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RE: [IPp] Help! Potty training a 2 year old


Okay, now I have to weigh in, because I don't want you to start feeling
like you're the only one in the world to have difficulty potty training
your child.  I know I get exasperated when everyone says "oh -- potty
training was a snap, we just helped him get the idea a couple of times,
and -boom- it was done!"  My son is very nearly four, and we've been
struggling for the better part of a year to get him trained.  And, yes,
in my mind his diabetes has been a big part of that difficulty.

We've actually had my son out of diapers/pull ups (during the day
anyway) for at least 9 months now, and he still has accidents just about
every day (sometimes it's nothing but accidents for days on end).  I'll
tell you what I've figured out so far.

1.  Potty training has been a real trial for my son from an
independence/autonomy perspective.  He seems to have taken all of his
stress and anger from the daily attacks with diabetes related needles
(which we force upon him, of course, for his health) and has responded
by being very traumatized and really scared about being "forced" to do
anything else "difficult" with his body (in this case, attempt to pee in
a toilet).  

2.  In relation to this first point, my husband and I have discovered
that suggesting in any way that going on the potty is something that we
would like him to do immediately stresses him out and pretty much
ensures that he won't even bother trying.  My husband and I now take the
approach that having accidents is the most natural thing in the world
and we couldn't care less one way or the other (sometimes hard to pull
off when you're changing his clothes and cleaning the carpet for the 3rd
time in the day, but what are you going to do?)  At the same time, we're
heaping on the praise for any small attempt he makes to make potty
training his OWN issue.  Plus, we've set up a system of rewarding him
with stickers (which are his favourite things in the world) if he goes
in the toilet, but even that has to be used carefully, because if
there's any pressure put on him about it, he'll revert to not trying
again.  Stickers or no stickers.

3.  When his blood sugar is high, he really can't help it -- he just has
accidents a lot.

4.  When we went on the pump (approximately 3 months ago) he went from
being very nearly potty trained to going back to step one again.  It
turns out that he was mortally afraid of pulling out his tube/site when
pulling down his pants and felt safer peeing in his pants because then
somebody would help him change into dry clothes.  We solved that to a
degree by always ensuring that his sites are put somewhere where he can
see them (his stomach is getting a bit pockmarked by this time as you
can imagine).  But still, we had to start at square one with the potty
training and we're still in the process of recovering to where we were
before the pump 3 months later.

5.  When we started on the pump, the extra stress, pressure and trauma
surrounding it also contributed to the total meltdown of any potty
training skills he had mastered to that point.  He simply wasn't in a
place to either want to cooperate or be able to cooperate with us at
that point.  Again, we're just getting back to being reasonably
successful on  a day-to-day basis with getting to the toilet.

6.  Night time dryness is a total pipe dream at this point.  We still
put him to bed in pull ups, and many nights in the week he manages to
pee right through those as well.  That's getting much better though as
we learn to control his night time blood sugars better and he spends
more of the night in range.

7.  He won't even consider pooing in the toilet.  Even the suggestion
will send him into fits of fear.  

In case you're wondering at this point, yes he is quite a sensitive
child, and diabetes management has been very difficult for us as well.
He finds all of the poking and prodding etc. to be very, very

Anyway, just thought I'd add my thoughts.  I've found toilet training
extraordinarily difficult for my diabetic little guy, and it continues
to be so even though he's four years old in just 2 months.  So, although
it will be simply a matter of some chocolates and a well placed comment
of praise for some parents, for others it will be a long, and somewhat
tedious process.

I hope that helps!  My final advice -- do what my husband and I have
done which is to simply decide that wanting our son to be toilet trained
quickly and once and for all is, after all, OUR PROBLEM, and the only
thing that really needs to change is our unrealistic expectations.  Oh
-- and get yourself a cupboard full of carpet cleaner.  You're going to
need it!

Take care,

Mom of Oliver -- b. June 99, d. Oct 01, pumping Jan 03

-----Original Message-----
From: email @ redacted
[mailto:email @ redacted] On Behalf Of Michael
Sent: April 3, 2003 2:19 PM
To: email @ redacted
Subject: RE:[IPp] Help! Potty training a 2 year old 

> Gina~
> Hi -- I don't write much but lurk often and was compelled to write
> to you about this.  My Shannon was dx'd at 13 months and I worried
> and worried about this issue until the day it happened.  I do have
> to say it took her longer to potty train than my other daughter who
> does not have diabetes.  Shannon was 2 1/2 almost 3 before she could
> do it. 

Ok, Ok, I can't stand it anymore. I have 5 kids and we potty trained 
them all the same way. It only took a week or two to convince them 
to consistently use the potty chair. Some of you may object to the 
method, but.....

We bought a package of "mints"  ... you know, the kind with the 
chocolate on the outside top and bottom and the thin green sandwich 
of mint in the middle -- kind of rectangular and very yummy. We 
dumped these into a glass jar and put it on a shelf out of reach of 
the kids, but clearly visible -- right in the kitchen. The kids were 
given one or two to start when they were going potty and told that 
any time they wanted one all they had to do was use the "potty 

Worked like a charm. Sure, maybe it's bribery but what the heck :-)
5 successes in a row can't be all bad.

email @ redacted
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