It’s been a while since I posted about my son and his potty training. I had my daughter at the tail end of his journey and took a hiatus from posting. But now that I’m back, I thought I should conclude my story, giving closure to the most bizarre part of parenting thus far.
When last we left off, I was advised by the pediatrician to give Don a cap full of miralax each morning (this was in February). You see, Don hated pooping, which led him to holding it, which led him to become constipated and then push out horrifically large sh*ts. I was told he needed to stop associating pooping on the toilet with pain. The miralax would make him regular and pooping on the toilet should be more of an option than a requirement. Well, let me tell you, my son is extremely strong willed. Even with a cap full of miralax a day there were times he would go 2-3 days without pooping. He would hold it in until the very last minute and then crap his pants…at the park, in a store, at gatherings of friends. All very convenient places. I began carrying around the “poop kit”, a large zip lock bag with clean underwear, pants and baby wipes in it so when he pooped I could clean him up, change him and save the underwear in the bag (we were beginning to throw away way too many pairs of underwear).
The doctor told me it could take 2 months or so for him to become regular and to forget how painful pooping was. As with all things in life, I heard what the doctor said but was optimistic it would happen much quicker than 2 months. In addition to dealing with Don and his freakouts every time he needed to poop, I also had to deal with my husband who would say over and over again, “It’s just not fair. He was just starting to get cool and now we have to deal with this.” As you can imagine, this was quite frustrating, not to mention I was 8 months pregnant at the time.
We nearly lost all hope at the end of March while at a family party to celebrate my mother’s 60th birthday. I forgot the miralax for an overnight stay and Don began the poopy dance and moan just as family began arriving to celebrate. Don asked to “rest”. His “resting” meant he laid on the couch on his stomach in an attempt to alleviate the pain and avoid pooping. It was so hard to see him like that since he is an otherwise extremely active kid. My husband couldn’t deal with any of it and had began enforcing a rule that there was no “resting”. If Don needed to poop, he needed to go to the bathroom. This confrontation always led to tears and screaming, but by being forced to stand he sort of shook the poop free and would go to the bathroom.
But this time we were surrounded by family…all of whom felt awful to see Don screaming and us forcing him to stand. The crying/freaking out/moaning lasted the entire legnth of the party. Needless to say, it was a LONG day. At one point , my husband and I were actually following Don around the yard in an attempt to loosen him up. We looked at each other and began to laugh at the absurdity of it all since we felt more like the owners of a pet than the parents of a child.
That Monday, my husband took off work to bring Don to the doctor because he just couldn’t believe that this was normal. I reminded him that the doctor had said it could take two months, but my husband assumed I had heard her incorrctly. As you can imagine, this too was quite frustrating. So, off to the doctor all three of us went and shocker of all shockers…we were told to give it a little more time.
Now enters the all powerful chocolate bunny. When Easter rolled around, we were still dealing with the same old crap (ba dum dum). Don got a ton of candy including this enormous chocolate bunny. That night, after he had eaten hundreds of jelly beans and wopper eggs, he asked for the bunny. My husband, in a decision that would prove to be clutch, told him he could have the bunny if he pooped on the toilet. This became Don’s motivation. That week I ended up having baby Edith. Her first week home there was an evening where she was screaming and Don was screaming and I’m wondering how the hell I ended up here.
Don continued to struggle for the two weeks following her arrival. But, on April 26th that all changed! I started to see the poop dance and jumped into action. I was home alone with Don and Edith and I had had enough. I got as motivated as I have ever been and started talking to him like a coach before the biggest game of the year. “Come on Don, you can do this, let’s poop on the toilet. Do you want that chocolate bunny, I know you want that chocolate bunny. If you poop on the toilet not only will I give you that chocolate bunny, but I’ll give you every single sticker on the sheet. Let’s do this big man, I know you can do this.” To the bathroom we ran. He sat down and vwala, out it came!” His first words after pooping on the toilet, “It didn’t hurt, it didn’t hurt”.
Needless to say, Don got the big chocolate bunny that evening and a ton of stickers. I was amazed that in the end, the first thing he said was that it didn’t hurt. The doctor had been right, he just needed to stop associating pooping on the toilet with pain. It certainly was a long, weird journey. He had one or two mishaps after that, but has been able to poop on the toilet ever since…so long as we have his race car seat. He still has an issue with public toilets, although some adults I know have that very same problem. At the time it was all happening it seemed like a little bit of hell, but with any stage, it certainly is fun to look back now and laugh. And so we conclude the potty training diaries. Good luck to you in your journey! May you all have a chocolate bunny to help you through.