Three steps forward. Two steps back.

I remember, perhaps only two weeks ago, when Evan would look up at me and whine that he needed to go to the potty.  I would look at where we were standing in the store, judge the time and the distance, and run while pushing the cart with both boys riding the wind.  I remember when I would turn around and notice Evan was pantsless and underwearless as he built a castle and when I ask him, he would tell me he just went potty with an oh-by-the-way-duh voice.  Then last week he began wetting his pants again.


I was so proud.  So confident.  So sure.  We got this down.  We can go places without dragging the potty seat or wearing a diaper or asking half a million times if he needs to use the bathroom.  He can go to the Sunday school class.  Sure, he still has to poop in a diaper (yeah, what’s up with that?), but he can control his bladder and tell me when he has to go.  My kid’s awesome, and I’m awesome.  Oh, but pride cometh before the fall. 


Then last Thursday I noticed he peed his pants while he watched TV.  That’s weird.  He was just sitting there completely oblivious to the fact he was peeing or that he’s pants were wet.  When he wakes up wet from naptime, he cries.  Then Friday he must have had three or four accidents.  What is going on?  No telling me.  No trying.  Half the time he’s doing nothing at all.  Saturday we took the boys to see Madagascar 2 and then to lunch; I kept asking Evan if he needed to go.  He would say no, and then at the restaurant he had an accident without telling me.  What the hell?


Now all the books say that this is just an accident; the child did not mean to do it.  But there’s no remorse.  He knows how to go it.  I know he knows how to do it.  I can’t help but feel that this is some sort of payback for something.


Actually I have theories. 

Theory 1.  We stopped giving Evan treats except for poop, which he hasn’t done yet.  But maybe he’s upset that he isn’t getting rewarded for something that was a big deal. 


Theory 2.  We have been trying to limit naked time to one point of the day instead of the whole day except when we go outside.  When he’s naked he goes to the bathroom, but when he’s dressed he has accidents.  See the connection? 


Theory 3. Perhaps this is some phase which is completely innocent, and I really need to stop accusing my toddler of an ulterior motive.


But this is so frustrating.  We had it down.  Heck, he didn’t have an accident the last time we drove to my parents’ house.  But now I worry about the road trip to my husband’s dad’s house.  Or any accidents he might have there.  Worse yet, I’m getting their pictures taken in their yet-to-be-bought Christmas outfits on Monday.  I can’t have him peeing on his good pants right before the shoot.  Ugh.


So I’ve gone back to the basics.  He is forced to try after he gets up and almost every hour on the hour.  He has to sit on the pot before we go anywhere and before we leave the store.  I’m giving him a butter toffee peanut (compliments of Wally) every time he pees in the potty, and we are not doing anything Evan fun related until he can prove he can tell us when he needs to use the potty.  On top of that, he has to take off his own wet clothes and hang them over the tub to dry, and then he has to put on new dry underwear.


I bring this issue before the internet council of mothers to ask what else or different should I do.  It has been a week, and Evan is still having accidents twice a day or so.  He used to only have accidents during his naptimes.  I await your wisdom.


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9 Responses to “Three steps forward. Two steps back.”

  1. mikewalzman Says:

    hey, I just so happened to stumble upon your blog, great post by the way…honest, that’s what people like to read. But in regards to your question I’m afraid I can’t answer that. There is an online group my friend just started on parenting though, maybe that could help, here’s the link if you want.

  2. Lindsey Says:

    I wish I could help you! My daughter is four and we’re still struggling to keep her consistent.

  3. outside voice Says:

    Did you try the kind that get cold after? Maybe that would help heighten his awareness? We had some luck with those. Some people like the PODS things, too.

    Hang in there…he’ll get it…you know he won’t be going to college in pull-ups!!

  4. holeycheese Says:

    You know.. my son also still wets his pants, and he is soon four and a half and has been out of diapers for 1,5 years. Sometimes he can be dry for a month, and sometimes he wets his pants three times a day for a week. I don’t even care any longer. That’s how many boys are(or kids in general.. but girls are more likely to be completely dry early) – and some kids keep doing it until they are 7. They will stop doing it sooner or later. I think it’s completely innocent. At this age it’s more important to play and have fun and it’s very easy to forget going to the bathroom. On the other hand it’s also the age when it becomes important to do everything the opposit to what mom tells you. That means – when you ask him to go – he doesn’t want to. Only when he comes up with the idea of going to the bathroom himself he has something to be proud of. Kids don’t like to walk around in wet pants – just like we don’t like that. But blaming them for not beeing able to handle this might hit the self confidence quite hard.

    It’s good to have a routine – like “always pee before eating or going out”.. but more than that might put to much pressure on him and make it even harder.

  5. holeycheese Says:

    btw. sorry if I didn’t get all the words right or right spelled.. English isn’t my first language..

  6. faemom Says:

    Thanks for the site, Mike.

    Thank you Lindsey for letting me know I’m not failing in some way.

    Outside Voice: I have two parenting goals get them out of diapers and keep them out of juvy. I have a feeling the first one will be harder.

    Holeycheese: Thank you for your advice. It’s very helpful. And English is my first language and I STILL don’t spell right. 🙂

  7. Steph Says:

    I think you’ve gotten good advice. My son did the same thing. He had accidents off and on until almost age 5. My couch will never be the same.

    I think Holeycheese has it right. I made too big a deal of it, and my kinda-rebellious son fought me even harder.

    They DO get it. But I think if I had it to do over again, I’d put him in pull-ups at high-risk times (like on a road trip). If he protests, you could appeal to his desire to be a big boy and set some goal (like dry for 2 hours = underwear).

    My third kid, a daughter, is rebellious too. But I was super casual about her potty training. It was kinda up to her. And I didn’t stop with the pull-ups until she was almost four (and had to be in underwear to go to preschool).

    Hope this helps!

  8. Penelope Says:

    My daughter is 34 months and just started to make some progress. But then again, progress also means setbacks. She now refuses to wear any pull-ups at all – even though she has one to two accidents a day. I had no choice but to swap the pull-ups for cotton training pants, and buy a vinyl mattress cover. I have a feeling I will have a ton of laundry ahead of me… . Good luck with your potty training. You are not alone!

  9. faemom Says:

    Thanks! Good luck with you. We’ve been in cotton training pants for a while, so there is a lot of laundry , but no more than when you started feeding the baby baby food 🙂

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