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listalees 02-19-2013 08:37 PM

feeling hopeless about my 4 year old
My daughter just turned 4.

The first time we tried potty training her, she was about 17 months old, but she didn't catch on quickly, seemed resistant and I was very pregnant so I decided to let it go until after the baby was born. When she was 19 months old, her sister was born.

After that, I left it alone for several months until she turned 2. Then I started again. I just let her go naked, and took her to the potty each time she had an accident and then took her to try to get her to go if it had been a while. There was no success. Every single time she went on the floor. Every time.

I decided after a few months of this and getting nowhere to let it go for a while. I put her back in diapers for a couple of months. Then I started again. Again, I would leave her naked at home and just take her frequently to go. Eventually she started to get more and more consistent about peeing. But never, ever poop. Around the time she turned 3 I took her to the doctor just to rule out any physical issues, like food sensitivities or constipation. He felt that there was no reason to suspect that there was any physical reason that she wouldn't poop on the potty, and perhaps she had just been delayed by having a younger sister so close in age. He suggested miralax just to make it easier on her.

There was no improvement for months after this. She would have disastrous poop accidents everywhere we went. When I could tell she was going, I would take her to the potty, she would stop mid-poop, I'd wait a while, then clean her up, then she would continue the moment I put her pants on and we left the restroom.

Finally her sister was about 18 mos, I was pregnant with my 4th baby and I bought the Oh Crap potty training book. I stayed at home with both of them for the last month of the summer, kept them naked and centered our whole world around potty training. I didn't take my son anywhere (my oldest who was 6 at this time), I didn't visit with friends, I didn't take them swimming in the middle of the summer in Texas, we just stayed home.

My youngest made rapid progress and was peeing and pooping for the most part within a couple of weeks. No success with my 3 1/2 year old. She would hold it all day, and go at night in her diaper. We tried not putting a diaper on her until she fell asleep and when we went in to put a diaper on found an absurd mess. We never tried that again. After a while we simply could not stay home anymore. We went to pools a couple of times and she would have accidents in the pool!!!

Here we are many months later. I can count on 2 hands the total number of times she has pooped in the potty in her entire life. She turned 4 in January. I do not know what else to do.

Here is what I have tried:
1. Miralax
2. Naked (she just holds it until night)
3. talking to her about what she might be feeling about it
4. sitting with her in the bathroom reading books for hours
5. leaving it alone completely (thinking maybe she felt too much pressure)
6. talking to her about the physical sensation and describing the muscular action of bearing down
7. bribery (sorry, was desperate) said i would give her chocolate cake for every poop in the potty
8. making focused efforts to spend time with her doing special things (giving her positive attention that isn't linked to potty time)
9. tried a suppository once but she was really upset and I felt horrible about it
10. eliminating grains
11. daily yogurt, green smoothies and coconut oil
12. telling her it is her responsibility to clean it up (:jawdrop:, only tried that once)

I have tried to be patient. I can't say I have never gotten frustrated or that she hasn't been aware of my frustration from time to time but I have never shamed her, I have never punished her. But I feel like it is a huge issue in my life. She poops every single night. Then all day, every time she goes pee, she has smudges so I know she needs to go. I resent her in a way, even though I know she isn't trying to be malicious. In the morning, when my newborn is crying and my 2 year old is hungry, I get so angry that I have to make them wait while I clean her up.

Anyway...sorry for such a long post, but I am desperate!!! I will do anything to resolve this for her. I feel worried about her future, and I am totally unable to handle the stress of this with a 2 year old and a newborn and a older one in school.

Any additional ideas would be awesome!!

luvsviola 02-19-2013 10:46 PM

Re: feeling hopeless about my 4 year old
Mama--you have tried everything within your power. I would call your doctor, and get a referral to a child psychologist. I think there is more going on here than just potty training. Unless she has physical problems that need to be addressed, there is something else causing her stress and I am sure that your stress, added to her stress, is probably not going to go away without some help.

I would personally bribe the heck out of her, though. If you poop in the potty, you get taken for ice cream. Or a new doll. Or whatever major thing she wants. Reward the positive.

jamieism 02-19-2013 11:01 PM

Try a reward system, like a marble in a jar every time she uses the potty, and when the jar is full she get... X (trip to a place she likes, a small toy, whatever). Then the jar gets emptied and she can fill it again. My dd preferred cold hard cash so we use quarters. She learned a lot of math counting her money over and over too.

Also take her to a pediatric urologist. Our dd has trouble with wetting and also constipation/poo accidents (apparently these are related). She ended up having training sessions to teach her to relax down there (the opposite of kiegel exercises).

We found mural ax doesn't help but watermelon first thing in the am helps some and generally a high fiber low acid diet.

Gavin&Brent'sMommy 02-20-2013 09:12 AM

Re: feeling hopeless about my 4 year old
we are having issues with our 3 year old as well (he will be 4 in July) and he has to be on miralax or he does not have bm. :( I am getting so frustrated and worried! We saw a pediatric gastro and he said just keep trying and just keep giving the miralax... I worry about psychological issues too but at 3 what can they really get out of him or figure out kwim? :( I KNOW he has had traumatizing incidents (he had been prescribed supositories as well, he had major constipation....) so it's just a matter of time and helping him through this but how? We do so many reward systems as well. I am just SO worried! I am not glad you are going through the same but glad to see my son is not the only one with all these issues, make sense? *sigh*

luvsviola 02-20-2013 12:52 PM

Re: feeling hopeless about my 4 year old
The psychologist doesn't work with kiddo. My son is almost 4 and has been in therapy since 2.5. At that age, it is mostly family therapy with the adults to help you deal with the issues for the child. My son goes to the appointments, but plays trains on the floor while the adults talk.

Gavin&Brent'sMommy 02-20-2013 02:09 PM

Re: feeling hopeless about my 4 year old
well I guess that would make sense wouldn't it LOL I was just frazzled because yesterday was rough and I woke up so worried about him *sigh*

eljube112 02-20-2013 05:36 PM

Re: feeling hopeless about my 4 year old
this sounds exactly EXACTLY like my 3.5 yo. He has never in his entire life pooped on the potty. He will sit for an hour or more, and then get up and immediately poop in his pants. if he's naked, he poops on the floor or holds it.

Bribery never worked for us. I went so far as to buy the toy he wanted (we went to the store and he chose it) and had it sitting in the bathroom as incentive, telling him that if he pooped JUST ONCE he could have it. We ended up returning it to the store 2 weeks later.

I really wish I had an answer for you. this life of being consumed by potty training SUCKS.

strongwoman 02-20-2013 10:42 PM

Re: feeling hopeless about my 4 year old
*HUGS* mama. I think having four kids within a short period of time has made this more stressful than normal. Is there anyone else to help you take care of the kids or train her? What is your DH doing to help as well? I guess I am asking if you have any support from other moms, your DH, or relatives in the area to give you a break. I think potty training is just a small part of the stress you are going through at the moment. I was going haywire when I was preggers with #3 so I can imagine it being worse when preggers with #4 and trying to PT. I was getting really frustrated with DS2 when I was training him because I also have a newborn (6 mo) who is not sleeping through the night. And... there he is in the background crying... again! Keep us posted, mama!
I forgot to add that my LO's are 3.5 yo, 2 yo, and 6 months, and I was crazy hormonal when I was preggers and postpartum with #3 once DH went back to work. Things have gotten better now, but I still have "moments" with the oldest- and I'm planning on homeschooling all of my children- I know, CRAZY! Maybe you could just spend some one-one time with your DD to reconnect- she needs mama love and soon before she starts resenting you or seeing you as the poop police. She obviously knows that PTing is on your mind EVERYDAY. You don't want the resentment to keep building, even though you know she's not with holding to be malicious.

Melinda29 02-22-2013 09:30 PM

Re: feeling hopeless about my 4 year old
You need the book "Toilet Training in Less than One Day". It was written by psychologists in the 70s when developed a method for PT mentally handicapped adults. They trained people who had been in diapers for 40 years to use the toilet completely independently in ONE day.

They figured if they could do that, they could train kids who had been in diapers for "only" a few years. They were right. Children of ANY personality, ANY previous failed PT attempts, could be trained as long as they were at least 20 months, even mildly mentally handicapped kids.

It's complex. It's intense. It works--IF you follow it to the T. I have personally trained 3 of my own kids at ages 33 months (he was exactly like yours sounds, btw), 22 months, and 20 months, and helped my sister train her 28-month and 24-month kids.

I feel like it takes at least 3 days for most kids, although that might be because we did change a few things up (did practice runs in clean undies instead of soiled ones, because I didn't want that grossness drug all over my house). Maybe it would have been 1 day if we hadn't done that. One of them truly was totally trained in 4 hours, and we had tried everything you listed and more with that kid. Another child took almost a week, but she was too young I think at not quite 20 months.

Get the book. It works. I guarantee it.

momof3boys1girl 02-25-2013 07:32 PM

Re: feeling hopeless about my 4 year old
DS2 Will be 4 in april and we are only on week one of PT. He finally using the potty to get M&Ms. We have tried MANY times and this time it actually seems to be working.

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