ness. She does not want to sit on the potty ever when she feels anything like anything that may mean poop is moving.... WILL NOT. Any sensation associated with it causes fear. It is horrible. HORRIBLE. I hate it. I do not use the word hate lightly.

We have had to take action (aka "butt medicine"/suppository intervention) once to avoid a trip to the ER one late evening when I thought they might actually need to go in there and get it out.

This has never been easy for her, but lately it has been just increasingly dramatic in terms of withholding and fear.
So she will only poop in her diaper (fine, I just want her to poop)-- and we are now supplementing with some good soluble fiber after an epic fail with
-all things food (prunes, plums, pears)
-all things gummy (fiber)
-all things that are miralax-ish (thick, slippery, salty, eww)
-all things small and chocolately and bear shaped, and magnesiumy (she ate them but not happily, but they did nothing)....
-all things small and fake-watermelony (HA one lick and it was over, salty badness)

we are doing what we can with our camel of a non-drinking child.
No juice passes her lips.
So water, yes, and yes we are still nursing but let's leave that alone for now, shall we?

We hide the fiber in a few bites of chocolate pudding, feel like heros, and spend time in prayer that she will poop before it becomes too painful and just reinforces the horrible cycle of badness.

So today, I celebrate the good: she is at daycare in underwear. Wow.
and today I celebrate that she pooped yesterday, so we can all just relax.


Susan Jett said...

Funny you should post this, since we've just decided that we're DONE dealing with poopy diapers. He's been peeing in the right spot--in the daytime--for almost a year. But poop? Nope. It's not a constipation thing, he just doesn't wanna. And I've been trying and trying, and bribing and ignoring, and trying and failing and failing and failing.

I have never been so frustrated with anything as with potty training. You are both in my thoughts, and here's wishing us all some excellent poos on the potty very very soon...

babyinterrupted said...

So, who knows if this will help - our girl was similar in doing fine with pee but not with poop. Finally, someone suggested that we get a "magic pooping stick" (in our case, a $1 insanely bright blinking Cinderella wand from Tar.get). It helped a ton. We told her that holding the magic pooping stick would help her poop - which, because I think she was finally able to relax a bit, it sort of did. I felt a little manipulative. But I feel that way, well, a fair amount while parenting. So, for what it's worth...

Ben & Anne said...

I totally feel for you. My eldest son was 2.5yo and quite confidently peeing in the toilet and wearing underwear but would not under any circumstance poop in anything other than a diaper until he was four. And that was because we got medical help and gave him no choice (and I really did not want to do that but could not bear him starting proper school and being too frightened to go to the toilet or in pain).

We tried stickers, chocolate treats, big treats, going to toys r us and saying you can have anything at all if you do it on the toilet.... We held him on there screaming and writhing, we ignored it for months on end and gave into it.....

In the end this is what worked for us:

Getting him to sit on the toilet after each meal and read a story then have a treat and a cuddle and lots of oraise , no mention whatsoever if pooping on there, just sitting.

After a month or so of this mentioning that the diapers would be going away soon and he would need to poop on the toilet and it would be just like this, sitting, reading, treat.

Reading the story if "poo goes to pooland" on u tube (weird story, he loved it and really wanted to help poo find his mummy and daddy in poo land.

Then on 'd day' we got him to throw all the nappies in the bin, we told him what was happening and we hid his medicine in his chocolate milk. (Medicine being a children's osmotic laxative at a strong enough prescribed level that he could not ignore. His doctor had prescribed it).

We had a week of tears and terror and my husband having to hold him on when he needed to go and gradually it got easier. After another week he would go by himself at home without needing us. He'd be so proud and we would read a story and fuss over him. After about a month he was willing to go places other than home. I then reduced and ultimately stopped the medication.

I honestly thought we would not solve this with our son and now three months on it is a complete non issue. For us we had to go through some tough love to get there but every child is different. Wishing you very good luck.

Queenie said...

At least you've made progress with the pee. At that age with Miss M, I was quite sure we'd never potty train. The most helpful advice I got was to relax, not make an issue of it, and it would happen. Sure enough, it did, around age 3.5. Summer is coming. It'll sort itself out. On her timeline!

Emily Erin said...

Oh my; do I feel you on the poop thing! Abby is the same way-- poop only in the diaper and in one of her 'spots'. If it gets to quiet I know to look in my craft room corner or beside her bed. She's also bad for taking off the pull up (put on to catch said poop) from time to time so that I have to find her (not so small-- who knew that a 3 year old could create that?!) droppings on the carpet and remind her for what feels like the 100th time that we poop in the potty or a pull up. Sigh. This will end but in the now, it can be HARD. Sorry that so many of the suggestions for getting fluids in don't help. For Abby, she loves juice boxes, and so waste be damned, she gets juice boxes because liquid. So standing and abiding with you here for whatever that's worth and saying loudly that you're doing great and that eventually, this too shall pass-- and hopefully not to painfully.

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