September 13, 2006

Pissed On, And Pissed

It's a good thing I got back from Las Vegas when I did; turns out there are too many wet pairs of underpants around the house for one parent to handle easily by herself.

The kid's in a state we might call aggressive regression. For the last few days, she has been having accidents several times a day--including on most any lap she sits down on--and has reacted poorly to having to change her underpants and clothes so often as a result.

But even when I think my question about changing clothes sounds nonchalant--usually asked right after I see her pee on the floor or right after she climbs off my lap and I see a big wet spot on my thigh--she gets really agitated. She even denies that she had an accident. [I feel like saying, "Kid, if it were farts and there were more than two people here, that line might work; but you just peed on my leg." But I don't.]

It's like we're taking two steps forward and two steps back with the toilet training. And frankly, we're stumped.

6 Comments

Calm down, Daddy-Type! The kid's telling you that, although you might be ready for toilet-training, she's not. Take a deep breath, and decide that you're going to be diapering for a while longer. Let her figure out when she's ready -- the point isn't really to get her out of diapers, it's to let her control her own body.

No emotionally healthy child ever went to kindergarten in diapers. She'll want to do what the big people in the house do -- just in her own time.

Mine had perfect bladder control at 16 months -- demonstrated over and over in the backyard wading pool, much to the little darling's pleasure -- but gave up diapers at 39 months. I thought whole thing was silly, given her clear biological proficiency (39 months?? what's with that???), but she thought using a toilet was a major pain when she had perfectly good diapers to use.

After a while, even she got bored with putting the toileting off. Net result? I don't even remember one accident, though I'm sure we had at least a couple. She's 23 now, out of college and self-supporting. It really worked out just fine.

I used cloth diapers, but I really didn't care when she stopped wearing them -- I saw it as a good first lesson (for me!) in respecting her autonomy. Or, you could put it another way -- you generally can't win an argument with a two-year-old. It really _is_ her body, and she has already figured that out.

The parental desire to get rid of diaper baggage can be strong, but, hey, how much longer is it going to last? Another 10 months or so? Honestly, you can live through 10 more months of diapers. Why not give everybody a break, and cut the stress level around the old casa? Have faith in her -- she's going to use the toilet. You don't really think you're going to spend the next 16 years without having to share that bathroom, do you?

PS -- still no Skinner Box pictures, though I located them. We're about halfway through the vacation from hell, and I didn't have time to scan them before we left.

It sounds like she just missed her daddy and is acting out a bit. My husband's away for the week and my daughter is waking up at 5:30 every morning, just because. Really annoying but what can you really do about it... after I try putting her back in bed and calming her down, I'm already up, too, so I figure we'll just have some extra time together. Apparently that's what she wants, 24-7 attention. Lucky mommy.

Anyway, she is 30 months and totally capable of telling me when she needs to go but has zero interest in switching to panties from diapers. She is not afraid of the toilet (although she might be if we put a giant face on it...), she just can't be bothered. I asked her why she didn't want to stop using diapers and start using the bathroom like big kids and grownups and she said "sometimes I like to pee in the backyard." Not much of an explanation but I assume that she will let me know when she is ready to go all the way with it and that any rushing her on my part will be met with severe obstinance.

So hopefully your daughter will mellow out now that you're home again and this isn't a new hobby!

[lol did you tell her that grownups pee in the backyard--at frat parties? -ed.]

Don't ask a question when you already know the answer. Just state it. "Whoops. We need to change your clothes now."

Decide on a rule, and stick with it matter-of-factly.
For example, you might decide that the new rule is underpants in the morning, but if they get wet, then put a diaper on for the rest of the day. Or you might decide that the rule is pull-ups from now on until they're dry for a few days. Be matter-of-fact, and tell her "it's okay, your body's just not noticing when it has to pee right now."

Also, I'm a big believer in positive reinforcement. You might try a sticker chart, with a toy prize for five stickers (indicating five accident-free days).
Then again, I haven't had to deal with regression issues myself, just a son who didn't train till he was 3.5.

[yeah, that "don't ask a question" thing really hits home. There's this ingrained impulse to want something acknowledged, as if mutual recognition of the problem--or more exactly, recognizing that I'm "right" about what the problem is--is somehow important to solving it. I think that's a major fallacy of adult-kid relations. Of course, placing being right ahead of fixing a problem is a chronic annoyance of adult-adult relations, too, so go figure. -ed.]

You need a Becky. My daughter plays with three older girls (sisters 4, 6 and 8-years-old) in our neighborhood. Becky is the oldest. My daughter's thoughts frequently revolve around "being big like Becky."

We're in the stage of using pull-ups or panties at 27-months, but once a week she regresses for a day, refusing to use the potty. We put her back into a reusable diaper (significantly thicker and different) and talk about how Becky is so big she uses a potty. Don't you want to be like Becky?

Easy: she's not ready.

[she's been doing extremely well for like two months, though, except for the weekend surrounded by all her cousins in a mountain cabin. A lot of self-directed, do-it-myself bathrooming, in and out of the house. It makes it hard to think it's so easily diagnosed. -ed.]

Except that one definition of "not ready" is that she's ready when she's in familiar surroundings, but not at all ready when her life's disrupted. After all, Daddy's been gone right after she's just had pretty overwhelming experience with a lot of people she doesn't know who live in a place that's not her own. Worth some thought, for sure.

[believe me, we think about it. -ed.]

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