This is likely not an entry that everyone will want to read. If you check in with us to see how the girls are doing and view the pretty pictures, you are out of luck today and I apologize 🙂 If you are the parent of a preschooler that has been working on potty training, having problems with potty training or just completed potty training (luck you), then perhaps you could offer me advice!

We’ve gone completely backwards when it comes to potty training. So much so that Caitlin is now holding in her bowel movements. It’s not good, so much os that we may be taking her to a doctor this week. To be fair, the last 14 months found Caitlin dealing with a new baby sister, attempts at potty training and a massive move. All big changes for a 2, now 3, year old. We knew that the move would disrupt the potty training bit. However I didn’t expect to go so backwards that we can’t seem to get the train on the tracks again.

Last August she moved into the Toddler two room at day care. Also known as the “potty training” room. This gave them a full year to get trained before pre-school would start the next fall (a requirement). She was in a room with all her friends that were also doing the same thing. Friends she still talks about today, by the way. They would sit every two hours at school, hopeful that they would get the hang of it. Up through February I think I can count the times she actually used the potty on one hand. While she would sit, and often be dry, she just wasn’t using the potty, yet was at least sitting! Of course she sat mostly at school. No matter how hard we tried at home, she resisted, and not quietly. I didn’t force the issue as I read that sometimes kids aren’t ready, and I assumed she was not. Rather I let her follow suit with the kids at school hoping she would begin to let us at home. Sometimes she did, sometimes she did not. Peer pressure is amazing sometimes, which I believe to be the difference between home and not home.

Then we went to Florida for a week’s vacation in February. She refused to sit while we were there and we didn’t push the issue. She sat once, with aunt Laura, at one of the parks and they swear she went, but that was the extent of it. Then the night before we left she woke in the middle of the night screaming that her tummy hurt. Jack and I spent 30 minutes trying to calm her and she let out some of the most noxious gas ever. She seemed to be having gas pains and followed by some very acidic stool. I chalked it up to the junk food she was eating while we were there (not matter how much I tired to add fruits and veggies) and assumed once she got back to her normal diet again she’d be fine. However this experience seems to linger in her mind.

When we returned she only had about 10 days of day care left before the big move to Ireland. She initially refused to sit on the potty, but by the time we left was following suit again, at school only. I once again tried to mirror the every 2 hours at home. I even went to the extent of putting her in panties one Saturday! She was on the potty every 5 minutes. I thought it was because she was extremely worried about messing up her panties. It turns out her intestinal issues were back and she had the urge to poop constantly, but couldn’t seem to poop. We finally put her back in a pull-up because while she manages to use the potty once, it seemed to be making matter worse than helping her. She was truly distressed. We made the decision to focus on it once we got to Ireland.

So here we are in Ireland. Jack is stay at home dad with them until they can get into the local creche (day care) in July. He had grand plans to have Caitlin sit every two hours. This was initially thwarted as we didn’t have a potty seat for her and she was not fond of trying to sit on the toilet without it. So finally our shipment arrived and the seat for her did not fit the toilet, I gave in and bought on for the floor that was very basic since she had already refused a Fisher Price one with all the bells and whistles (yes, we really did try for sometime at home). Still a no go, she refuses to sit on it. I’ve had her sit very unhappily twice now in the 2 weeks we’ve had it. Of course a week ago she began holding her poop in.

I would say it’s been at least a week now that we catch her crossing her legs, face turning red, trying not to poop. She’s gotten herself so convinced that it will hurt if she does. Or likewise, that it is stinky and gross. I have gone over the top telling her how much I like it when she poops, begging her to poop, bribing her (sorry!) to poop. It has worked a handful of times. She otherwise ends up constipated, which makes it worse and when it does sneak out, despite her best efforts, it does seem to burn and it’s giving her some awful rash that we are constantly treating, so that it won’t hurt so that she will poop. Now it seems she fully associates pooping with pain and we are beside ourselves trying to figure out what to do. There seems to be a mental block that we’re having a really hard time getting past. She did this for a few days when we first arrived and once she realized it did not hurt to poop she was fine, this time we’ve not been able to get past it. I suspect a doctor is in our future this week.

At this point I probably have 2 or 3 months to get her potty trained. The game plan likely is forcing her to sit every two hours (which can be fairly impossible with Reagan around and when I’m not home) or just putting her in panties and dealing with the mess. However we have to resolve the pooping issue first, I think. Yet I feel like if we can get her to use the potty the other could resolve itself as it will no longer hurt since there wouldn’t be a rash if she would use the potty. I just don’t know, such a complicated issue.

Anyone have any advice or dealt with a child holding in their poop? So far I don’t know of anyone else and we seem to be having a harder time than most getting our 3 year old interested. If anyone has any advice, do let us know! In the meantime, I’m certain a doctor visit is in our future.

Oh, I also plan to reevaluate what she is eating. I know the first thing the doctor will ask us to work on is her diet. And I won’t lie,. since the move it could be better, much better. The problem is getting her to eat the better foods. Soon she will find she has limited options.

Non-poop related update next time 🙂

~Liz

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