Thursday, March 29, 2007

The shit is so far beyond the fan

The high of the week was a literal high of 20 degrees on Tuesday. In Ottawa. In March.

I took out the tricycle, made the seasonal adjustments, put Emily in her rain suit and boots and off we went to the playground and library. It was a wonderful taste of spring. And then Thursday came. Back to reality with a high of 5 degrees or so.

With Wednesday came my (our) breaking point with the complete lack of progress on the poop in the toilet front. However, there is great progress in the poop in the underwear front where Emily is up for the freaking equivalent to the Art Ross Trophy.

I've had it. Last night John and I decided that the whole positive reinforcement thing is completely a waste of time with Emily. Right this minute I have a soccer ball set, a package of bathtub crayons and some chocolates sitting in my closet waiting for Emily to poop in the toilet. She has seen them all, we talk about them daily and you know what? She doesn't give a.... hah, that's kind of funny.


Yesterday John and I decided to start taking things away. Since Emily is an "out of sight, out of mind" kind of girl, taking away toys doesn't work. I know. I've tried it. I've pretty much tried everything. (I just want to point out here how hard it is for me to not pepper, litter, completely obliterate this post with really foul language. I think I deserve kudos for keeping this PG13.) Where was I? Oh yeah, I took away t.v. That's right, my friends, the holy grail has been removed. No more Dora. No more Franklin. No more... okay, there is nothing else right now.

How did that go down? Emily came downstairs this morning, asked for t.v., John said no and reiterated why, Emily said: Okay, I play with toys.

Calgon... take me away.

So, then there was today. We were in Timothy's having a snack (Timothy's is a nice coffee chain in Canada, equivalent to Starbucks but on a smaller scale and the coffee isn't burned and, oh yeah, there are some items that are actually under 4 bucks) and Emily announces that she's pooped in her pants. You're probably wondering at this point why I just don't keep her in diapers. Because. Because it has taken me several months to get her toilet trained for peeing, she's doing really well, and I want to keep that up. Diapers would be a major step backwards. I also figured, and I think rightly so, that having "big girl underwear" on will make her want to use the toilet, and it has with peeing. Also, she never poops in her pants in public. Okay, clearly not never.

So, we skedaddled out of there and went home. I made her clean herself up. She was pantless around the house, and because of this, she made a deposit on the toilet (Emily will use the toilet if she is naked. You're probably wondering why I don't just leave her naked. I did that for training but now she always wants underwear and pants on and if I leave her naked she just goes and gets some for herself). So, she got to watch some Franklin.

Fast forward after her nap. She asked to watch another episode of Franklin (they're only 10 minutes) and just as I was putting the DVD in, she did it again. From my perspective, it couldn't have been more perfect because I had to turn off the t.v., she cried, and I think it finally hit home. Of course, this didn't stop her from doing it all again after supper. Are you starting to get a sense of how totally shitty, literally, my life has been lately?

So, I'll stick with the no t.v. thing since there is a nice added benefit that she isn't expecting to watch it much right now but tomorrow I'm instituting the no pants in the house rule. For Emily. I plan to wear pants. I can't speak for John.

I'm going to conquer the problem of her getting clothes by moving all pants and pant-related products to a shelf out of her reach. It seems extreme. But extreme poop calls for extreme measures.

So, I'm looking for advice, people. But, before you start asking me if I've tried X or Y, here is what we've already done:
  • positive reinforcement - candy, gifts, treats, special outings
  • negative reinforcement - time outs, taking things away, telling her she can't do special things (programs at the community centre etc) if she isn't using the toilet
  • you're the big girl stuff - telling her she's the big sister, she's a big girl
  • comparisons - telling her that all her friends do it
  • huge excitement when she uses the toilet and ignoring her when she goes in her pants
  • using a doll - Emily teaches it how to use the toilet
  • walking around naked - this does work but see above and I'm pretty sure that at some point she will require clothes
  • I'm sure there are other things but now I can't remember them all
I'm also really tired of thinking about, talking about and cleaning up poop. I never thought I'd reach that point, normally I love poop talk, but here I am. Damn it, this sucks.

Still, I love her. Just not the poop.


joan said...

I am a grandma now, but I empathize with your potty training woes. My second son was 3 1/2 before he potty trained himself. I had tried and tried, with no success and he would run and hide when he needed to go. Finally in utter frustration I told him that I was done...he could just start to school in diapers if he wanted to, I wasn't going to bug him anymore about it and to let me know when or if he wanted to use the potty. Once it was his! Not much help, I know, but it worked for us and I wish I had done that months earlier. I can't remember how old Emily will be in August, but I am guessing 3. Right now it is a battle of wills, and those little independent ones will find a way to win! If I were you, I'd just put those pullups back on and wait til summer. Trust me, it will eventually happen.

Anonymous said...

Good to see the cute pics of Emily interspersed with the woes! Looks like she had fun in the warm weather (c;

Undercover Angel said...

You've tried almost everything, and I wish I could be of more help. While I don't agree with doing anything that will hurt a child's self esteem, at this point I would bring in peer pressure. Invite other kids who use the potty to your house. When she poops her pants, they'll make comments about it, and it may be just what she needs to get her to go in the potty.

Another suggestion I have is instead of changing her, make her sit in it. If she tried to take her underwear off, I'd duct tape (well that might be extreme...) her underwear to her and make her sit in it for a little while. When she realizes how yucky it feels she might decide the potty is a good idea...

I know I sound like the meanest mother in the world, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures...

Anonymous said...

Wow, poor you! I second Joan's advice. Emily might actually like the attention (even negative) that she gets from you and John when she has her accidents. I know it sounds weird, but nothing would surprise me when it comes to the toddler brain. I'd tell her that you are done making a big deal of it, that she will wear pull ups from now on, and when she is "big girl enough" to go on her own initiative, then she can wear underwear again. I have to do this with Gillian when it comes to getting her out of her morning funk ("you can come downstairs when you are in a better mood/know how to interact with the grown-ups etc") and it almost always works. Putting the onus on them tells them that you refuse to go along with their quest for more attention. Soon they realize it ain't workin' and ain't worth the hassle. Sure, they find some other way to bug you, but at least it shouldn't be as messy.

Good karma your way!

Anonymous said...

Did 'ja know I actually had to go look up "Calgone" to understand your comment? Wikipedia was very helpful, and once again, I realize I live in a very small world at times (c;

Karen said...

Joan - thanks so much for the encouragement and the personal story. It helped. I've decided I'll give it a week with the no t.v. thing (it seemed to have some affect today - she did poop in the potty and was thrilled about it and the fact that she got to watch Franklin afterwards) and if it isn't working at that point, I'll follow your and Jen's advice and go to the Pull-Ups and stop bugging her about it. I think it's time.

UA - I heard the idea of tape before. It does seem extreme and I'm not quite there yet... especially since Emily doesn't seem to mind sitting in it at all. However it is something to keep in mind for the future. You don't sound mean by the way... we've all been there doing things that seem harsh but are required for a good outcome.

Erika - Not knowing Calgon - just a result of no t.v. as a child. Maybe that's a good thing - you missed out on a lot of bad commercials. Lucky you!

Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement!

Shan said...

I'm in Joan's camp as well. I really struggled to have Abby toilet trained and was frustrated when it wasn't happening as quickly or as easily as I would have liked. We did all the same things as you with varying degrees of short term success. Then our sitter said to me, very few brides walk down the aisle in diapers. It stopped being a struggle and Abby was toilet trained by the time she was three.