3 yo DD pooping and peeing in pants - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 06-04-2011, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm in the "potty learning" tribe in the toddlers forum but I thought I'd post over here too, because it seems everyone there is just starting out the potty training journey, and we are in need of some remedial help. 

 

My daughter was doing pretty well with using the potty and was going at least a couple of days or so without having any accidents.  Now in the last, oh, month or so, I'd say, she has decided to poop and pee in her pants.  And I say "decided" because she mostly does it at home.  Most of the time (though not today!) she lets me know when she needs to go while we are out.  I have quit carrying "back up" because the only way to motivate her to use the potty was to tell her "let me know when you have to go, because we don't have any 'extras'" and that had been working fairly well. I tried going back to M&Ms to motivate her to use the potty again, but that didn't work at all.  So I read in the Positive Discipline A-Z book that at this age, I need to disengage from the situation.  According to the book, if I have a 3 yo with issues using the potty, then I have created a power struggle and the only way to correct the issue is to disengage and let her make her choices.  If she chooses to use the potty, great.  If not, great, but she gets to do the clean-up. 

 

So that's where we're at right now.  She pooped and peed her pants here at home, so I sent her into the bathroom to clean up.  There is now poop all over the floor because when she took her undies off, the poop fell off her bum and then she stepped in it.  I have given her a bucket to put the dirty stuff in, and we have reviewed how to dump the poop where it belongs, but honestly it is a way bigger mess now than it would have been had I done it for her.  I guess I just need to know, where do I draw the line?  I just don't think she is able to clean herself up on her own.  She now has poop on her hands, on her feet, and from front to back (bum to belly button).  I gave her some cleaning wipes to wipe up the floor because she tracked poop all over the floor. 

 

I really am just at a loss.  I don't know what to do.  I guess I'm just looking for some advice and help.  Probably being 36 weeks pregnant is making me especially emotional about it. 


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#2 of 18 Old 06-04-2011, 08:44 PM
 
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Potty regression is 100% normal when a new sibling is arriving. These are your last few weeks with just her before you have two whose needs can be overwhelming and conflicting.

 

A three year old is not developmentally able to clean up after themselves when they poop their pants.

 

My advice is to cherish the quiet moments together and worry about potty learning when the new little one is around 6 months. (Not quite so demanding and not yet mobile).

 

I promise, even after regression, they all end up using the potty.

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#3 of 18 Old 06-04-2011, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know!! Yes, I know all these things, and I agree.  I just don't know how not worrying about it is practical.  I mean, how do I put that into practice?  She will continue to poop and pee in her pants and I will clean it up?  She won't go back into diapers, we haven't used diapers in a very long time.  I could maybe get her to wear pull-ups full time.  We currently only use one at night in the event that she isn't dry all night - because she comes in our bed at night and that keeps me from changing king-sized bed linens.  Mostly what happens is that she stays dry all night, and then refuses to use the potty in the morning and so pees in her pull-up.  I am afraid she would just treat them like diapers, and we'd be two steps back instead of just one, plus they're expensive and make more garbage, which makes me cringe. 

 

I guess I don't understand how not doing anything helps her experience any natural consequences of her choices.  Obviously I don't mean to punish her, but she's not really having "accidents" she's choosing not to put the poops and pees in the right place.  Or is potty learning exempt from natural consequences?

 

She's supposed to start preschool in the fall and I'm afraid she won't go at school and then some kid will make fun of her. 


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#4 of 18 Old 06-04-2011, 11:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chfriend View Post

Potty regression is 100% normal when a new sibling is arriving. These are your last few weeks with just her before you have two whose needs can be overwhelming and conflicting.

 

A three year old is not developmentally able to clean up after themselves when they poop their pants.

 

My advice is to cherish the quiet moments together and worry about potty learning when the new little one is around 6 months. (Not quite so demanding and not yet mobile).

 

I promise, even after regression, they all end up using the potty.

This.

 

She just isn't developmentally able to clean up after herself if she poops in her pants. Not at all. Potty learning isn't a discipline issue it's a developmental issue. You don't use natural consequences with developmental issues even if you do choose to use them for behavior ones. It's not fair to your LO. If she needs to go back to using pull ups it's ok. You don't want to give your DD stress right before she has a new sibling. Relax abit and enjoy having one on one time while it's still easy to find the time. You don't realize it now but 3 is really still a baby.
 


As for books, try Kids Parents and Power Struggles by Mary Kurcinka.

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#5 of 18 Old 06-04-2011, 11:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, stupid book.  I'm not sure why I thought she could clean up her own poop.  Whatever.  I guess I was just desperate.  I am just going to hope she will wear the pull-ups and forget about it.  She knows how to take care of her pee pee pull-ups, so I will let her do that and I will change the poop ones.


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#6 of 18 Old 06-04-2011, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh, and thanks for the book suggestion.  I have a million parenting books from the library right now, but I don't think that's one of them.  I do have the one about spirited kids, though, but it doesn't say anything about potty training. It seems to cover all the other stuff, though.


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#7 of 18 Old 06-05-2011, 04:48 AM
 
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Your family is in a time a tremendous transition. I don't think any of you will be let down by tossing all the books except "how to incorporate your new baby into the family" kinds and just really connecting and snuggling for the next 4-6 months.  Congrats on your new addition!

 

(Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen and Sleepless in America were too that I found invaluable at that time, but trust your instincts!)

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#8 of 18 Old 06-05-2011, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks everybody.  I feel better about it already.  I can accept it for what it is - a regression.  I KNOW she can do it... when she decides she wants to.  She accepted a clean pull up this morning, and I've not worried about it all day.  I'm not going to ask her if she wants to use the potty anymore.  She will if she wants to.  I guess I'm wondering if I should be checking her pull-up to see if it's wet, you know, like you do when you have a baby in diapers, casually sticking your finger in there to see if a change is needed.  I don't want her to be rashy from having wet against her skin, you know? That's the problem with pull-ups - there is no puddle so you don't know when they are wet!

 

I have a feeling when she goes off to preschool, she will see other kids using the potty and want to do it too.  She is a smart girl.  She will figure it out. 


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#9 of 18 Old 06-06-2011, 07:36 PM
 
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You've gotten good advice and book recommendations from others, so I won't even try to add to that. But don't worry about preschool. EVERYONE has accidents at preschool, and the teachers aren't phased by it at all. DS had some regression after he started preschool, but it didn't last long. I'm not sure I handled it the best way possible, but it subsided seemingly on its own, despite me. The kids will not make fun of her for accidents. Not at 3. At 9, maybe...

 

Also, My friend's daughter was resistant to potty learning and just didn't seem to be making progress. We all went together (kids and moms) to look at a couple of preschools, and the kids wandered off to play while we talked to the teacher in the classroom. We looked up, and my friend's DD was gone! We looked all around, then checked the bathrooms, and sure enough, she had decided she needed to pee, and went in and used the toilet. We were floored. I think with her, and I know with DS, that those little toilets made a big difference. They love things that look like Mommy's and Daddy's but are sized just right for them. So that just made me think: Do you have a little potty for her, or is she using the regular toilet? Even if she's using the big toilet, maybe she'd be more comfortable with a little potty -- maybe take her shopping to pick out a special one for her to use?

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#10 of 18 Old 06-08-2011, 08:48 AM
 
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I had another one on the way and one of my twins would only poop on the floor.  She was afraid to poop in a potty.  Not the same situation as yours I know, but similar in that she could physically use the potty, but she wasn't emotionally ready.  So I had 2-1/2 year old twins, a newborn and was cleaning poop up off the floor.  I tried all the bribing to no avail, but I did have her help clean up pee and get me towels, cleaning supplies, etc, so I could clean up her poop, but I didn't want her handling her own poop so I did that part of the cleaning.  Anyway, it was pretty awful, but it resolved itself when she was ready and now the fact that one of my kids would only poop on the floor is just kind of a funny memory.  Thank goodness we have only hardwood floors or I really don't know what I would have done.  It will get better.  It's just hard to remember that with all the anxiety of another baby on the way and preschool in the fall.  


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#11 of 18 Old 06-08-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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I agree that you're doing the right thing going back to pull-ups for now.  My two guys both started using the potty/toilet at 3 years old (and a few months).  I waited until ds2 was born and a few months old so I wouldn't have to deal with it!  When they're ready, they're really ready and there won't be so much going back and forth about it, maybe a few accidents, but that's normal.  If enough time has gone by, after the baby comes or whatever, you might just post a sticker chart on the wall in the bathroom, not say you're going to use it, but as something she can see and might ask to do....

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#12 of 18 Old 06-10-2011, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think she is used to wearing the pull ups now.  We actually never used them for daytime, even when we first started out, I started her in the Gerber cloth training undies, which she was still wearing.  We only used pull ups starting recently at night, instead of diapers.  It is weird having her in them full time, but boy is it less stressful!  I just don't worry about if she goes in them or not.  I still offer potty when we are out, but if she says no, then fine.  I will admit, I feel like I'm giving up.  Like we made so much progress and now she's basically back in diapers!  I feel sad about it, upset about it, still.  But SHE doesn't seem to care at all.  So it's my problem, you know?  She doesn't feel badly that she's not using the potty.

 

Thanks for the advice on preschool.  I don't know if they have a "policy" about sending them in pull ups or in underwear or what, but I guess I'll find out.  They are supposed to be potty trained, though.  She was when I signed up!!!!!!  Oh well.  I do think she will see the other kids going and maybe will want to try. 


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#13 of 18 Old 06-10-2011, 08:29 AM
 
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My dd (and several other kids I knew her age) was at that mostly-there stage of potty learning at this stage before starting preschool too.  There are several months to go, and that time can possibly end up making a big difference on its own.  Taking a few weeks or a month off of being really on-top of PL'ing is fine (we had times we just *had* to relax about it too - it's just so stressful).  From my experience, dd had times when it just naturally became more bothersome to have accidents and accepted help getting to the toilet easier mixed in with times when it seemed like she wasn't trying.  

 

Like some of the pp's - preschool helped (and even with the potty trained policy, most preschools know that kids sometimes still have accidents and are learning.  It's not something you need to stress about - they won't throw her out, they're usually pretty prepared to help work with it).

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#14 of 18 Old 06-14-2011, 10:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I hope they don't throw her out of preschool!!!  Again, I think it is MY worry and MY fear about the situation and not hers.  I worry that they'll think I lied and said she was potty trained when she really wasn't, if she is in pull-ups at preschool and basically uses them as diapers.  Because that's what she does right now.  I can't remember the last time she sat on the potty.  I'm kind of bothered by the fact that she no longer tells me when she's wet.  In undies, she would tell me, usually, or I'd find that she'd stripped them off.  With the pull-ups, she goes all day long until I tell her, "okay, it's time for a new pull-up" and I change her.  Either that or she has a poop, and I don't let her keep that on.  She doesn't tell me when she's pooped either! I just smell it and say, "let's go get that cleaned up... you don't want that on your skin." I'm trying to take the approach of - if it doesn't bother her, it shouldn't bother me... except in the case of poop.  I just can't let her walk around in a poopy pull-up.  I mean, you wouldn't let a baby sit in a poopy diaper if you knew about it, right?  I do have to admit, it has been kind of "freeing" for her to be back in "diapers."  I don't have to ask her constantly if she has to go, or beg her to go before we leave the house, or worry she will have an accident in a public place and then I will have to clean it up, or worry she will pee in her carseat and that I will have to be taking that out and cleaning it.  It sure is easier!  But I am a little concerned that she isn't telling me when she's wet or poopy.  I kinda think she still thinks or knows that I am disapproving of her not using the potty.  I guess I am, but I really don't think I'm getting upset about it like I was.  I think she's just waiting to see if I still get upset or not. 

 

Well, I just wanted to thank everybody who responded. I really appreciate all the advice and support. 


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#15 of 18 Old 06-15-2011, 11:11 AM
 
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I wouldn't worry about them thinking you lied. I'm sure some people do, but I also think that there are LOTS of kids who regress during potty training and especially when they start a new school, so I'd expect the school to just kind of roll with it.

 

Also, if she's in disposable pull-ups you could try tricking her a bit and see if that helps. Start talking to her about what a big girl she is, because she's going to start school soon. Talk up about how only big girls and boys get to go to school. When you get her dressed in the morning, comment that "this shirt seems like it's getting small. Are you growing?" Then buy the smallest pull-ups you can, and one day just put her in them and struggle to get them on her. When you can't, exclaim, "Oh my! You've outgrown your pull-ups! You ARE a big girl!" and see if she'll take the hint. This worked for a friend whose little boy didn't want to give up diapers, but I'm not sure if it'll be the same since she doesn't seem to mind being wet/dirty. If it doesn't work, check with the school to see if pullups are okay. If not (or maybe even if so), tell her she'll have to wear big girl undies to school and she'll have to keep them clean. Send several spares with her, just in case, but she will probably be having so much fun there that she will realize she doesn't want to stop to have her clothes changed all the time. But definitely make it about being her choice, not something you want for her.

 

And yeah, if you think she's waiting for you to get upset, DON'T. I got sucked into that, and DS still melts down sometimes when I simply ask him to pee before we leave the house. I have no idea why, other than that I used to engage in the struggle and maybe he thinks there is one now where there really isn't.

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#16 of 18 Old 06-17-2011, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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You are right, swd, I am just going to explain the situation to them - new baby - she's just regressed in so many other areas, not just potty.  I would think they'd have to be understanding about it!  I mean, if they aren't, then I picked the wrong school and we will go elsewhere! 

 

She used to be into being the "big girl" and tell me "I'm not a baby anymore, mama" but she doesn't really take to that at the moment.  I think maybe because of the whole regression, and wanting to still be the baby, and worrying about her place in the family now that she can see every day that her baby brother is getting bigger and is coming soon, you know?  Maybe by the end of the summer things will be different and she will start feeling more settled about it, and we can talk about all the big girl things she can do.  I think when the time comes, if she can't wear pull ups at school, and I tell her that they will want her to use the potty, she will be able to rise to the occasion.  I hope.  She won't go to Kindergarten still doing this, will she?


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#17 of 18 Old 06-18-2011, 12:17 AM
 
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another thought -- can you give her pull-ups just for poop and keep her in undies for pee? Both of my kids were willing/able to pee in the potty several months before they were able to poop in the potty. Ds was 3 years 4 months when he trained, and he would ask for a pull-up. We worked this out as a deal. He was fine with it.  (I eventually bribed him majorly to poop in the potty.) Dd was much younger (2 something) and would just wait to poop until we put her nighttime diaper on. Once she declared herself diaper free at night, she began to use the potty.

 

Neither one liked the splash in the toilet either, so it was a potty chair for a good long while.


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#18 of 18 Old 06-18-2011, 07:17 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by azzeps View Post

You are right, swd, I am just going to explain the situation to them - new baby - she's just regressed in so many other areas, not just potty.  I would think they'd have to be understanding about it!  I mean, if they aren't, then I picked the wrong school and we will go elsewhere! 

 

She used to be into being the "big girl" and tell me "I'm not a baby anymore, mama" but she doesn't really take to that at the moment.  I think maybe because of the whole regression, and wanting to still be the baby, and worrying about her place in the family now that she can see every day that her baby brother is getting bigger and is coming soon, you know?  Maybe by the end of the summer things will be different and she will start feeling more settled about it, and we can talk about all the big girl things she can do.  I think when the time comes, if she can't wear pull ups at school, and I tell her that they will want her to use the potty, she will be able to rise to the occasion.  I hope.  She won't go to Kindergarten still doing this, will she?




DS is an only, but he started regressing a few months ago (he's about 3 months older than your DD). We assumed it was the adjustment to school, but even now he's still being a bit "babyish" in other ways. (No more potty accidents, thankfully, but he still wants to be carried around sometimes and will cry just because we ask him to pee before we leave the house, that kind of thing.) There was another thread somewhere on here about someone's DD regressing at this age and the mom was convinced it was b/c she was pregnant. Then others chimed in that their kids all showed some regression in different ways at that age, younger sibling or no.

 

As for kindergarten, keep on worrying about that! If you do, she'll be completely done with this phase before she starts preschool. ;-) (At least that's how it works for me! If I blow something off and say, "It's just a normal phase" it seems to last a LONG time and drives me insane. If I save myself the trouble and just go insane as soon as the issue manifests itself, it ends up being no big deal in a few weeks.) Hang in there.

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