Saturday, April 19, 2008

Motherhood grade: Fail

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KLee said...

You're not doing a thing wrong. The fact that wM knows enough to go put on a pull-up when she feels the need to void indicates that she's *aware* that she needs to go, and she just chooses not to use the potty yet. If you try and force the issue, it may make it even *harder* for her to get used to the idea of the potty.

I know it seems like a long road -- endless, sometimes -- but the old saw that "she'll potty when she's ready" is true. You can try all the gimmicks you like, but ultimately, when they become uncomfortable with having excrement next to their skin, they'll move on to the potty.

I'm sorry that that answer isn't more helpful, but I felt compelled to let you know that you are NOT a bad parent. By following her cues, and not trying to force the issue on her, you are doing exactly the right thing. At least in my estimation. There is no magic answer, though. It's all up to the child.

Anonymous said...

The only thing you are doing wrong is THINKING you are doing something wrong. You are doing nothing wrong. You know your child almost (smile!) as well as she knows herself!

Having said that, you could try any, all or none of what you have mentioned in your post. This is what I did, including just putting him in underwear one day and deal with whatever happens, as well as the "you will sit there until you push it out", tears and threats and dispair and all (me, but him too). And all we tried was with and without success. Believe me, you are not alone. You can follow my own dispair in my you may already have.

One day, it just happened. He was ready. So will WeeMiche. (There are still accidents, and wet spots, and poop in the underwear, so the journey is far from over.)

And yes, we bribed. And yes, we stopped bribing. And yes, he now offers us new toy cars or candies if we disappear into the bathroom...

Here's a positive point to look at: spring is here! summer is not far! less clothing to deal with! That in itself will be easier for her.

Good luck, and don't dispair.


PS I'm seriously considering starting the 6-month old now...or should...the mere thought of going through it again...blah.

Miche said...

Klee and Javamom: Thank you both for your kind words and sharing of knowledge and experience.

I'm used to feeling some level of competency for my endeavours. This one is frustrating me to tears because I have so little influence on the outcome.

And Javamom, good luck with the wee one. Do let us know if it's easier with the second!

Andrea said...

Frances was 3.5 and weeks away from starting kindergarten when she finally started using the toilet. One day it all just clicked. I couldn't even say in retrospect how or when it happened.

Earlier that year I'd tried the bribes and just-use-underwear and a few other things, and it just made for frustration and anger and tears (I'll let you guess which was whose). It didn't work at all.

Marla said...

Josephine's been "trained" for ages - but this past week she's had at least one accident a day. But we started calling them "on purposes", because they really happened because she didn't want to stop playing outside and come inside. And she knew she could just change her clothes, so it was "okay!"

But, when I was arguing with my mother about how I wasn't potty trained at nine months - that she was - I explained this to her:

That until Josie can "complete the transaction", I'm still a huge part of the process. I'd read that a few things have to happen to be ready to be completely pottyfied:

1) They have to be able to not only identify that they have to go - they have to be able to hold it until they get there. Even through obstacles - like waiting for people. So, it seems like she's there.

2) They have to be able to perform the mechanics - to get the clothes off, get on the pot, wipe well (we're still not there for #2) and get their pants back up - and hands washed and stuff.

Most kids aren't ready for all that, guaranteed, until about four or five. So it's fine.

My only other suggestion, is to ask her "why". I learned this from Kids, Parents and Power Struggles. Asking Josie "Why?" or "What would it take..." more often means we solve more problems together. Maybe the solution is there, she just has to understand that she can tell you.

DaniGirl said...

I think one of the hardest things about this age/stage is realizing that we are no longer driving the bus. You've set up WM to suceed and now you have to hand control over to her. Sooooo hard to do!! But she *will* get it, likely all of a sudden, and it sounds like you're almost there.

Miche said...

Andrea: thanks for the data point. I think it's really important to have friends who can be honest and supportive about these things. Thanks for being one of those people! (It's also incredibly reassuring that someone I deem to be a very competent mom can't make those "one size fits all" solutions fit her (WBKE) kid!

Marla: thanks for the reminder that setbacks occur too! Based on your list, I think most kids I've been thinking are "pottyfied" aren't quite. As always, I love your perspective!

(And we've tried the "why" thing and I don't yet get much more from her than "I just don't!" Maybe I should take a course on interrogation techniques.)

Dani: You speak the truth! (In all honesty, I have to admit I haven't been driving the bus for years. So I really shouldn't be as surprised as I am that I'm not driving now.)

You bring up another good point that I tend to forget. Where I'll see other kids try and try and try to master a task (like walking), weeMiche tends to wait and watch and think and not try until she feels she's ready. So while some of her friends were trying to learn to walk for months, weeMiche started later and then mastered it quickly. Here's hoping for the "all of a sudden" mastery! (And preferably before JK starts this Fall.)