Pee and Poop and Stinky Bums.

May 10, 2012 at 11:37 am | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood), milestones | 4 Comments

Lucky is in a potty words phase right now, and if it doesn’t put me away into a locked room, I will count myself… well, Lucky.

We have tried ignoring, working with it, telling him he has to use those words in the bathroom only, incenting him to find other words that make us laugh. What seems to be working right now is piggybacking off of what they do at school – two warning (“Oops!”) and then a “Magic” the third time he says a potty word. At school, he has to go sit in the director’s office.

At home, he has to sit on the Magic Step – our time out place.

The NEGOTIATION, though, is killing me. But Mommy, *I* didn’t say it! Spoochy did! I meant a DIFFERENT but! But, but, but – THAT but! et cetera.


It’s been 5 weeks since we started the miralax for Lucky’s constipaton-as-a-cause-of-accidents plan. Long enough to say with some certainty that we’re seeing improvement. There have been MANY more times where he’s been doing something and gasps, and says, Mommy! I have to use the potty! and will run to the bathroom.

Thing is, it’s not as easy as fixing the constipation issue – there’s a lot more that’s going on behaviorally as well.

As a result, we’ve also changed up a bit the way we were looking at it. Because no joke, every day he was coming home with two or three pair of pants. When we spent the weekend in NYC he was wet more often than he was not. And it was SO frustrating for Charlie and I. And we often tried to get Lucky to use the bathroom more often. And he resisted because HE wanted control. Which made him have more accidents and us to clamp down even more. And we were starting to be so frustrated we were in punishment realm.

KNOWING that we shouldn’t punish for accidents, instead we’d withhold something he wanted as hostage until he used the bathroom. Which didn’t actually WORK and was frustrating for all of us.

So I spent time researching and reading, and on the advice of my friend D, read a great book which dealt with parenting strategies for when your kid is defiant.

And one of the things he suggested, which REALLY resonated with me, was this concept of a positive opposite. Where you take a comment like, I wish my kid stopped having accidents, and turn it into a statement that discussed the behavior you WANT to see from them.

What do I want to see from Lucky? As it turns out, three things:

I want him to pay attention and KNOW when he has to use the bathroom.
I want him to stop what he’s doing and go into the bathroom when that happens.
I want him to be willing to try and use the bathroom when we ask him to.

Kadzin goes on to talk about how you should devise an incentive plan for your kid which will reinforce that behavior. And the big thing is that it doesn’t have to be COMPLICATED. It could be stickers.

Which, honestly, is what we did. Everytime he’s used the bathroom since and he’s been dry, we give stickers, cheers, and high fives. Every time he stops what he’s doing and TRIES to get to the bathroom, we give stickers, cheers, and high fives. Every time he tries to use the bathroom when we ask, we give stickers, cheers, and high fives.

Slowly, surely, it’s starting to work. We were away last weekend, which normally biffs everything up with his routine, but we had a whole weekend of dry.

And yesterday, for the first time in a couple of weeks, Lucky came home in the same pants in which he went to school.

(He got an entire SHEET of stickers for that.)

Here’s how it looks now:

I am hoping that, by the end of this whole process, we have the entire WALL of the bathroom covered in sticker charts. 🙂

Progress, for sure.

I’ll take it.



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  1. I had to laugh at the title because let’s face it, no matter what we try to teach our kids, we all laugh at scenes like what was in “Dumb & Dumber”. The best (worst) is when other people come up with nicknames for bodily functions and then they grasp THOSE words. My mother, bless her, decided farts should be called “butt burps” which DH abhors. Too bad MG thinks that nickname is the absolute cats meow and bursts into laughter every time someone passes gas, screaming it out. Sigh, it’s tough.
    Good on Lucky for staying dry! “Baby steps” is my motto these days.

  2. Glad that seems to be working! Stickers never seemed to work for M, but they work well as incentives for W. Here’s to hoping for wall to wall stickers!

  3. So glad to things are working well. Happy Mother’s Day!

  4. What is with 4 year old boys and their fascination with talking about bodily functions. Mason is getting better about it when he is alone, but add a friend into the mix and it all flies out the window. My neighbor and I have gotten really good about time outs for each others kid and instituted sending the visiting child home of it continues. I’ve heard this phase lasts a long time for boys. Actually, does it ever end?

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