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Toilet training for nearly 2 years. Any ideas?

(22 Posts)
Squiggles86 Mon 10-Jul-17 18:11:35

I've written on here before about my daughter. She's now nearly 4.5 years and starting school in September. We've been toilet training since October 2015.

Initially it all went fine. No accidents after a couple of weeks. Roll on December and she just couldn't be bothered. Took a break as it was all getting very stressful. Fine again for around a month until my husband and I went away for 1 night to a wedding. She stayed with grandparents and her little brother and was very happy but as soon as we came back the wetting started again.

For months we tried positive parenting, praise, reward and after only about 2 weeks of success we finally gave up and just ignored any wetting or pooing in pants.

For a while ignoring it reduced the accidents but it's never really stopped. Leaving her bottom half bare is much more successful so we that's what we did when inside. We asked for a referral to paediatrics in sept last year and saw a paediatrician in oct 2016. We've seen the dr several times now and she has concluded that she believes the problem is behavioural. We've retried incentives and mixing it up so it's something different everyday but it makes the problem worse like we're just highlighting it. We've tried punishing her, sending her to her bedroom, loss of privileges like TV, games, puddings etc. Nothing has worked.

Recently she has started pooing in her pants a lot. Mainly i think because she doesn't want to stop to go to the toilet so tries to hold it in leaving her constipated.

She knows when she needs to go. She goes and sits on the floor and sits on her feet or is rocking to stop the flow.

She's better at nursery but never fully dry. There's still wee stain or dribble in her pants when she gets home and quite often wets herself properly as soon as she arrives home.

We're totally fed up now, completely in despair about how were going to get her fully trained. School is looming and there's no end in sight. Any ideas?

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Shiraznowplease Mon 10-Jul-17 18:15:21

I don't know if you have tried the trainer toilet seat with handles. Dd wouldn't use a potty only a trainer seat and when ds was potty training he was worried he would fall down the loo do felt much better when we had handles. Dd was bribed with frozen pants but ds need a treat every time he went and we slternated between stickers and chocolate (a mini hero). Good luck x

Squiggles86 Mon 10-Jul-17 18:24:51


Thanks for your reply. We've had trainer seats and now have one that's integrated into the loo seat. She's not scared of the toilet at all. We've tried all manner of bribery. She loses interest within a matter of days and shrugs off any chance of 'something new', chocolate, sweets, time on your own at the park...nothing works. Stickers I'm afraid she couldn't give a hoot about! X

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HeyRoly Mon 10-Jul-17 18:56:05

I agree it sounds behavioural, like she's just decided she doesn't want to engage with this toileting business and will withhold for as long as possible. I've been through similar with my DD, who didn't toilet train until 3.10 when I lost my shit and got angry with her. Worked though

Have you tried asking why she won't go to the toilet when she needs to?

Also, how bad is her constipation? It might be worth tackling the poo withholding in the hope the wee issues sort themselves out afterwards.

It could be that she withholds and that causes hard, painful bowel movements, and so the cycle continues. You could try asking your GP for Movicol. It's a stool softener and will help to clear her out, but also make withholding very difficult. It will take months, but eventually the connection between poo and pain will be broken.

Squiggles86 Mon 10-Jul-17 19:04:21

Thanks. We've been down the road of lactulose before. Even when she eventually regularly pooed on the toilet she still wet herself.

I think she can't be bothered to go and it's definitely a control thing. After months of ignoring it all..literally 'mummy and daddy don't care if you wet or poo yourself. You need to get yourself changed and clean yourself up'. From then on no reminders or toilet talk. After months of doing this you'd think the control issue would be resolved but not with my stubborn madam confused. The paediatrician has said she'll refer us to psychology for a counsellor if it's not resolved by October. We really are at a loss as to what to do. X

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HeyRoly Mon 10-Jul-17 19:06:03

A control thing... yep, been there. It's beyond frustrating.

Bananamanfan Mon 10-Jul-17 19:16:55

I've been there too. It feels like forever at the time. Be consistent and don't give up. Clean and change your dd with no conversation, no anger and no pleading "you'll do better next time"-just no engagement. Don't spend too long cleaning the site of the accident give it a proper go when she's in bed. Try to keep on the ball with what dd is up to, keep her busy & join in activities with her, let other jobs slide for a bit. That all worked with ds eventually.

Squiggles86 Tue 11-Jul-17 12:38:09

Thanks for the advice. We try not to make a fuss of it unless like recently I've lost all patience with it all. We have tried spending a lot of time with her before thinking that it was attention related. It did work for a while until the novelty wore off and there's only so much exclusive 1 on 1 time you can give with a 2 year old and a job to do.

We will persevere with this over the summer though and see if we can make some progress. X

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fuzzyfozzy Tue 11-Jul-17 12:43:10

I was going to say, get her to wipe the floor(you redo it obviously) she does her legs, she puts the dirty things in the washing machine, she gets herself new clothes and she dresses herself.
Make wetting herself as boring as possible!
Did you do a sticker chart, building up to getting an amazing present (which is sat in a prime position!)

toastandbutterandjam Tue 11-Jul-17 12:54:04

I can't offer you any advice, but reading this sounds like me when I was a child. I was exactly like this - I drove my poor mother mad, she tried everything, but nothing worked. I would literally sit on the floor and hold it in, knowing i'd wet myself, but still wouldn't use the loo. If my mum prompted me, I still wouldn't go nuisance child

I don't have advice, but you'll get there. I'm now an adult with zero toileting issues - although bizarrely, I do hate it when I have a full bladder now and will use the toilet as soon as I can. For whatever reason, it really stresses me out.

My mother dreaded potty training my sister after all the troublegrin I caused her, but she was so easy to train, hardly any accidents, never wet the bed etc.

Good luck flowers

Squiggles86 Tue 11-Jul-17 13:07:11

Thank you for your reply. It's nice to hear a story from my daughter's viewpoint. I don't suppose you know why you did this as a child? My daughter never says why when you ask but she can tell me exactly when she had the 'accident' knowing fine well where the toilet is and that she should have gone.

She's always been a stubborn little girl. Even as a baby she wouldn't give in to go to sleep despite being dog tired. Really hope she can channel her determination into something worthwhile in the future. This child is either going to be a millionaire or go to jail! X

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Squiggles86 Tue 11-Jul-17 13:12:32

Fuzzyfozzy - we've done all of the clean it up regime. Made it very boring etc but it gets to the point where she simply refuses to do the cleaning. What can you do? I can't physically force her to do. She still needs does put her wet clothes in the bathroom and get herself new clothes etc. This doesnt phase her one bit. Sticker charts have been some to death. She has no interest in them, or a marble jar, or pasta jar. No amount of bribery is going to work. Even big prizes like going swimming with just daddy or a day trip to the zoo...nothing motivates her. X

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fuzzyfozzy Tue 11-Jul-17 13:14:52

Have you talked about school and her friends and how they will use the toilet?

Squiggles86 Tue 11-Jul-17 13:17:38

Yes done all of that. She's currently the only child in her group at nursery that had any accidents (although it is less of a problem at nursery). She has quite a few friends that have been toilet trained years now. The more we talk about it the worse it seems to get. X

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blackteaplease Tue 11-Jul-17 13:20:00

Are you sure it's behavioural and not constipation? That can cause wee and poo leaking due to nerve damage. They can't tell when they need to go and it can take years to resolve.once the poo is sorted the wee will follow.

Lactose is rubbish, movicol is better long term.Maybe you should ask for a 2nd opinion from gp.

Squiggles86 Tue 11-Jul-17 13:31:03

The paediatrician has checked her and said she doesn't think she's constipated. She does have bouts of constipation brought on by trying to hold it in and the wetting is definitely worse at these times. My gut feeling is that it's behavioural. She does know when she needs to go and sits on the floor rocking or doing the toilet dance. X

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blackteaplease Tue 11-Jul-17 13:43:05

Fair enough, hope you manage to figure out a way through it

titsbumfannythelot Tue 11-Jul-17 13:43:33

Would starting to train her younger sibling have any impact?

Squiggles86 Tue 11-Jul-17 13:47:57

I think it probably would have an impact but I don't think he's anywhere near ready at the moment. He's not 2 until the end of august so a little young. Currently has no awareness of having a wet or dirty nappy x

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DitheringDiva Tue 11-Jul-17 14:04:25

My DD is like this and she's 7. Unfortunately, there's nothing you can do, apart from let her grow out of it, which my DD is slowly doing,.

The main thing that helped me, was realising that there was nothing wrong with her physically, and I then forced myself to stop stressing about it. She's not stressed - she doesn't care, and I went for a "if you can't beat 'em join 'em" attitude and just decided to be as unstressed as she is. And the end of the day, it's not a life threatening illness, there are much, much worse things in life than a few wet/pooey pants.

From about age 4, I've pretty much left her to it, so if she wets/soils herself, she has to just sort the whole thing out herself - I ignore it completely. She gets herself changed, she wipes up any mess, she puts dirty clothes in the wash. In fact, I don't even know half the time (and don't want to know) that she has wet herself.

After saying all that, I do have my occasional down day, when I lose it with her, usually when I've told her to go to the toilet before a long journey and she's ignored me, not bothered going, then wet herself including soaking all the car seat.

Squiggles86 Tue 11-Jul-17 19:13:15

What is your daughter like at school ditheringdiva? Generally we're fairly calm about it now... There's only so long you can be stressed out by it and the wet and dirty pants are sadly a part of our every day lives. It's incredible though that despite ignoring your daughter's habits for this long that she also hasn't become bored of it. How do you deal with going out? Other people's houses etc? My own parents are fed up of getting a wet carpet. It makes life pretty difficult despite ignoring it. X

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DitheringDiva Tue 11-Jul-17 20:13:58

It's just very slowly got better. So now, she mainly just has damp pants, particularly in the evening. I'm convinced she has such awesome bladder control that she has learned to dribble small amounts of wee out to release the pressure but not enough to do a full on wee.

She hasn't wet her pants for ages at school, but most days her pants will be a bit damp and she'll smell a bit. Again, at home, its ages since she's wet the carpet (she used to do that all the time), but I'll notice she smells or there's a small damp patch on her trousers and I make her go and get changed - she will completely deny that she has wet her pants though!

She's even mostly dry at night now - we stopped night pull-ups when she was about 6 yrs 10 months, and she is dry most nights, perhaps wets the bed once a fortnight. But she still often can't be bothered to go the toilet in a daytime. She's under a consultant for it, but the consultant is also convinced that it is simply behavioural. The only thing he's ever suggested is getting her to drink more, which kind of worked for a while. But everything we've tried eg sticker charts etc kind of worked for a while.

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