My honest story about potty training and constipation, and how we worked it out
The story of my oldest son’s potty training is divided into two parts:
First part here in this page, tells the experience of 2-3 weeks it took me to potty train my oldest son. Mainly, it is about potty training and constipation.
Second part (//click here to go to its page//) tells the bigger story, which started about 1.5-2 months after my son had been fully potty trained.
We started out late, after waiting for readiness signs that never came
We started out when my son was two years and 9 months old, which I thought was rather late, and was mainly because I’d spent a few months waiting:
..waiting for the summer vacation, waiting for his new baby brother to become “less new”, but mainly -- waiting for him to show some actual “signs” of toilet training readiness, which never came.
My son *loved* his diapers, and there was no sign of him ever growing uncomfortable with them.
Other moms, especially those who had daughters, were telling me those perfect potty training stories that usually started with “… One day she just took off her diaper and *insisted* on going Wee-wee in the toilet…!”
I envied those stories and I had kept looking for toilet training readiness signs, but at the same time my intuition was telling me that if I kept on waiting I would end up with a 4 year old who is still not potty trained.
On top of that we were due to start Preschool in September, and I knew he had to be toilet trained for that.
"We're doing this."
So eventually I just picked a date in August, and got ready for a few long days of condensed potty training. Actually we went straight for the toilet, using a very friendly toilet training seat that had a built-in step stool.
All-in-all it worked out pretty good in the beginning: I was quite confident of how I wanted to lead the process, and my son went along with it very nicely – even though he’d never shown any “readiness signs” until the day we started.
During the course of the first 2 days we had those scheduled “toilet trips” that were mainly targeted for going Wee-wee in the toilet. He seemed quite happy to “step up to the challenge” and was fairly cooperative.
Then we gradually increased the time-gap between toilet trips, and that also went well. There were some Wee-wee accidents during the day, but they became less and less frequent over the next few days.
The real challenge was getting my son to poop in the toilet.
From the moment the diapers went off, it seemed like he’d simply “shut-off” his bowl movements and pretty soon became constipated. I didn’t stress about it at first (I kind-of anticipated that stage), but after 2-3 days when he started suffering, I was much less calm.
Of course I knew what he needed to eat in order to make things “softer”, but it’s no use trying to reason a constipated child into eating regularly (let alone eating fruits and vegetables)… he had practically blocked himself on both ends.
All this time, my boy never resisted me or refused to sit on the toilet. He agreed to sit down, but was reluctant to really go through with the “pushing” part.
[ I guess it was the obvious case of a snowball: Started out with an intuitive urge to FREEZE his body at the sense of a bowl movement. Then gradually, fear and unwillingness grew stronger along with the discomfort, and the more he waited the harder it got. ]
At some point, overwhelmed by my own anxiety over his suffering, I even suggested him to wear a diaper again so he could poop in it (something which I would never have done otherwise). But, he refused.
What we did when constipation was getting worse
The first time that my son’s constipation got really bad, (4 days of no-pooping if memory serves) I used suppositories prescribed by the pediatrician. This was followed by 2-3 hours of more-suffering, but finally did the trick and poop was released (in the toilet).
The suppositories did work, but I absolutely hated it. It was clearly the type of episode you would have wished to avoid altogether, the next time round.
So how DID we beat constipation?
(OR: The happy ending of potty training and constipation)
There were mainly 2 things that helped:
1) September came and with it, the structured frame of Preschool. I had an upfront face-to-face conversation with the Preschool teacher; told her that my son was still mastering the whole “potty training bowel movements” thing, and still experiencing constipation because of it, and asked for her cooperation.
The preschool’s crew had been very supportive during the first couple of weeks; they encouraged and supported my son to have a daily “morning sit-down” on the toilet, and it worked. I guess the structure and the routine did their part.
2) Yet every now and then, my son would still develop constipation. To put it simply: If he had to put even a small effort into it, he would quickly give up pooping, and would just hold it in.
And then our pediatrician told me about a product that really helped us: PEGLAX.
It is a natural, non-addictive food supplement that melts instantly in any Drink (it actually has no flavor of its own, so you can add it to any Drink your kid likes, without altering its flavor). It has the simple effect of adding fibers and therefore volume to the Poop, making the bowel movement naturally easier.
This product helped to get into a daily-pooping routine that was free from stress and pains.
And that was the end of potty training and constipation.
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