29 August 2011

The Dark Cloud

{photo taken at Lake Michigan}

This summer has been amazing. For real. We have been able to do so many amazing things and go to so many beautiful places.

But there is a dark cloud that has been hanging over any ounce of fun we have had over the last year. After 10 months of persistence, Blake is still not even close to being potty trained. And it is something that as his mom, I literally deal with every hour of every day.

I know that parenting wasn’t designed to be easy. But in my short four years of parenting, this issue has definitely been my biggest struggle. Getting a newborn to sleep through the night seems like cake now, and that was hard work.

We have tried everything to try to motivate Blake to use the potty. Making a big deal of it vs. not making a big deal of it. We've tried sticker charts, potty training books and dvds, potty training parties, new underwear, toy prizes, putting coins in a piggy bank, and working towards fun outings. We've tried consequences for accidents; time-outs, lectures, yelling (unfortunately), having him clean his underwear, and loss of so many privileges. We've had him wear a timer around his neck that beeped to remind him to go. We've let him run around with nothing on (only at home) to encourage potty use. I've read three books on the matter and about a hundred online articles. Neither rewards nor consequences have motivated him. Nothing, I mean nothing has worked.

Blake is almost four years old; too old to still be having constant accidents. He is so smart and advanced in every other area of development. But he is making very little progress unless I make him go to the bathroom every couple of hours (to which he fights me tooth and nail). And when we’re away from home, forget about it.

I’m starting to feel like a failure as a parent. For centuries, parents have been teaching their children to use the bathroom. Where have I gone wrong?

It’s to the point now (after almost a year) that every time Blake has an accident (which is several times a day if I’m not on him every minute), I get disgusted, angry, and frustrated. Then I feel guilty about my disgust, anger, and frustration. Sometimes I have to put myself in a time out. I have to work really hard to enjoy other moments with Blake because I’m so fed up with his accidents so much of the time.

There have been a lot of tears and a lot of desperate prayers on my part. So many friends have tried to understand and offer advice, but they mostly scratch their heads because they have children who “just went” (at two).

Sometimes the only solace I feel after a particularly challenging day is sneaking into Blake’s room late at night when he is asleep. I linger over his bed and watch him breathe in and out. There is something magical about watching his eyelashes rest on his sweet cheeks. It makes my heart fill up with gratitude for my precious boy instead of feeling like the end of the world is on its way.

I’m sure that this frustration and heartbreak are more common than I suspect and I’m not alone with these issues. I know we will make it through eventually. I just need to breathe…and venting helps a little too :)


15 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry, Lindsey. That is really frustrating. I hope that he gets motivated to try again very soon. Have you talked with his doctor about it?

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  2. Everyone who talked about about challenges as a parent (before I had kids and since having kids) mentioned mid-night feedings, breast feeding, terrible twos, tantrums and everything. No one mentioned the difficulties of potty training. I have no idea why cause honestly it is THE most difficult thing in the world!! I read somewhere that 75% of boys will potty train after 3 years old. So really don't beat yourself up. Sometimes it doesn't matter what we do as parents. The child is the person that will choose when and why they will potty train. Stay positive and do what you can.

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  3. it is so funny how every kids is just so different. Even any advise I could give wouldn't make a difference becuase kids just do what works best for them. Logan potty trained himself at 2 so easy. London wasn't potty trained until 3 and it only took a month. Liam we have been working on for about 6 months now and we only have the poop part done. So even after potty training 2 other boys it made no difference for Liam. He will get it. I keep telling myself that once Liam is in preschool and sees all of the other kids going that he will just get it. My fingures are crossed for both of us.

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  4. I dread training Hendrix. I might need advice from you in a year :)
    Just know that you're not a failure. You're one of the best moms I know!

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  5. I love your venting because it helps make me feel normal when I get frustrated as a parent too. Not all of it is perfect glamour and we can' t portray that all the time. I even went back to read about Nash and not crawling because Austin is 9 1/2 months and just now army crawling but it's more of a one arm drag. It's nice to read that I am not going through something alone. At least now I can read about this again when I try to potty train Austin and just breathe during the tough moments.

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  6. I am by no means an expert on this and am struggling to know how to potty train my own boy. I had a thought though that I just wanted to throw out there. I know sometimes kids hold back on potty training when they feel like they don't have control in other areas. They can control (or let it go in this case) just so they can be "in charge" of something. You may not even want advice, so take it or leave it completely.
    Good luck! and trust me, you are not the only one that deals with this! Good thing they are cute, right!

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  7. I hate that you are going through this, and that I don't have better advice. I am counting on you to be the expert when I have a difficult child to potty train. All I can say is that you're not a failure. You are an incredible Mom, whom I look up to, and take advice from often. And though I hate it that you are going through a difficult time, I do find solace in reading other people's vents from time to time and knowing everyone else's lives aren't perfect either.

    Love ya

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  8. I of course have no advice but I know you're a great mom and I'm sure blake will get it! Good luck!

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  9. At least for nighttime, the child has to develop a certain hormone. And some kids don't have it for quite some time.

    It took grounding the family to the house for a few weeks (excepting church) so that Sean could run around pantless. And when I had to clean his underwear, he had to be right by me, watching and learning what needed to be done after an accident, seeing the full reason why the accident was upsetting to me. If it had gone any longer after that point, he'd be cleaning the undies himself. Tried that one yet?

    I'm sorry that he's not getting it. I really hope you find something that works.

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  10. One thing I've learned is that the most challenging problems in parenting are sometimes only solved by giving it time. Sometimes a lot of time.

    My Violet potty trained at 2.4 years old. I was completely stoked. After about a month, we began about an 18-24 month long journey of her wetting her pants several times a day. I was so mad sometimes. I lectured. I have to admit I threatened to start doing baby things since she was wetting panties like a baby like give her bottles (I way regret that one), and then I read a quote about giving things time and one day it finally clicked for her. I had to let it go and stop getting mad.

    Before I trained Daphne, my neighbor said to me, don't tell her when to go, let her tell you. I made Violet go at certain times, I made her take breaks to go. I didn't with Daphne and she never wets her pants. She will do the potty dance for like up to two hours and I'll just say "Just let me know when you want to go" and then she eventually will even if she tortures herself for a couple of hours. That has gotten better too. But yes, not telling her when to go make a huge difference with child #2.

    Anyway, I don't want to seem like I'm giving too much advice, I just have sooooooo been there, Linds. Oh my goodness I have! And I just felt like I should share my experiences in case there was a slight chance that it might work for you. I will send prayers your way! I'm still praying to get Daphne to poop in the toilet!

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  11. You are not alone in this. For the life of me, I cannot get Moses to find any interest in going potty. Our doc says that I should leave it up to him and follow his lead, but it is so frustrating trying to wait for him to make up his mind. Especially frustrating when every other 3-almost-4 year old I know, and even a few kids in nursery, are already trained. Urgh!

    They'll get it someday. *sigh!* Good luck!

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  12. I know it's hard when you're going through something like this. But I've found that the only way I make myself feel better (believe--every Mom gets down on herself at one time or another) is to remind myself that in 10 years, this won't even matter. He's going to potty train at some point. Just keep reminding yourself that although this seems HUGE right now, it really isn't in the grand scheme of things. Good luck!!!

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  13. Rhea is over 2 and a half and has shown little to no interest in using the potty. I'm hoping she'll just decide to do it on her own, like some kids I've heard of.

    I'm sure if she gets close to being four, like Blake, and still hasn't shown any interest, I will worry and struggle just as you are doing.

    Here comes the unsolicited advice. You've probably already heard all this, but I'll give it a shot.

    Have you ruled out any medical condition or the possibility that he's simply physically incapable of the task (for now)? If so, I say it may do you some good to put him back in diapers for a while and take a break.

    Have you tried giving him the choice? Something like, "Do you want to wear a diaper or underwear?" Maybe he just wants to feel in control of the situation.

    Above all, DON'T BEAT YOURSELF UP! You're a wonderful mother.

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  14. I had so many issues with Grant. I won't even tell you some of the things I said in my frustration...

    I will say that what finally worked had nothing to do with me. He peed in his pants at preschool and had to come home early. He has had FAR less accidents since then. Still not perfect, but I just deal with it now.

    Good luck...I know how frustrating it can be...

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  15. Oh Nashy, of course I have no advice but that sounds so hard and so trying. I hope you guys can figure it out soon so you can stop feeling so frustrated. You're such a good mom, don't blame yourself.

    PS. That photo of the sunset clouds is stunning. Seriously stunning. You should print it and hang it on your wall.

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