Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Potty training...

...is not going well. At all. I need your help. Noah seems to be regressing as in we were so sure he was ready for underpants, he had really gotten excited about using the potty, and he was letting us know when he had to go. Now, however, he's begun to wet his Pull-Ups all day at school, tells his teachers he's wet and he doesn't care, and yesterday afternoon he had THREE #2 accidents within an hour. One of them was in just shorts so I bet you can tell how that one ended up. Thank god for anti-bacterial spray and hardwood floors.

We have tried m&ms as rewards for each successful potty trip. We have tried bigger rewards for staying dry and using the potty over longer periods of time i.e. days. We have tried offering special outings as incentive to stay dry/use the potty and HE DOESN'T CARE. We have tried taking away bedtime books for days when he's wet or refuses to use the potty at school. We have tried taking away toys, outings, anything that seems "special" to him. He doesn't care. And when I say he doesn't care, I mean he tells me he doesn't care and is completely unfazed. It seems like rewards for GOOD behavior don't work and neither does punishment for BAD behavior.

We have tried explaining that "when you're a big boy who goes on the potty and not in your pants, you get to do special big boy things like go to the bounce house place/go to the fire station and sit in the fire truck/go to the pool/etc." and he nods in agreement and says that he'll be a big boy and go on the potty. And then...nothing. Wet all day. Most of his friends at school are potty trained and even the peer influence doesn't seem to be working.

I thought maybe it's that he's at school all day and they can't be on him like I can when we're home. But we've tried the "stay in for the weekend, run around without pants on, potty victory" party and it doesn't stick once he's back at school. Very rarely will he tell us he needs to go potty and will just go...in his shorts, in his underpants, in his Pull-Ups, in his diaper. It doesn't seem to matter if he has something absorbent on or not.

I'm sorry this is rambling and slightly incoherent...I just don't know what else to do. What worked for you? Charts? More incentives? Taking away toys/books/trips? Do you think he's just not really ready and we need to back off for a couple weeks? Should we just back off and wait until after baby is here and things have settled down? Maybe try again when I'm home on maternity leave and we can focus on it some more?

Sigh. We've been at this for nearing five months and I am reaching my capacity to deal with it. This kid is smart, I'm pretty sure he gets the drill, he just won't DO IT. Any advice?

(P.S. Tim told someone the other day that I was a "mommyblogger" and my feathers got all ruffled and I was like "I write about more than our kid!" and then I realized that no....I don't. I have to accept the fact that I am a mommyblogger who writes about potty training. It's a thrilling ride over here, is it not?)


Jessica said...

At our house, all potty training has done is make my daughter realize how awesome diapers are.

Do you want to wear big girl underwear? NO! I want diaper! I love diapers!

k said...

If it were me and I was struggling and frustrated and about to explode a baby out of my lady bits...I would take potty training off the list. If his teachers aren't sweating it, then don't sweat it at home either.

Just tell yourself (and it's not a lie or anything at all) that he'll get when he gets it. And he SO will.


I say slap a diaper or Pull-Up on his biscuits, give him a few months, let Baby C join the fam and then see if maybe the potty is appealing to him.

Regardless, you are great.

Sara said...

Jessica--Yep. He loves diapers. He loves pull-ups. He loves underpants. He also loves to go in all of them. Doesn't discriminate.

K--I think you're right. I don't think he's ready and forcing the issue is making me frustrated and causing Tim and I to argue far more than is necessary over our child's potty habits. I just feel like we've tried so damn hard...what doesn't he get? You know?

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I wonder if Noah senses all the changes going on at home ... your physical/mood changes, changes to the home, etc. And maybe this is his way of maintaining some level of attention from you and Tim.

I've heard all too many stories of potty-trained older kids regressing when a sibling arrives anyway. My gut tells me you should take it off the table until baby comes home. Let him get accustomed to being a big brother and maybe then you try it again.

If it makes you feel better, the mamas didn't bother trying to potty my older niece until my younger niece was born ... you're so not alone.

Michelle said...

Can you feel me hugging you from Ohio? Because I am. We were just about where you are a month ago. Now? We are nearly accident free and in undies for awake time, pull-ups for sleep.
This is what worked for us: We waited and waited for her to be ready on her own. We tried one weekend and failed. Big time. Then, we got tired of waiting, took her to pick out her own undies and potty seat (even though we had both) and just said, this is it. No more diapers. Oh and by the way, no movies until you use the potty. And if you poop, you can have anything you want from Target. Anything.
In almost two weeks time, she's only had four accidents in her undies. She went four days without pooping and is still not regular but getting better.
She tells us on her own now that she must use the potty.
This is just what worked for us. Every kid is different.
Good luck. I'm thinking of you.

Cass Still Curious said...

I don't know this first hand but Noah is one day going to be a man...that being so...he'll do it when he wants to and not one minute before. I mean how many times have we done the dishes because they were going to get to it "in a minute" - just ride the tide baby.

Michelle said...

Oh and? I would wait until the baby comes. He will mostly likely regress anyway. You don't want to be cleaning up accidents sleep deprived. Give him (and you) some time to adjust. This is why I didn't push potty training until recently.

Sara said...

Don't we all agree Cass just nailed it on the head? MEN. Pfffft.

Hillary said...

K -- and others -- are right. I would take it off the table for now. Seems like maybe this is him exercising control over something he can when he knows other things, like that baby sister on the way, are going to be taking control away.

Michelle said...

I have nothing to offer but support. Finn was one of those kids who freakishly early potty trained himself. The only thing we did was let him run around nudie butt, obviously that won't work at school!

I've always heard people say they do it when they want to, so maybe just put him back in diapers and let it be a non-issue? Maybe reverting back to babyhood will change his tune?

bessie.viola said...

Oh man, this is SO familiar. Madeline seemed ready and we went at it all gung-ho only to have her slam on the brakes. HARD. She would cry/throw fits/etc. whenever the potty was MENTIONED and we did all the treats/special stuff that you mentioned and yeah. DID NOT CARE. Same shrug of the shoulders/total indifference you described with Noah. Even the princess potty seat was no match for her total stubborn refusal.

Then one day she said she had to go, went in the bathroom and (with some help) went. She had some accidents and stuff along the way, but it was like a switch had been flipped. There have been no Pull-Ups in our house for about a month; she's been sleeping in her undies too with no problems.

All that long rambling to say - we spent literally 6-8 months fighting with her only to have her make the decision finally and it was EFFORTLESS once that happened. I would probably take it off the table until you're settled in with the baby - just use the same indifferent attitude he has, but keep all the potty stuff/undies present so that he's reminded and can consider it on his own.

(Sorry for the novel. Hooray for mommyblogging and potty talk!)

Manda said...

This happened to me too! I tried to potty train my daughter at 2.5 and she wasn't ready! It was an ENORMOUS, upsetting failure for me. Then when I couldn't take changing a poopie pull-up a day longer (she almost successfully kicked me in the FACE ... this was three or four months later) I took away her pull-ups and holed up in the house for three days and she was trained. She still had accidents here and there for about a month and didn't start sleeping with her underwear on until three or four weeks after she was day-trained, but I'm pretty sure the key was that SHE was ready for it the second time around.