total potty strike for months - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-21-2012, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Our DD is 18m old, and starting around 4 months ago, I thought she was really ready to use the potty regularly - she would signal when she needed to go, and even went over to the potty on her own and used it without prompting from me when sometimes when she needed to go and was diaper-free at home.  Also a few times when I asked her if she needed to use it, she went over to it and peed in it.  This had followed months of her signaling while going, and being happy to be put on the potty to finish if she started to go on the floor.  Then we had a few disruptions to our routine (travel, moving, etc), and now she refuses completely to use the potty at all, under any circumstances.  She has also stopped signaling, and if I ask her if she is peeing or pooping when she obviously is, she will say no quite strongly (although she also says no to food that we try to feed her right before she then eats it, etc, so she is clearly trying out the toddler "no" more generally).  She will make the potty sign if she sees a grownup potty, or if she sees the dog pee, and she will do the same for poop.  Because she finds poop in her diaper uncomfortable, she will sometimes tell me that she has already pooped, and if I ask her if she needs a fresh diaper when she has pooped, she will go into the changing room, get out a fresh diaper, and put it on the changing table.  

 

Right now she has a staph infection on her bottom which she will scratch if she is diaper-free, so while that has been healing she hasn't had any diaper-free time in a few weeks, but before that she would be diaper-free for hours at a time, during which time she might not pee at all, and then go once the diaper was on, or she would pee on the floor and then very excitedly tell us that she had peed and point it out.  We tried moving her to another room when that happened, so that she wouldn't see us clean it up, since it seemed to be a game with her to pee and then watch us clean it up (or to clean it up herself), but that didn't seem to help.  

 

If I ask her if she wants to use the potty, she always says no, and if I try to put her on the potty, she complains and immediately gets off.  Same thing if I try to put her on a regular grownup potty.  She will then often pee pretty soon after, in her diaper or on the floor.  I've reacted by basically never even offering the potty anymore, since she always reacts so strongly against it. I know this can be a normal stage, but it's been going on for months and months, and she is otherwise pretty agreeable and excited to mimic grownups, and most of the time, if she isn't really interested in something else, or overtired, or needing to eat, she will be happy to participate in something we suggest.  I had been planning on moving her to cloth pull-down training pants months ago that she could pull down on her own, so that she would feel more in charge, but I was waiting for her to use the potty a little bit more consistently before we moved to them, and now since she will only ever go in the diaper, the training pants don't seem to be a reasonable possibility.  

 

I just don't get why this is only a problem with the potty, and I'm not sure what else to do.  I don't know how to offer the potty without creating a situation where she feels that it is something I want her to do, and therefore resists it. I'm wondering if anyone has any ideas (or similar experiences to relate)?

 

Thanks for taking the time to read my post!


DD born at 40w2d on 1/19/2011
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Old 07-23-2012, 07:41 AM
 
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it's been a while since I've dealt with an 18m.o. so take my suggestions for what they're worth.

 

Some ideas would be to:

  • Go diaper-free and totally ignore any elimination (i.e. accidents, if pee's on the floor, don't comment/react just wipe it up and be on your way and maybe plop her on the potty, but walk away so there's no pressure for her to stay there)
  • Try making it "fun"...let her choose a new potty or a new place for her potty or add some blue food colouring to make her pee green, or a doll in a bowl next to the potty so she can pee with whoever her doll is
  • immediate rewards of some sort (wouldn't be my first approach)
  • Read a book about pottying then having a SUPER brief discussion about pottying (where did som and so put their pee? do you have a ptty/like using your potty?)
  • I would suggest ignoring it all together, but if it's been 4 months, it kind of seems like you need to take some kind of action

 

Good luck!


Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

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Old 07-24-2012, 02:36 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the response, eirual!  I think I will try suggestion #1 once we have this strep infection on her bottom cleared up (it's taking forever - a whole month, at least, despite multiple trips to doctors!).  It's pretty similar to what we already tried, but if we literally don't say anything to her at all, maybe that makes a difference. I had been at least acknowledging that she had peed, since she will sign that she has done it or is doing it, and then I would explain that it goes in the potty while putting her on the potty.  But maybe not saying anything at all is better at this point, when I know she already gets the main ideas.

 

 I've been thinking about how to do #2 also, because this seems like a good approach to me, but I haven't figured out yet how to implement it in a way that our daughter would probably respond to.  She doesn't have any dolls and doesn't really get into stuffed animals.  I could try to save a special toy for only when she is on the potty, but I'm not sure how to enforce that if she takes the toy and then immediately gets off the potty (I don't want to then get into a tantrum that I take it away again immediately if she doesn't stay on the potty because that starts to feel like a power struggle to me...).  She likes to throw things into her potty and to play with it, but I've been trying to discourage that, since it is somewhat counterproductive when she actually needs to use it.  She does love toilet paper, though, so maybe I should let her have some of that, and show her how to use it each time she sits on the potty?  Anyone have other ideas for this one?

 

I've also been thinking about the book idea, but wondering if she is too young or not for this to be helpful.  I could see it going either way.  Has anyone else found this to be a good approach with an 18m old?  (If so, any particularly good book recommendations from anyone who has found this helpful?)


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Old 08-03-2012, 08:24 AM
 
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How are things going for you guys these days?


Laurie, wife to guitar.gifDH (Aug/04), mom tobikenew.gifDS1 (Nov/05) and bfinfant.gifDS2 (June/12).

 

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Old 09-17-2012, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for checking in, eirual!  Things have been going better - it took a long time for the strep infection to clear, so we really didn't give her more diaper-free time until recently, but she had been showing good signs of readiness to use the potty again (putting her animals on it and cuing them, telling us when she was going, sitting on it while she was dressed and diapered and cuing herself...).  This last week we have regularly given her diaper-free time, and she has gone over to the potty on her own when she needed to use it, and once used it when I asked her if she wanted to use it before we put a diaper on her.  She will immediately empty it out into the toilet and then flush (which she has just discovered and finds really fun, to the point of repeatedly "emptying" the potty even when there is nothing in it).  So she seems to be just fine with going on the potty again - maybe all she needed was a really long break.  In retrospect, she was particularly difficult (not just with pottying) from about 14-17months, so maybe her potty resistance was just part of that developmental stage, whatever that was.  

 

Now she seems pretty good (but not 100%) at using the potty when she is diaper-free.  I thought we'd continue with that for a few weeks, and then if that seemed to be going well, to put her in the cloth trainers that we have, and to explain to her how to pull them down, and see how that works.  I figure if we can get her comfortable with the idea of the trainers, then she could also use the potty when we are out, or when she is at grandma's house during the day (where she isn't allowed to be diaper-free).  But she's gotten so used to just peeing in her diapers over the last several months, that I'm not sure how confusing the training pants would be, and I don't want to confuse her now that we are doing so well...

 

Thanks again to everyone for their responses!  


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