All of Us

All of Us

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Potty Training Help Needed!

As I alluded to in my last post, K. has a problem. He absolutely refuses to have a BM in the toilet. He has done it 2-3 times in his life, but not recently. We have been working at this with him for the past 18 months. We have tried offering every reward and enforcing every punishment, including spanking and other things I don't believe in, that you can imagine. We have gone through months of ignoring it with the idea that he is seeking attention. We have tried pullups and underwear. He has been examined by the pediatrician, who didn't find anything physically wrong.

At this point, when he soils himself he is instructed to change and wipe himself as best he can, and then he takes a shower to clean off anything he missed. This was the suggestion of the child development clinic at the local hospital. We are not currently doing any discipline with him, as this was causing him to hold it.

He usually sneaks off to do the deed, and then informs us. He has told me that it comes out more easily if he is walking around. He has also asked me, "how do you push your poop out?" I can't figure out if he really doesn't know what to do or not.

Later this month he has an appointment with an encopresis clinic. Encopresis is involuntary soiling in children caused by holding it and/or constipation. Even if a child goes regularly, he can still have hard impacted stool in his colon.

I am feeling very frustrated for several reasons. K's 2 year old sister, who emulates him in every way possible, is beginning to potty train. She has been peeing in the potty, but when she poops, she hides, and the past few days she when she has a BM, she takes off her diaper and attempts to clean herself! This results in her smearing it all over herself! I had really hoped that they would both be potty trained by November when I am due to have a baby. At this rate, I will be changing 3 kids, one of them WAY too big for this! I had also hoped to send them both to preschool, which requires that they be potty trained.

Has anyone out there had an experience like this? People keep telling me to be patient and it will eventually "happen" but I am not seeing any signs of progress. He is just becoming more proficient at cleaning himself up. I'd appreciate any advice.


Jody said...

paula I will e-mail you later this week about this. We have a bit of experience with this.

Multi-tasking Mom said...

You are doing the right things, hopefully the clinic can provide you with some useful information. My oldest son had a difficult time with impacted stools. He was toilet trained for urine at 3, but was begging for a diaper for bowel movements because they were so painful and he was not comfortable doing them on the toilet. Finally he did it once on the toilet to much fanfare, and from then on he was able to do it on the toilet. When he got impacted, my doctor told me to use suppositories on him and he hated it so much the first time that as soon as I started to discuss the fact that he hadn't gone in days, he would run to the bathroom saying, "Please don't use the stick, I'm going poop, don't worry." I felt horrible. I wish I had some real advice for you, but I just wanted to lend you my support and let you know you are not alone.

w said...

Oh gosh. Been there. It is so hard. After trying so many things, our new pediatrician finally had advice that worked for us. It may not be the same for you, of course, but for what it is worth it worked better than rewards, and I never felt punishment was really fair, either, because I didn't feel as if he were doing it to purposely be a stinker.

The first thing we had to do was back off the toilet issue because it had become so traumatic for him. We told our son he could ask for a diaper when he needed to have a bowel movement. Not the most pleasant thing, but it was amazing at how utterly relieved he was. No more "accidents" or sneaking off, etc. He didn't feel good about that, either. At this time, we also began giving him Milk of Magnesia every night and logging a pattern so we could get an idea of when to expect a movement. After a couple of months, we told him that when he needed to have a bowel movement, he could come get the diaper, and hold on to it, but he had to try to sit on the toilet first. Thanks to a break from the stress of the toilet, the reassurance of the diaper in his hand, the Milk of Magnesia doing its magic - voila! The movements weren't painful anymore (from holding them so long they became large and painful) and he was in a pattern to go - so he pretty much did! We did have a few instances of letting him put the diaper on, but it didn't last long. You know, I never did make him clean himself up. I actually still wiped him until he was five. He just *hated* to do it, and I think he dreaded going if he had to wipe his own bottom. I really didn't mind, actually. He's nine now and I'm happy to say he manages all his functions perfectly well, even if he did get a late start! I sure hope you find a solution that works for you. Poor little guy - I imagine it is as hard on him as it is on you.

So, good luck!

Lisa said...

Paula, been there, done that. We did the letting him clean himself thing along with a mild dose of miralax to make the "pushing out" easier. I really think Connor just didn't have the muscular control to do it. He eventually got it at age 4. I know it's frustrating. Good luck!

julie said...

My four year old also refuses to go in the potty. She holds it until I put a pull up on her at night (or sneaks in the cupboard and puts one on herself).

I wish I could give you some advise. I just wanted you to know that I have tried all the same things and it hasn't worked for me either.

I hope it makes you feel better to know you are not alone.

Shel said...

Hi Paula,

I feel your pain! My first 2 kids were pretty easy to potty train by age 2 1/2 to 3. My next two were a nightmare. Both of them did not go #2 on the potty until almost 4 and a half. This was shocking for me, because I had never heard of kids being that old in diapers...but now I've heard of plenty of kids like this so believe me, you're not alone. What I did was just leave them in diapers until they decided they didn't want to wear them anymore. Everytime I tried to push the issue, it backfired, so I gave it up. I currently have a 33 month old doing the same thing. It's hard, I understand.

Lori said...

Paula, for awhile my almost 3 y/o would get a pull-up and put it on by herself to go poop. Then tell me she pooped! Frustrating I know, but thankfully she has started going on the pot. It can be difficult.

Also Paula, I am making my blog available by invitation only soon. If you are interested, please visit my blog and let me know. I will need your e-mail address. If my blog is already secured, you can contact me at and let me know.


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Mother to 10 fabulous kids, ages 4 to 21 years! Married for 26 years to my best friend.


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