I was driving home from work today and as I motored along Westlake Ave — a busy Seattle street that hugs the west side of Lake Union — I passed a man walking two Boston terriers who were poised mid-process in the act of taking a long and thoughtful shit. Two dogs, the exact same size, the exact same breed (dogs whose faces have always reminded me of Andy Rooney), humped over in unison in that vaguely humiliating dog way, pumping out what were surely identically-shaped turds. And there was this guy holding two leashes strained in two different directions, who was not standing there wishing for death or crawling into the bushes to escape the snickering glances from the cars passing by, but was stoically digging out two plastic bags from his pocket, ready to scoop up and presumably dispose of his dogs’ feces.

Sometimes I am thunderstruck by the inherent goodness of people, you know? Not always, but sometimes.

:::

I have been trying to stop myself from writing about potty training because while I feel perfectly fine about discussing baby poop, I feel a bit more uncomfortable talking about 3-year-old poop, but I cannot help myself tonight: DEAR GOD THE POTTY TRAINING IS KILLING ME. I am convinced we have fucked it up in every possible way, and even though I swore I would never backtrack once we embarked on this oh-so-rewarding journey, after a recent weekend of our kid holding it until he was in pure misery, we pretty much put Riley back in pull-ups and stopped dragging him to the potty every ten minutes and man, I sure don’t know WHAT the fuck to do at this point. He poops at night and during naps, and no amount of bribery, explanations, supportive discussions, or outright threats is making a difference. Tonight he did something I guess I’d call a shart on our couch and I am no stranger to cleaning up disgusting substances but a plastic bag and a Boston terrier on a busy street is sounding FAR more preferable to dealing with someone’s stubborn refusal to crap in an area designed for crapping, and HELP HELP HELP. Is there something proactive I should be doing at this point? Or sit back and let it be for now? Seriously, any advice would be greatly appreciated.

:::

Home life in CRAZYTOWN:

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clarabella
15 years ago

Gah! No comments yet on my feed. I have nothing to say about potty training as mine is 16 months old and still in diapers and will be until he’s 10 if it’s as terrifying as I hear from you and other sources.
(That said, I saw your twitter earlier and cringed at the idea of SHIT ON THE COUCH. OMG! I am not helping.)
However, that video of your boys sure is crazy adorable, and I hope that mitigates some of the shittyness (pun intended). Keep on keeping on, lady.

My Buddy Mimi
15 years ago

We went four months trying to get our daughter to poop on the potty, and that was after she was successfully potty trained in terms of peeing. We tried everything under the sun, but what finally worked was outright bribery. We offered her a trip to Disneyland (we live in LA, so it is not THAT far away) if she would poop on the potty every time for a week. We are going next Tuesday. Let’s hope she doesn’t stop…

Becca
Becca
15 years ago

Ha! I have two Boston terriers and I have to say, I have been that man on Westlake so many times! The two silly beasts off in different directions “taking care of business” and me not knowing which way to go to clean up…but compared to potty training a 3 year old. I’ll take the Boston route any day.

As for Riley, I may not be the best advisor (being childless and all) but I was a nanny for 5 years for the same family with five children (I KNOW, crazy people right!) The youngest boy did the same thing with refusing to get into potty training and the only real solution was to let him do it at his pace. Hard as it was to continue to clean up a 3 year old’s diapers, he kind of had to find his own comfort level with pooping in the potty. He’ll get there when he feels ready. Just hang in there with him. :)

honeybecke
honeybecke
15 years ago

Yes. It is very hard.
Our pediatrician gave us this article by Dr. Barton D. Schmitt and so far, so good:
http://tinyurl.com/62rpso
It is a pretty hard-ass (no pun int) approach to a resistant potty-trainee.

ALSO, please enjoy this picture of my bathroom after my almost 3 year old who is potty training spent 35 minutes of blissful “going poop mom, shut the door! shut door!”
I swear, the bathroom was tidy previously.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/thriftybean/2869784720/

BethanyWD
15 years ago

I have heard (you probably have, too) that boys are tougher to train than girls. Yes, that SUCKS.

And, since you asked, I wrote about my experience potty training my kids here (maybe it will help??):

http://thatsnotgreat.typepad.com/bethany/2008/06/work-stress-and-a-weekend-round-up.html

Mama Ritchie
15 years ago

Oh man, C is going to be 4 (4!) in mid December and we are STILL dealing with the pooping. I thought we were done the day he said, “Mommy, Charlie go poop now on potty” – he sat down on the big potty and took a giant dump. I was coaching him through it as if he was giving birth and I hadn’t felt so excited since the day I got engaged (I would say since the day I found out I was pregnant but honestly I was just scared shitless). I was like, wow, well, it was a struggle, but all in all, not so bad.

He didn’t poop again on the potty until 6 weeks later. We’ve tried bribery – both with candy (m&m’s) and toys (Thomas trains – those fuckers are expensive). I bought a bunch of books on it and two in particular worked well – Once Upon a Potty and Where’s the Poop (a lift-the-flap book where under one flap on each page is a little drawing of feces). The novelty wore off. I tried special big boy pants. I’ve even resorted to shaming him (I guess you’re still a baby then – god I suck).

He would hold it and hold it until once he actually made himself sick. So I am now giving him Miralax to make his poop soft – cuz he’s afraid it’s going to hurt – and I let him pick where he wants to poop (always the diaper). He has gone 3 times on the potty. I’m hoping #4 will come soon.

I think Riley will poop on the potty when he’s ready. The big trick is not going down the mommy shame spiral every time he doesn’t. I know it won’t mean anything to say this, cuz it doesn’t when people say it to me, but he’s not resisting because you did something to fuck up his progress. He’s just not ready.

God, give me a Master’s in Poop! On second thought…

niknak
15 years ago

I have been reading your blog for a couple of years now and really enjoy it.

Let me ask you a question. Do you really read all the responses you get to your dailey blog?

Best,

Niknak

Nicole
15 years ago

We had the same thing with Ella- she had a total fear of doing a poop on the potty and since we were halfway between diapers and panties, I wanted to KILL myself. My MIL did give me a little trick that moved things along a bit faster (although it wasn’t any sort of miracle). She would make Ella wash out her underpants in the toilet and also wash off her own butt in the bathtub, ie rub the soap on and rub the poop off as I sprayed the water. Ella absolutely hated that but I was adament. I didn’t mind if I had to keep changing poopy diapers but I drew the line at cleaning up shitty pants and since she totally knew how to hold it when she peed, it didn’t seem unreasonable to expect her to either wait for a diaper to poop or else do it on the potty.

Robyn
Robyn
15 years ago

Seriously, we can NOT control when a child decides to poop on the potty. It has nothing at all to do with parenting.

It’s the one thing THEY can control, for as long as they like. What I found with my two boys, if you can handle it, is the fact that they don’t like the feeling of the poop in thier diaper. They’d want to be changed right away…and I’d be all, “Okay, in a minute”, and “Yup, just gotta do this first” and hold off for as long as you can each time. He might reconsider his “control issues” and decide the potty is a better deal.

Kristi
15 years ago

Well, my son was a perfect Virgo to potty-train because he hated having his clothes dirty (but even then, it didn’t happen AT ALL until he was 3 1/2.) My daughter (who is almost 4) has been a total nightmare. She was in pullups until 3 months ago when I realized, oh shit preschool starts in 3 months! First, she was awesome with the pee because I bribed her w/M&Ms – wanted NOTHING to do w/poop on potty. Then, she figured out poop on potty but argued with me every time I said she had to sit on the potty for pee – so she just started peeing everywhere. My poor carpet has more kid pee on it than dog pee – and that’s really sayin’ something. Anyway, we may have turned a corner in the last week, but it’s too soon to call it. So basically, I have no advice.

Oh, also sometimes people totally pull out the dog poop bags when other people are looking with no intention whatsoever of picking up said dog poop when noone is watching (not that I have done this).

laughing mommy
15 years ago

I have an almost 3 year old daughter who I’m potty training right now, so I feel your pain.

When we potty trained my older daughter she did great with pee, but didn’t want to poop on the potty. We ended up bribing her with cheapy toys like Polly Pockets and Littlest Pet Shop. We put the new toys in a basket on the bathroom counter top and told her if she pooped she could have a new toy. (She referred to these toys as “poop toys” which is just all kinds of wrong.)

But, it worked. For a while. Then she decided to just hold her poop FOREVER. We finally had to take her to the doctor who gave her a stern lecture and a mild laxative. We’ve had no problems since.

Good luck to you! (And to me since I’m in the potty training trenches too.)

Hanh
Hanh
15 years ago

My guess would be that kids are afraid of the toilet because it’s sized for adults. I mean, imagine if you have the ass of a toddler, the gaping hole in the seat looks like something you can entirely fall into. Maybe there’s some kind of “training seat” cushion that you can put over the toilet to make it seem more little-person friendly? Idunno, just a wild guess.

Reese
Reese
15 years ago

My daughter is three and we have been doing the potty training thing with her off and on, no lie, since January. It’s now September and she seems to be finally getting it. I think a big part of it is the kid’s readiness factor. If they aren’t really ready, nothing will work. I’d just let it be for now if I were you.

Trina
Trina
15 years ago

Take the FREE potty training class at Seattle Children’s hospital. It was the most informative and the nurse who teaches it gives you her phone number to call when you need help. Here’s the link http://www.seattlechildrens.org/child_health_safety/classes_events/potty_training.asp

Also, it is totally a control thing. 3 year olds feel out of control 99% of the time. This is something they can control and they do.

Lesley
Lesley
15 years ago

The HaHaHa man and his squawking cheering section (tenaciously cute D) is awesome.

Btw, I don’t know if America gets this show but damn it’s hilarious. No Heroics.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w3zpMTKvvgk

Rachel
15 years ago

My son got the whole peeing-in-the-potty thing down at around his third birthday. Six months of poopy Thomas underwear later, he figured out that he was supposed to poop there, too. It was a very, very long six months. We tried bribery, catching him as he was about to go, making him try every half hour, admonishing him gently about where big boys do their pooping, etc. I unfortunately don’t remember what finally did it. I think he was just finally ready.

I know that isn’t what you wanted to hear, right? Sorry.

Jen
Jen
15 years ago

If he is pooping during the night and during naps just put him in a pull-up and let him poop then. I have 3 kids and my middle one who is 5 and does both pee and poop on the potty stills wears a pull up to bed b/c he is such a heavy sleeper. The pooping on the potty takes time and he will get it. You don’t want him to hold it in so long b/c the more it hurts coming out the more often he will hold it in and the longer it will take to get him to go on the potty……hope this helps!

Jennifer
15 years ago

The video is awesome. Good luck with the potty thing, my girls aren’t old enough yet but it’s just around the corner and I’m terrified!

Danielle
15 years ago

I hate to say it, but I think you have to just back off. I know you don’t want to. You want your kid to crap in the crapper for christ’s sake! But he is going to do it when he is ready. At least he is going in the pull-ups. Just deal with it. I don’t mean to sound harsh though, just my opinion. Hang in there!!!!!!!

Jennie
15 years ago

I would love to offer some helpful words of advice, but I’m lucky like you and dealing with similar issues potty training my 2.5 year old. And it’s making me CRAZY! So really, I just wanted to say good luck, I feel your pain, and at some point they have to start going on the potty consistently… right? Please jeebus let that be right.

justmouse/chaosmomm
15 years ago

i wish i could offer you advice on the potty training, but it’s been waaay too long since i had to deal with any of that.

i will comment on the doggy poop bags. i dunno if it’s different where i live or not, but it’s something like a $250 fine if you get caught NOT picking up the dog poop. i am mortified if i forget to bring a poop bag (or 3) with me on our walks!! i’ve even been known to go home, get a back, and go BACK to pick it up! (but not always – especially if it’s on that cranky old guy’s lawn who tried to get our cars towed!). and seriously, if i ever catch the guy who keeps letting his little dog shit in front of our house and doesn’t pick it up, i am going to run out there with a baggy, pick it up and THROW it at his HEAD!!

Eric's Mommy
Eric's Mommy
15 years ago

We were in the same exact boat. It was right around Eric’s 4th birthday that he finally started to poop on the potty. We thought he would never do it! He would hold it forever, until he produced a baseball sized turd, in his pants. We didn’t even bother with the training pants, we bought really cheap diapers hoping that they would be uncomfotable and make him want to be out of diapers and use the potty.

I also felt awful, like I was doing something wrong. Why were everybody else’s kids pooping on the potty?

Then he just started doing it. Out of the blue one day he pooped on the potty. He had done it a few times before but would then just revert to pooping in his pants again.

Let me tell you, it was pretty embarassing to pick up your kid from preschool and he is running around outside holding his ass crying “I pooped, I pooped!”

I don’t have any tricks or tips, we didn’t use any. He just finally decided to do it on his own. I have no idea what made him do it. I have a feeling Riley will catch on soon.

Hang in there, I went through the exact same thing.

beach
beach
15 years ago

Shart on the couch…..I just laughed OUT LOUD and sprayed coffee all over my keyboard….thanks Linda!

schmutzie
15 years ago
warcrygirl
15 years ago

Hoo boy do I know what you’re talking about. It sounds like he has the mechanics down pretty good (except for the sleeping), it could be a control issue at this point. If I were in your shoes I’d put him back into Big Boy underwear (that phrase always reminded me of Bob’s Big Boy. Yeah, I know) and tell him he can crap in his pants ALL HE WANTS. MOMMY DOES NOT CARE. And whatever you do, DO NOT CRAP IN THE POTTY! If it is a control issue he will do his best to do the exact opposite of what you ask. A variation of this tactic worked with my youngest; with my oldest it was a modesty issue and since he wasn’t really good with verbal communication at that point we just weren’t getting the message.

Good luck!

robin
15 years ago

My son is 3.5 and we are in potty training hell too. Everyone keeps telling me that he’ll do it when he’s ready. I have no choice but to believe that. I’m hoping it’s true..he’s GOT to be potty trained for pre-k. We’ve tried everything and he just outright refuses. He’s one of the last kids in his daycare class to be in pull-ups.

Last weekend I found a turd under the dining room table. The running around naked thing DID NOT WORK either. He pooped, but not in the potty, obviously. Then, just yesterday, he went in the bedroom, shut the doors, a sure sign he was going to poop. He wasn’t wearing anything so I followed him in there to encourage him to use the big boy potty. He sat down on his ‘thinking chair’ and proceeded to pee while just looking at me. I was speechless.

He’s stubborn, just like his father, so I am praying, PRAYING one day he’ll just make up his mind to just do it already and we’ll be done with it.

Good luck.

Beth
15 years ago

No advice, but Mia pees in the potty and tells me when she has to poop and I put a pull-up on her. Not ideal, but it works and she’s had so many issues we’re unwilling to push her too hard.

autumn
autumn
15 years ago

I have no advice because I’m in the same boat. My daughter just turned three and I have tried everything. she seems to be a little confused about the process because RIGHT AFTER she goes in her diaper she’ll say she has to use the potty and then go in the bathroom, take her diaper off, throw it in the trash and THEN sit on the potty. NOT HELPFUL! I feel like a miserable failure as a parent and my husband keeps saying we must have missed our chance which throws me into a total panic. I’m not glad that you’re struggling but it IS nice to know that I’m not the only parent left in the world with a not-yet-potty-trained toddler.

Mika
Mika
15 years ago

I had the same problem with my 3 year old son and found this to be a helpful guide: http://www.med.umich.edu/1libr/pa/pa_btrainin_hhg.htm
Especially the part about no more reminders: though that was the hardest to for me to remember to (not) do!!

Gina
15 years ago

I don’t have any advice beyond don’t stress about it. My son was stubborn and refused to poop on the potty. We stressed out and worried and fretted that he would never be able to go to school (and also – babies poop, but once they get to be 3 or 4? It becomes shit and who wants to change that?) Anyway – not to terrify you into thinking that Riley will be a stubborn kid like mone and not do it until the week he turns FOUR, but the lesson I leanred is that it’s not worth getting too uypset about it. They will do it when they are ready. My son is now a perfectly normal, well-adjusted 11 year old. And all kids are different – my daughter basically taught herself at age 2.

Lizzybee
15 years ago

We have had similar issues with Moose pooping on the potty. But recently we seem to have turned a corner.
What worked for us? Bribery of course.
I figured out the approximate normal times he goes poo. Sorry if this is TMI. Once is in the morning, shortly after breakfast.
Well a Saturday morning dawned clear and bright one weekend, and it occurred to me to tell him we would turn on Disney only after he pooped in the potty. That day? He pooped in his pants. He was very upset when I told him we would not be watching and Mickey that day. But I was strong, and followed through with the threat. The next day I told him the same thing, and miraculously, he immediately went to the potty and took a massive dump. It was very gratifying. I gave him one Teddy Graham as reward, and then we settled down to watch Disney for a bit.
Now this isn’t to say we haven’t had our accidents, but this definitely turned a big corner for us. I would venture to say that this worked really well for us, and you could try it too!

Marie Green
15 years ago

Sorry, no time now to read the other comments, I’ll have to come back later and do that.

I’d say that sometimes potty training becomes less about poop and more about control, and 3 year olds LOVE to feel in control. My guess is that he’s not pooping in the potty because he’s too focused on the power struggle.

If you think this might be the case, I’d just stop training all together and wait a few months. Maybe if it’s HIS idea… then again, who knows with 3 year olds!

Good luck!

ELC
ELC
15 years ago

Thank you for making me laugh while simultaneously scaring the crap out of me for the potty training that will start in my house all too soon. Also – your video? Hearing your kids laughing made my baby laugh – so thanks again.

Jen
Jen
15 years ago

Just take a deep breath and give the potty training a rest for now. I know it is a really stressful situation, and you know that Riley is feeling it too. Just use the pull-ups, for like a week. What worked for my son was, all together now, HIS DECISION. “You can choose when you want to poop in the potty. Are you choosing to act like a big boy? YAY!!” etc. etc. ad nauseum.

Also, I know it’s getting colder and you live in town so this might not work, but we let my son run around outside with no pants for hours at a time and he potty trained really easily.

Melanie
Melanie
15 years ago

I was exactly like you with my first. Stressed myself out to the max. Pushed, pushed, pushed the whole this issue daily. Everyone always told me she’ll do it when she’s ready, but it was REALLY hard to believe. Well, she did end being potty trained….JUST before starting Junior Kindergarden a month before her 4th birthday. But to this day she still accidents, night wetting etc. (she’s 7)

So with my second, I did not bring it up at all I let her ask to use the potty (which was about 2-3 months after I would have started pushing the issue with her). Just this year she started Juniour Kindergarden at 3 just like her big sister. But she has not had an accidnet in 6 months, not one, not even at night!

I can’t say for sure that it was the difference in approach. But I can say it was SOOOO much easier.

And who the hell made the “Skinny People” remark??? WOW how shallow is that shit!

divrchk
divrchk
15 years ago

I’ve potty trained both of my kids and they were very different. My son, now 5 1/2, was like yours… He hated to poop in the potty. He would hold it for days. What we did was send him to school in underpants and he’d poop, in a diaper, when he was home and asked for it. It wasn’t worth us suffering with him holding the poop in. He would poop in some weird corner of the house.

As he got older, we started making him poop, in the diaper, in the bathroom. Then, we had him poop, in the diaper, sitting on the toilet. Finally, my husband cut a hole in the diaper and, somehow, he didn’t notice and the poop fell into the toilet. This was the turning point.

I never thought this would work. My son is smart – reading and writing in preschool, etc… He was close to 4 by the time poop wasn’t a huge deal in our house.

If you think he won’t poop in his underpants if you give him a diaper (we used generic diapers for poop instead of pullups because they are CHEAP) when he wants one, go with it…

Jessamyn
Jessamyn
15 years ago

I haven’t read all of the comments up there, but I have read several of them, and Mama Ritchie’s situation is a lot like ours. Katie is four and a HALF as of early September, and she still will not regularly poop in the f’g toilet. She requests a diaper. We have tried everything. I’ve done the shaming, I’ve tried praising, I’d told her I had confidence that I knew she would do it (because she seemed afraid she wouldn’t be able to), I’ve told her that I was afraid she would never do it (because she said she didn’t WANT to do it), I’ve told her she had to do it for school, we’ve done potty charts, we’ve gotten “poop stickers” just for pooping only, we’ve offered to sit in the bathroom and tell her stories while she sits on the toilet, we’ve cut a hole out of the back of the diaper so she could wear a diaper AND poop in the toilet simultaneously, we’ve tried ignoring it, we’ve told her we’re not going to say anything else about it (but if she does go she’ll get a new toy or other reward).
We have given her fruit and prunes and Miralax. Oh, and I’ve also retreated to my room in despair while Geoff cleans her up, and he’s done the same with me. We’ve also tried dealing with all of it as emotionlessly as possible, though I admit I am bad at that. She pooped in the toilet two days in a row LAST August. And between then and this month, probably 5 times in the toilet. And now suddenly, this month, she has pooped in the toilet probably 6 or 7 times this month alone, once completely and totally voluntarily, and we keep thinking we’re out of the woods – but then last night she wouldn’t poop anywhere but a diaper again.

And I can not say with more agreement that potty training is FUCKING KILLING ME. It has made me feel like a terrible parent, it has made me feel like she is a terrible child (which I feel guilty about feeling). It has made me wonder if she needs a doctor’s intervention. It has made me ashamed of her and of me – especially when we’re travelling and staying with friends or family and I have to keep going off to clean up poop. One day I’ll think that possibly we’ll be done with this any day now (she pees just fine and has had probably one accident in a year and a half), and the next day I envision that we’ll still be dealing with this a year from now. And many people have commented on how nice the age spread b/w Katie and Annabel is “because you don’t have two in diapers at once.” And inside, I laugh maniacally.

So I’m just saying. I feel your pain. And I wish for a quick end to the training in your house. And I don’t believe it’s you. And I am feeling sane right now, so I believe that one day this will end for both of us. I also believe that you will probably always know of at least one kid, my kid, who was older than probably anybody else’s kid you know when she finally started pooping in the toilet every time she needed to poop. (What do I win?)

Felicia
Felicia
15 years ago

We have not reached the potty training stage yet. (Good God, what do you do at night? Let them get up and go by themselves? Have them wake you up?)

However my sister in law did with my neice. What worked for her to pee in the potty was letting her go pants-less for a week. But she was happy to poop on the floor or in her underwear. Nothing seemed to work. What finally worked was going to preschool. Really like the others have said it just comes in its own time.

JennB
15 years ago

We were very, VERY lucky that our 3-1/2 year old potty-trained herself for the most part. Since the baby’s been here, she’s doing a little regressing, but we’re telling her that once the pull-ups are gone, there will be no more and she’d best remember how to hold it until she’s at a potty and wait until it’s all out. I mean, if there are no diapers, there are no diapers.

I think it takes longer for boys, anyway. They’re growing into men, and like to sit in their own product and stew in it for a while. (You know, how men like to share their farts? “Hey, did you smell that??)

That said, my daughter did deliberately fart in my face last night while I was reading her stories. So, maybe it’s just a kid thing. Then she laughed her ass off. Nice.

nonsoccermom
15 years ago

I say sit back and let it be. In my opinion (and experience), little boys can’t be potty trained until they are good and ready. It is a lot less stress for you in the end if you just wait him out. My son was slightly past his 4th birthday before he could be reliably trusted to poop only in the potty. We had tried EVERYTHING by the time he was 3.5 or so and finally just gave up and sure enough, one day he just came home potty-trained and that was that. It becomes a power struggle, I think, and in my son’s case we just had to make it out to not be a big deal. Peer pressure will get to him eventually…

GOOD LUCK. I have SO been there.

superpoopers
superpoopers
15 years ago

A few thoughts.

1) I have read that if you put warm water in the potty before you sit them on it, it will help them pee and poo. Brilliant when you think about it – I wish I’d heard it earlier.

2) My kids need time to poop, even though they want to hop off the potty after they pee. Every day at 3 different times (based on their body cycles) I have them sit longer on the potties and leave the room. They didn’t like this idea at first, but got used to it and now they don’t mind at all. It ended some occasional constipation issues we were getting.

3) My kids love to use the toilet to pee, but they prefer to use the low-to-the-ground potties for poop. I guess they feel more secure that way. Might be worth a try.

Good luck!

Stacy
15 years ago

My method for training my 2 1/2 year old boy was two fold…
First, his daycare was amazing.
Second, I stocked up on dinosaurs, disney “cars” and stickers. When he went potty at ALL in the toilet, he got a sticker. When he had a total of five stickers, he got to pick a dino or a car. If he went “big stinkies” he got two stickers. Eventually, I incorporated cheerios into the mix. I would let him put (literally) a big handful of cheerios into the potty, and say “Hey MISTER, Don’t make big stinkies on those cheerios. HUH? WHAT? YOU’RE MAKING BIG STINKIES ON THOSE CHEERIOS? OH MY GOODNESS!” and then follow up with giving him the two stickers for his “chart.” Eventually, he put two and two together..and realized (by some random act of god) that Mommy REALLY liked when he went poopies. To this day, everytime he makes “big stinkies” he gets super excited and says LOOK MAMA, I DID IT! (except now, I don’t need to give him stickers or a toy).

Good luck…May the potty-training force be with you!!!

birdgal
birdgal
15 years ago

I’m probably going to get some shit (HA!) for this, but we had to go, uh, an unorthodox route for getting our almost three year old daughter to poop on the potty. She had been peeing on the potty without incident for about 3-4 months but REFUSED to poop anywhere other than a pullup. She would ASK me for the pull up so she could do her business (she was wearing underwear most of the day). We tried everything to get her to poop on the potty and nothing worked. One day, both my husband and I were fed up and told her she only had a certain number of pullups left and when they ran out, she couldn’t use them anymore. When we got to the end of the package, she proceeded to hold it in and make herself (and us) miserable. So, we decided to do what the doctor would have to do if the holding it in went on any longer–we gave her an enema. It was SUCH an unpleasant experience that she did not want to repeat it–plus she saw that pooping in the potty wasn’t really that scary after all. Ever since, she’s been pooping in the potty like a champ :). Not saying you need to give Riley an enema, but it’s just what worked for us, and trust me, we REALLY didn’t want to have to go there!

kim
kim
15 years ago

Linda,

I have a suggestions, not sure you will like it, but here goes:

Let him sit. when he goes in his pants, just make him wait to be changed. I have a friend, her son was 5 and still held it until he would go in his pants, F I V E. I sat for him from time to time and she asked for my help. She said,do whatever works, please (in a begging voice)…he went in his pants, I put him in the tub and washed him, 20 minutes later he did it again. Again, I washed him, then the cycle once again. He was out of underware (mom always sent extra)….the next time he went,I was so exasperated, I sat him on the “poop chair”, it was my son’s time out chair and told him until his dirty undies were dry (in washer and dryer already), he would have to sit. I felt horrible, the child was embarassed and furious with me. It worked, my friend did the same thing at home, two strikes and in the “poop chair”. He did this twice at her house and then decided the privacy of the bathroom was much better than the “poop chair” in the living room. I am not a fan of embarassing a child, it was just to the point where he was not going to be allowed into Kindergarten, his friends would be much more “hard on him” than his mom and I were and we were out of options.

I hope you don’t get too many nasty comments about what I just wrote, sorry if you do…..

Eva
Eva
15 years ago

I recommend constant nudity, never taking him to the potty, setting him up on the big potty with a stepstool so he’s in charge, just mentioning it as an option if it seems like he has to go, and, if there’s an accident, saying, “next time you can use the potty!” and having him help clean up, and also telling him if he puts pee pee/poo poo in the potty, he can have candy!!!! like mini M and Ms, and making it a BFD when he does. Nobody likes to piss or shit on themselves–that’s the strategy here.

Maria
15 years ago

My daughter was surprisingly easy (thanks a lot, right) to train. There is something to be said for not being “ready”, but if he’s had some success than he probably needs the additional push. My sister in law had a similar problem. I know you’ve mentioned bribery didn’t work, but here’s a scenario that she had success with…

Every time he was successful he got 1 matchbox car. If he wasn’t successful afterwards, he had to give 1 back for each accident. He was so into the little cars that it was worth it to him to be successful. He carried them around like trophies, and didn’t want to give them back. After a while he got into the rhythm of going on the potty for the sake of it.

Good luck!!! I’m not looking forward to going through the process with my son when he gets older. The good news, if you can find a light at the end of that very long tunnel, is once your eldest is trained your younger boy will most likely have a much easier time. He’ll want to do what his brother does.

kelly west mars
kelly west mars
15 years ago

Maggie is 7.5 months + she is my only child so I have no personal advice to give, but I PRAY she is nothing like I was. . .

I had so much trouble pooping as a young child that my parents had to insert cream into my butt. . . like all up IN THERE if you know what I mean. It was traumatizing. I can vividly remember being 3 + this happening to me. Sure, it made me poop like a champ, but now whenever I see stuff that is supposed to go up a butthole (enemas, plugs, etc) I start hyperventilating.

No joke.

I’m going to make sure to stuff Mags with fiber + lots of liquid come that time so she has loose shits.

Krissa
Krissa
15 years ago

I second the idea of having HIM clean up the mess – with supervision, of course, and not in a “shame on you!” way. More like “OK, so you went in your underwear, so now it needs cleaned, and YOU need cleaned.” As emotionless as possible, just very matter-of-fact.
If it is a control issue, he still has to deal with it. I also think making them wait before changing a diaper would help – and he still has to clean his own bum.

Also – and this sounds weird – but maybe have Dad (and/or you, depending on how open-door your fam is) show him that pooping in the toilet = no big deal! Totally easy! If he’s just sort of nervous about the whole thing, maybe seeing that it’s perfectly normal would help calm his fears.

Melanie
Melanie
15 years ago

I just remembered the suggestion that my mother gave me, and it did help my oldest decide that the potty was not such a bad option.

When she pooped in her undies or pull-up I had a wet washcloth waiting in the fridge! So I would clean her up the nice way then the final wiping was done with the cold washcloth…unpleasent enough to get the point across without being too mean.

SART
SART
15 years ago

You what seemed to work most for my family? We stopped talking about it, stopped pushing him to potty, stop the rewards, reprimands, etc…

He’s 3.5 and we’ve been potty training him for over a year. We’d have good weeks where he’d only have 1 or 2 accidents. And then we’d have weeks where it was 5-6 a day. Riley shit on the couch – Reeve shit in the kitchen floor one morning… I was SO stressed about it, and I was harping on him every minute he was home: “You gotta go potty?” over and over again. I seriously thought I was going to need strong drugs and therapy to get over all the potty drama.

So one day I had enough and I just shut up about any and everything to do with pottying. Lo and behold, it worked! He still tells me everyday when I pick him up from school that he’s had “no accidents” and now he initiates the “potty, potty mom!” We even have him trained at night now. We just took him out of pull-ups at night, said not word one about it and voila, 2 night accidents in 4 months.

Dude, I know it’s hard not to want to force their asses on the toilet 24/7. It cracks me up that thing that worked for us was just leaving him alone and letting him realize that it really sucks to piss/shit yourself. Once he figured that out, we were golden.

Good luck to you all!

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