Here’s what I’ve deduced from our recent experience:
• For whatever reason, bowel movements are more difficult for children. My son seemed to fear them. After a recent success with one on the toilet, he told my husband, “Oh, that didn’t hurt!” It surprised me he thought it would. A few times, I’ve pulled out my birth-assistant skills and talked him down, actually saying things like, “Sometimes it hurts, but it’s OK; you just do it anyway and then it’s over” or “Relax your bottom, grunt a little, and push that poopy out.” Oh dear.
• It’s OK to use some incentives. I never thought I’d parent this way — far too serious and prudish — but we ran around the house singing, “Elijah got Skittles for piddles!” Yep, candy, pretty much every time he peed. It worked, and we are off the candy now. For you natural, no-sugar parents: It’s OK.
• Whether it’s age or environment or whatever, some children just sleep too soundly to wake up and pee on their own. We still have wet sheets every morning, even if we get him up to go in the night. In fairness, I have not been a stickler for a “no-fluids-after-X-o’clock” and we still do a night nursing or two, so that’s likely part of the issue. I’m willing to wash sheets for a while longer rather than deny my baby water or mother’s milk. Nice segue for my last point:
• Like everything else in life, you have to assess and adjust your expectations and your methods for what suits your family and your little one. Get some advice — I listed a couple resources here and there are zillions more — then amend what you need to.
Oh, and lighten up. As my husband promises: “Your toddler won’t be pooping on the bathroom rug forever.” Let’s hope, right?
Goshen News columnist Stephanie Price is a wife, mother, teacher, childbirth educator, midwife’s assistant and nursing student from Elkhart. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 269-641-7249 or on Facebook at the page “Whole Family Column by Steph Price.”