Poop Problems, Continued

My younger daughter’s clothes come home from daycare tucked into ziploc baggies. She is back in pull-ups, sometimes in a diaper.

I am discouraged.

The doctor says she is fine, no motor problems. We know that she can poop on the potty; we don’t know why she’s not.

Control. Attention. Motivation (lack thereof).

The doctor says pull back, all the way back. Don’t talk about the potty. Let her poop and pee where she likes (keep her in the pull-ups or diapers). Give her a week, a month. She’s 3; she’s done it before; she’s decide to do it again.

I am fine with this advice. I am tired of the constant monitoring, the constant asking, being told no, the accidents, cleaning pee off the rug and poop out of underpants.

Dan does not like this advice. He wants us to press on, to find the thing that motivates her.

I am afraid if we keep pushing, she will keep pushing back.

Daycare is of like mind with Dan. Kate is on the path to potty training — for six weeks or so, she was proudly, successfully, willingly, cheerfully using the potty.

And then she stopped.

Not coincidentally, it happened about the same time that we told the kids I was having another baby.

Kate can’t control that I am having another baby. She can’t control that I am more tired, and less absent a mommy than usual. She can’t control that in the “big kids” room, she is one of the youngest of the big kids, and sometimes her big sister doesn’t want to play with her.

She can control whether or not she is going to cooperate. She can control (to a certain extent) where she poops.

Dan and I are at a loss, and are trying to find a strategy that we can agree on.

I am tired.

9 thoughts on “Poop Problems, Continued

  1. I have been where you are, except the younger sibling had already arrived. Oliver did exactly what Kate is doing. It’s incredibly frustrating. We had to pull all the way back too, but it was the right thing to do in our case. The constant knocking of heads over the issue was not good for any of us.

    I wish I could say pulling back solved the problem for Oliver all by itself. It didn’t. We were fortunate to have him moving into a new classroom at school with a new teacher who told us not to bring any diapers on the first day, just lots of extra clothes. We had a messy week, as she predicted. And then he was done. It was the triple whammy of new class, new teacher, and entirely new expectations that finally got us over the hump. He had been physically ready before but he needed an attitude adjustment to make the final step in emotional readiness. I was sure the teacher used some magic words but she assures me there was no magic, just persistence by someone new, someone he probably wanted to impress.

    Having two in diapers is not the end of the world. No fun, sure, but the sun will still come up, and it’s unlikely Kate will be in them much longer. All I can suggest is to relax. It will be good for everyone, and you need one less stressor in your life.

    • I have to get Dan on this page. And I WISH my daycare had as laisez-faire an attitude. The director actually asked if my in-laws would be willing to come down to “help with the dirty business” if they pulled all the way back there.

      Uh, no.

      We’ve a bit of a pickle on our hands. I also suspect that Kate will be done by the time Le Bud comes along, but only if we pick the right strategy.


  2. oh boy! It sounds exactly like a control thing- with the new baby news, etc. Kids (three year olds, especially!) love the control. In everything. Food, pooping, sleeping, clothing.

    I would be with you in taking the drs advice- they’ve seen it all and honestly, it just makes sense. Even just take a week off from mentioning the potty and see what happens. It might not take long at all before she’s back on track. And the daycare really needs to be willing to work with you on this- you are paying them, after all!

    Good luck!!!!!

    • My personal strategy with Kate right now is: control where I can give it. I let her choose her snacks; if there’s something she wants to wear (providing it’s weather-appropriate), she can wear it — she’s going through a real nightgown phase right now; etc., etc.

      And what she can’t control — for example she CANNOT eat the toothpaste — I put my foot down, gently and firmly. I am trying not to yell, and I absolutely won’t spank her for a tantrum. Which, when told no, she will throw. I will either hold her or walk away, whichever I think will work better. Deep breaths and waiting it out.

      I am about ready to make that “I’m paying you” point with daycare. Yesterday, she refused the potty all day. Their approach just isn’t working. If we can all just step back for two weeks, and then come at it again (with a sticker chart or something) I think it’ll be okay. But right now, everyone (except me) continues to push.

  3. Yep, I agree about pulling back and no longer making it an issue for her to have some control over. We had the same poop issue with my daughter, too, though not quite as rough as it sounds like it’s going with Kate. Hang in there, and I hope you start to feel the second-trimester energy burst soon!

    • So far, neither my husband nor the daycare are convinced. They are still talking potty with her.

      The result? Today she REFUSED every time they told her to go on the potty.

  4. You poor thing. What pains me more than K having poop problems is that you are alone in the way you want to handle it. It really sucks when you and you support group are not a team. I know you will get through it though. Hang in there!

    • That is the hardest thing. It is much easier for me to step back, hose Kate off when I need to, and move ahead with other things. But if daycare won’t work with me… well, there’s not much I can do. I honestly think continuing to push her is going to make the process take longer. But we won’t know unless/until we stop pushing. She doesn’t care; she’s not motivated; her choice is to mess her pants (or pull-up or diaper). It’s not a priority for her, and no amount of pushing is going to make it one.

  5. Obviously continuing to push her is not getting anyone anywhere. I think everyone needs a break…and daycare should respect your decision,whatever it may be. This is your daughter…and although it would obviously be easier for everyone if she went on the potty, it is still up to her. And I love Dan, but YOU spend the majority of the time with the girls during the week and fighting the battles with K. I think you and Kate both need to regroup and have a conversation in a couple weeks. Maybe talk about all the changes and give her some time to get used to the idea of a new baby, etc. Maybe think about something that would really be a good reinforcer for her…more things she can control. M&Ms and Leapster time did it for Aidan. and although it seems like a bad idea, he didn’t have to have the M&Ms long. He still plays the Leapster on the potty sometimes, but I liken that to others taking their favorite book or magazine to the bathroom 🙂

    Good luck, and hang in there!

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