Potty Progress (I Think).

August 9, 2012 at 9:28 am | Posted in Battles (aka: toddlerhood), motherhood | 12 Comments

I posted a while back about Lucky’s potty troubles.

With the daily miralax, we got to a point where Lucky put together MULTIPLE weeks of dry days. Not even kidding, I think the longest we went was 10 days. Which, honestly, is huge for us.

So the pediatrician told us we could start weaning him off the daily dosage. Which is what we did – we did every other day.

And the accidents have been happening, more and more.

And a couple weeks ago, we had an AWFUL, AWFUL week of potty issues. Multiple accidents in a morning. He’d be wet after a half hour in the car.

So, of course, we tried to get him to use the bathroom more. And he’d say no, he didn’t HAVE to go.

And then, 20 seconds later, he’d be wet.

He was defiant. We were angry. Charlie and I were, quite honestly, at our wits end. All this progress for nothing – right back where we started. Again.

We did EVERYTHING: sticker charts, M&Ms, having him clean up after himself, not saying anything, setting the timer for every hour like we did in the early days of PT. We played games (his favorite: pretending the bathroom was a portapotty and someone was knocking on the door, wanting to come in), we made it serious. We jumped and clapped when he was dry, we didn’t say ANYTHING when he was wet, we were neutral, we let our frustration be known (I lectured. No joke. I talked for about 10 minutes before Lucky said, Mommy, I am NOT talking about accidents ANY MORE. I am talking about COOL things. Like trains. Do you like trains, Mommy? Are they cool? Sigh.)

Finally, we gave. Resolved that we would have wet pants until he was in college. Because we thought he was being defiant, and really, we have NO CONTROL over whether he uses – or doesn’t – the potty.

Until this exchange:

Lucky, use the potty.

But, Mommy… I DON’T HAVE TO GO!

Lucky. YOU’RE WET.

But Mommy, I didn’t EVEN KNOW I WAS WET!

Hard to tell what’s wishful thinking with him nowadays, whenever he disagrees with something we say, he’ll unequivocally declare the opposite to be true.

But when he told me he didn’t KNOW he was wet? Warning bell sounded in my head.

Whenever we asked him/told him/incented him to use the bathroom, I think he would push a little to see if he HAD to go. And he’d wet himself, and STILL not realize he had to go.

Maybe it wasn’t defiance. Maybe it was physical. Maybe he was constipated again.

So we started him on the daily miralax again. Just in case.

And sure enough, after two weeks, this week he’s had one day where he’s had an accident.

We don’t have to remind him to use the bathroom – seems like he’s starting to go when he realizes he HAS to go.

I really think this potty stuff is a result of constipation. Which, I swear, I NEVER would have even THOUGHT about if it weren’t for my blogger friend Rachel emailing me the article that talks about the link between the two. (Seriously, I owe you one, girl!!!)

From what I’ve read, it might take six month of miralax for his colon to shrink enough that we can say goodbye to the potty issues forever. Charlie and I have decided, at the very least, that we need an entire month with no accidents before we even discuss stopping it.

And I have to say. There’s NOT a lot of stuff out there for parents of kids who have this issue. I can’t tell you how many google searches I’ve run to find potty issues that AREN’T a result of new training and/or regression.

So I’m putting this out there in the hopes that someone, someday, might be helped by our knowledge.

And in the meantime, crossing my fingers that this will go away for good. Because it’s been a year. And I am so, SO tired of pee.



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  1. Wow. Intense. Hope anyone else running into this will find answers here.

  2. You know what? We have totally different potty issues, but it was such a freaking relief to read this today. Someone else’s 4 year old isn’t totally there yet. We lost *everything* with the brain surgery, And we’re starting from scratch, again. And I’m just glad to read that someone else isn’t fully there yet either, I guess.

  3. I came across this article yesterday and thought of you:

    I don’t know about the whole ‘don’t train them before they’re three’ opinion, but he does talk a lot about the constipation issues.

    The other thing that made me think of you and Lucky was I was reading a toddler book where it said that if your kid is toilet trained and is leaving skid marks in their undies, it can be a sign of constipation because the poop is ending up all watery to get around the blockage. That even if your kid is regularly going to the loo and pooping, that doesn’t mean they’re not constipated (which the doctor says in the article above too). I seriously never would have thought of that.

    Here’s hoping things will keep getting better for all of you. And thanks for raising the issue.


    • Turia – yes, the author of this article wrote the one Rachel sent me. And it was this sentence that got me: “What’s more, the nerves controlling the bladder, which run between the bladder and the intestines, can get irritated when the intestines are enlarged, causing unexpected and unwanted bladder contractions – in other words, mad dashes to the toilet and accidents.”

      That’s what happened with Lucky, he’d be wet. Micro-accidents, not huge ones, as if his bladder had contracted.

      And yes, he was a regular pooer – went on a daily basis, even the weekend before we took him to the doctor. And at that the x-ray? Full of poo.

    • And this sentence, too: “The records we keep at my clinic suggest that among late trainers, it’s not the age of training, but rather unrecognized constipation that correlates with problems. We have found that children who trained after age 3 and have toileting troubles either trained late because they were constipated (their parents had tried earlier but failed) or trained late and are constipated.”

  4. So glad he’s making progress (again)! It will be a beautiful day when we don’t have to deal with poop and pee anymore, huh? : ) I’m curious if anything you’ve read re: constipation mentions overnight wetting? B (at 3) does well during the day, rarely has an accident, but he still SOAKS a pullup overnight. I’m not worried about this from a practical standpoint – we can buy pullups for the next 5 years if it’s what we need to do – but B is SO upset every morning when he’s wet, he’s quite disappointed in himself (“I’m wet again… try again tonight”). We constantly remind him that it’s no problem, but it breaks my heart to see him so sad. I *know* that it’s perfectly normal to not be overnight trained at 3, but I’m searching for a possible cause/solution if there’s one to be had.

    • Not constipation, but I actually have a couple of friends who dealt with it; seemed like their kids were just such heavy sleepers that they didn’t wake up when they had to go. What worked for all three of them was to wake up their son/daughters around midnight and have them sit on the potty. It didn’t affect their sleep much at all and in the morning all the kids were so happy to wake up dry.

      I know it’s anecdotal, but it’s worth a shot if you want to try it!


  5. Yay for progress! I hope it continues. I am amazed at how seemingly unrelated symptoms can end up being the answer.

  6. I’m so glad that article helped! 🙂 H has yet to even be willing to SIT on the potty. He turns 3 on Tuesday. Sigh.

  7. Do you have a link to the article you referred to? My daughter is 3.5. years old and has been dealing with constipation and potty troubles. I would love to read that article.

  8. Hurrah! It does sound like the issue. You even had a “re-challenge” just to improve the evidence of causal link. I don’t know if there’s any potential problem with using those laxatives for six months straight, but assuming not I’d be reluctant to wean him again in a hurry, too! It must be good not only for you but for his general state of mind to have that under control.

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