The Neverending Toilet Training Story

Today was Thursday, my day off. It was the kids’ first week of school in new classrooms (Babyboy’s kindergarten is in a whole new building, even!), so I was excited to meet their new teachers, and maybe some of the other parents too.

School drop off and pickup went smoothly enough, and though their teachers were perfectly friendly, our interactions were very brief. Babyboy’s new teacher told me that he had had two small BM accidents, but then had one large BM in the toilet. She praised him, and seemed very positive about it. There were so many kids and so much activity, we didn’t get to talk much. I had envisioned more of a conversation with both teachers, though it may also have been my fault for not asking more questions. I didn’t meet any new parents… though I did run into a mom I already knew, and just that one real conversation was especially reassuring.

What threw my day off completely was a phone call I received from someone at Babyboy’s school, who helps care for him  (I don’t want to identify anyone in particular). They expressed serious concern that he had had two accidents, and emphasized that they had had to clean him, which was a real problem, because we had not yet provided the school a signed written consent, which was required for them to be able to assist him with toileting in any way. Then they asked me if we had considered referral to a specialist for his issue.

I was completely floored. I’ve written about our long, long saga with Babyboy’s toilet training , more than once. It was only this July, at the age of five, that we finally had some consistent success. Since July 28, he’s been completely done with daytime pull-ups, and proudly sporting big-boy underpants! Still, he has accidents. Usually, these occur when he’s very focused on some task, or running around playing. If we see signs that he needs to use the bathroom, we alert him and guide him to the toilet, generally averting disaster, but sometimes, not.

It is an issue. Just this weekend, we had to throw away yet another pair of underpants. (Sometimes, it’s just not worth it to even try to clean them…) We’re seeing a messy accident at least three or four times a week. Yes, we’ve been frustrated, but on the other hand, he’s made HUGE progress in the past two months. He doesn’t even need an overnight pull-up.

We’ve had many partners in the toilet-training process. The Developmental specialist felt his progress was appropriate, considering his diagnosis, and didn’t seem worried about the ongoing accidents (we just met with them last week). The Child Psychologist we met with last spring was especially not worried, and encouraged us to back off when it became a battle. “He won’t be in diapers forever,” she said, and it helped us a great deal to hear that.

His previous teachers were wonderful, very patient and reassuring. At his IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting in the spring, when Babyboy was nowhere near toilet-trained, I asked his teachers what would happen if he still wasn’t out of pull-ups in kindergarten. (At that point, we weren’t at all sure that he was ready to advance to Kindergarten, though his teachers were quite confident.) They said that he wouldn’t likely be the only child in the class who wasn’t toilet-trained, and of course the staff would be able to handle it.

Well, that  doesn’t seem to be the case, though I’m confused by his teacher’s friendly “We’ll work on it!” attitude at pickup, and then this phone call from outer space. I was sitting in the car with the phone to my ear, listening to her talk about emailing me the consent forms, and how she could give me the phone number to a specialist, and I wanted to scream, to cry: WE’VE BEEN WORKING ON THIS FOR GODDAMNED FOREVER, LADY!!! But, I know she’s new to Babyboy, and she’s just trying to help. I’m thinking that there wasn’t a lot of communication from his previous team to his new team. Heck, there hasn’t been a lot of communication between US and his new team. There hasn’t been a lot of opportunity for that. Or maybe, we need to create that opportunity…

Sigh. I will be meeting with this concerned member of his team next week. I’ll send Babyboy to school tomorrow with a chart for them to note any accidents and the circumstances, so that we can review it together, and work out a strategy. I’d LOVE for him to stop having accidents.

And so the saga continues….

6 thoughts on “The Neverending Toilet Training Story”

  • Oy. SO frustrating! You are amazingly empathetic to the woman who called you. I would have been in a seething rage.

    He won’t be in diapers forever – what great progress!

    • Thanks so much… so hard to tell sometimes if I’m overreacting, overly sensitive, and/or just plain defensive… I did feel very judged at the time.

  • I know of a couple of kids who had itty bitty tiny messes up to age 8-9, nothing that required help, but lightly dirtied their underwear. Both of them were diagnosed with allergies and getting the allergies addressed helped with their body awareness and the issue.

  • I know you’re not posting in search of a diagnosis, but this sounds like a classic case of constipation to me! Small liquid accidents that happen without volition followed by large bowel movements…might be worth talking to his pediatrician about a miralax regimen if he’s not already doing that. Even if that isn’t the case it sounds like you are making progress and have tons of patience with your son, which is so wonderful to see 🙂

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