Potty-training: to worry, or not?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009 Leave a Comment

Lately I've been in a constant state of overwhelm. Trying to be a mom, walk the dog, work, keep up this blog, make dinner, be a good wife, see my friends, stay on top of Mount Laundry, and most of all, potty train my 3 year old -- well, it all has me in a constant state of low-grade panic. Like I've forgotten something important. At the heart of this is the fact that my 3-and-a-half year old refuses to poop on the potty.

Every evening, he asks for a diaper to poop in. We are currently in a passive/silent state of accommodating him.

This is after three weeks of heavy-duty pressure.

Pressure that I tried to keep in the positive, encouraging vein, but really...

First, I bought a beautifully wrapped gift and put it on a high shelf, where he can see it but not reach it, to open as soon as the deed is done. Then we created a crazily intricate pooping football chart -- his idea -- where, every 3 practices equals a first down, and a first down equals a hot wheels car. I knew this prop had failed when he told the babysitter that when he got to the touchdown, then he'd poop on the potty. We are only on the 40 yard line.

Then I began having pretend phone calls every night with Dr. Schmidt, a real-life poop doctor that one of his friends, who had similar problems, went to.

At first, I told him: "Dr. Schmidt says you're doing great! Keep practicing!"

The next night: "Dr. Schmidt says just be patient, you might have to sit on the potty a long time. Take a deep breath. Relax."

The third night: "Dr. Schmidt says if you poop in the diaper again, I have to cut out your TV time."

The next day, he peed in his pants. Twice. The only accidents he's had in six months of wearing underwear full time. Clearly, he was stressed. I backed off.

I truly don't know what else to try. Am I losing my mind?


  • Gordon Weakliem said:  

    Is that Barton Schmidt? He's great.

    My daughters were both TOUGH to potty train. #1 pooped in the potty once, a couple days later we sold our house and moved to Stapleton, and it was a full year before she'd poop in the potty again.

    #2 potty trained herself, she walked into my office and told me she pooped, and I went to change her diaper when she said "no, in the potty" - no prompting, no coaching, nothing. So we let her do it at her own pace for a couple weeks and then tried to get serious - potty breaks every 30 minutes. She shut down - she wouldn't poop for 3 days (this from a kid who goes twice a day) and then ended up so constipated it was incredibly painful when she did go. A year later, with coaching, charts, books, incentives, promising toys, candy, whatever she wants, she's finally pooping in the potty - she was having several accidents a day for the last couple months and finally we got her to go about a month ago - no more accidents, and she'll poop in the potty twice a day like it's the easiest thing in the world.

    I'm hoping #3 gives us a break.