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Help - 6 months on and we're not getting anywhere!

(4 Posts)
TinaFay Thu 04-Aug-11 13:13:41

I am at a complete loss as to what to do next so would be grateful for any advice you can offer me.

My DS is 3 and a half, and we've been potty training him since Christmas and whilst he has moments of greatness (usually a week or so at a time) he always seems to regress backwards. Poos are (thankfully) the only thing he seems to manage on the toilet.. but wees just aren't happening. A month ago I thought we'd got there. This week I think he's only managed one wee on the loo and that was when I made him try (whilst ignoring his cries of 'I don't need one Mummy'). The trouble is, the longer this goes on the more frustrated I'm getting and I'm really not sure I'm handling it very well. My main frustration being that I know he can do it - he has done it - so why won't he do it? Has he got some sort of mental block, or is he just being lazy? Or attention seeking? (Although he's already wet himself 3 times today and I've spent the morning giving him my attention - doing puzzles, baking... ) He does have a 6 month old baby brother and the potty training did go to pot when the baby was tiny which we were expecting, but then it improved - but now he's gone backwards again! And that generally seems to be the pattern, we think he's mastered it, then he starts wetting himself again - and we're not talking the occasional accident - we're talking EVERY wee in his pants.

I'm completely exhausted with it all. He's an otherwise intelligent 3 year old - hence my instinctive feeling that he's just being lazy and doesn't want to interrupt what he's doing in order to go to the toilet. But my husband seems to think there might be more to it than that. it just doesn't seem to matter what I say - whether I tell him off, or offer him rewards... nothing seems to work.

Has anyone been through this? Can anyone offer me any suggestions?

Thank you, Tina

girlywhirly Thu 04-Aug-11 14:18:49

Have you tried totally ignoring, even when you see him obviously in need? DC often find that being nagged/told off is actually more likely to make them continue with wetting, where it becomes an attention getting device, or even controlling behaviour. Have a supply of dry clothes ready for himself to change when wet, and cleaning materials for him to clean up his puddles? Sometimes kids find it is quicker to just go to the loo than spend ages changing and cleaning up. Give very fleeting attention and do not do it for him. When he uses the toilet, give lots of praise. This might work if you think the wetting is just down to laziness.

You say you did lots of things with him, during which he wet himself. Did you tell him you wouldn't start until he'd been for a wee first, and did you allow him to continue once he'd wet? I would insist he wee'd before starting, (no wee in toilet, no activity) and if he wet during the activity, he wouldn't be able to continue. I think he gets your attention whatever he does, which is a mixed message.

Another thing that you could consider, is constipation; this is well known to confuse the signals of a full bladder. Is this something that your DH suspects, or does he think it's jealousy of the baby?

TinaFay Thu 04-Aug-11 21:26:11

Thank you so much for the advice. I will certainly give it all a try. I think you might be on to something with the ignoring thing. I did briefly try it once before and now that I think about it, things did improve a bit.

I don't think it's constipation as DS is pretty regular. My husband is as exasperated by the whole fiasco as I am, but mentioned to me yesterday that he was now beginning to wonder whether DS is knowingly wetting himself, as we've both up until now assumed that he's well aware of it and just being lazy. I think that because none of our attempts to correct it so far have succeeded (inc. the offer of treats or the threat of having his favourite toy taken away) he was beginning to question whether DS really is able to control it. Yet I'm sure he can, because he has done in the past - I mean, he's been completely dry for a couple of weeks at a time (except a night). I think that's mostly why I'm sooooo frustrated. I thought we had a potty trained 3 year old, yet now it seems we've got to start all over again.

Anyway, thanks again. Will try my hardest to take a more relaxed approach and hope it works. Fingers crossed.

girlywhirly Fri 05-Aug-11 10:01:36

I think that by not reacting to the wetting, and getting DS to change himself and clean up his own mess (you can minimally supervise, tell him what to do but don't help) you are giving him the responsibility to deal with his own continence, and the consequences of his incontinence! If he isn't nagged he will have no need to wet just to get attention or wind you up. If he is lazy, he will find out the hard way that changing and cleaning up after himself is boring and takes him away from his toys for far longer than a quick loo trip.

Promise yourself a professional carpet clean when all this is sorted!

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