Wednesday, December 14, 2005

I am so tired of holding my sh*t together while my children lose theirs.

To say we have struggled with potty training in this house is an understatement.

I have heard that when the children are ready, they will train themselves. My question is, when is that day coming? Anna is more than 4 1/2, and we still struggle daily.

Before you get all judgemental on me (and to keep this post from turning into a book called, "How Not to Potty Train Your Child: Exhausting 1001 Methods") please know I have really done everything short of beating the kids or bribing them with MnMs.

We have even made an appointment with her pediatrician to talk about it. She asked us what motivates Anna, is it wearing big girl panties, not wearing diapers? No, she seems happy to wear the convenient stuff and sit in her filth all day. The pediatrician made some recommendations that really helped with the urine accidents. But, when the urine accidents stopped, she started having poop accidents. No big b.m.'s (she still does that in the potty) but leaky small soft ones in the afternoon. Like daily. Today, she did it twice. And, she still leaks enough urine to cause her serious dermatitis between her thighs.

Colin showed great interest months ago, even requested to poop in the potty at my sister's house back in June. Since then, suggesting to him to go poop or pee in the potty is like suggesting we pull out his fingernails with his little toy pliers. On weekends or days I'm around a lot, he runs around nudie or I put him in training pants. By mid-day, he's had so many accidents, he's frustrated and requesting a diaper, and all I'm doing is cleaning up the floor and doing laundry.

So, I back off (like everything I read suggests). He tells me when he poops and sometimes even just if he's wet, but now is totally refusing to go on the potty. We used to have a routine where everytime I changed his diaper I put him on the pot and he'd pee. I'd clap and verbally reward him. Now, he NEVER wants to be on the pot, he moans the whole time, "I don't LIKE it... I wanna get DOWN..." He hasn't peed on the pot for weeks.

Today, I knew he hadn't peed in his diaper for at least 1 hour, so I knew he had to go. I put him on the pot and sat down next to him on the comfy (ha!) linoleum floor. I figured we'd just sit and talk and eventually his urges would get the best of him. We sang a few songs, but mostly Colin just played with the toilet seat, then wanted to stick his fingers in my mouth, then played with the lid, then wanted to stick his fingers in my nostril...

Hmm, how much time was I willing to devote to this project? Being the holiday season, we did need to run errands before picking Anna up at school. 15 minutes, I decided. When he told me he wanted to touch my eyes with my eyelids open after 12 minutes, it seemed like the moment of opportunity had passed and we were just in a battle of wills. As I rose from the floor, I thought, "What is this brown mud under my shoe?"

Then I realized. In the moment I had lifted Colin onto the toilet, a small soft poo must have fallen out of his butt. I stepped on it, then sat in it, for 12 minutes. In the bathroom which had been cleaned that morning.

I am so tired of poop and pee and feeling like we live in a litter box. I hear and read about people like Alice whose son potty trained himself in a weekend while she was preoccupied with other things, and I'm happy for them, but I haven't had any inkling of that. I encourage it, and it doesn't happen. I back off, and it doesn't get better. I feel like this is harder than vet school. At least in vet school there was a definitive end, and I had buddies going through the exact same thing as me. (OK yes I am wallowing in it a bit today--literally).

12 comments:

EdamameMommy said...

huhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh! I am NOT doing the silent Brooks Family laugh, but rather the outloud, oh-this-sounds-all-too-familiar one. Oh Jenn Jenn! I'm sorry but the part where you sat in his poo for 12 minutes. Oh my (or, as Graham says mimicking his Nana, "Oh Dear!")

I'm sorry. But I do have to add, why haven't you tried bribing them with M&Ms? Not that I think it is the one surefire thing you absolutely must try, just more of a curiousity question. And I really WOULD like that book on the 1001 things not to do, since I am raising two very close blood relatives, one of whom is spookily similarly perceptive like her cousin...

Other than that, all I can say is I hear you, sister, and I feel your pain. Great title, btw.

Jess said...

Hum...I am no potty training expert, but I think you've definitely tried hard to get those two potty trained. Man, being a parent seems so stressful sometimes. I know you can get those two potty trained, you're a great mother! Hopefully they will come around before they reach the age of maturity. :)

Jess said...

Oh, Jennifer, I told my mom about Anna's dislike for using the potty and she told me that as soon as Anna gets into Kindergarden, where everyone is potty trained and a "big kid", she will want to be one too. My mom thinks that the first time Anna has an accident at "real school", she'll realize real quick that she doesn't want to be the only "un-potty trained big kid" out there. Who knows if my mom is correct? I sure wish if that's the case, there was some way to save Anna the embarrassment of an accident at "real school". Kids can be so cruel. :(

Anonymous said...

OHHHHHHHHHH, my! Ug! I'm sorry to hear of the sluggish progress of potty training! =/ I don't know the slightest way to help you....but to just sympathize with your plight! I do think you have a very clever title(like that helps any).........

*Gives Jenn hug over internet*

Love ya, keep at it(I really have no room to talk, since I'm not "wallowing" in, the "stuff" all day like you are).. BUT....I think what Jess and her mom said will come true for Anna, kids do pick up on those kinds of things.

Hang in there,Jenn!

Love-Bevie-

Aunty Norma said...

Well,Jenn. am afraid Jess' Mum is right! When I read your words what comes through very clearly is that the kids know that you are bothered about their 'toilet' ways and as all children are (for want of a nicer word) crafty they will have you on the end of a rope...so at the risk of you banning me from your wonderful Blog I must tell you to LEAVE THEM TO IT! they are quite intelligent children and so what if they DO have a couple of 'accidents' it's not the end of the World (and you are having them now anyway)everytime 'it' happens say (sweetly as you can) "oh dearie me..lets get this mess cleaned up" then gathering all the strength you can muster..clean 'em up and carry on with what you were doing...I do hope I don't sound a 'know it all' but I know from mine and other peoples' experience IT WORKS...good luck. x

Aunty Norma said...

oops am here again...forgot to say before...about the 'leaky' little poops...I was told 'lay of the fruit' !!! not entirely but smaller doses (cos we all need our five a day) xx

paula said...

Jenn, I hear your pain Cousin, I only have to deal with Luke and I have to admit I have been very quietly putting off the great potty training moment. I get so stressed at the thought of it, I was told by a few health professionals to leave him to it and he will eventually sort it out himself, I have to say he tells me when he needs to pooh (mostly) and he definitely knows what to do with wee wee's as he sometimes says "wee wee now" and walks upstairs, pulls his pull up's down and sits on his lidded potty and wee's but this tends to coincide with wanting to delay his nap/night sleep. Thing is, you try getting him to do it everyday as he should do - now that's a different story - BEDLAM. My friend gave me a book called Potty Training in One Week by Gina Ford (she of Contended Little Baby fame), I read it in one sitting and it did seem to make sense but the difficult bit is when she says leave them in proper underwear all the time, never put them back in nappies (ever!) and stay indoors for a whole day for the first day. Great in an ideal world but physically impossible for Moi. I've spoken to loads of mums about it 'cos it really stresses me and they all say as Jess's mum does that they will get there by school age, no child wants to appear different and have nappies on in school. It's so maddening though when you come across mum's who's kids are trained by 18 months old, they make me feel like a right lazy arse mum. Also, when they get to Colin and Luke's age their pooh's are really really dreadful aren't they! I do think though as aunty Norma says the more of a big deal we make of it the more they play us up. Love and Hugs XXX

messymama1 said...

Oh Jenn, it is so hard. Just when you think things will get better (life after diapers), the potty training makes things worse. For awhile. Then they get better. Kids really are gross. DO NOT bribe with M&M's!! Bribery doesn't work, as you discovered with Vino, because it teaches the kid to do just enough to get the reward, then they can slack off again. This issue is about control and kids don't have much power, so they seize it in the arenas available to them. That is why backing off for awhile often helps. And that is where my not-so-helpful advice ends. I know you've tried everything and I wish I could give you something you could really use here, other than Febreze. Just try to hang in there and know that, someday, you will look back on this and think "That was so much easier to deal with than preventing teen pregnancy".

Emily said...

I feel for you, Jenn. I can't seem to get Sabrina trained on the litter box for her poops either. (Just joking...I know it's not the same.) Hang in there!

EdamameMommy said...

LMAO at messymama1's teen pgcy prevention comment.

jen said...

OH, I truly, truly feel your pain. My son is 4 1/2 and still not trained completely. We're a wreck. When I say we've tried everything, I truly mean it. We've seen a pediatric urologist and are now seeing a pediatric GI specialist. Loads of fun. If I come up with anything that works, I'll share it...if you share with me! LOL

Library Lady said...

I DO have to get back to that second part of my blog entry on toilet training, don't I? :)

There's some great advice here, Jenn, but the best part is Aunty Norma's "leave them to it!"

It's a power struggle. And the more you struggle, the more fun they're having!

One thing I do know that can help is if someone ELSE does the training. Is there a teacher or other outside person that can help? My older girl refused to train until her preschool teacher stepped in and a week later, she was all set. And with JR I just WAITED until she got to preschool and let the same teacher get involved.

If not, let Anna take control of how she's going to do this. Peer pressure next year in K probably WILL work. And Colin will do what his big sister does. Hang in there!!!