Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Potty Problems

The kid. My kid. My precious little boy. I adore him. He was at the epicenter of our lives until recently. Now he has to share that with baby E. The first 6 weeks after baby E was born were great. The kid adores his baby brother. He helped us, was gentle, didn't seem to mind that his attention had been usurped. Sure, he was a little more active than usual (though heaven only knows how that is even possible!), but that was it. Other than that, he was just our little guy, slightly amped up.

Then, about 2 weeks ago, the kid had a couple potty "accidents". First he peed a couple of times in his underwear. Then he had a poop accident. He also started being a bit more defiant. This also coincided with the time change, so I was willing to believe that perhaps this behavior was due to him being overtired. We moved his bedtime back a bit and the defiance resolved. The bathroom "accidents", however, did not. In fact, they only escalated. This weekend he pooped in his underwear 6 times. 6 times, people!!!!!

Hubby and I are really struggling with how to respond. At first we tried talking to him about it and trying to get out of him why he was having accidents. No luck there; he wasn't able to articulate anything, in fact, he refused to discuss it at all. Then we tried removing privileges. And giving rewards for appropriate behavior (no accidents/going in the toilet). Also not successful. So, Sunday evening I told him if he had another accident he would be wearing diapers. A couple of hours later he did, so into a pullup he went. And then proceeded to poop in it. Then last night I told him if he had another incident, he would be wearing a diaper to school. He did, so to school today he went in a diaper.

We're trying to stay unemotional when responding to his "accidents" (and I am putting accidents in quotations because I don't think there's anything at all accidental about the incidents) but it's really challenging. I keep reminding myself that he won't go to college soiling himself. And I keep reminding hubby that there is no point making this into a battle, because it's one we can't win. When and where he "goes", well that is one of the few things in his life over which the kid has any control. If we try to engage him in a battle, he will win. Though really, we'll all lose.

I'm pretty sure he's trying to get the attention he's accustomed to and missing. And even if what we're giving him is negative, it's still attention. So, for now he gets to wear diapers until he uses the toilet appropriately. He will clean himself up after an "accident", in the bathroom, by himself. We will use quiet, unemotional voices when discussing the issue. He will not watch TV (not that he did much anyway) until he has 2 days in a row of good bathroom choices. And, we will look for opportunities to praise him extra for appropriate behaviors/good choices. Surely it will work. He won't be 18 still doing this.........RIGHT??!!!!!!

Today's lesson - babies are absolutely much easier than 4 year olds. They're not as funny though. And they don't hug as tightly. Or sing really cute songs to you. Or tell you that you're a rock star of a mom. All human behavior has meaning behind it. The trick is to find the meaning...

1 comment:

Heather @ The Mother Tongue said...

You're a great mom, Becky. :) We're dealing with toileting regression with my 3-year-old daughter, too, so I absolutely feel your pain.