Monday, May 21, 2012


Friends, friends, friends.
I've got a problem in the shape of a toddler and I need some help. Here's the deal, the potty training has been smooth sailing. I was worried about nothing, T got it super fast. And I surprised myself by being incredibly laid back when he did have accidents. I'm not a laid back gal. I was worried I'd freak out at him, but I never did. I told him accidents happen, I told him not to worry. Now he isn't even wearing diapers at night. Every few weeks he'll pee the bed, but even at three in the morning I keep my cool and we just change the sheets and get him cleaned up.

Dude has a bladder of steel. He is scared of public bathrooms because they are loud and he refuses to use them. But he is able to hold it for hours on end. When we flew down to see my sister he wore big boy underwear without issue. On the way home he was constipated and hadn't pooped in a couple of days. I told him if he didn't poop before the flight we were going to have to do a diaper, not to punish him, but because he might have to poop when we couldn't get up during the flight. He tried so hard to go with no success, then he told me the poop was sleeping which cracked me up. We put the diaper on him at 8:30 in the morning. He fell asleep in the car on the ride home from the airport and we let him nap there so I didn't get the diaper off until after 3 in the afternoon. And that fucking thing was bone dry. Seriously, bladder of steel.

So what is the issue?

He pees on furniture when he is pissed off at me. Yup. You read that correctly.

Tonight he told us he needed to pee during dinner, so I took him to the bathroom. A few minutes later he landed himself in time out. We had a friend over and T was done eating before us so we set him up with a video in the living room while we finished our meal and chatted. He whipped off his underwear, sat down, and got this look of fierce concentration on his face. We were telling him he needed to put the underwear back on or he'd have another time out. It was Z's turn to deal with him but he didn't get to the couch in time. T managed to pee all over it. Back in time out he went. When I retrieved him I asked him if he knew why he went in time out. He told me it was because he peed on the couch. I asked him why he did it. He told be because I put him in time out. I knew with absolute certainty that he'd been peeing on stuff to get back at me, but strangely it felt good to get conformation.

He did it a few times when we were visiting my sister. He even anger pooped and got it all over their playroom minutes before my nephew's first birthday party started. We are awesome guests. So after the boys had gone to bed that night we were all talking about it. My dad laid it out like this: T does something bad. I respond appropriately, discipline him in the form of time out. I win. T is angry at me. He gets back at me by peeing on furniture. He wins. Especially because I don't have a next move. And until I figure out my next move he continues to win.

Dad is right. And I get angry when he pees and it isn't an accident. Really really angry. Which is really really unhelpful.

I've started to take him to pee before time out. I've gotten gun shy about time out because I'm worried about retaliation. What the hell is my next move?  I tell him it it unacceptable. I've tried other punishments like taking away treats for the day. Should I tell him I'll duct tape a diaper to him for the next 24 hours? I can't just diaper him, he'll take them off. I did do that during nap recently after he peed inappropriately, and unsurprisingly the diaper was dry when he woke up and I cut it off. Does anyone have any ideas? This kid is killing me. Of course he has foiled being a really easy kid to potty train by using that control for evil.

He also does awesome stuff, like figure out how to scramble up onto the toilet himself so he can go to the bathroom unassisted. He doesn't tell us he has to go a lot of the time now, he just disappears and scurries on to the toilet himself. Honestly, I'm staggered by his critical thinking. I never problem solved the way he does when I was a little kid. I'm so grateful that his mind works like Z's.

C had his 9 month wellness visit at the pediatricians today. He's 50% in height, 90% in head circumference,  and the big 3% in weight. T took a nosedive in the weight department at the same age. Both of them have their daddy's body type and Z is a skinny guy. The doctor isn't worried about him at all, but I'm terribly insecure that he is so small. Makes me feel like I'm doing something wrong. I look longingly at the little babies with delicious rolls of fat. But he did a great job feeding himself banana and avocado at lunch.

Chewing on Chewbacca. Dude is so skinny if he wants to eat a Wookie it is totally cool with me.


  1. I think I agree with the other comment. Pee on the furniture? Get out some rags, a spray bottle, and make him clean it--or at least attempt to.....make him take the covers off the pillows and help put them in the wash. You win.

    I'll relate a story--a good friend of mine has a niece that was (and is, at 17) a little shit. When she was about 4.5, she spent the day at her aunt's house. (Aunt was second grade teacher at the time). She had taken to peeing and crapping herself a) if she felt like it or b) just to create a commotion. Her mother would scold her but Mom cleaned up the mess. Auntie basically told her that she was potty trained and that if she pulled that shit (pun intended) she be cleaning herself, putting her clothes in the washer herself, etc. Of course, being a little shit of a toddler, she did it---once. Did not like the consequences. Auntie won. So can you.

  2. I'll be interested to hear what your real-life parent friends say, but my almost-parent instincts tell me to not only do an extended timeout, but take away an item or privilege T. really likes (a favorite toy? dessert?) if he pees on the furniture -- and keep it away until he apologizes. And yes, he'll be FURIOUS, but you're the boss.

  3. I like the way your friend dealt with her niece, J. But at 2.5 he wouldn't be able to do the clothes in the wash, etc. And I can't really trust him with cleaner yet.

    Stacey, he does apologize. It's part of the deal with getting out of time out. The extended time out is hard because early childhood development indicates they don't "get" it, there is no benefit when it comes to their behavior. He's lost treats for 24 hours, he's had to have a diaper on during nap, he's lost stories before bed, he's gotten time outs. I'm totally at my wit's end. Nothing it working.

  4. I'm not a parent, but I might try pooping on his bed. Nobody wants someone else's poop in their bed. When he asks why you did it, just explain that you were mad, and that's what HE does when HE's mad.

    Yeah, I should totally be a parent.

    As a side note, I don't think I could make this happen, myself. I can't camp overnight because of my body's refusal to totally be one with nature. That would probably transfer to a toddler's bed.

    1. Oh Katie, I would LOVE to poop in his bed.

  5. Of all the things I loved in this post, your final comment takes the cake.


    (But I also know it's no picnic to live through the messiness of parenting. I'm definitely not laughing at that.)

    xoxo Cathy in Missouri