Parenting

Potty Training Nightmare

Hello. I’m sorry to be such a Debbie Downer but I need a friend today. I feel so very frustrated, and I’ve been crying for the last 30 minutes. I also spent some of that time yelling at my 3-year-old in a public bathroom, car, and bedroom.

I just don’t understand why he refuses to do his business in a toilet like all the rest of the children and people we know.

He is 3 years and 2 months old, and I have been “Potty Training” him since he was able to sit up, at about 5 months old. I would put him on the potty when he woke up and before a bath, and he did great. We saved so many diapers. We would read on the potty and I sometimes would have to force him to get off after long periods of sitting on the potty.

When he was about 22 months old, he wore underwear for 2 weeks straight and would even wake up at night to go to the bathroom.

Then, baby brother came along and everything just got worse and worse until now he is wearing a diaper constantly and seemingly choosing to go pee and poop in the darn diapers.

I tried being patient, and not forcing him. I tried stickers. I tried making him go naked, but he pooped on the floor twice and the dog ate it. I feel like I’ve tried a lot of different methods. I tried talking to him and I still explain several times a day that taking care of yourself is important and that keeping your underwear clean and dry prevents being smelly and getting rashes.

Yesterday, I gave him the same speech standing right next to the toilet after nap time. He was definitely doing the potty dance, and I encouraged him to go potty. Instead, he pees in his underwear and shorts (he had promised earlier to keep them clean and dry otherwise he would have been wearing a diaper) and all over the bathroom floor. Then he says “I want to play on my kindle!”.

Umm, no. If the kindle wasn’t so expensive I would hit it with a baseball bat or throw it in the trash. Instead, I put it in the closet and told him that computers are for people who take care of themselves and their bodies. His baby brother doesn’t get to watch shows or play games on the kindle because he hasn’t demonstrated that he can handle that responsibility, and neither has the 3-year-old. He was very upset by this.

Respectful parents will tell you to imagine your child is an important foreign diplomat, but if that important foreign diplomat deliberately went pee-oee on my floor when I KNOW that HE KNOWS better, I would most certainly react the same way. Respect goes both ways, and when my child refuses to listen to me or doesn’t care about what I want, then it makes it hard to treat him like a person that does.

And I know that rewarding going potty with time on the kindle is maybe not the best parenting decision either but giving the dog treats worked in a few days and she’s only had one accident in 4 years. It’s hard to argue with results.

We went to a toy story for story time and painting today. He was playing with their train table while we were waiting for it to start. I was very much looking forward to seeing my friend who I hadn’t seen in a few weeks, and I was excited for the 15 month old to do some painting around other children. I explained this all to the three-year old, and I explained that I had failed to bring a diaper and baby wipes and how we would have to go home to clean up if he went to the bathroom in his diaper. I said he was acting like he needed to poop and we should try to go to the bathroom.

He refused and not 5 minutes later he had a little poop in his pants. I take him to the bathroom and sit him on the potty trying to salvage the situation, but he REFUSES. TO. FINISH. POOPING. And this is when I get infuriated. So I say everything again, about taking care of yourself, and wanting to see my friend. Only I say it louder and while crying. And I beg and plead and do everything you’re not supposed to do including telling him to stop acting like a baby.

Then I feel super bad because I know what I am saying is wrong and not helpful and that gets me in a cycle of feeling like a failure. I cry all the way home and when I clean him up, and when I put his brother down for a nap and when I tell him to stay in the room because mommy needs time to cry and think about what I’ve done. And then I go cry on my bed a little bit more.

I want to run away, or hide. I have a huge fear that my child will never be potty trained. I have a huge fear that I am a bad mother, that this one sign of failure is just covering up many smaller failures. I have a huge fear that I am not good enough for them.

Thanks for “listening”. I know I’m just being emotional and it will all be okay.

 

3 thoughts on “Potty Training Nightmare”

  1. That was hard to read. I have no help for you – I feel like daycare helped me and do not remember regression.
    I found this – hope it helps…

    Your toddler’s regression to babyhood (a time when he felt secure and close to you) may be caused by a number of factors. He may have conflicting feelings about growing up and becoming separate from you, or he may be feeling frustrated or overwhelmed by a developmental milestone. Regression can also be a reaction to a change or a stressful situation in his life, such as the arrival of a new sibling, starting preschool, or tension at home.
    What you need to know:

    You won’t have a big baby on your hands forever. This is just your child’s way of saying he needs some extra attention and sensitivity from you.
    What to do about it:

    Go ahead and baby your child. Let him cling, suck his thumb, or drink from a bottle (but fill it only with water). Not letting him slide back will only increase his desire to revert to babyhood and may prolong the phase.
    Heap on the love. Show him that he doesn’t have to act like a baby to get your attention. If you have a newborn in the house, set aside one-on-one time with your toddler. You might also appeal to his sense of importance. Enlist his help with the baby (he can hand you diapers or dry tiny toes after a bath).
    Hold the criticism. Instead, be reassuring while letting him know that you both know he’s only pretending. (“It’s fun to play baby sometimes, but I’ll always love you even when you don’t act like one.”)
    Celebrate grown-up actions. Point out the perks of being bigger. (“Too bad your little sister can’t have ice cream, but she’s a baby and babies don’t eat ice cream.”) Praise him when he displays maturity and applaud his big-boy achievements (like using a spoon or solving a puzzle).
    Provide a release valve. Let your little one know it’s okay to be angry or sad. If he makes a resentful remark about his new sibling, don’t say, “You don’t really mean that.” Instead, encourage him to talk about his feelings. (“You can always tell me how you feel. I always feel better when I talk about my feelings.”)
    Don’t rock the boat. If a change (like a new sibling) is at the root of your toddler’s regression, it’s especially important to reduce other changes in his life. Stick to his usual schedule and routines as much as possible.

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    1. Thank you for sharing the article with me, that is very helpful! Sometimes I think about preschool/daycare but I feel like that would be giving up, if the main reason is frustration. I’m not sure I would be any happier going back to work and having less time with them. Most of our time is happy, but sometimes I forget when frustrated.

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