Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The agony of defeat

**Warning: This post is about potty training. Poop in particular. Poop is icky.**

**Special request: Please don't give me any potty training advice in the comments section. I think you are awesome for wanting to help me (seriously, thank you!), but I've probably tried some version of whatever worked for you, and it didn't work for me. (Trust me. I've tried nearly everything.)**

With those disclaimers...

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!!!

I hate potty training.

Chickie has been peeing on the potty for many months now. But poop is another issue. Pooping on the potty terrifies her. We've been allowing her to poop in disposable training pants (Pull-Ups.) Five or six months ago I was trying every "miracle method" under the sun, and nothing worked. I finally followed advice I heard from many camps (including from several of you)--just wait until she's ready. So we started letting her poop in Pull-Ups.

Do you have any idea how disgusting it is to change a three-year-old's poopy Pull-Up? It's nasty, people. Nasty. But it was worth it--I enjoyed the not forcing the issue.

And then, last Tuesday, joyful tears came to my eyes when something amazing happened. Chickie pooped. In the potty. On her own. And was not at all traumatized.

It was a day of celebration in our household. I thought, "Woo hoo, I waited until she was ready, and now she's ready!" We got ice cream and gave her a toy. I told her, "No more Pull-Ups!"

And...it's been downhill from there. Without going into too much detail, I'll tell you that she has spent far more time on the potty in the last week than she should be spending there over the course of a month; pooping on the potty is still freakishly terrifying to her; and while suppositories work, they are really, really not fun to anyone involved. (Oh, and babies like to play with and possibly eat the glycerin from extra liquid suppositories. Thankfully Poison Control assured us this is not really dangerous.)

So yesterday after talking to a good friend who called to check on me (thank you, Kendra!), I grabbed the last Pull-Up from the package, brought it upstairs, and offered it to Chickie. She took it, and made good use of it. Good, non-traumatic, totally disgusting use of it.

I tried. I tried so hard to make this work. I thought if I tried hard enough and was stubborn enough, she'd get it. And she just didn't. It was getting worse instead of better.

I was defeated. And I don't like losing.

But you know what I realized? I'm going to lose some battles as a parent. This is an experimental science, and some of my formulas are just going to blow up.

But that doesn't mean I shouldn't have tried. I have to try different tactics as I train my kids, and I have to deal with the fact that failure is just part of the game.

It doesn't mean that the stress and tears from the last several days were useless. It just means instead of coming out of it with success, I came out with a learning experience. That's not the reward I was hoping for, but it's still useful in my quest to understand my daughter.

Defeat in one parenting battle does not mean I've been defeated as a parent. I'll just keep on marching...armed with a bandolier of clothespins for my nose, and a big box of baby wipes.

25 comments:

Simply Heather said...

You got it, C. Beth. I had a friend with a little girl who struggled too...for a while, I won't say how long; as to ease your mind ;o) BUT we can know that they will eventually understand how it all is suppose to work together, right?

Really, she's a tiny little one and what if she falls in? Not to mention the pressure, everybody expecting her to do the deed and the nakey part - oh so frightful in detail. I think they like the snuggly security of being covered up so nicely in the pull-ups.

I'm not an advice giver anyway...more of a trial and error type of learner. We're all different and what works for some most likely won't work for me...cause I'm a little more different than the average :o).

Take care and happy pooping...

Diane said...

Oh I so feel your pain! We are in the exact same place. The best of the best bribes don't even work. My three year old little girl just won't and it's been months trying to get her to go. Maybe we should form a support group. :o)

addhumorandfaith said...

Beth - I think you have a great attitude about this really icky issue. Just remember, she WON'T wear a pull-up to the prom! This too shall pass.

I've always said, "God give us children to keep us humble." Soooo true. But, you're right too -- He also teaches us lots of good lessons through our children, like patience!

SciFi Mama said...

Chickie's giving it a good try, and that's all you can hope for. Same thing on our side. Going diaper free overnight is a challenge for us. Paige is finally waking up dry most mornings now. I think this weekend we'll go with the diaper free overnight & see where it gets us.

Kara said...

Changing a poopy Pull-Up is really gross, but it's much preferable to having an unhappy child. Big hugs - Chickie is lucky to have such a loving, kind mommy!

Eternal Lizdom said...

I hear you on hating to change a pull up!!! Those things are not made for poop or pee, really. I know that isn't the point of them but the kid wearing it doesn't know that! We did the pull up thing for a bit and it was just awful. Plus, my mom had bought a package of those cool release things and they left these weird gelatinous balls all over my daughter's bottom and such. I didn't think that was good for her so we dropped pull ups altogether soon after.

Hang in there, Science-Mama!

Embee said...

I have to agree with you that potty training is a horrifying experience for parent and child. I've done it 3 times and thankfully they all got thru it fine (even my daughter!). Hang in there...this too shall pass.

Celeste said...

I'm in a similar boat only mine won't pee in the potty either. We had one traumatic day of potty training about 3 weeks ago and she didn't poop for 8 straight days after that. She's been taking mirolax off an on ever since because she is REFUSING to poop. You can tell when she has to go and she literally focuses all her effort on not letting it come out. Its very hard for this Mommy to watch her baby girl torture herself. I feel your pain...and yes, poopy pull ups are the opposite of a fun time.

ElleBee said...

Yeah, I've got nothing for you, no worries! I swore that SS#1 would be in kindergarten before he pooped in the potty (and he was almost four). The Manimal, on the other hand, embraced the toilet like it was his best friend. Hang in there! :)

Writer Dad said...

Just wanted to say I've potty trained a dozen toddlers.

I.Feel.You.

Janell said...

I remember the frustration (not to mention how grossed out I was) of cleaning up big girl poop on a daily basis for many months with my oldest. I'm so sorry you are having to deal with it for so long! And I totally agree with what you said - we all have to get through difficult issues with our kids, and not everything we try works. That does not mean failure AT ALL.

It will pass, eventually. Someday this will be a hazy memory. And hopefully kid #2 will surprise you by being much easier to train, like mine did! Good luck.

Knitted_in_the_Womb said...

Hugs! This will pass. I've potty trained 4 of my kids...and some go easier than others. I did have two who were still pooping in their pants at age 4...but neither was still doing it when they went to kindergarten. I'll not give any advice...just let you know that you aren't alone!

steph said...

Argh, I feel your pain. Potty training stinks, in so many ways!

Faith said...

You have such a great attitude. Here's what I was thinking while reading your post. She can hold in her poop until she's in an appropriate place to let it out (whether that's your place of choice or not). This means she's not going to poop in the top of a play structure or in the car or at the park. That's a REALLY great thing to accomplish. That, my friend, is NOT defeat.

TawanaB said...

No advice here either :) just wanted to say you didn't fail, it's only a temporary set back. It will click again one day, maybe that day will be it and maybe not, just hang in there. Thank God none of us can remember our own potty training days! lol. Look at the bright side, you will have all kinds of advice for her one of these days when she is going through this with her own little ones ;) God bless.

Dani said...

*I apologize ahead of time*

Potty seat (less scary) -but I'm sure you've tried it...

*Apologize again*

:) I don't have any experience, really- but I've watched a lot of my sisters struggle with this and I will be starting the process with my oldest sometime in the next while. Man I'm not looking forward to this!

Call Me Cate said...

I know nothing so no fear of me offering advice. I won't even judge you. ;) Except to say that I *think* your attitude is good on this subject and I'm sure she won't be graduating high school still in those Pull-Ups. Hang in there!

Michelle said...

My 2 year old twins think the potty is for sitting on...just sitting, nothing else! lol I have a feeling this is going to be a looooong potty training session!

Our Scoop said...

You are doing a great job! It will happen one day :) No 10 year old still poops in their pants! Right?? Just kiddin' Andrew hasn't even started potty training yet. I know I need to do it but I really don't look forward to it at ALL. I hate hearing people say "you can do it in a weekend." It's like "What planet do you live on!"

Sugar Mommy said...

Yep. Sounds like she's not ready and that's okay. That absolutely does NOT mean you are a failure, or that she's a failure for that matter.

Anyone can instantly see what a loving and caring mother you are just by looking at your blog and I know that your little Chickie sees that, too.

It WILL happen.

ps--as per your request, no advice for you here, but when you're ready for advice, feel free to ask me...I've done it both the hard way (totally unsuccessful) and the easy way (unBELIEVably successful) and I'm a total convert, and will be happy to share it if you want it.

caryn said...

Oh this can't be easy, I feel for both you and her. Can you imagine what goes through their little heads, this is such a big step for them and it must be scary.

To answer your question you asked me in yesterdays comments about where to get the Grippies, not sure if they sell them a Michael's but if you go to their website, grippiesonline, they have a list of retailers. I ordered mine right from them.

Kendra said...

love you girl. ;)

C. Beth said...

Can I just say...y'all rock.

Thank you so much for all the support.

I'd like to respond to all these comments individually, but it's been a busier-than-usual day, and I think I need to prioritize time with The Engineer. I probably shouldn't admit this, but as much as I love all of you, I love him more. I know, those are some messed up priorities.

See you tomorrow!

Tiffany said...

I'm in a similar boat as Celeste - Zilla has been holding it in (literally not allowing it to come out) off and on (mostly on) since OCTOBER!!! His wasn't even a potty training problem, i wish, but stemmed from a bad diaper rash but it is making attempting potty training VERY hard. Blah I hope that she gets over her fears soon! Hugs your way!

keitha_leury said...

My son went through this too, only he wanted to wear underwear all the time. Poopy pull-ups are so much nicer to deal with than five months of poopy underwear. We took a six week break from the potty and went back to diapers and then tried again. He just "got it" the second time around. Don't know what the difference was. Good luck.