Give me a P! Now give me a PooP, dammit!

When Aitch turned three, I celebrated her turning into a “big girl” by taking her shopping for “big girl” underwear. She hadn’t been showing any interest in potty training at home or daycare, but I saw my other friends on facebook celebrating the last diaper in the house and I decided I didn’t want to be the mom with an eight year old just starting potty training. It was on this birthday outing that she picked out a package of Disney’s princesses, Sesame Street (boy’s) and Thomas (boy’s). She was so excited that I was sure the next day she’d wear the new underwear to daycare. The next morning she declared she was wearing diapers because she didn’t want to get her new panties wet. We couldn’t even convince her to wear the pink, princess pull-ups. The girl was mega-frustating.

I think it was that very weekend that she finally put on underwear. How did I get her to do it? She wanted to watch Princess and the Frog and she happen to have a pair with Princess Tiana on them so the deal was she could only watch the movie if she wore the underwear.

And just like that, she was in panties.

Except it was QUITE that easy. The following week we went to Colorado so I worried she would regress from all her time in pull-ups or diapers, which long drives seemed to necessitate. I was pretty darn happy that she actually did so well, even keeping her diaper dry on drive home, which took the whole day.

She still wears diapers at night and has only had one totally dry night since she started wearing underwear exclusively during the day, so we’re still waiting for that switch to fully engage. For that I’m truly in no hurry because that’ll mean middle of the night wakings and moving her from a crib to a bed and ohmygodmybabyisnolongerababy!

This is where the story of potty training hits the crapper. While the girl is day-potty trained, we are ONLY talking potty. Aitch went from being a very routine pooper (right after lunch and before her nap) to a once every two-, three-, and even a four-day pooper. When she first started holding it in, I would put her in a diaper because she said, “my poop scares me!”. I didn’t want to make her feel pressured or punished for not using the potty. I dealt with Doodicus’s potty training problems until he was nearly seven. Giving Aitch a few months into her third year to figure out the whole pooping business seemed fair enough.

Unfortunately, as time goes by, she’s becoming more and more anal retentive. As the days pass and the urge gets stronger she becomes more and more fearful and more and more hysterical. Hysterical, you ask? She will scream and cry, writhe in pain on the floor, and hold her hand over her bottom for sometimes 30 minutes at a stretch or at least until that urge passes. The first time this happened I was nearly in a fit myself watching her in so much pain and with nothing I could do except hold her (if she’d let me) or wipe her snot and tears from her face, sweaty and heated.

We now give her pedia-lax tablets twice daily. A liquid laxative goes into her apple juice. Fruits and vegetables are handed out generously and yet…? The girl must have a bionic sphincter is all I can say. We even took her to the urgent care a couple weeks ago because she was in acute pain and it was time to get the party started. Conveniently, she pooped right before the doctor came into the exam room. He only charged $120 to our insurance for his service which was to confirm that we were doing everything we should. Thanks, doc! *two thumbs up and a wink*

As I write this, Aitch is asleep in her crib. It’s Saturday evening and her last BM was Wednesday evening. Two boxes of baby enema solution are now housed in the medicine cabinets. We have read The Story of the Little Mole Who Went in Search of Whodunnit a thousand times just to impress upon her that everyone and everything poops. We go around our home making excited announcements of our own successful poops hoping SHE will want to poop, to! We are ridiculously and obsessively thrilled about POOP here!

Other than encouraging her both mentally and physically to “just poop already!”, there’s nothing else we are really doing. Sparring Partner keeps wanting to punish her for NOT pooping, which makes totally no sense at all. I remind him of how well he did with potty training Doodicus (big fucking FAIL there) so the only thing he needs to do is clean it up without complaint or drama when she’s done.

Now if you have any suggestions aside from shoving something up her backside, I am ALL ears because that’s literally the last thing I want to do. Tomorrow will be Poop-Day, whether it’s on her own or with “help”. It would seem karma felt her easy potty training deserved to be countered with a possible impaction, right? Doodicus and Aitch have always been opposite children, and this part is no exception. Doodicus was a Happy Pooper! You want me to poop? OK!! Yeah!! Now come wipe me!! But the kid couldn’t hold his water for love, money or Hot Wheels.

There’s no magic bullet for potty training. Well, except the ones that come in suppository form. Aitch was two when she started showing some comprehension, but I wasn’t going to hurry it. I think potty training is much harder when one of the parents is impatient so it’s important both discuss how they’ll address accidents and successes. Bribes are completely acceptable, IMHO, but they aren’t a guarantee for success. We rewarded Doodicus with a new Hot Wheels car EVERY time he peed in the potty. After about 200 Hot Wheels, we realized it only worked half the time so we discontinued that system. The idea of stickers was boring to him, but for Aitch? The girl was cuckoo for stickers, and she remembered to ask for one and put it on the board each time.

So let’s hear it from you. What’s worked? What hasn’t? How long did it take? And why oh why are we always in a hurry to get our kids out of diapers?!

19 thoughts on “Give me a P! Now give me a PooP, dammit!”

  1. Personally, I am keeping my head in the sand for as long as I can get away with it and to hell with it. The twins won’t go to school in nappies and a few nappies a day isn’t exactly hard to manage.

    Thus, I have no useful potty training assvice. Lots of commiserations, though,


  2. Yeah, we had that issue with the Mini too. Not to the same extreme as Aitch, but it took him a few months to work that kink out, and when he did, it was like a light switch, and immediate. As I understand it, they have a harder time with the concept of letting it go into a toilet. Kids are weird.

  3. My DD (3y2m) WANTS to use the potty. However, she just can’t seem to “go” — and I’m just talking pee here… She will sit for hours – literallly – saying that no tinkle has come out yet — and when I finally get her up and back in pullup she will be within minutes — and pee A LOT! Then she is very upset that she is wet and wants to sit on the potty again. Uggh! I don’t want to frustrate her, but clearly she doesn’t know what the sensation is or how to control it…

  4. I had a very reluctant potty trainer with K. In hindsight she just wasn’t ready. However, once she wa day trained with pee we instituted The Poop Chart. She got a sticker for every poop and once she got 7, she got a prize. After 4 prizes she got- The Big Prize (usually a Disney princess).
    We also swear by miralax. With that stuff you do have to be a little more watchful. Because when K had to go poop, it meant she had to GO.
    I also second cutting out the binding foods: cheese, bananas, etc. It sounds like you’re doing that though.
    Once the poop chart worked it’s magic in that she was no longer… afraid? nervous? To use the potty to poop we now have her sit on the potty to ‘try’ and poop every other night. After about 6-8 months of that I no longer feel the need. She will go to the potty to per and say,”I have to poop too!”. When he poops we give her a stool to put her feet on, it gives her a little more leverage to push, and we also give her a book to look at.
    We still do miralax. However, once both DH calmed down about the poop factor, so has she.
    I’ll admit, it hasn’t been easy but coming out (pun intended) on the other side with everyone’s self esteem intact has been really nice.
    I apologize in advance for any typos, typed this comment on my phone.

  5. I can tell you what we did, but you should totally not do it since my five year old has poop accidents every day trying to avoid pooping, something she has been avoiding since she was one. She’s on Miralax (which we import from the US) which is the only reason she poops at all as far as I can tell. The main thing that gets her to use the potty is to have her go pants-free. She doesn’t mind pooping in her panties but she doesn’t want to poop on the floor.

  6. Aitch is suffering from knowing that when she does it’s gonna hurt. Big time. (I speak from very personal knowledge as a child who used to have major hoarding issues) The pain makes the idea of pooping very unappealing.

    As a mom I was sympathetic but only to a point. None of my kids had a problem going because of pain, it was because of the fear of the big ‘gonna suck you up and flush you’ bowl and/or they were too busy to stop playing. I had much better luck when they were comfortable and didn’t feel as though they had to hang on for dear life.

    This may sound silly but how about an age appropriate anatomy lesson. Can you tell her that its just the left over food that her body doesn’t need that day for her to grow, so she can get rid of it. Hey…quick snickering, it’s just an idea.

    I succumbed to bribery in a big way. After five poops in the toilet they got whatever big toy they wanted at the time. (I am so rotten I would actually cruise that particular aisle in the store, telling them that it was still on the store shelf just waiting….) One kid cost me about $40. But, the rule was every time they pooped in underwear (since they knew where it was actually supposed to go) they lost the toy for a day. I am kind of a give and take bitch mom.

  7. Oh, man, we had this same issue with one of ours. That child still takes Miralax (half the adult dose) (on pediatrician instruction) almost every day, just to keep from things getting ugly. For a long time, what we did was allow that child to request a diaper for pooping. That helped some. Then we (again, pediatrician instructed) gave the full adult dose of Miralax for some amount of time (one month? six weeks?) because the pediatrician said it would take awhile for everything down there to get non-stretched-out after all the poop-holding-in practice, and that the being-stretched-out is what was allowing things to get so large the pain was enforcing the fears—and was also preventing the urge to poop from happening until the poop was so large. Then we stopped with the diapers and I bought underpants on clearance in huge quantities, so I could throw each pair away after it was pooped in, to keep my frustration levels down. And now everything is fine and normal (apart from still taking the Miralax) (sigh).

  8. Sorry – another one with nothing to offer. Tessa turned 3 two months ago. We bought the big girl panties. She won’t wear them. She asked to wear them twice. The first time, she peed all over the floor about 3 minutes after putting them on then refused to wear another pair. The second time she had them on for 5 minutes then wigged out and insisted she get her diaper back. She gets excited and asks to go potty – we go and she’ll sit there, do nothing, and then tell me she is done. She has pooped in the potty a couple of times but never peed. The exact same thing when I potty trained Sabrina – she pooped but wouldn’t pee. So I’m torn. I don’t know if I should push the issue and just put her in panties and deal with the fits and mess or if I should wait until she is on board. Child is stubborn. She’s had poop issues in the past and I really don’t want to revisit that by pushing her. Also, with my husband out of town 3 weeks of the month, I feel like I’m at my limit with solo parenting w/o adding that into the mix.

  9. I have no words of wisdom on this matter at all as I don’t have any first hand experience with any of this. All I know is that I have heard that some kids feel like letting go of their poop and flushing it down the drain means they are losing something from their body and they get scared of doing that and it can also make them feel out of control. I have read that being potty trained during the day and potty trained at night are two separate physiological issues. You can help them learn how to hold it in during the day but until their bodies aren’t developmentally able to hold it in at night (and wake up to signals to use the potty) until later. When depends on the child and you can’t make it go faster.

    I have also heard of people putting the diapers back on just for poops. The kid tells them he/she has to poop, put the diapers on, the poop then the underwear goes back on. And, what would happen if you just completely ignored the poop situation all together? You know, don’t talk about it or make any mention of it?

    Oh, I have also read that some kids don’t like the feeling of sitting on the toliet to poop because it feels unstable and makes them feel like they will fall in. Does Aitch seem to feel that way?

    Just throwing a bunch of ideas out there.

  10. I’m starring this in my Google Reader because I need all the help I can get. We have regressed in potty and she has only ever pooped in the potty twice (accidents both times). I’ve tried every bribe imaginable, she refuses to poop in the potty. And we went from her telling us when she needed to potty, to her peeing in whatever she is wearing (panties, pull up, diaper) and not telling us anything – ever. I don’t know what to do. Her teacher at preschool (three days a week) told me to put her in panties this week, hopefully she will have an impact where I am sorely lacking.

    Thinking of you.

  11. Ciera also holds her poops. She only does it when we put the diaper on at nap and bed time. She is also not night trained. We saw her pediatrician yesterday for her three year well child, and she said that some kids are extremely protective of their poops. She also said that it can be a control issue, that it is something that they have control over, in a world where sometimes there is no control. Both my kids have compaction issues, they know there is poop where it doesn’t belong, because the dr has talked to them about it. She gave us a prescription for Lactolose. It is given daily to help them poop. It has been helping. Other than that, no suggestions. Cut out the cheese, if she eats it, because it can cause issues. Does she eat prunes at all? That was one way I got Aiden to poop.

  12. I wish I had something for you, but my girl was happy to poop on the potty – she was completely poop trained first.

    Have you found out why she finds it so scary? Can you spend more time with the toilet – cleaning, just flushing, whatever? Bribery is my go-to solution, regardless.

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