Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Potty issues

This is a parenting post. If you don't care for TMFI about Epsilon's toilet habits, skip this post. It's a bad sign when I can't let toilet training issues roll off my back. But I can't right now. So you get you read about it.

This last week I finally got to spend several days in a row with Epsilon, and he mastered potty training. We are all very proud of this. Diapers are expensive and annoying and not having to worry about whether he will pee on the floor when we go to the library over the weekend (the only time I've had so far to work on potty training with him) is a huge relief.

He has his quirks. He finds stalls terrifying, is convinced that the toilet at his daycare bites, and thinks it is hilarious to pee on the floor of the bathroom. The last issue is solved by letting him aim at a small beat up skillet that my partner and I refer to as his piss pot. When he wants to pee on the floor of the bathroom, I can always  talk him into using his piss pot instead. As far as I can tell, all of this is perfectly normal behavior for this stage.

What is perhaps less usual is that Epsilon has been pretty good about not having soiled diapers since he was 4 months old. At that point, our in home day care providers would put him on the pot, and he would try his damnedest to hold it. Our daycare provider in Chicago worked with him, and would send the occasional soiled cloth diaper home in a plastic bag. Our local daycare provider found it funny and odd that he poops on the toilet for us, and either never tried very hard to figure out how to work with him, or he just wouldn't work with her. Whatever, kids have different behaviors with different people and that's normal. It means providing disposable diapers, which is annoying, but okay. After a few traumatic messy diapers/baths, and a few attempts to leave him on the toilet and cry it out, Epsilon just decided to hold it at daycare.

When we started working with Epsilon on controlling his pee, she didn't work with us at all. When I told her on Monday that we had successfully toilet trained him at home, explained the options we give him, and handed her the piss pot and Epsilon in underwear, she agreed to try. It seems that trying means taking him to the bathroom when he asks to go. When he refuses to go to use the toilet (because it bites, after all) letting him out of the bathroom, at which point he pees in his pants, and gets put in a diaper.

When we ask her if she offered him the piss pot, she replies "Do I have to?"

Well, no, you don't. If you want to train him to go in the toilet only, more power to you. We haven't gotten that far yet. Personally, I think that training is going to take more than giving him one shot at it a day. On one hand, you do amazing creative things with him to get him to do things that I can't get him to do at home, so maybe it'll work. On the other hand, you seem to have shown a pattern of not wanting to invest any effort/creativity in toilet training Epsilon.

When / if I get a flyout(s) in a couple months, I've made arrangements with my daycare provider to keep him overnight if I can't get family to come out and watch him on short notice. I'm going to come home to a really constipated cranky kid.


  1. I feel your pain. In my experience, daycare providers in general simply have a lot of kids to deal with and really are not keen on providing special toilet training attention to any one kid. I know, it's frustrating for the parent...

    My oldest was fully trained in 2 weeks from the moment we realized he was ready (a little after he turned 3). With the second one, oh my! It's been a yearlong ordeal, especially with going No 2. He is a very stubborn kid. He had been very constipated for several months because he would not use the potty or the toilet, and he would just hold it for days. We tried everything several times over to get him to go potty; eventually something did click. We actually started offering rewards (a piece of candy) for successfully pooping on the potty. Now we have to wean him off that.

    We were feeling very smug after our first kid's successful and quick training, but are much more humble after the second. Just keep at it and arm yourself with lots of patience.
    Btw, we always taught the boys to pee sitting down first. Helps with the mess. It's no biggie teaching them to pee standing up later on.

    Good luck!

  2. "We were feeling very smug after our first kid's successful and quick training,"

    Hmm... maybe that's part of my problem here too. He's being so easy and reasonable with us that I'm assuming that he'll be easy and reasonable with everyone.

    Maybe its not the end of the world to have him in diapers at daycare for the next 6-9 months until we move. I usually don't let it get to me, but with everything else, this is just being another frustration I don't need at the moment.

    Thanks GMP.