When I brought Henry in for his one-year-checkup back in July, I had a long talk with our pediatrician regarding what to do with a child who refuses to go poop in the potty.
He told me what I already knew, which is that some children take longer to train than others. But if I was concerned, I should bring her in for an evaluation.
Which I did.
That was four months ago.
After his evaluation, he determined that this was a behavioral issue, not a medical issue and he suggested that I put her on the potty throughout the day and reinforce that this is where she needs to go.
When that didn't work, and after I had that one particularly regretful incident where I put her on the potty for four and a half hours one night (I really don't recommend that), I called our pediatrician and asked what other advice he might offer.
Maybe there was a pill I could take and I'd automatically wake up when it was over?
Unfortunately, no. But he suggested I contact a pediatric psychiatrist.
So I did.
But they never called back. And maybe I should have just driven the one-hour north to the pediatric psychiatrist's office and stood outside of their door and demanded an appointment, but something told me that this was something that she would outgrow.
I just needed to give it more time and have more patience.
In the meantime, I talked with her teachers at school and told them the struggles that I was having and perhaps they could help to encourage her. And I talked to her at length about why she wouldn't go. And for that matter, why she wouldn't put forth the effort to get dressed by herself or buckle her own seat belt or a host of other things that her same-aged siblings were chomping at the bit to do on their own. And for all of these things and more, she would tell me, "I'm afraid!" or "I can't!"
So when I received a progress report from her swimming instructor that said "You need to have more self confidence and not be afraid because you can do anything you set your mind to!" it just reaffirmed that the challenges that I am facing on so many fronts are entirely psychological.
All the while, at night time, whenever we would put her in a Pull-Up before bed, she would poop. If not at night, than early in the morning before school. So I would give her a bag of wipes and she would go in to the bathroom, take off her Pull-Up and clean herself up. Because I told her that I wasn't going to do it anymore. And she was fine with that.
If it was only that easy, it would be one thing.
But it wasn't.
If she was a little younger and I could put her in a onesie or her pajamas on backwards, that would be another thing.
But she isn't.
And more times than I count, I have been faced with sheets, pillows, blankets and walls that have poop smeared on them. And the poop! The poop! The poop! was starting to drive me a little crazy, despite my best efforts and staying calm and practicing deep breathing.
So this past weekend, I decided to help her. Not by punishing her, but by showing her that she can go poop. On the potty. I was temporarily assuming control of a situation that had grown completely out of control. So I gave her the enema on Saturday and she has never pooped so much in her life.
And last night (two days later), I told her that I was going to give her another enema. But the words no sooner left my mouth and she RAN in to the bathroom and in less than a minute, created yet another poop masterpiece.
Everyone was so excited about the pooping and the peeing and how grown up they are, against my better judgment, I caved to the pressure of letting the four-year-old children in this house go to bed sans diapers, wearing only underwear beneath their PJ's.
And of course, despite placing three groggy children on the potty before I went to bed at 11:00 PM, I woke up at 3, 4 and 5 AM to three different children that were crying and crying and crying because they were WET! WET! WET!
Everyone was miserable. So I figure I'll put everyone back in Pull-Ups until they are at a point where they wake up at night to use the potty. Or, they wake up dry. Which ever comes first.
I suspect that by the time Henry is transitioning out of diapers, I will be an expert. But as for now, I am figuring it out as I go and washing an exorbitant amount of laundry in the process.