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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm so frustrated and unhappy with my son -- he'll be five in August. He just doesn't pay attention to his body and ends up with wet or dirty underwear several times a day. We remind him and remind him to go, he insists he doesn't have to....and boom, 10 minutes later he's peed through his underwear and shorts or started to poop in them.

I don't know if it's a boy thing, or just him. Although we EC'd for a long time, he was just a very late potty trainer and unless he was naked, just never seemed to mind going in his diaper or underwear. And now he's got this "I don't want to take the time to go potty" thing where he will deny until he's blue in his face that he has to go when he's busy playing. And he will NOT poop outside the house, wipe his own bottom, or let anyone else do it except me or dh; he will poop in his underwear rather than tell a teacher or his grandmother he needs help going to the bathroom. So I am very worried about him heading off to all-day kindergarten in the fall and not keeping his underwear clean and feeling ashamed at school.

He definitely does not have a constipation problem or any physical problem that I'm aware of.

I try so hard not to be angry with him, but I'm getting so fed up and it probably shows.


Any words of wisdom or advice?
 

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I think it would be time to chat with your doctor. My neighbor has dealt with a similar issue with her son. When her son was about age 4-5 I remember her starting to address the issue with her doctor. They explored everything from behavior to physical issues to possible food allergies. There was a ton of stuff she looked into as a possibility. Some if it was very simple to try like going dairy free or possible urinary tract infection. I do not know all the details and in his case there are some real underlaying emotional issues. But I would recommend calling your doctor and seeing what s/he has to say about it.
 

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My best friends son is 4 and going through the same thing. He does not have any health issues. He's just not really motivated to use the potty. Really, at 4 there are so many fun things going on it is hard to stop. And my DD still wants only Mommy for bathroom stuff most of the time, and she's been using the potty for over a year,

IMO at 4 your son is still inside the normal range for potty learning issues.

It's frustrating because 4 year olds seem so big to be going through this. Especially since you did EC with him.

Are you OK with letting him wear training underpants (I'm thinking something like a cloth pull up) so that he is not having so many accidents? Sometimes taking a step back is exactly what a child needs to be able to move on.

Another thought, at 4 kids are struggling so hard with independence and control of there environment. Maybe his current need in that area is just greater than his current need to be bathroom independent. I'm thinking about DD's need to dictate how she dresses, how she plays with toys, what order events occur, etc... has taken precedence over some basic things like eating for her.
 

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First of all,
- and this is fairly common I think. J's good friend is 5 (March bday) and still in pull-ups when he leaves his house and at nursery school. Not sure details of the situation but he basically "forgets to go" and he's heading to K this fall too. I have a great book called just "Your 5 Year Old" or something, and it's clear 5's are really good at tuning out the world!

Also, I am going to dig up the number of that potty training consultant... remember her? I went to that lecture at the kids' nursery school a while back? (can you believe such people exist... but she's an MSW and works with a lot of area peds and her specialty was actually special needs) Anyway, I remember her saying that the first thing to do is identify any obvious health issues, such as UTI, etc. and yes a checkup with the ped. It couldn't hurt to talk to her though my guess is she'll charge you a consulting fee.

But she said 90% of the time, the child is doing it because he or she CAN. Because they have no reason not to. They get to keep playing longer and get changed and are back to playing. She said, basically, you've got to have them figure out that going potty makes THEIR life easier. I am fuzzy on the details, but I think it's something like:

* An older child having more than a few accidents a week should not be in underwear until they can be kept clean and dry. That basically one needs to start over.
* Starting over consists of having child in a pull-up 24/7 and NOT MENTIONING THE POTTY AT ALL, not even once, for a couple of weeks. Do not mention the potty, do not ask if they have to go, nothing. Give the child a break from potty anxiety. She said often the child will actually start to correct themselves, when THEY are in total control of the situation. I could see having a conversation with E like, "Honey, I can tell that going pee and poo in the potty has been a pretty frustrating experience for you. I think your body is telling us that it's not quite ready for underpants. We're going to let your body rest a little bit and start using pull-ups again. Mommy and daddy aren't going to talk to you about the potty anymore. You can choose to use the potty or not and use your pull-up, it's up to you each time. If you use the pull-up, we'll help you change it, and if you use the potty, we'll help you wipe if you need help. But we are not going to ask you if you have to go and we are not going to remind you to go potty. You are free to use the potty whenever you want to, but you will be responsible for getting up and going yourself."
* Upon starting, it's a system of rewards just like potty training the first time. (I have LOTS of info on this "potty training blitz weekend" concept from my notes if you want it.)
* Set a timer. The child goes to the potty every 20 minutes like it or not. That puts a SERIOUS crimp in the kids' play fun and they almost immediately will look for a way to keep playing. Then it extends to 25 min., 30 min, 1 hr, etc. An accident sets the clock back.
* If a child has a pee accident, they must immediately stop what they're doing and go sit on the potty for what like 1 or 2 minutes. Afterwards, they need to help you clean it up. No, this is SO not a rub their face in it thing, just they need to get a towel with you, start the wash, get in the bathtub and wash their bottom, in other words, deal with the natural consequence of peeing, which is definitely not mom gets you a clean pair of underpants and you go back to what you were doing. When one does that, it's actually rewarding peeing in the underpants. For poo accidents, mom does cleanup but the rest (starting laundry, doing bath, etc. before resuming play) holds.

Reading the things above again, I think I wrote it harsher than she said it... she was TOTALLY not big on shaming or yelling, more just giving the child the tools they need to be successful, and using natural consequences and rewards, but not punishment or aggravated tones etc.

She also said strongly, and this stuck with me so I don't think I'm bungling it, that children who have to be reminded to use the potty and asked if they have to go by their parents are not actually potty trained. Potty training means a child comes to YOU and tells YOU that they have to go potty. Sure at first, it can be a little dicey, but a critical ingredient in successful long-term potty training is essentially leaving the child alone.

Anyway, I'll dig up her number - I've got to have it somewhere - if you want it. Let me know if you want those notes.
 

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Subbing cause I'm right there with you
Well, ds is 4 and turned in April. Will only go when naked. I'd write more but I have to go to sleep...
Tomorrow!

But Periwinkle, um, I'd love more info... Cause I am starting all over again.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for all the helpful posts! K, I would definitely like the PC (potty consultant's) number.

One of the complicating factors right now is working with the babysitter (8 hours a day while I study for the bar) and this...she's got both kids to deal with and I'm not sure she's going to be able to do the whole "clean up" routine.

Maybe I should just go the pullups/no pressure route for now and then in August when I'm done with the bar and before school starts, go for the 20-minute timer/starting over potty training thing. I've been reluctant to go back to pullups just because I don't want him to feel shamed for not wearing big boy underwear (and part of me is afraid he'll just go for the gusto and never ever use the potty!)

It's just so frustrating because it's so inconsistent....MOST of the time he knows how to go potty and MOST of the time he does it by himself, it's the 10-20% (depending on the day) of the times that it seems like we're back at step 1.
 
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