Every so often, I catch myself mourning my cute, round, baby with her giant eyes and solemn outlook. Most of the time, I love her spring-loaded self. One solid strand of muscle devoting equal intensity to chasing, jumping, climbing, coloring, sleeping, and eating. Her flexibility always surprises me (mama, why aren’t there mushrooms on my pizza? a) mushrooms? b) totally mellow when I shrugged). While there are fits pre-loaded for appropriate times, they are nearly predictable and nearly always involve the potty.

You guys. She is now four and some. She is STILL not potty trained. What was mildly concerning and mostly frustrating is now baffling. Why doesn’t she get it? At least the deposits (of both kinds) occasionally make it into the toilet, but a good day is often followed by four accidents in 3 hours or some other feat of bladder/bowel olympics.

As you would, we’ve checked any constipation and tried every training technique in the books. All the books. As we rounded the corner on four we were in constant communication with the doctor. We’ve all been on the same page (all of us but RR). The hold-up doesn’t seem to be medical although we’ve made an appointment with pediatric urology. We were both reticent to go that route, having had our own fights with our bodies early on and the mental scars to match it. There’s plenty of time though, the earliest appointment we could get was for March.


One of her teachers has been concerned about a sensory hiccup and recommended an occupational therapist. We again held off (until now) since by all reports she has zero other indications of another sensory issue. At all. Anything. Except this. We’re off to see that person on today. I am hopeful that she will have a suggestion transcending a sticker chart (her initial reaction) which, you should see RR approach a sticker chart, the disdain. The utter indifference.

RR cannot be swayed.

Some days we go through six changes of clothes. Other days just one or two or none. Of late, now and then, we lose our ability to be balanced and both of us at separate times have been frustrated with her. She and I had a lengthy talk while she angrily sat on the toilet, her insisting that she didn’t have to go and me insisting that she try, given the damp state of the panties I had just stripped off (yes she normally does it, yes I’m usually more sane). I gave in and told her all of the things I would normally not say. That she is smarter than this. That at that moment her brain knew better than her body. That she needed her smart brain to tell her body that it has to try harder. And I walked out and shut the door.

As I criticized myself up and down for that reaction, no matter how measured my tone, I heard her tiny voice piping through the door, talking to her body. explaining. She was earnest and lengthy. She peed. A lot. This is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can only imagine how she feels.

As much as I would like to say that discussion (hers and mine) closed the door on this business, yesterday happened as normal. Damply. This is an endless stress in our home between my wife and I and us and our daughter. There are plenty of good things. But this thing. It’s maddening, saddening, frustrating, baffling. I hope one of these appointments helps, because time and neutrality (and stickers and rewards and pre-rewards and encouragement and self-care and indifference and so on and so on) hasn’t been.

9 Responses

  1. Keep breathing. It’s going to get better.

    Ask her to keep talking to her body, every day. Have her ask her body to tell her when her bladder is getting full, or her body is ready to release the poo. Ask her body to make it very obvious so she can get to the bathroom in time. This is a lack of communication between her body and her mind. Whether you find a reason for it or not, she can help her body along by talking to it, like you found out yesterday(?).

    • It’s definitely a lack of communication. I’m hoping that this technique will help although it hasn’t happened yet. Hope springs eternal around here, though!

  2. Good luck. It sounds stressful for everyone. I’m impressed by the success of her talking to her body, that seems like a good sign. I’ve got no advice, I’m afraid, other than that you’re doing what you can and maybe invest in shares in a laundry soap company? 😉

  3. I have zero advice, but I want to tell you that it makes me feel so much better to know we are not the only family going through this. We, too, are still sending piles of clothes to daycare, and buying more “maybe-this-is-our-last-box-of-Pull-ups” boxes than we can count. We knew she was stubborn when she was a baby and preferred a daily hunger strike to deigning to eat from a bottle, but this potty training business takes the cake. We are raising independent girls, I suppose, and hopefully this translates into young women who know their own minds as young adults. And I wish typing that convinced me that this isn’t really as frustrating as it feels. Good luck and virtual hugs to you all.

    • Although I’m sorry to hear you’re going through it too, I’m so glad we’re not the only ones. I have every hope that there is a bright side to this…trait… Let’s hope it shows up soon!

  4. Oh friend. I won’t even begin to try giving advice or suggestions because I’m sure you’ve already been there, tried it all! What I will do is send you a virtual hug and remind you of the words some wise blogger blogged about not too long ago: “not when she’s sixteen.”

    This too, shall pass. You just have to keep surviving it until it does! More hugs.

    Ps- you’re not evil for taking your kid to different specialists. At this point it’s totes appropriate to be seeking secondary help, just to cover all your bases. So, no mommy guilting yourself, clear?

    • It’s so hard to know what’s right. Take her? Don’t take her? What on earth is happening in her body? Etc. Thank you. And, if she keeps singing “I like a muffin muffin” which she must have overheard from a child singing “I like to move it move it” she won’t make it to sixteen after all 😉

  5. Us too! Maizey is the very same. She’ll be 4 the end of next month and continues to wet herself all day! She can do this! She does it sometimes! This is what I don’t get! Why not all the time? I’m right there with your level of frustration.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: