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Children's Health

Peeing and pooping in underwear again

05/20/2009

Question:

Hi,

I have a 25 month old daughter, with which i started potty training at 24 months. So she`s been training for a month now. I started out the first week by taking her to the bathroom every half an hour. Fo the first 3 days, she had a few accidents and was fine after that. She went back to the kindergarden after 5 home potty training days every haf an hour. At the kindergarden they did the same with her every half an hour, for a week. Then she got a cold and hat to stay home for 3 weeks. During the 3 weeks at home she would tell me when she wants to go so i started changing my technique and i would ask her if she wanted to go and if she would say no then i would tell ok so when u want to go you have to tell momy, and she would say ok and tell me when she wanted. For these 3 weeks she would tell me when she wanted to go and even if we go to the mall she would tell me. She had no accidents during the three weeks. this week she went to the kindergarden for 4 days and the first 2 days she had no accidents at the kindergarden but when she came home from the kindergarden she would wet her underware, just a tiny spot then tell me that she wants to go and i would take her and she would finish. So got a little worried and i asked them at the kindergarden if she askes them to go so they told me that she doesn`t because they still take her ever half an hour. So i asked them to give her a change because now i think she passed thiss level because she`s been home the past 3 weeks and she was asking to go when she wanted. Any way they said that they can`t do that and that they will continue taking her every half an hour. The third day after the kindergarden she wet her underware at home again, just a spot and the forth day she completely pieed in her underware at home and then a few minutes later she pooped in her undies and i discovered it because she asked to go to the bathroom but after had already done it in her underware. My concern is that i`m afraid that it`s because he had already pass the every half an hour level and at the kindergarden they they continue to do it so it got he confused. I would like to know if this is the reason or if it is normal and if it is right what they are doing with her after she was able to say that when she wants to go. Your reply is greatly appreciated.

Thank You

Answer:

Your daughter must have been very ready for training given how well she has succeeded in such a short time. Congratulations to the both of you!

You have identified a number of important issues. It is absolutely true that having differing styles of supporting the child in potty training success is confusing for the toddler and works against the child mastering this important step in independence and self-control. You are correct in saying that allowing the child to identify his or her need to use the potty is a step above responding to a questions about the need to use the potty. It is more independent. However, it is very common for the toddler-in-potty-training to wet a bit right before recognizing the need to use the potty. And finally, it is common, and not cause for upset, for toddlers to have accidents in the process of mastering potty training.

The most important step you can take at this time is to make an appointment to chat with the day care provider to discuss the situation. It is wonderful that your daughter's day care setting is willing to support her mastery efforts with potty training. However, as parents, we have to also appreciate that the day care provider is overseeing multiple children. The provider may not be able to offer the same style of encouraging potty training success as a parent is able to offer at home. So it is important to achieve a compromise between the caring adults in the toddler's life around training strategies.

It is very common for there to be some level of tug between parents and day care providers around care of the child. For toddlers, this can prove disastrous to their efforts to achieve mastery when they sense tension and unhappiness between the adults they love and trust. Toddlers want to please the adults in their lives. Differing rules will lead to failures that will sap the child's pride in and drive to succeed in potty training. It is not a case of one way being better than another, it is a case of needing to agree upon a consistent strategy for home and day care that is supportive of the child. So I strongly urge you to put aside any feelings of annoyance you may have, and those are normal feelings for a parent, and try to understand the rationale for the strategies used at day care.

It is a good idea to make sure day care has at least two changes of clothing for your daughter and a full set of underwear as back ups in case of need during this time. Warmly, but not too enthusiastically, compliment your daughter on the times she recognizes the need to use the potty and treat accidents matter-of-factly, calmly helping her to clean up and change. Accidents can and do happen in the first 6 months of potty training.

Finally, congratulate yourself on your success in supporting your child to such a wonderful level of success so quickly. This is an important step forward in her maturity and you have done a great job.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University