So DD started in with a potty regression in the months before DS was born in July. I let it go and let her just wear pullups. Then a few weeks before she started preschool, the director, to whom I had written about the issue (because she's supposed to be PT'd) suggested we try setting a timer and having her go when the timer went off. Since then she rarely pees her pants unless we forget to set the timer or remind her. But she still poops all the time, every day, unless we get lucky and happen to have a potty time at just the right moment. The timer works for keeping a bladder relatively empty, but alas, it does not work with poop!
So my question is, do I treat her like I would a baby with a dirty diaper - ie, as soon as you realize it's poopy you change it? Or do I wait until she says something? Because she never says anything. It's like it doesn't bother her at all. It would bother ME to do that, but would being dirty help her realize she needs to put it in the right place? I kinda think she really wouldn't care. Any suggestions? Or am I doing the most I could possibly be doing, and when she wants to, she will go on her own? Any success stories out there to give me hope???
I realized after I posted this that it was a dumb question to ask if I should leave her in poopy underwear. Duh. Obviously I should change it. But I feel like I'm doing something wrong. Like my approach to it is wrong. How should I be handling it? I mean, she's pooping in her pants, it must be my fault, right???
Have grace for yourself, Mama. It does not mean you have done something wrong. (And even if you had, it is rarely irreversible.) It is not uncommon for kiddos to regress when major changes take place, especially the birth of a sibling. I think some of the best things you can do for your DD are:
1) remember that she is capable of using the potty like she was before, and therefore you can feel more at ease, which will also communicate to her that you believe in her (this does not need to be said explicitly, though you might say it explicitly in various ways on occasion);
2) talk to her about the emotional causes of the regression as much as feels comfortable and not pressed. Make art about baby being born and the feelings you guess she might have about it. Help her identify her feelings about using facial expression pictures or cards or drawings. Don't try to resolve her feelings about it; just simply empathize and be emotionally present with her feelings. They will resolve naturally as you communicate to her that it's ok for her to feel the way she feels (angry, sad, jealous, envious, happy, lonely, worried, etc.), that those feelings are natural, warranted, ok, will not destroy you, or her, or baby, and will change with time. Check out some picture books from the local library about it and read them with her (maybe some other posters will have suggestions for good books...I'm not sure). This is another great idea of an activity using candles:
Try not to beat yourself up. It may take time, but she will grow past this. And all the more quickly as you join with her about her feelings and help contain them for her...feelings that she knows no other way to express or deal with but through her behaviors (in this case, control, consciously or not, over her bowels).