There is nothing worse than feeling that you have failed your kids. And as I am wiping the butt of a 5-year-old, I know that I have failed him.
My daughter took three weeks to potty train when she was 3. She had one accident afterward. But I still can’t leave the house without some extra pants, a few pairs of pull-ups and wipes. While he is able to keep it at bay during the school day, once he is home it’s hit or miss. There are days when he is wearing the same underwear he was when he left for school at bedtime. Then it’s high fives and hugs all around. But there are days, when you walk by him and you catch that smell. It’s disgusting to have to wipe poop off a kid who is so smart, funny and charming and is so adept at playing video games and driving a go-cart.
Perhaps, it’s my giving up some days and just letting him use the pull-ups, instead of knowing that he will mess up pants and underwear that I will need to wash.
There was a great article about how to potty train a child on Modern Mom that discusses my exact problem with my son. Looking at the writer’s list of suggestions I realize I might be slowing down the process:
Stop talking about it. Pretend it doesn’t bother you whether or not he uses the toilet. When he stops getting negative attention for failing to perform, he may start using the toilet for some positive attention.”
Here is the problem, it does bother me. And I know it bothers him, he would never want to be changed in front of his friends or cousins. And when he needs a change I try to be very discreet, because even a 5-year old has pride.
I’ve tried to bribe him, saying if he would stop pooping in his pants or in pull-ups that the money we would save from buying those pull-ups could be used for toys or whatever he chooses. But that doesn’t seem to work.
Most children who are resistant to toilet training are enmeshed in a power struggle with their parents. The cause of the power struggle is usually reminder resistance-an oppositional response to excessive reminders to sit on the toilet. In addition, most resistant children have been held on the toilet against their will. The child’s contribution to the power struggle is usually a difficult, strong-willed temperament.”
Armenians have a word “enad” that means extreme stubbornness, even when it’s against your own best interest. And we are very lucky to have a strong-willed son, but I think he has it in his head that he is winning this battle with us, by pooping and making us clean it up.
From the reading I have done on how to potty train a child, I will take some of these tips and hopefully they will work. And I will be able to leave the house without any extra stuff. Living the dream.
A version of this first appeared on Great Moments in Bad Parenting.