Things The Parenting Books Don’t Teach You
Welcome to a new series I’m calling “Things the Parenting Books Don’t Teach You.” When we become parents we read all the books and take all the classes but there is so much more to parenting. Sometimes there are situations you find yourself in that you never thought possible and sometimes you’ll be like, dang I wish there was a book for this! So I thought I’d candidly share my experiences that I thought might help some other parents who might find themselves in a similar situation. Today’s chapter is well…a little bit of potty talk. I’ll try to keep it clean and not too uncomfortable and gross.
So guess what? You think you talk a lot about poop when your baby is a newborn right? Oh just wait. When potty training enters your world you will talk about poop more than you ever thought possible. And if your child is a reluctant pooper? You’re going to talk about poop pretty much all the time. I kid…but only a little bit.
Ollie has been successfully pee-trained for well over a year at this point and has even mastered the art of standing to do so. He stays dry all day long and only occasionally even really goes in his Pull-up overnight. So we’ve been loving that, it makes going out and about so much easier and he willingly uses public bathrooms if needed (in fact he kind of likes to do it and find out what the toilet will sound like when it flushes, ha!). But, as far as his number twos go, well, he just refuses to do it in a potty. This is super common for many kids and even more common in boys for some reason.
We talked with our doctor at his yearly physical and came up with a gentle plan to try and work towards using the potty. Kind of start by using a pull-up but be in the bathroom, then eventually sit on the potty in your pull-up, then start sitting on it without. It would be a gradual shift. And we were starting to make progress, he would sit bare bottom for a couple of minutes without much complaint. We had noticed though, whether he sat on the potty or not, it was taking him kind of a long time to complete his transaction. And then there were days he’d just not go at all. He’d had some bouts of constipation in the past but they usually only lasted a day or two, so we just didn’t think anything of it. But then two weeks ago, well the shit hit the fan…except it didn’t hit anything at all. Because he started refusing to go at all.
We knew he needed to, but then it was starting to hurt because of him holding it, so he kept saying he wouldn’t go. I ended up home from work with him one day and decided enough was enough. I called our doctor and explained what was going on. And from what I had read online I wasn’t surprised at all by what he told me – he suspected Ollie had chronic constipation. It’s nothing we did wrong. Psychologically some kids just have a hard time. Add into the fact that he’s a picky eater and boom. It was just a perfect storm waiting to hit. The good news is once we realized this was the issue, we could take appropriate steps to solve it. Diet changes, making sure we schedule time after meals for him to try to go, and finally a low dose of Miralax daily. The goal is to get him to not be afraid and to not really even think about his movements. Just do it and get on with his day.
So we’re about a week into our new way of life and I have to tell you, he’s like a new kid. He’s eating better, he’s in a much better mood for the most part (he’s still a stubborn four year old, but overall so much happier) and he’s so much more energetic. This could have been going on for awhile – did you know even if a child does go number two each day they could still have constipation? It could be that they aren’t completely emptying their bowels.
It’s been very easy to blame ourselves for this but as I said, there really isn’t anything we did wrong. In asking for help and reaching out to our doctor we did everything right. And he’s going to be fine and thrive and he won’t need to take grown-up diapers with him to college. He’ll figure it all out. It’s just one of the many parenting challenges those baby books and classes don’t really prepare you for. But I tell you, even with challenges like this, the rewards are still so great. I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Fellow moms – you’re not alone. I see you. If you’re struggling with anything similar my advice is, go one day at a time. This too shall pass!