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HELP! Big Difficulties with Potty Training

  1. #1
    Swoon's Avatar
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    Unhappy HELP! Big Difficulties with Potty Training

    Can anyone please give some input as I'm at my wits end. I've been trying to train my son (who is turning 3 this month) for months now and it's been going from bad to worse.

    I started out by putting him on the toilet several times a day--when he wakes, when he gets home from nursery at lunchtime, after his nap, and in the evening. When he was at home, I'd take off the nappy and put him in undies. We have been using a padded toilet ring instead of a potty. He didn't ever like sitting on the toilet very much but would still do so and we started making a bit of progress when we caught him at the right times and could do the pee or poo into the toilet. Then we would praise him after. But he would never go to the next level of telling us when he needed to go. He only told us after his nappy or pants were soiled. We have always been quite gentle and never scolded him at all for any accidents. Only trying to reinforce afterwards to tell us next time BEFORE he needed to go.

    In the last several weeks, he became extremely constipated, to the point where it was even painful for him to walk. And he would scream in pain when trying to pass the stool. I brought him to the doctor and we got some suppositories and other medicine to help him. His constipation is still not completely better but he hasn't had too many super painful incidents lately. The constipation is another problem in itself. He refuses to drink the prune juice and eat any fruit. He only eats broccoli with his meals twice a day.

    Anyhow, in the last week, he has been 'holding his pee' back all the time when he needs to go. I think he's mentally messed up by the painful constipation he had. When I place him on the toilet, it's really obvious he needs to pee but he keeps trying to hold it and just cries and cries. So I take him off and put his nappy on and try to calm him. And then he'll just pee in the nappy, which usually leaks out now because the quantity is too much. Sometimes now, even with the nappy on, he tries to hold it back as much as he can. I try to reassure him that it's ok, he can pee in the nappy if he wants but he still tries to hold it all the time.

    I'm really concerned and feel very bad for him. But the worse part is that I feel totally helpless--I just don't know what to do now! I don't know how to get him back to normal again and to get him to stop holding back when he needs to pee.

    Can anyone help? I don't know where to start. None of the books help because they talk about training in a normal situation. I don't think ours is normal anymore because of the mental trauma/block that he has. Any feedback would be appreciated. So sorry for such a long post.

  2. #2
    loupou is offline Baby Guru
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    Wow,

    What a difficult situation. Since he's almost 3 years old, I assume he can speak a little. Have you asked him why he keeps holding it, or if he's scared of something?

    Maybe you can try a simple pot on the floor and see if that helps - maybe he would like it more than the toilet?

    Or, you could also consider telling him that since he doesn't like going without his nappy, you'll let him keep wearing it for another couple of months and try to stop using it later?

    Sorry, I don't have much experience with something like that.

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    Sara is offline Registered User
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    Bzee:

    A friend of mine went through almost exactly the same things with her son. They started training him at 2 1/2 years, and the same situations went on for almost half a year. He held everything and ended up having bladder infection and a severe case of constipation. Before his 3rd birthday, his mom asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and he said, "To wear a diaper." My friend gave in and he was back in diapers. Initially he would still hold, but after a while the constipation problems went away. I remember how devastated the mother was at that point, but all the paeditricainas she saw said not to stress out and let the Pampers situation contimued.

    At about 3 years 2 months, his diaper would leak every time he wetted it, and he started to be annoyed by that. His mom said nothing. Then one day, he said he wanted to pee in the toilet! He was almost 3 years 3 months then. After that, he was off Pampers but still asked for it every time he wanted to poop. His mom didn't make it a big thing, as at least he was aware when he had to go. Then one day, their local supermarket was out of the diaper his size, and he just had to poop in the toilet. He held on for 5 days, but finally had a go. Once it happened the first time, the sesond time came more easily, though still not after a few days. His mom persevered and finally at just days shy of being 3 1/2 years old, her boy was completely trained.

    I know this is not of much help, but I hope it's comforting to know that your child is not the only one...

    Sara.

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    Thanks for sharing your story Sara. It helped to hear it because I'm kind of distressed. It sounds so similar to what we're going through. Today, I am thinking he has a bladder infection now. Because his bowel movements seem pretty okay (ie. not rock hard like before).

    Everytime I ask him what is wrong, he keeps saying "Poo poo ow-y, painful" but actually, I think he means "Pee pee ow-y". He just doesn't know how to differentiate. I don't mind that he still needs to wear nappies at 3 years. At this point, I only want him to feel better and normal again.

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    HKfornow is offline Registered User
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    Bzee, so sorry about the suffering your boy is going through! I had a tough time training my son to use the bathroom, after he turned two we started trying to put him in the soft potty seat, standing, putting a cup under, and he would scream and cry as soon as we start. So finally we backed off then try again. . . a couple of times we tried without any progress. Finally when he was 2.5 and I guess the fact that the school had toilet time registered to him that hey everyone does this!

    You mentioned putting your son on the toilet ring, have you tried letting him stand in front of urinal? Because I use to have my son sit on the soft potty ring until the ladies in school mentioned that he can pee standing up, so after that I had him pee standing which he seems to prefer.

    Poop also becomes a problem when his stool is hard, and my helper was not tactful once and told him his poop was very big, so then my son became very conscious about his stool, and will cry after he does it, almost as if he was scared of it. . . I have to reassure him that his poo is normal, and just the right size!! (who knew that I would be reassuring my size about the size of his . . . . poop!!) Anyway, whenever his stool toughens up, we go get the sweet potatoes which he likes and have it a couple of times, ususally that solves the problem. As for fruits,will your son drink it juiced? We do that for apples.

    Don't know if any of this helps, but hang in there, and your "sisters" on the web are here for you.

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    Loon is offline Registered User
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    Bzee,
    Sounds like a tough situation. My son refused to poo on the potty. He was ok for going pee on the potty but was really truly scared to poo on it. I was getting fed up but my doctor told me to let him poo in his diaper if he wanted to, this went on for months he would ask for a diaper and then go into the bathroom poo in it and ask to be changed. Finally one day he was ready and just told us he had to use the potty to go poo. We didn't make a big deal out of it until he did it we gave him a sticker to put on a chart. He was really proud of that his poo poo chart as we called it and would show it to everyone.

    I know this may not help you as you are now dealing with a medical situation. Once you get the constipation and possible bladder infection taken care of I would just sit him down and say "let's take a break from potty training until you are ready" and see if that helps. Good luck

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    newbies is offline Registered User
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    Bzee,
    What about telling him story about natural process of the body. I have a book from USA titled "Everyone Poop". I used it for my daugther lastyear (when she 3 yrs old) when I had the similar situation with Loon except that she only fear potty/toilet bowl for poop not pee. The book comes with good illustration. My daugther loves that book and she began using the potty a week after reading the book. Gradually she moved on the normal toilet bowl (that after few months with potty).
    Last edited by newbies; 03-24-2006 at 11:06 PM.

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    Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions. I realize now that he doesn't have a bladder infection because there are times--ie. during the night for example--that he will wet his nappy and there is no pain. He doesn't even wake up. Sometimes during the day even, his nappy will be wet and there was no preceding pain or crying. But at other times he'll have his "attacks"--whimpering, holding his crotch, shaking his body and legs, crying--to try and hold back the pee. At these times, I try and reassure him that it's okay to pee in the nappy and that I'll clean it after so it's no problem. Doesn't work. Other times we'll just ignore his "attacks". I'm really not sure how to handle it all. Are there any experts/child therapists that can give us some guidance to get out of this situation? Or do I just try and tough it out and maybe he'll get back to normal eventually?

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