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toilet / potty training: DS sees no point.

(11 Posts)
AdelaofBlois Sun 19-Jun-11 11:41:52

DS (3.9) was toilet trained three months ago-had been taking himself to the toilet, everything fine, for about three months. But since then it seems he's done nothing but shit himself, although he never wets himself. Twice in the last week he's left a toilet he asked to go to, only to stand shitting himself about 2 minutes later.

To be honest, I'm rather losing patience, because I don't think this is about capability (he had been dry for months and there is no obvious trigger).
Anyway, I'm lost. Everything on toilet training assumes that kids want to be trained, or can be motivated by wanting to be 'big' or 'clean' or just to get stuff, and that it is uneven upward progress. But DS simply doesn't care anymore (he says he doesn't want to be big and have to go to work, offers to clean himself up, and simply doesn't seem that arsed with material reward or sticker charts). And, to be honest, I sort of see his point in that if he says straight away and its tidied up, what does he lose or gain either way unless its praise for doing it, which can't go on indefinitely?

We've gone back to stage one-sticker charts and rewards for actually shitting somewhere sensible, building up to a big pressie for thirty, in the hope he might just want praise for progress again and a routine will re-establish itself. We've tried a lot of trying to explain the consequences to others and himself of all this (and he seems a bit worried by the threat of not being able to keep going to school, but then carries on anyway). Am tempted to just leave him sitting in his shit, but that means staying at home and is unfair on his younger brother and won't work at nursery.

Any advice?

purepurple Sun 19-Jun-11 11:54:57

This is quite common. I work with 3 year olds and seem to be toilet training constantly.
Bowel control normally comes later than bladder control and involves different muscles and sensations.
I am sure this is just a phase that he will come through eventually.

Some things that I have learnt :-

-learn to spot the signs that he is needing to poo
-never tell them off for soiling-it can cause constipation problems which are a lot harder to deal with than washing out soiled pants
-some children need to have acidents so they can make the connection between needing to go and the consequences of not going
-it just takes time
-sticker charts/rewards work with some children
-when he needs changing, don't engage, just change him matter of factly but calmly
-emphasise the benefits of being a 'big boy' not a baby like his brother
-lastly, but most importantly, don't make a big fuss of it. He will get it.

Good luck smile

AdelaofBlois Sun 19-Jun-11 12:39:48


On your responses, that is sort of what we're doing, in that it had worked and that we hope that things will come good. I think some of what you say won't work-he has no desire to be big, he doesn't value that particularly. We've tried tapping into his competitive instinct (he tends to keep track of other kids at nursery in various ways) but to no avail. As I said, sticker charts aren't much help, nor has a modification of the 'behaviour' chart at nursery achieved anything. I in particular am worried about causing him to hold for ever, and then explode, which is why all the rewards are for going not for not having 'accidents' and why I haven't told him off beyond saying 'I find it annoying because you were here in this toilet a bit ago'. I have also tried not to give him excess attention, but this is hard when we tend to be on our own with two children, in that even a matter-of-fact wipe down is more attention than he gets anyway, and can make his little brother frustrated as we hair around for a toilet and then stay in one, which DS1 picks up on to try and prove he's 'better'.

Basically, the whole idea behind 'training' as you describe, and as we did originally, works on the idea that he needs to understand crapping in a toilet is better than crapping in his pants, and that he will learn how to achieve this through accidents. But I don't think he's internalised the first, and since for several months he pooed in the toilet whenever he wanted to I find it hard to think he needs 'training' in the sense of developing bowel control and recognising when he needs to go, or learning from accidents, since he had such skills for a sustained period of time.

Basically, I think this is willful, and wonder if I shouldn't take a gamble and stress the negatives, which would be bad if he was really training, but maybe good if he's just lazy? The other issue is we don't have 'time' to wait for it to come good-he starts school in2 and half months. If he had been born five days later, I wouldn't be posting, I'd just be doing what you say.

lurcherlover Sun 19-Jun-11 19:20:30

What about the getting tough method? Only if you're SURE he knows when he needs to go and is choosing to go in his pants. Tell him firmly he's going to do poos in the toilet from now on. When he does, he gets a reward (there must be something he likes if stickers don't do it...playing a favourite game, staying up ten mins later at bedtime or something?) if he doesn't do it, tell him in advance there will be a consequence (no telly, bed earlier, take a toy away etc). If he still chooses to go in his pants, clean him up, don't tell him off, apply the consequence. If you're worried he'll withhold your GP can prescribe meds to make sure he goes every day. It's a bit of a tough love approach, but it might be what he needs if the nicey nicey route isn't working?

Frawli Sun 19-Jun-11 23:30:21

My DS was like this, I found it very frustrating, although like you say, it makes sense to them. They get attention, don't have to leave their games etc, and they don't mind the sensation of it against their skin due to all that time in nappies.

What helped with us, aside from a sticker chart, was something I found on here, which was the concept of pooland. Poos live in poo land and they need to get there via the magical gateway (toilet). Poos not done in the right place mean that poo doesn't get to go to poo land with all their poo friends (LOL!). It sounds bizarre but it caught his imagination. I would just say sadly, "Oh poor poo! He won't get to see his poo friends because he hasn't gone in the right place!" And when he did manage to do one in the right place we would say bye to poo as we flushed.

I think part of it might have been that he was a bit intimidated by pooing on the toilet, they are big things to little people aren't they.

Good luck.

LovelyJudy Sun 19-Jun-11 23:58:30

my ds did this too. i thought it was a choice, some sort of control thing. it embarrassed me and drove me bonkers. he eventually stopped doing it, maybe around 4ish. took him a lot longer to bother not to wet his pants tho. he really couldn't care less, even if i point out that he smells of wee....

LovelyJudy Sun 19-Jun-11 23:59:38

ps at his nursery they called the special needs lady in to observe him because of it. she said he was just really clever! grin

SouthStar Mon 20-Jun-11 00:03:01

WOW, I love pooland. Gonna tell that one to my kids tomo. Thats really made me smile.

AdelaofBlois, your ds sounds very much like mine. We ignored it as it was just purely attention seeking, he would walk up to us afterwards and say very proudly ive done a poo poo.
A few times it seemed to sink in that he couldnt wear his favorite shorts because he had an accident.
When he started preschool, he had one accident and then he was back to going to the toilet again. Infact he stopped telling us or asking for us to come with him, he would just take himself off which he didnt do before that.

KateMiddletonsEyebrows Mon 20-Jun-11 00:19:02

DS2 is just the same. Bribery, TV, presents, stickers, being a 'big boy', praise, ignoring bad behaviour... we've tried everything, nothing works. Doesn't seem to get upset at being covered in poo; just couldn't give a monkeys. It drives me BONKERS. He's 3y 7m.

Maybe we'll try 'pooland' :D

AdelaofBlois Fri 01-Jul-11 12:52:12

Thank you for all the comments. Am going to try pooland. We tried 'magic wee' (if you sit on the toilet even if you don't want to go a special magic wee might happen) so there is precedent. When we did it first time he also started telling us what poo was shaped like (that moon, that olive, that heart, that like hose), but that novelty has worn off.

I'm actually a bit less certain he does know, perhaps we were just lucky for a few months when he went off by himself. Too often at the moment he asks to go, goes to the toilet, can't go, then craps himself a few minutes later. I think I might hold him on the loo a little.

My main worry is Reception, as I've said. If he was five days younger maybe I wouldn't care so much. I really don't want him unable to go to school or to be teased there, little mite has enough to cope with his speech disorder.

Dorje Mon 04-Jul-11 14:05:01

We had poo land also - and would wave bye bye to all poos off on their way to the party in the pipes. grin

Try more fruit in his diet for a bit - to loosen him up a bit.

It is the most frustrating thing - we had a retrogressive step three month problem too, with holding on to poos sad until I just snapped with the frustration and shouted "just do your poo in the toilet" at DD, right in her face. blush She was shocked, (so was I) but then she was fine, and did it in the loo. I think she was more scared of me blush than the plopping sound, or losing part of herself (poo) IYSWIM it solved it after three months of her holding on to it behaviour, but I wish I hadn't shouted. I found it so very frustrating.

You mention he doesn't want to be big and go to work, and you might have to emphasise the choices he will have by growing up. IF he has a good job for example he can have more choices in his life etc... tbh that was the most worrying part of your post for me. Maybe he's more stressed about school and change than he lets on with words - how's his art? - what's he drawing at the moment? Do you get one on one time with him - cuddle time?

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