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At my wit's end with "potty training" - please help!

(21 Posts)
marthamoo Tue 11-Jan-05 11:22:49

Some of you may remember I posted a while back here about ds2's potty training "relapse". I hadn't seen the subsequent posts, btw - sorry for not acknowledging them at the time.

He has gone from bad to worse since then: I have tried chocolate buttons, sticker charts, sitting him on the toilet at regular intervals without waiting for him to ask, and he has been checked out twice for urine infections.

He absolutely denies that he needs to wee (it is only weeing, thank God - he is very good about poos) An example: we were out the other day and he was doing that jigging about willy clutching thing. "do you need a wee wee?" I say. "No, I fine." I ask again, then say "right - well, we'll just go and see." Temper tantrum ensues "I not want a wee wee..I fine! Off we go to the loo and - you guessed it - he's already wet his pants.

Changed him, went back to sit down (we were in a cafe), ate , went to loo again - left and went shopping. Next thing ds1 says "he's weeing Mum" and it's running down his legs - he had not said a word. We had to go home as I had no more dry clothes.

He will still say he doesn't need a wee when his pants and trousers are saturated Left to his own devices he would need 6/7 changes of clothes a day. I can usually keep it down to 3 or 4. He can pull his own pants down and sit on his potty by himself.

This morning, he has been twice successfully (only because I physically sat him on the toilet/potty) I just noticed he was dancing around so I said "come on, you need the toilet." He ran away, slammed the door in my face, I had to carry him kicking and screaming to the toilet and as I pulled down his pants a great arc of wee came out - result? We both needed new clothes.

My last resort was to put him back in nappies I have been telling him I will do this and he wasn't at all happy at the prospect. After that, which really was the final straw, I very calmly said "well, you will have to go back in nappies." Just put him in a nappy, got him dressed (he was wailing all the time about not wanting to be back in nappies) and walked out. He has taken his trousers and the nappy off and thrown the nappy in the bin (at least he's tidy).

Please - any more ideas? I don't know what else to do...

He was three in December, btw, and is supposed to start nursery after Easter...

PlainFlum Tue 11-Jan-05 11:26:45

Blimey, I am a couple of years away from potty training. Having read this I'm not looking forward to it. got a girl though and they are sposed to be keener.

He's a real rebel isn't he.

Hope you get some good advice. What about a sanitary pad in his pants?

Mum2Ela Tue 11-Jan-05 11:29:53

Not sure if I can help but I am just hoping my DD (she was 2 in Sept) isn't going this way too. At the mo she just has a couple of days now and again when she will just wee all over the place, then the next day will be fine again. Is that how your DS started relapsing, or did it happen all of a sudden?

Was he dry at night too, or just during the day?

x

unicorn Tue 11-Jan-05 11:37:58

lots of sympathy your way mm...
my ds (nearly 3) was doing really well, but has got extremely lazy, and can't be bothered going to the toilet- so will just wee in his pants.

The more you have a go tho, the more stubborn he becomes, so I am trying not to make an issue of it... and when we are at home, I just take off his pants now, so that he is a bit more aware (we started training in summer and it was much easier).

It sounds like it is not just an issue about weeing- it's one of those tiresome 'challenging' phases.
I think you should try and not let him see that it is annoying/upsetting you (I know not easy).. ie don't get into a battle over it (you can't force a child to do a wee etc!!)
But make a huge hooharr when he does use the toilet.
I know the temptation re nappies, but it may just add to the problem, as he will probably be quite happy iyswim.
Don't know if that is any help... but fear not.. you are NEVER alone!!!

handlemecarefully Tue 11-Jan-05 11:51:57

Call me old fashioned (!), and I am sure that this is contrary to received wisdom, but if you have tried the 'carrot' approach (like chocolates, stickers etc) and this has failed how about more of the 'stick'?

I would be thinking more along the lines of penalties for peeing in his pants - it's not that he can't do the potty / toilet, it's that he chooses not to...and perhaps he needs to understand that this is not a valid choice?

Just a thought - don't shoot me!

marthamoo Tue 11-Jan-05 11:57:23

Not going to shoot you, hmc - I did ask for any more ideas I have shown him that I am cross, I have shouted at him (not a saint, I'm afraid). I don't know what "stick" I could use - I use time out for other things but he often wees when we are out.

Thanks for all input btw - I'm not sure there is an answer, as such (unicorn, I agree about it being another challenging stage!) Having a rant about it helps too. Still open to more suggestions....

gingerbear Tue 11-Jan-05 12:07:38

I have two ideas.
1. Have you tried leaving him in his wet clothes ever so slightly longer than you need to - he might get fed up with being cold and wet (not good when out and about I know)
2. What about making it fun to try out new toilets when out and about? Tell him that this is a special toilet - with magic taps, get him to guess the colour of the squirty soap, let him wash his hands in the toddler sized sink they have them in Debenhams and in mothercare here)

chocfreeclary Tue 11-Jan-05 12:21:20

oh martha, what a nightmare...
I agree with others, it sounds like more of a challenge to you than anything.
Sounds to me like he can do it, just won't.
I think it's a good sign that he doesn't want to wear the nappy.
sorry, had to give a wry smile when I read that, my dd (3.5) is very stong-willed (I call it independent ) and if, eg, she doesn't like the clothes I've got her to dress in she will take them off and trhow them in the bin, sorry no help to you I know, but there are lots of other toddlers out there who know their own minds!
How about identifying a really big thing he wants that he can have if he gets so many dry days (or even just on??)
We have the complete set of Bob the Builder toys because that was DS1's bribe to get the hang of this.
IIRC he got a talkign scooop when he had a dry 2 weeks - he was 3 and a bit too.
good luck and pls contnue to post if it helps.

Tommy Tue 11-Jan-05 12:36:34

Having just come back from toddler group where my DS (3 yesterday)threw a wobbly because I tried to get him to go for a wee.... I know how you feel!
Mine likes going in new toilets but is really stubborn when he says he doesn't need to go and I think he does. He also will always go if a friend of his is going. Errrr...that's about it - sorry
Haven't really got any ideas I'm afraid but at least you're not alone

ourdarling Tue 11-Jan-05 12:36:46

Poor you ! l hated this stage. Is he wearing clothing he can quickly manage. Arm yourself when out some nappy sacks with a few sheets of kitchen towel in to be used for him to wee in (this will take the stress out of trying to find the nearest toilet). Stop keep asking him. Turn the whole thing around and ask him if he can ask you if you need a wee. You could pretend you do and rush to the toilet yelling ' l don't want to leak'. Have you used easy pull down pants? l was very careful to call them pants and not nappies! l would use them when going on long car journeys saying 'so you don't have to worry about leaking'. If we visited anywhere l would casually mention where the nearby toilet was and say ' l might need to use it for me'. Hope any of this may be of some help, it is not an easy time but remember, it will end.

marthamoo Tue 11-Jan-05 14:08:39

LOL at the idea of me running off to the loo in public shouting "I don't want to leak!" It is nice to know I am not alone though.

My Mum agreed with hmc on the stick rather than carrot approach. She suggested telling him he can't have friends to play/play at friends' houses, and can't go to Mums and Tots 'til he's dry. I said I thought that was too abstract for him to grasp and not immediate enough (plus punishing me too - I'd go mad if I didn't get out !)
She then suggested taking a toy away every time he wets his pants (and returning one every time he is successful in doing a wee in his potty). I've decided I'll give it a try: SuperNanny does a similar thing (I said that to my Mum and she's never watched it, btw). So I have warned ds1 what will happen next time he wets his pants - I think he gets it. Will let you know how I get on...I will feel awful about doing it I know but I really am running out of ideas.

marthamoo Tue 11-Jan-05 14:10:02

chocfreeclary - yes, independent...or bloody minded

Snugs Tue 11-Jan-05 14:20:08

Does your DS know that he is due to start nursery, and if so is he looking forward to it?

I had tried repeatedly to potty train DS2, giving up every time from total frustration. At 3 yrs 5mths we got confirmation of his nursery place. I explained to him that he couldnt go unless he used the toilet (total lie but never mind). He instantly took of his nappy and that day had 22 (yup 22 ) accidents. Next day only 4, every day since then (3 months) totally dry .

He now wears pull-ups at bedtime (more for my peace of mind than anything else) as he would take his nappy off to use the toilet and of course couldn't put it back on. So far, not a single night time accident either.

suedonim Tue 11-Jan-05 15:18:09

Have you tried the pingpong ball trick, though I guess it's no good when you're out and about? You put a pingpong ball in the loo and they try to aim their wee at it. (I can think of a few men who would enjoy that game!) If you go to a pet shop they sell multicoloured pingpong balls as cat toys, (cost about 1-1.50gbp for two) which would be even more fun.

I think I would stop asking him whether he needs to go, to cut down on opportunities for argument. Instead, instigate regular wee-wee times plus loo visits if you spot him wriggling. Another idea is to get him to help clean up after he's had an 'accident', rinsing out his pants, wiping up any puddles etc. With luck, he'd soon get fed up of having to do that several times a day. Good luck - it's such a frustrating problem!!

marthamoo Tue 11-Jan-05 16:13:29

Thanks for more ideas! I had heard of the ping pong ball thing - I wonder if he'd go for that (ds1 would and he's almost 8 ) he wees sitting down at the moment though.

He does know about nursery, snugs, and is looking forward to it (and this one really won't take him if he's not trained) but I think it's too abstract to really use as a carrot to bribe him with. I mean, I say "ooh nursery - how exciting" and we talk about the things he'll do there (it's in the school grounds so we see it everyday taking his big brother to school) but I'm not sure he really gets it yet.

SofiaAmes Tue 11-Jan-05 20:31:15

Is his father in the picture? My ds was toilet trained before 2 and started weeing standing up as soon as I bought a stool for him to reach the toilet. The impetus was that he was just desperate to do it like daddy. I also let him have an occasional wee treet and let him wee on a tree (if we're out and a toilet isn't available). And I even let him wee on the wheel of my car once...he talked about it for days (males!).
I wonder if your ds isn't feeling all the stress and pressure from you and subconciously rebelling against that. I think the suggestion of the ping pong ball is a really good idea and anything else that turns into into a fun game. We've counted poo balls, timed wees and done a lot of outdoor aiming....Good luck.
I also don't think that I would use the nappy as a threat...it seems to me that that sets up even more of a battle. If you are going out and aren't sure that he'll make it through the day, just put a nappy on him as though it's a matter of fact part of the dressing process.

vess Wed 12-Jan-05 07:56:32

A lot of sympathy for you, Martha. My ds was the same - we just struggled until it got better. The more you get angry/upset, the worse the situation gets, but I just couldn't help it, even though I knew it's making it worse not better. So embarrassing!!!
It was a battle of wills, basically.
I think your ds is aware of the whole thing, though, and you can, technically, call him potty trained. Once he's at nursery, i'm sure he'll get better, and i'm sure they can't refuse to take him if you say that he has the occasional accident, because children just do at that age!
Trying to pretend that it doesn't upset you might be a good idea in the long run, and waiting for him to sort himself out.
Just a thought - if you see that he needs to go but wouldn't, you could then say (very calmly) that it's either the toilet or the nappy, and show him the nappy, so that he knows its his choice.
Sorry can't help more!

vess Wed 12-Jan-05 07:56:33

A lot of sympathy for you, Martha. My ds was the same - we just struggled until it got better. The more you get angry/upset, the worse the situation gets, but I just couldn't help it, even though I knew it's making it worse not better. So embarrassing!!!
It was a battle of wills, basically.
I think your ds is aware of the whole thing, though, and you can, technically, call him potty trained. Once he's at nursery, i'm sure he'll get better, and i'm sure they can't refuse to take him if you say that he has the occasional accident, because children just do at that age!
Trying to pretend that it doesn't upset you might be a good idea in the long run, and waiting for him to sort himself out.
Just a thought - if you see that he needs to go but wouldn't, you could then say (very calmly) that it's either the toilet or the nappy, and show him the nappy, so that he knows its his choice.
Sorry can't help more!

marthamoo Thu 13-Jan-05 16:46:59

Thanks for those posts. He was...marginally...just a little...better yesterday and today. He wet his pants yesterday lunchtime (denied he needed a wee) so I took his Cranky the Crane toy away. It was horrible - I felt dreadfully guilty and he was very upset. I had forewarned him, btw, and explained again as I was doing it why I was doing it.

At dinner (he usually gets put on the loo just before but dh forgot) he announced he needed a wee and he still had dry pants. It's ages since he did that. So he got his crane back and was praised to the skies.

And today...well, so far so good. I'm still having to take the initiative and sit him on his potty rather than wait for him to ask (which he was doing very reliably for several months) but dry pants so far.

I will persevere.

suedonim Thu 13-Jan-05 17:18:52

That's a good bit of progress, Marthamoo! It sounds like he's getting the message.

handlemecarefully Thu 13-Jan-05 22:19:03

Ahhh - you see a bit of maternal mean-ness works wonders!

You might have felt a bit bad at the time for confiscating his toy, but it sure did focus his mind.

Well done to him too for earning his crane back.

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