The Poo Chronicles

Friday, June 12, 2009 Leave a Comment

Potty training is a test of patience for everyone, but perhaps none so much as mothers of 3 year old boys.

Peeing? That was a snap. First of all, there's nothing more entertaining to a boy this age as his penis. (I'm sure this is going to get me all sorts of weird google-search results.) Second, he can pee standing up. And third, he can pee outside.

He saw his friend peeing in the wood chips at the park, and wanted in on the action. That day, he peed in the park, in the neighbor's lawn, in our front lawn, in our back lawn, and in the bushes at Famous Dave's. From that day on, he wore underwear. He hardly ever has accidents.

But what he won't do is poo on the potty. From what other moms tell me, boys seem to have a harder time with this than girls. Whenever he needs to go, he asks for a diaper.

At first, this infuriated me. I mean, he obviously knows when it's time to go -- we're not struggling with accidents. But since he was having a bit of a rough time adjusting to the new baby, I held my tongue. And two friends reported their boys holding it until nighttime, when they knew they'd get a pull-up to sleep in; and then getting constipated; then holding it because constipation hurts; and then needing prune juice; and in an extreme case, a poo therapist... so I refrained from harsh words or criticism, or open disgust (this one's the hardest).

Here's what I have tried:

1. Bribery. Toys don't work. The picture of the workbench he wants is on the fridge, and he tells everyone that's what he gets when he poos on the potty, but he just doesn't want it badly enough. Sugar works to get him to sit on the potty -- he'll happily sit for half an hour to get M&Ms, but he never does go.

2. No more diapers. We made a deal -- when the diapers run out, they're gone, and he has to pee on the potty. He pulled out the swim diapers to use. Not being made for that kind of use, it was a horrible mess.

3. Peer pressure. It worked for peeing, but when it comes to poo, he could care less. He wasn't the least bit embarrassed when he had an accident at a friend's house where it was all over his hands & legs. The thing he remembered was getting to wear his friend's clothes home.

4. Novelty. A couple of weeks ago, while nursing my newborn, I heard the front door open. With the baby tucked under one arm, I raced out to find my 3 year old, nude from the waist down, bending over and laying a huge turd on the front lawn. "Look, mom, I'm just like Maggie!!" Sure enough, the dog was out with him, also doing her business. After I picked it up -- in a doggie bag -- I cheerfully told him he could now poo in the potty. No luck. It's taken me weeks to convince him that pooing on the lawn is NOT what he should do. (Sorry to all my neighbors about this unfortunate incident.)

5. Threats. Yes, the other day I resorted to the "what will it take?" rant. "How about if I take away a toy for every diaper I have to change? Is that a deal?" He agreed. That was three days ago and while we haven't even talked about it again, he still hasn't pooed. Have I caused him to hold it and enter the dreaded constipation phase?

When is it time to get tough? Or do I just accept that he's old enough to get it, let him decide?


  • Anonymous said:  

    Last year we faced similar challenges with my almost 3 yr old daughter. After much frustration on my part I took the advice of a friend and put the potty in her room next to her bed...low and behold she wanted privacy and did not want every one to know she was in there working on her business:) Maybe you've tried this but it was a success after many months of pain:) With a newborn and a 4 yr old I was just about to give up on my stubborn almost 3 yr old.

  • Anonymous said:  

    (Penny) My daughter was also okay with the peeing but not pooping for a long time. She was 20 months though; our approach was to talk about it, show her that we liked to do it, but otherwise just wait and see.