March 30, 2012 at 8:16 am | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood) | 13 Comments

Thanks. I feel better, a little, today.

Well, not really, but I think I figured out why I am stressed out and tired and upset.

I don’t like feeling powerless.

So. Hey, yeah, I DO feel powerless a lot right now. And it sort of sucks.

Saying that out loud this morning? Made me feel a HELL of a lot better.

So thanks for listening.


I mentioned my hip is bothering me. Thursday nights I have a running clinic, and last night’s workout was going to be hill repeats.

Which tend to bring out the nasty in ITB issues to begin with. But I hadn’t gotten a chance to work out on Wednesday, and honestly part of the hip issue I’m convinced is that I needed to do SOMETHING. But man, I was sore and tired and didn’t want to.

But I also didn’t want to go home, because I really DO need a break from the sheer drudgery of a regressing four year old.

So I decided to book a massage and the spa attached to my gym. The only spot open was a 1/2 hour at 8:15. I took it.

And my friend D suggested, hey, why don’t you swim instead, sit in the hot tub they have at the gym, THEN go to your massage?

Fucking brilliant, she is.

I ended up having to work late at my client anyway; deadline today and they were trying to get a bunch of stuff done yesterday. And I had to stop at home to get my swim stuff before I could go to the gym.

So I got home around 6:30pm or so. And I was surprised that no one was downstairs. So I went upstairs to say hello…

… and Lucky was standing on the bathmat, naked, as if he had just gotten out of the tub. Except his hair was dry. And his eyes were huge, red, and he was shaking with sobs.

The bath was neccessary because of multiple accidents that day. When Charlie went to get him, he was in his FOURTH pair of pants. And when he was freaking out before his bath, naked, refusing to take a bath, he peed on the floor a little bit.

And he was absolutely, unequivocally REFUSING to use the potty.

Charlie, to his credit, was actually pretty upbeat about the whole thing. All he said was that he thought Lucky needed to use the potty before he was going to get him dressed, because he REALLY wanted to make sure that Lucky’s underwear stayed dry.

My poor kid.

You could see the goosebumps on his skin, so I took off my sweater, wrapped him in it, and pulled him onto my lap. I hugged and kissed him and I told him that I was sorry it was so hard, that he must be having a hard day. And we just sort of sat there. Every few minutes I’d ask if he wanted to try using the potty, how even though he didn’t want to, we all had to listen to our bodies when they said they had to go. How sometimes if I held my pee too long, it made my belly hurt.

He kept saying no. And no. And no. And no.


Until, finally, when I made a game out of it. I put him on the toilet and told him that if I made a fart noise, it would echo. And he was curious enough to do it. And I got him to laugh, and he went, and I didn’t make a big deal of it, and I put him in his pajamas and he went downstairs where Charlie had his dinner ready for him.


I really don’t know what to DO about this. Refusing to use the bathroom at school, wetting his pants all day, refusing to use the bathroom at home. Right now it’s is a massive, swollen, emotion-laden issue. It’s back to the January levels, where he’s refusing to even TRY to use the bathroom when someone mentions it. He’s holding his pee in the hopes that, you know, he won’t ever have to go.

I really don’t know what to do. But I’ll tell you something. Last night demonstrated that Lucky is really, really struggling too. And I just feel really, really bad for him. He is SO frustrated.

And I wish I knew how to help him through this.



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  1. I’m going to try to lighten your mood here — Mini is a social pooper. So every night ( because he is VERY regular), he brings his training potty into the dining room, puts it beside my chair, and I have to hold his hand while he poos. While trying to finish my dinner. Funny story help?

    I’ve got no advice but to offer you a stiff drink and to let you know we’re getting new carpet in the living room thanks to potty training.

  2. I’ve been reading along about Lucky’s bathroom strike and I haven’t said much because, well, I’m not sure what to say. I didn’t realize kids even had these issues but now that you explain it it makes sense that they would. I wish I had some advice to give but I don’t. I just wanted to say that it sounds so hard and I’m so sorry you are both going through this. I hope the situation resolves itself soon. Sending strength, and laundry detergent laden thoughts, your way.

  3. Oh I am sorry this is so hard for you, and for Charlie, and for Lucky. No assvice, just support.

  4. Maybe the pressures are snowballing? Maybe a day or two in pull ups? Let him feel like it is not a big deal for a while to get him to relax a bit about it. Maybe he would not like the pull ups and want to try again on his own…that is just what I might try, but I really have no idea and it is so heartbreaking to hear him trying and struggling….[[Hugs]]

    I do think your use of humor really defused the situation for him that night. Good job, momma!

  5. Poor kiddo. Poor mama.

    Potty training is evil.

  6. Oh gosh, soooo hard!! I agree with delenn25 – I think the pressure and the constant requests/demands for him to go potty are backfiring. Would you be willing to go back to pullups for awhile? HE has to be ready. I know you are ready, but I don’t think HE is. Some children don’t get there til 5 or 6. Stop driving yourself nutso, and maybe just stop for awhile? The more stressed he gets, the harder it becomes. I am so sorry – potty training is the WORST

  7. Hugs for all of you.

  8. Aw, poor little guy! This is so hard on all of you! I wish I knew some awesome, great advice that would unlock the whole thing but I don’t.

  9. Oh man. That is just so stressful. Poor kiddo. Poor you!

    Feel free to COMPLETELY ignore this, because I haven’t started potty training yet at all and I’m sure you’ve been looking things up, but I read this article this morning and thought of you. Ignore the whole early start thing, I know that doesn’t apply, but about the constipation and peeing issues, maybe there’s something in there that might help?

  10. I’ve been reading all your posts but haven’t been commenting because I haven’t known what to say except that it seems what you (and Lucky and Charlie) are going through right now seems so, so, so hard. And I so want to say something helpful or comforting but am at a loss for words. So just imagine me sitting next to you with my arm around your shoulder, hugging you really, really hard because that is what I wish I could do.

  11. Poor guy. And poor mommy. I know how terrible it feels to have your kid be failing at something and not know what to do to help. If it makes you feel better, Nathan pooped in his pants twice on Thursday and then peed in his pants on Friday and Saturday. This after two weeks with no accidents. My mom is a teacher and she says she still has kids that come into the school in kindergarten that still aren’t potty trained. I am sure that O will be trained by then.

    As for the hip, boo!!! The massage/swimming/hot tub idea sounds AWESOME!

  12. My little girl is 5 and still wears a pull-up at night. I don’t think any kind of pressure will make her ready until her body can last all night. Maybe if you try pull-ups at night that might help. I’m sure he is tired and doesn’t want to wake up and when his body is ready he will make it through the night. This might help him during the day if he knows he will get a break at night. I have a friend who didn’t even try potty training until her son was 5 because he was so uninterested. It will happen and don’t think of it as regression, it’s a life adjustment. Good luck.

  13. I have a son who is a few months older than Lucky and we’ve struggled with continued accidents even though he’s been potty-trained for two years. I sympathize with what you’re going through, it is so frustrating. Here’s what we finally did that worked: I sat him down and we had A Talk. I told him I was not going to ask him or force him to go to the bathroom anymore, that it seemed like it made him unhappy. Then we talked through what he needed to do if he had an accident: change his clothes, wipe himself with a washcloth, put his soiled clothes in the hamper, and clean up any pee on the floor. It is now his responsibility to handle that stuff if he has an accident. We had that talk a while ago and I haven’t mentioned, suggesting, cajoled, or forced him to go the bathroom since. The few daytime accidents he’s had he’s cleaned up himself without much prompting. I don’t want this to be a punishment for him so when he has an accident I just neutrally say, “Do you remember what you need to do?”

    It was hard at first. You get so used to constantly reminding them to go that keeping your mouth shut is challenging but I really think having some of the “bigger” accidents-like when we’re out of the house-was what prompted him to start being more planful about using the bathroom.

    Now, they have to be developmentally ready to go this route. The have to be able to change themselves and clean up after themselves but most four year olds will be able to do it.

    Good luck. It has been much less stressful for all of us since we started this. I hope you can find a strategy that works for you.

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