Sunday, August 16, 2009

Requests From Our Readers: Week 12

This week we are talking about potty training. Check out what our reader said!

"I know we've already done a post on potty training, but I desperately need help. We have been potty training for a 14 months now. My daughter will be 4 in November and still has accidents every day--sometimes 3 times a day. She just kind of piddles in her underwear prior to sitting on the toilet, so most of it goes into the toilet. She never has brown accidents (HOORAY for that!) but can't seem to make it to the potty without damp underwear. If I ask her to sit on the potty, she gives me the hardest time about it and just gets all grumpy. But, if I wait for her to recognize her body's cues, it's too late. I have tried a bathroom tracker with a prize, a penny system, removing "big girl" privileges (such as wearing dress-ups) and even reverted to buying her another pack of diapers just to prove a point. The latter was highly unpleasant for the both of us and didn't really help the situation at all. We have 14 pairs of underwear and I still have to do laundry twice a week. Please help me!!"

I myself have had difficulty in potty training my little girl (who will be 3 soon) and by difficulty I mean we've tried twice and given up (the first time for only about 3 weeks, and the second time for almost two months) and had almost no success (even after 2 months she was still having 2-5 accidents per day and was NOT self initiating, plus she was still having "brown" accidents as our reader so aptly put it). I feel depressed when I hear stories of children potty training so easily and early - I wonder what I'm doing wrong. We all need help in this!

Be sure to address our reader's specific concern with a child who has been at it for more than a year and is still having wet accidents. Also, give us some other general advice if you can.


Jared and Delia said...

This is really tough. For the mom who has an almost three year old, I would say wait until after her third birthday and let it be her idea. I would get some fun potty training related shows and books from the library and then let her say she is ready. Another good motivator is to play with another child she admires who is potty trained. When that child has to go to the bathroom let her go with her to see how it is done and she may just want to do it herself. I found that my son figured out potty training much better after age three. He was potty trained at night until closer to four and we still have accidents at night every once in a while.

As for the mother with an almost four year old that won't go. I just have to say I feel for you. I would definitely feel at the end of my rope too. Have you asked her pediatrician if there could be a medical reason why she can't hold it in very well when she feels like she has to go? I would try that first. If NOT...then does she not make it because she doesn't want to stop playing or watching a movie? Could there a be an emotional control issue surrounding the problem.? Like does she do it when she is in time out (my son did that for a while), or when she is doing something she doesn't want to be doing like a chore? Does she do it to get attention?

I am sure you have asked yourself these questions. Hang in there. I potty trained my son from age 2 1/2. We quit for a while and then tried again about three to four times. I can't remember. I must have put a mental block on it because it was so traumatic ;). He did not become successfully potty trained during the day until about 3 1/2. I remember it happening kind of magically. Once I backed off and let it be his idea it happened quickly. It was really hard. I wish you the best.

On The Go Family said...

My daughter was very difficult to train as well. We tried on and off for a couple of months. I was at my wit's end. Then my mom asked if she could give it a try. My mom potty-trained the girl in 3 days.

I think we were having a real power struggle, despite my attempts to keep it fun and light and totally my daughter's idea. If at all possible, maybe you can have someone else give it a try? I know that's much easier said than done. Most people don't want to potty-train their own kids much less someone else's!

Please, please hang in there and don't take her inability to train personally. My second child trained himself at 2.5 in three days -- this was after I had declared myself a complete loser in the potty-training department and figured my mom would have to come teach him how, too.

I would also consult with the peditrician to see if there's a medical reason behind it all. Based on the amount of time you've been trying and the multiple ways you've tried, it sounds probable.

Beth said...

I taught preschool for almost two years before I had my son (who will be 2 momnths soon) and even the best and brightest of them have potty accidents once in a while. Sometimes it seemed related to stress in their life, but not always.

One member of our classroom used to get the wigglies when he had to go. When we would encourage him to go potty he would get belligerent, even violent and would scream and have a tantrum, "I don't have to go Potty! I'm just dancing!" And sure enough 20 minutes later he'd have wet pants. This would happen at least twice a week...And having the screamer in our classroom stressed out the other kids. When he was out for about two weeks our number of accidents dropped dramatically.

But then we had another girl who was super bright. She was already reading some words (at four!). But even she had a wet accident every so often.

I don't know if that is the least bit helpful. I don't really know anything -my own kid doesn't even know what a potty is yet.

Chris and Laura said...

I have no personal experience with potty training whatsoever, but I did recently talk to my mom about it. She did day care for almost 30 years as well as raising 7 kids of her own--she's been there.

Her suggestion: cloth diapers. With one child in particular, she had spent MONTHS trying to get him to potty train and he just wasn't interested in the slightest. He didn't care if his underwear was wet, didn't really feel any need to use the toilet. So my mom put him in cloth diapers (the good old-fashioned kind, rubber pants and all). He hated it. They were fine when they were dry, but as soon as he went to the bathroom in them, it became terribly uncomfortable. He would desperately want it changed right away, and then would be rather upset when Mom would put on another one right after.

The deal was, you can wear big boy underwear and use the toilet or you can wear the cloth diaper and go wherever you feel like it and suffer the consequences. That was enough motivation for him to use the bathroom.

Again, this is the suggestion from my mom. I haven't done any of this myself, and she only told me the one specific story. But it's an idea! It never hurts to have something new to try, right?

Spring said...

I got a bunch of books from the library on potty training and my favorite was potty training for dummies(the Dummies series). I followed what they said in that book(for my first 2 kids). One thing I thought was weird but when I tried it it's what worked was stay home for a weekend and let them be completely naked and then after a few accidents they realize they don't have panties to absorb the accidents and are more aware of it and go in the toilet. Good luck!

Britta said...

My neice took ages to potty train as well and at 4 years old was still having acidents on a regular basis but especially when she took naps. For her it turned out to be a combination of issues- emotional and medical.

Take her to the doctor and have the doctor explain the importance of going to the bathroom right when she feel she needs to. UTIs can be painful and frustrating and can be a natural consequence of her not holding it until she reaches the toilet.

Maybe you can try having a 'heart to heart' with her. At a time when no potty is in site, sit her down and just say you are worried about something and ask if she can help. When you bring it up, don't make it sound like its her fault at all ("I have tried everything I can think of to help you, what else can I do?"). As a 4 year old, she should be old enough to offer her own suggestions and maybe thinking about it when its not in the moment can help.

Good luck!

Jes said...

Oh I wish i could help, but I dont have a clue! We arent to that stage yet, and I dont know anything about it from friends or etc. :( Goodluck! Im taking note of these other tips though so we can try them in a few months....

Anonymous said...

First of all, I'd ask the pediatrician for any advice. They may be able to see if there are any physical problems your child has.

Also, I would skip the pull-ups (if you are doing those). It is either diapers or underwear.

Our daughter went through a few stages where she didn't want to go. We tried these ideas, and I think if you just stick with one or two of them, they will help.

The first is the Dr. Phil method. He says that if your child messes up, you just say, "that is okay, we'll just practice going." then you make them practice the ENTIRE process (except handwashing) 10 times. By the end, your child will hate it and you will basically be doing it all for them.

The second method is to give them a cold standing-up bath/rinse off when they get messy. Just say, "Oh, looks like you need cleaned off." We did that twice with my daughter at the end of her potty training, and she never purposely peed her pants again. That was only when she was doing it to make us mad.

Another method is to have them clean it up. Hopefully they think it is gross.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

If they are really into certain characters, you can get them that kind of underwear (like princess or Cars underwear). Make a big deal about buying the underwear; maybe even make them earn stickers or money to buy it. Then, if they get them wet or messy, then you throw them away. Be sure to warn them beforehand. Even if you burn threw a pack of underwear, but it works and they pay attention better, then I say it was worth it. Would you pay $10 to potty train your child? I would.