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Old 07-21-2011, 09:07 AM   #1
superdinodaddy
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Question Daddy needs suggestions

Wife and I are separated and going thru a divorce. For now, she arranged that I see our 23 mo old son 2 nights a week for 2.5 hrs and 4 hrs on weekend. She's started potty training him at home and wants me to follow the same methods she uses. She's removed his diapers and has him wearing regular underwear. During my visitation she sends the potty chair along, with one extra pair of underpants and candy she uses to reward him for using the potty chair.

My problem is this: My son is starving for my attention and he just wants to play with me the entire time of our visit. He shows no interest in sitting on the potty and about once an hour I'll have him sit on it but he doesn't go. I see no signs that he is aware of any bodily urges and consequently he always wets his pants. When this happens I calmly take him to the bathroom, wash him off and put clean clothes on him. But it interrupts his play time with me and frustrates him. Last time he expressed that he did #2 on the sofa at home, so I don't think he's any different there, but I don't know that for certain.

I'd like to express to his mother that on the evenings I only have him for 2.5 hours, I don't think its fair to him for me to have to work on potty training with him. He's not interested, it interrupts how he wants to spend his time with me and causes him added frustration to a situation he already does not know how to deal with. Is this reasonable for me to say to his mother?

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Old 07-21-2011, 09:14 AM   #2
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You cannot be "disney dad" and only play during your time, leaving all the real parenting up to the mother on her time. Do not even start that sort of behavior trend, it is a dangerous road for everyone involved. Sure, you can have fun, but you also have to be a parent and that includes potty training.
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Old 07-21-2011, 09:27 AM   #3
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Re: Daddy needs suggestions

It might be that with the disruption of the divorce, he really is not ready to be potty trained. He might need some time to get into his new routine, and then feel more comfortable with the process. If it were me, I would put some sort of trainers on him while he is with you, but keep having him sit on the potty periodically and encouraging him to pee and poop, particularly after eating or drinking something. Seems like a good compromise to me. I agree that you need be involved in potty training, but it sounds like she made the decision of how it would happen without consulting you. While I think it is good to respect each other during the divorce, you also have to speak up about how you think things should go too.
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Old 07-21-2011, 10:25 AM   #4
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Re: Daddy needs suggestions

Carlaross: This isn't about me....its about a little boy who has gone from seeing his daddy daily to 9 hours per week....in a divorce caused by his mother. I'm concerned about this child and his emotional wellbeing, not about doing nothing but play. I was Mr Mom until my wife chose to have an affair.

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Old 07-21-2011, 10:30 AM   #5
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Re: Daddy needs suggestions

Jessica377: I appreciate your mature and logical response to my question. I was thinking of getting some pull-ups and will try putting him on the potty after he's eaten / drank something. I will even go out and by the exact same potty chair to have here so it doesnt' need to be transfered back and forth each visitation. My ex is a control freak, so No, she didn't bother to discuss any of this with me beforehand. Thank you for your suggestions.
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:04 AM   #6
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Re: Daddy needs suggestions

Quote:
Originally Posted by superdinodaddy View Post
Carlaross: This isn't about me....its about a little boy who has gone from seeing his daddy daily to 9 hours per week....in a divorce caused by his mother. I'm concerned about this child and his emotional wellbeing, not about doing nothing but play. I was Mr Mom until my wife chose to have an affair.


I understand where you're coming from, believe me, I do. Look at my signature. We have a yours, mine, and ours blended family.

But in your OP, you stated he only wants to play when he's with you and you don't think it's fair that you should have to work on potty training when he's only with you 2.5 hours a day. My response was based on your OP and those statements. My kids want me to play with them all the time, too...my LO doesn't want me to wash dishes, tell him no, or get him off the dining room table when he's climbing, but I have to, because I'm his parent. Being a parent isn't only playing and happy feelings..it's the hard stuff too, like potty training, saying no, and making them brush their teeth.


Do not allow your feelings about the divorce (the cheating, who caused it, etc.) to affect your parenting time. She may have caused the impending divorce, but it doesn't eliminate your position as a parent. Just don't fall prey to those thoughts "she caused the divorce, my son misses his daddy, so I'm just going to play with him while he's here and not do anything that will cause him any sad feelings". You still have to parent, discipline, potty train, cook dinner, make him clean up his toys, etc.

If he is potty training, he needs consistency.

The divorce, you moving, etc. is a confusing, frustrating situation for him. You should develop your own nighttime/visitation routine that includes dinner, play time, potty time, etc.

Having your own potty (that looks similar) is a good plan.


FTR - many working parents only have about 2.5 hours a day with their kids. Pick them up at daycare at 530pm, drive home, cook dinner, do homework, give baths, do bedtime routines, etc. Your situation is no different. Develop your own routine for that time, that includes daddy play time.

Did you agree to the visitation arrangements? Were the times court ordered? If not, assert your desire for more time or more equally divided time.
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Last edited by carlaross; 07-21-2011 at 11:07 AM.
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:30 AM   #7
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Re: Daddy needs suggestions

My ex is and continues to be a dirty fighter and because of false accusations I've been assigned these hours for now, but revisions are in the works. Son is having a difficult time with this schedule, he barely sees me and has to go back home and at 23 months is too young to understand circumstances. You raise a valid point about full time working parents, yet their children see them daily, but I do understand my visitations need to include responsibility. I have been reading him books geared for his age about separation and divorce trying to help him grasp the bigger picture. I have taken the state required parenting class and understand "adult business" is not to be discussed in front of the child. I'm also noticing PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrome) symptoms in my son which comes from his mother's bashing me in front of him. I was quick to find offense to your first reply because I'm facing a very difficult situation far broader and deeper than just potty training and the future relationship with my son lies in the balance. This is why its so important for me at this time to maintain positive bonds with my son. Whether or not you can understand that doesn't really matter, I just am trying to explain my situation.
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Old 07-21-2011, 07:55 PM   #8
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Re: Daddy needs suggestions

I would consider buying some cloth diapers (not pockets) or cloth trainers. Pull-ups actually work against potty training because he can't feel when he wets. You can talk to him about pottying when he goes, when you go, etc. You can also teach him the "toilet" sign. If you google, you'll find demos of it. That may help and almost X will see some sort of progress. Bring a toy preferably a new or favorite toy) to the potty. This way play time doesn't seem as though it's so interrupted. You can also bring the potty into the room where you play and have him use it there. You can sometimes find potty chairs really cheap at garage sales and just use some bleach wipes to clean it up before use. Then you can tell mommy that you don't need the potty chair because you have one of your own.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. It's always the children that get hurt in these situations. It's bad enough when it's more amicable. My mom told me a lot of bad things about my dad from a young age. I got to see my dad every other weekend and I knew he loved me. It made the things my mom said not matter to me. It may take a long time but eventually those kids grow up and figure out what's really been happening. It will be a long road for you and your little one. I'll say a prayer for you.
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Old 07-21-2011, 11:13 PM   #9
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Re: Daddy needs suggestions

Silvermaille: Thanks for all the great suggestions as well as the encouraging words. Its nice to hear from someone who's been through it like you have.
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Old 07-22-2011, 11:55 AM   #10
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Re: Daddy needs suggestions

That's a tough situation, for sure! I don't even totally agree with her methods for potty training... but I would not say he is "not ready" or that you should get pull-ups. I never used pull-ups for mine - I just let them run around with nothing on at home, while they were learning, actually...

I am big on EC - and think that babies are completely aware of their need to eliminate from the time they are newborns - they just become so used to wearing diapers that it's not necessarily going to be easy for them to understand using a potty instead of a diaper once people finally decide to potty train around 2 or 3...they've had 2-3 years of thinking that on themselves, whenever and wherever they feel like, is the right spot to go. Not necessarily an easy habit to break.

It is not impossible to try to make pottying fun and a way to spend time with you. While I don't agree with giving candy as a reward for using the potty, I do think you should continue to change him as soon as he wets himself, and gently encourage him that he doesn't have to wet himself, but can use the potty instead.

You can take him to the bathroom when you go; young children like to imitate. Teach him that this is what you do and he can do it too.

You can let him play with toys or read books he likes while sitting on the potty. Show him some pottying videos on youtube. Stuff like that.

He may not seem to get it right away but that doesn't mean he's not ready. After almost two years of wearing in diapers it won't necessarily be overnight that he will realize that he doesn't actually have to wet himself.

You could also try a toilet insert instead of the potty.

Just some ideas!

Last edited by mel j; 07-22-2011 at 11:57 AM.
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