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Nov 9, 2011

Bad Mommy

We've been told by Colin's teachers that he is an exceptionally bright boy, eager to learn and quick to master new challenges. He demonstrates, we are further informed, a love of learning that "makes teaching him a joy", a quality that makes my heart sing with pride.

This eagerness and quick mastery, however, has not yet extended to potty training. The joy certainly does not.

We were pretty close before Caroline was born, but that event threw a large, awkwardly-shaped wrench into our collective potty training efforts. Not so unexpected, we sighed, he'll catch on when he's ready. And along we went, gently encouraging him, loudly praising and quietly correcting, operating under the assumption that it is unlikely that he will have to attend his high school graduation in a pull up. And it largely worked, for the peeing part anyway. He picked it up just before his birthday and has been relatively reliable since then. We still celebrate and offer treats for his good "choice" to pee in the potty, but it is completely expected behavior now.

We have never, ever, not once managed to get him to poo in the potty. Not once, in the many months we've been at this, have we even come close. The only mild success was the other day when he announced in an alarmed voice, "Mommy! I'm pooping! I'll try to hold it in!" and then proceeded to visibly suck in everything he could. He didn't quite make it and the event still necessitated a complete costume change, but it was the best attempt he's had so far. Every other day is as follows:

Colin do you need to poo? No, Mommy. Colin how about now? Any poo for the potty? No, Mommy. Colin how are you doing? Any poo? NO MOMMY!

What's that smell?

Mommy, I pooped in my pants! 

We have tried everything. We've tried incentives, you wouldn't believe the things we've promised him. Candy and cupcakes and trips to the park and new trains. We've tried the Ick Factor, forcing him to clean himself up afterwards, which has thus far only resulted in delighted squeals from the bathtub. Peer pressure, shame, sticker charts, and throwing away treasured Big Boy Underwear - nothing has even made him blink. He is impervious to my bribes and pleas and threats and promises.

Until last night, when I did the unthinkable.

I took away his MaiMai.

I immediately regretted it, truly. What was I thinking? It's his comfort source, his beloved ball of knotted yarn (formerly a blanket), that to which he clings and snuggles and seeks out when he is upset. And so we proceeded through our evening. Three straight hours of screaming for the MaiMai. If it wasn't about that it was something else ("I need a bear! I'm thirsty! MY BELLY HURTS!") but it was all really about the MaiMai because he'd lost his ability to deal with things, to take a step back and breathe while snuggling with something treasured and safe. Awful, awful, awful.

The worst part is that I have now doomed anyone taking care of him to the same fate, since I clearly told him that he can't have it back until he poos in the potty. So Patrick, poor post call Patrick, will have to deal with him tonight. Our beloved neighbors this weekend. Of course, maybe this will be enough, this will be it, this will work. Maybe. Or maybe he'll go to high school in pull ups and be in therapy forever because his mother stole away his MaiMai. Too early to tell.

I am such a mean, mean mommy.


3 Readers rock!:

Anonymous said...

Your boy is the complete opposite of my girl. She tries to go poo in the potty (doesn't always make it). But she absolutely refuses to go pee in the potty. The one time she did it terrified her, I don't know why, but that ended that endeavor.

Melodi Gramig said...

Pooing in the potty was a little traumatic for Caleb at first. I literally had to hold him over his potty seat as soon as he started going so he wouldn't run away and do it in his pants. There was much screaming and gnashing of teeth, but he finally got it, and Colin will, too. Good luck!

pyjammy pam said...

My boys pee-trained pretty easily, a couple of months after they turned 3. but one of them only just stopped pooping in his pants at 3 years, 8 months or so. (coincidentally when they started a new school? not sure.) he still has issues occasionally, but for the most part is doing great.

so i guess my only advice is...be patient?

(i was able to bribe him, but it got expensive when it ended up costing me $5 every time he pooped, so i had to stop that.)