Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Don't Even Have the Energy to Think of a Title

I had great plans to write something meaningful this weekend. But time change + potty training regression = exhausted mommy... I'm heading to bed as soon as I get Petunia's milk ready for tomorrow.

If anyone out there knows why an almost 3 year old who clearly can control her pottying (since she does so at day care and was doing so at home) would now choose not to do so at home, please tell me. My current theory is that my daughter is trying to drive me insane.


  1. Anonymous6:39 AM

    Not a mommy myself, but I wonder if it's a play for control? My nephew has started playing this game with his parents, but only when they visit grandma and grandpa. I don't understand the rationale at all, and I'm not sure how to fix it. But the "trying to drive me insane" theory might not be that far off the mark. Hope things get better!

  2. Hmm... is she at the point yet where you can ask her and get a response that makes sense?

    I've heard this happens sometimes when there's a new sibling in the picture.

    Over here, though, we're not even at the initial pottytraining stage... we're still at the "occasionally wants to sit on the potty, but 90% of the time nothing happens when there" stage. I do sometimes wonder if or when I should start pushing her a bit, or let her take the lead?

  3. Anonymous8:19 AM

    I'm not sure if this is your situation, but I think my younger one did it just because he felt like going to the bathroom was a waste of time. Too many other things he wanted to be doing.

    I finally got fed up and made him go cold turkey without diapers. (This was when we were transitioning to a new day care, but had a two week gap where I was at home with him.) I knew he was perfectly capable, so I just kept a close eye on him and brought him to the bathroom fairly frequently. Maybe it was the attention or maybe he finally decided he didn't like the feeling of wet pants (or both), but by the end of the two weeks, he was pretty much going by himself. :-)

    Good luck. I know how frustrating it can be.

  4. My son as had two regressions. I don't know why. I think it he just moves on to learning something new for a while. I just plow through them, stay calm, accept a few extra puddles to clean up, a few more loads of laundry. Both times, they worked themselves out within a week.

    I had initially used jelly beans to potty train, which worked wonderfully, but once he was good we eliminated those. I didn't want to re-instate them for the regression, so the "reward" during those times was fake tatoos - he got one on his tummy when he peed, and he loved that.

  5. paola9:59 AM

    I'd say that pretty much sums it up!

  6. I think your theory is a sound one - I hope it's a short lived phase!

  7. I have two theories, based on what I've seen with my girl. Both of which others have mentioned, but that won't stop me from saying them.

    1. Sometimes my girl doesn't want to stop what she's doing to go to the bathroom. We are still keeping a close eye on her and take her to the potty every 1.5-2 hours, even if she says she doesn't have to go.

    2. When they are learning new things, they regress in other things. In this case, I suggest plowing through it and waiting to see what new, amazing thing the Pumpkin is able to do soon!

    Either way, sucks. Extra laundry also sucks. Hope that you are getting more sleep soon!

  8. Oh that's frustrating! We had almost the opposite problem - she would sit on the potty at home but was having almost daily accidents at daycare. In her case it was just distraction - things at daycare are just so much fun that she doesn't want to stop what she's doing to use the toilet.

    The other thing she was really into which may be related, is the "baby" game. She is coming to grips with the fact that's she is growing up, and that's sometimes scary, so she likes to pretend that she is a "baby" and get cuddled and have a pretend bottle. I wonder if having a smaller sibling around is making Pumpkin miss being pampered like a baby.

    I'm pretty sure this problem will go away on its own...but that doesn't make the mountains of laundry go away! Good luck.

  9. no theories here. Just loads of sympathy. I never threw away the cloth diapers because they make great drop clothes for all the surprise "accidents" Pea leaves me every now and then. In her case she actually forgets. Though she does like to be defiant if I ask her if she needs to go and voila... 15 minutes later surprise...

    I just remind myself it won't be like this forever...

  10. #1 or #2?

    Is she sick?

    Is she distracted by something very engrossing?

  11. Anonymous8:27 PM

    Ah, those potty issues. Mine had an accident herself today. I think she was too busy playing. And I JUST BOUGHT new panties free from poop-stains, too.

  12. Thanks everyone! Here is some more info for those who are curious:

    Accidents are both pee and poop.

    Sometimes it seems that she is too into whatever she's doing to go, but she'll also refuse outright if we ask her if she needs to go potty, and through quite a fit if we try to force the issue (so we don't force it- I don't want this to become a power struggle).

    I think some of the problem is missing babyhood, both due to watching her little sister and just growing pains. I've tried to talk to her about how she'll always be special to us, and how we'll always take care of her if she needs us to, but I don't know if that is getting through.

    I don't think she is sick, but she did get an irritated bottom at one point and started avoiding the potty because it made her bottom hurt.

    So... a mix of issues. We're muddling through, trying to stay calm about it all. But yeah, lots of laundry.

    @Irene- how old is your little one? The research I've see is that if you start with any serious training before 2, you're more likely to still be at it at 4, whereas if you wait until after 2, you're more likely to be done by 3.

    We started serious training at about 2.75, because that is when she moved to the room at day care that is set up well for potty training. Also, I didn't want to be training right around the time when Petunia was born. Without those two external factors, I think I would have started a little bit before 2.5, because she had a natural interest then, and probably could have been pushed over the edge pretty easily.

  13. @Cloud - we pushed the potty training before 2 by going cold turkey on the diapers. He had lots of accidents along the way, and two seperate and distinct regressions, but he was pee trained at 23 months, poop trained at about 28 months (he was clever, and for several months only pooped at night time when he had his diaper on).

    It was definitely a much longer process than a lot of my friends who waited until closer to 3, but then seemed to manage to train within a week with minimal accidents. I am, by nature, a controller, a "fixer" so the process worked for me (it is important for me to feel like I am doing something), but I probably spent about 6 weeks actively training. Not sure if I would do that again in respect.

  14. Yes, she is trying to make this a power struggle and if you go insane, so be it, from her perspective! Similar shit is going on under my roof. However, they need to complete this phase in order to avoid becoming spineless followers when they grow up. That's what I keep telling myself...

  15. cloud- you might want to check out "Diaper Free Before 3" by Jill M. Lekovic. The intro about the history of potty training is actually pretty fascinating, and appears to be well documented. She presents quite a bit of research that shows the earlier you start, the earlier they train. But, as Jac mentioned, it does take longer if you start early. FWIW, I followed the Lekovic method, more or less, and went cold turkey on diapers at 21 months with twin boys (they were introduced to the potty around 11 months). She actually suggests cold turkey closer to 12 months but i only discovered the book around 20 months. After about 2 weeks it was manageable, and after about 2 months I didn't worry about it every time we left the house. For me, not having to deal with diapers anymore was a huge incentive and worth the initial struggle. One boy is still in a pullup at night and he's almost 3 so maybe I need to re-read the section on night wetting.

  16. @zed- Pumpkin was diaper free except for overnight before this regression (or whatever it is) started. It took a weekend once we found the right reward system (for us, it was M&Ms).

    I looked up the source of the "later is easier" potty training info, and I apologize, I had the ages a little off. Here is the quote, from my AAP baby/kids book:

    "Studies indicate that many children who begin training before 18 months are not completely trained until after age four. By contrast, most of those who start around age two are completely trained before their third birthday."

    In our case, I was pregnant when Pumpkin was 21 months old, and there was just no way I was interested in messing with potty training until later.

    The latest news is that Pumpkin had 4 (!!!) accidents at day care yesterday, and now we are suspecting a UTI.

  17. Hi Cloud,
    I'm going through a totally surprise potty regression with my boy right now and it is, in fact, driving me insane. He was totally 100% reliable even during naps and overnight until this week he suddenly started peeing and pooping in his pants. He defiantly refuses to be led to the bathroom at regular intervals and if you ask him if he needs to pee he says "no," even when he is clearly holding his pee (he does a little pee dance and sticks his butt out when he's really holding it). Here's my question: what the heck are you supposed to do? We fumbled through potty training, which happened early (about 23 months, because he was very interested, led the way, and it was super easy, no pressure and now rewards), so I don't have a coherent strategy for potty training that tells me how to deal with the regression. Just keep putting on the underwear and pants? Go back to diapers? Do you know what a parent is supposed to do?

  18. @Susan- I don't really know what you're supposed to do, either. I searched Moxie's archive for potty training info, and her advice was to just keep trying w/o making a big deal of the accidents. I didn't really want to go back to diapers (although I have been tempted at times), so we've just plowed through.

    Things are getting better here again. What we've figured out for Pumpkin is:

    (1) She needs privacy to poop. So it is important to have her in pants she can manage to get down on her own, and to let her be when she poops. We also explained to her that she could just go potty when she felt she needed to (I guess that wasn't obvious?) and with these changes, we don't have many poop accidents anymore.

    (2) On the pee front... she needs some sort of motivation to go. She just doesn't see the "value proposition", to use a phrase from my consultant days. So she needs some sort of reward... but the twist is that the reward has to keep changing. So M&Ms worked for awhile. Then the promise of a toy if she made it through the day w/o an accident worked for awhile. Then a sticker for going potty worked for awhile. Right now, it is bandaids that are the preferred reward.

    So maybe it really is something that you have to troubleshoot with each kid? I don't know.

    Good luck!

  19. Susan8:10 PM

    Cloud, thanks so much for replying to my desperate query. Things have returned to normal, more or less, with my son, though he is still more recalcitrant/delaying/anxious about using the toilet than he was prior to his big regression. I'm trying to remember that it's all a lot for a little person to handle, that it's a long haul and he's doing great, and that I cannot, cannot, cannot control this. And if I try to, it will only be worse. And the worst consequences -- dirty underwear and wet pants -- aren't really that bad.


Sorry for the CAPTCHA, folks. The spammers were stealing too much of my time.