Monday, January 30, 2012

Toilet Training Tribulations

I know boys take longer than girls.
I know that you shouldn't start too early or too late or it backfires.
I know it takes patience and perseverance.
But I'm sick of trying to get Toby to use the toilet. Almost as sick as I am of changing diapers.

I probably started introducing the idea of the toilet about a  year ago. He has his own toilet seat. He sits and plays with toys. He never did anything, but at least he would merrily sit up there for a while.
I didn't push it because I still felt he was too young to 'get' it.
A few months later there was a poop-in-the-tub incident, after which I scooped him up and onto the toilet, which collected the rest of it. I made a big happy deal about him sitting on the toilet and using it properly, and he seemed pleased with himself, but the idea didn't stick.
Periodically through the summer and fall I would catch him in the act of beginning to fill his diaper and excitedly exclaim it was time to use the toilet. He'd let me pick him up and bring him to the bathroom, but them more often that not he would just sit on the toilet for half an hour and do nothing.
At this point maybe I should have been more consistent? Made him sit up there several times a day, instead of the odd time when I'd catch him about to go? Not let him just fill his diaper when I was too tired to get out of bed in the morning?
I still didn't want to push him too hard because I was trying to cut back on the ridiculous amount of nursing he was still doing and didn't want too many traumas at once.
I started putting swirly star stickers on a calendar when he used the toilet. It had worked with the teeth brushing. It seemed to work for a while. Twice a week we had a good toilet experience.
But then a few times I'd ask him if he needed to use the bathroom and he'd sullenly say no, and then proceed to fill his diaper.
I'd bribe him with the AMAZING, INCREDIBLE star stickers, and the wind-up toys I had reserved for toilet-time.
He told me he didn't want a sticker, and proceeded to fill his diaper.
I'd get annoyed. I'd sigh. I stopped talking and playing with him when I changed his diapers so that diaper changing wasn't 'fun' anymore.
Nothing mattered.
I'd rant (maybe to myself more than him) that I hated how much garbage we were making and I hated buying diapers and should have used cloth, but really have no patience or desire to clean up after cloth diapers. I's go on about how we wouldn't have to deal with things like diaper rashes anymore because it would be so much cleaner and more fun to sit on the toilet than have this gooey mushy diaper on.
He told me he wanted diaper rashes and stormed away.
I tried the no-nonsense, pick-you-up-when-you're-about-to-poop-and-off-to-the-bathroom-we-go! But that resulted in fits of hysteric screaming and I didn't want the toilet to be about force.

Ok, so he's not ready. I left it. I left everything I had tired and didn't say anything, tried not to scold or roll my eyes.
Nothing changed.
My latest strategy is to make him carry his own dirty diapers to the garbage. If we're in our room, he doesn't have far to go. If we're downstairs, he has to march it all the way upstairs.
The first few times it worked great. He loves helping. A couple times he suggested I do it, and I calmly said that no, I'm done cleaning up the poopy diapers, and if you want to use a diaper then you get to clean it up. If you don't want to do this job anymore you can use the toilet and I will gladly sit with you and help you in there.
It worked in the sense that he diligently marched all his diapers up to the big garbage. However he has only once sat on a toilet in the last two months. And that was only because I fished him out of the bathtub before we had another mess to contend with.
But now.... now he's caught on. And he's fighting back. He screams that I take his diaper away, as soon as I'm done changing him. I shrug and walk away. He screams and runs after me, demanding I clean it up. I try reasoning and bartering with him. I offer to help by bringing the garbage out from the bedroom, but he still needs to please clean it up.
Everyday now we have a blood curdling argument.
I hate it so much, but I feel like I shouldn't give in. I've given in every other time and it's gotten us nowhere. This time I keep saying I"m determined to hold my ground, but is that the right thing to do? Am I really making a negative argument about the diapers, or am I still turning the whole toilet training thing into a fiasco?
Is it worth fighting to tears every day?
Do I just stop and let it go and hope he trains himself by the time he's 5?
Is he going to be one of those kids who never quite gets it and wets the bed for years to come?
Kids who go to school don't still breastfeed and wear diapers right?


  1. I had a horrible time with Emma, I tried everything and right when I thought she was good to go we would suddenly have to start from square one. this went on for over a year. a few months ago I decide I was done, diapers, pull ups and general potty training tools were taken out of the house. We bought her padded underwear an told her that if she wanted to be treated like a big girl she needed to act like it, big girls use the toilet . It took a few days and a few accidents but she's finally got it now. havnt had an accident in months. all kids are different as you know. My advice is, don't cave... If you think he's ready then he most likely is.

  2. That sounds awful. I don't have any advice, really, because we haven't started this phase yet. I can fully see Laura being as hard-headed about it as Toby is, though, if she decides that is what she is going to do. :S
    I did want to point out that I think those kids who "don't quite get it" and wet the bed really late actually have some sort of physical inability to wake up and go for whatever reason.
    I'm sure he will "get it" one day soon, it will probably be just like the flick of a switch. Hopefully. :)