Calling all Parents. Shirley needs help

I know I shouldn’t have done three big things in a short amount of time with our 2 year old son, but I moved him from Crib to mattress on the floor, high chair to table and potty training.

I am having problems in all three now. Allow me to explain.

  1. Crib to mattress. I thought it was time for him because he kept on wanting to sleep on the “bed” as he called it. First couple of nights he did just fine. So We moved the crib into our daughters room ( requiring disassembling because its too wide for the doorway) and since the second night, he is getting up anywheres from 3-15 times a night citing he has to go Pee pee , poo poo or needs water.

  2. The high chair to chair has created a problem in that he doesn’t want to eat any more and he is hungry at night causing him to want water all night long, which causes pee pee ALL night long.

  3. He started the potty training. tugging at his diaper. Tell me before he would pee or poop that he had to do it. Some days he does well, but I know he is not really ready for it, yet cannot stop him. He’s pulling off his diaper. I do allow naked time outside and he does Ok there.

So, last night ( after starting my day at 5am with no breaks) he did not go to bed until 1130pm. He woke up several times and after I attended to him, then our daughter, then him again ( full diapers on him both times) I nearly cried with frustration as I crawled back into bed and heard him do a “cry wolf”. I shoved my husband out of bed and he attended matters.

FTR, during the day and even at bedtime, my son is a delight. Not prone to temper tantrums or mischiveious stuff. A polite little boy. This entire thing with the bed is a control issue and I need to get the upper hand. I suspect he still wants to be a baby, yet wants to whiz in the potty. Oh vey.



Too poo to parent.

Wow. Rough stuff.

When my daughter started sleeping in her bed instead of her crib, she did okay for a week then started getting up and wandering out into the living room (my bedroom at the time) on and off through the night. I remedied the situation by putting her back into her crib whenever she would get up. She hated being in her crib, so she learned fairly quickly not to get up.

I don’t know if that will work for you, but best of luck!!

My son is 2 1/2. He’s been in a toddler bed for about 4-5 months (technically), and eating at table for over a year (booster seat first). Potty training just started (also at his suggestion).

Our situation:

  1. While he has the toddler bed in his room, he’s been sleeping on the floor almost every night. We put down a sleeping bag and pillow for him. Otherwise he fell out of bed too much (I still find him several feet from where he was when he went to bed.)

  2. Eat? 2-year-olds eat?

  3. “I wanna sit on the potty.” “I wanna poop in the potty.” “Take off my diaper, I need to pee in the potty.” ENDLESSLY. Often without result, other than a lot of time spent on putting diapers on and taking them off (at least he doesn’t do that himself - yet).

My thoughts:

  1. Can you give him the crib back? Kids this age are running back and forth between baby and child. Don’t expect them to necessarily take a straight line into the next phase, even if your daughter did. From watching my brother grow up, kids who are prone to the back-and-forth thing do it until they are completely grown up, often many times a day. Teen years included (won’t WE be having some fun, since my son does this, too?). The safer they feel in that transition (that it is okay to go back to the safer/younger spot), the more comfortable they are spending more time in the more advanced spot. My son asks us to pretend he’s a baby, rock him, etc., or wants to hang onto other things that are more baby-like while he’s exploring areas that are older. I shrug and play along, because when I don’t he gets more anxious and tries more control behaviors, or just plain regresses and won’t move forward at all (he’s stubborn). You can always get rid of the crib again later. And don’t make a big deal of it. If he needs some extra safety to make it easier to move forward on the other areas, the crib is probably the easiest one. Put down the side, so he can get out if he needs to (assuming you have one that does that). If you can possibly give him the option of sleeping on the floor (on a sleeping bag) as well as in the crib, he can then make that choice on a daily basis, given how he feels that day.

  2. We changed the meal time for our son, moved it earlier in the evening - for some reason, if we fed him the moment he walked in the door from daycare, he’d eat a lot. If we waited, he got past the hungry feeling, I guess, and not only didn’t eat, but would then get whiney (from hunger). Once he got cranky, eating was NOT possible, because it became more of a control issue. Now, that means he eats the major part of his dinner before we sit down, unless we are making something really fast. (Hooray for PB&J, yogurt, and fruit, his usual dinner at this point) We sometimes save a favorite thing for encouraging him sit down with us when WE eat (grapes or cucumbers, at this point), but when he wants to get up, we let him. he has the idea that we eat as a family, and that is all he needs at this point. You might want to play with his meal time, see if you can hit the point before he thinks about the power issue. Also, I found this was the phase where my son started getting interested in cooking, and if he HELPED make something, he was more likely to sit down and eat it. (measuring is fun)

  3. Good luck on the potty training. I’m too new at that to give you any decent clue.

  4. Give him a lot of other choices, so he can control the rest of his universe as much as possible. By that, I mean simple choices from pre-selected options. Things that are no skin off your nose, like do you want to wear the blue shirt or the green one? Getting dressed, picking what plate to eat from, picking what sippy cup to use, picking water/milk/juice with dinner, picking where to eat if there is an option (like, we eat outside a lot), picking between easy meal options (would you like noodles with sauce or butter?), and so forth, can give him back a sense of control, as well as being good training for decision making in general. Those are all such small items to us, cost us a few moments, but are very big deals to little ones. And if he gets stuck, wants something we aren’t offering, we’ll consider his wishes - if he really wants the red shirt, and it is available, so what? However, if he won’t decide, or if he keeps changing his mind, or if he wants something that isn’t available or reasonable or safe, we then use the ‘serious voice’ and get him to focus on the options he DOES have. He’ll sometimes get heartbroken, because he really wants the blue cup, and we left it at Grandma’s (etc.), but a long hug and some sniffles usually resolves it fine.

My last philosophical note comes from my mom, who had 7 kids. Last night I was rejoicing in the memory of a big kid morning (used the potty, wanted milk in a cup, not a bottle, complimented me on my dress, etc.) - meanwhile bemoaning that this wasn’t the daily event. Her response was that it would slowly become more frequent, until the ‘baby’ mornings were the ones that were sprinkled in between. Their behavior is like a bunch of data points, and we unreasonably expect the averaged line to be the basis of further data points. As long as the chart is still moving up, you have to expect some outliers, and a pretty wide scatter of events. If one area is peaking above the line, you have to LET them have some points in the areas below the line. (and if you put any negative value on the baby-behaviors, you aren’t LETTING them be comfortable being safe.)

Good luck. I don’t know if my thoughts only apply to one personality, or if you have already tried them. Hopefully you’ll get at least one idea that helps!

Hmm, well without going into too much detail…I’m trying to remember back to the oldest kid which slept in her own bed and didn’t eat ravenously at every meal. That does not describe my current toddler. #1 had night terrors and sleep walking at age 2. So, there wasn’t much to do about her getting out of bed. Putting her in a toddler bed made it easier for me to pull her into bed with me, I had to go get her from her crib before that. I guess I’m not much help there. OH! She was completely soaking her diapers before morning. That might relate here. We had to have a liquid cut-off time. I don’t remember when exactly. Maybe 7 pm, she didn’t go to bed until around 10. Also she was NEVER allowed caffeine after that started.

This might relate to both of these issues. She was a terrible eater and on advice from the pediatrician she was never allowed ANY sugary stuff (including no more than 6 oz of juice for vitamin C, no soda, no kool-aid, no desserts) to improve her appetite. This is during her times of poor appetite. We didn’t forbid candy in her life or anything. Also milk was limited to the RDA of dairy servings during the finicky periods. Other than that, the ped. said to let her go and she wouldn’t starve herself. Sometimes she would have a snack before bed but we always made sure that it was a high protein snack like peanut butter or something and then maybe we would give her a half glass of water to rinse it down, but we were sure not to overdo it.

I don’t know if you’ll find any of that helpful. Good luck!


I can empathize with your situation, I have a 3 yr old who had many of the same problems.

Bed: We started putting him in the regular bed at 2 and at first, he would get up shortly after bedtime, but my take on it was just to be calmly persistant and put him back in bed stating, “It’s night-night time, stay in bed.” After about 3 nights of that, he stayed in bed and I now trust him to do so every night.

Food: Joey still is a very picky eater. What we do is just put the food in front of him and hope he eats. If he doesn’t we don’t give him anything later so that he will know he was supposed to eat earlier. Also, I’ve sort of resorted to bargaining with him a little: “Eat one bite of peas, and you can get down”.

Potty training: We can get him to sit on the potty chair, but he still doesn’t even tell us when he’s soiled his diapers, so no help here.

I can recommend a good book: Parenting for Dummies. It’s great! Written by parents for parents, and it has lots of practical advice.

Hope this helps.

Why not just discontinue two things. Since the crib is down, stick with the mattress on the floor. (Why did you do that? Thinking he’ll fall out of a bed? Do you have a bed for him? Put him up a “big boy bed”. He must realize that a mattress on the floor is a little strange. He might be a baby but they realize more than we usually give them credit. Having a bed might make him feel more secure.) Put him back in the highchair, why you did that I have no clue. It’s Ok to leave him there for awhile even if you’re doing it because it’s easier for you. I can’t see how it will damage him developmentally. I can’t see any reason why a kid can’t stay in a high chair for no other reason than they are little and like to sit up high so they are more on everyone else’s level. And ease up on the potty business. I guess you’ve already realized you tried to put too many things on him at once. Kids are creatures of habit, and many of them more so than others. They can really throw a monkey wrench into your potty training plans if they choose. And they often do, after all it is their own little bodily function.

You can also expect with many kids to experience changes in eating habits even without making any other kind of major change. Many toddlers who ate well as babies become “picky”. Sometimes children can seem like they aren’t eating enough at all. But they won’t starve to death. If you become worried about nutrition because he shuns one particular food group like vegetables, ask your doctor to recommend a vitamin. I’ve had both kinds of eaters, picky and not. But both of my children were always in the 70 to 90 percentile on height and the 50 percentile on weight. They always looked thin. My son still does, and the little fart will not eat vegetables, only peas. So I give him vitamins and a lot of fruit, which he will eat.

Your little fellow seems to be a little off because his routine has been disrupted. It’s nothing you can’t fix. Guess you’ve realized too that you are going to experience all kinds of little “phases” as he grows. I still get them. My son will be 9 in August and my daughter is 16. (We won’t call what she does a phase anymore, it’s more like an episode. LOL) It’s hard to sometimes know exactly when the right time is for doing these kind of things. Sometimes we think we are seeing signals that it’s time for us to move on and create another milestone and it backfires. I think I must have made a couple of boo boos like that myself. Thought he/she was ready for something only to end up feeling liked I’d pushed it a little too early. He’ll be alright nothing Mommy can’t fix.


Put the mattress on a regular bed, put a headboard and footbed on it, shove one side against the wall and get a bed rail for the other side. That will keep him from rolling out in his sleep. If he crawls over and hits the floor, well, kids learn fast.

Does your son use a booster seat or high chair when you go out to eat? If it’s a high chair, tell him Happy Meals are only for big kids, and he needs to use a booster. Once he gets used to it out of the house, he’ll be more comfortable in the house – and put away the high chair. Out of sight, out of mind.

Good luck on the toilet training, though. Pretty much everything we tried was a complete failure. We finally told our daughter (she was 3 1/2 and was sleeping mess free) that it was time to use the toilet once and for all. She had one accident on day 2, and never again. The only thing that even worked a little with our boys was to build (so they could get their hands on it and help) their very own potty steps. Because they helped make it, they were happy to use it.

Expect plenty of accidents and backsliding. And remember, they don’t call it the Terrible Twos for nothing.

Hey Shirl!

I second the idea of putting him in a real bed, with a railing, and put the highchair back into use. If you can use the highchair without the tray, that would be ideal.

If he wanders at night, you need to get a gate - for his own safety. The water business if a real concern. He is not hungry because he drinks so much, and he drinks because he is hungry. You have to break the cycle. No water after 6 pm, of maybe juat one cup kind of thing, and a snack before bed. I bet if his bladder is empty, and his belly full, you will both sleep better.

I have no advice on getting him to sleep other than that, Frankie slept with me, and never used his crib. He eventually moved into a jr. bed at the foot of my bed, then into his own room. He goes to bed like an angel.

Good luck!

A couple of ideas.

Make getting up from bed as boring as possible. A sip of water a quick diaper change and back to bed. No extra socializing, no stories, nothing.

Do you have a usual bedtime routine? We find it helps to do basically the same thing. Jammies, brush teeth, story, night night. (My husband also stays with the kids until they are asleep or nearly so.)

With the potty thing, what worked for us was bribes. If you go successfully with no accidents (or at least make a try), you get a piece of candy. (My daughter will do anything for a gummy bear, so this worked pretty well.)

As for the food thing, well, two-year-olds are just weird about that. What works best for us is having set times for eating/snacking. If she doesn’t eat then, she just has to wait until morning.

Wow. Some great advice. Maybe I should kidnap Sue Dunymns nanny.

High Chair:

I have resorted to using the high chair again. He eats a little better there. We just bought one of those booster seats with a seat belt. That should help when the time comes.

I know kids eat in spurts and go through phases.I also know they are picky eaters. But three meals a day of not eating anything, but inhaling milk, is really frustrating. He’s hungry at 2am and I really don’t want him getting in the habit of a meal then. I’m beginning to think that yogurt is more addictive to toddlers than crack to a weasel. There are some executives from Dannon and Yoplait out there that is able to buy a new car a month on my yogurt bill alone.

My beef with eating is that when my son is at his Oma’s (grandma) house, he eats everything in sight. She gives him liverwurst on a 7 grain whole bread and he just inhales it. I buy the exact same stuff and he turns his nose up at it.
He also still sleeps in a crib there and he sleeps like a rock. So you can see what this is doing to my mommy self esteem.
Bed: We put the box springs under his mattress and we have a side gate/fence thing. The rest of the bed is in the basement. I just may drag it upstairs myself.

We also do put up a gate in our hallway to keep him from pitching head first down the stairs. I’ve nearly killed myself on the damn thing, sans glasses in a dark hallway, at least three times. To keep him in his room, I use a t-shirt and close it in the door so it is “locked” to him, but quickly accessible. Today is the first nap that he’s taken without a massive fit. But for all I know, he could be in there emptying out his drawers and running sans diaper around his room. The hoyden.

Potty Training: It’s a wonder that humans every get potty trained. I wasn’t going to try it until late this summer, but he took the initiative. Now that’s all the focus is for him, well, besides Thomas The Train, whom he would stalk given half a chance. I think I will have to re-educate or re-direct his thinking.

although there is something so incredibly funny about a toddler who screams at the top of his lungs in a public place, " Pee Pee!"
Thanks for the input! Everyone here is far more helpful than my dipwad neighbors.

Baby Jesus turned 3 in April and we’ve only had to deal with the bed issue here lately.

He’s been in a day care since he was 6 weeks old. Most of the other kids are 6 months to a year older than he is. We just got him a potty chair and put it in “his” bathroom. Never told him to use it or anything. He just picked it from watching the older kids at the day care and has been potty learned for almost a year! (Thank God! I’d much rather hear “I gotta go poop” than “I pooped my pants.”

We still use his highchair, without the tray, at the dinner table. And if he doesn’t want to eat, we tell him fine, but he doesn’t get anything later. No candy, no popcorn, no ice-pops, no nothing. AND, we leave his plate on the table with his food on it. It may take him an hour and a half to clean his plate, but he will do it. Hunger is a hell of a motivator.

We put him in a toddler bed at the end of our bed when he turned two and that worked out pretty well. He would usually sleep all night in his own bed, but one of us might have to sleep with our head at the foot of the bed to occasionally comfort him. About 2 months ago, we set up a mattress and box springs on the floor (it’s about the same height as his toddler bed). Now, damn near every night one of us has to sleep in his bed with him or else he winds up in our bed around 2:30.

And we learned the “no water after 8:00” rule the hard way. Too much and they’ll have lots of problems.


We put my oldest son in a real bed when he was 22 months old, mainly because we needed the crib for his newborn brother. He thought this was really cool because he could get up when he wanted to. When he was still in the crib I had to build up the side rails a few inches so he couldn’t climb out. Anyhow, the first night he got up over 20 times (I kept count) and each time I put him back with no fanfare. The next night it was maybe 10 times and he finally got the idea that we meant business by the third night. We finally got through to him that bedtime was time to STAY in bed and unless something’s wrong, we’re not joking.

Kids won’t starve themselves. Our ped told us as long as they were getting 6 ounces of OJ and 16 ounces of milk, they’d be OK. I knew a kid that lived on chicken rice soup for 2 years and he’s over 6 feet tall now and playing college football so don’t worry too much. Vitamins are a good idea and my kids (all teens now) still get a Centrum every day.

Kids will tell you when they’re mature enough to use the potty chair. My oldest told my wife one day that he didn’t need to use the potty because he had a diaper. Well, damned if the diapers didn’t disappear that very day and he only had one “accident” after that. Our ped always said to wait till they’re three to start and I think he was right. You can do it earlier if you want to work at it and diapers do cost a lot but if they’re really ready it’s a breeze and only takes a few days. Good luck, you’re doing great !

Though my experience was as a nanny and not a mommy, I’ll second what Doctordec says: Kids will not starve themselves. If a child is truly hungry, he or she will eat what you give them, unless it’s one of the two or three foods the child really loathes (different for every kid).

When one of the boy sI took care of (then two) started this same pattern – lots of liquids (milk and juice) and low-volume food (yogurt and apple sauce), we curtailed the amount of liquids he could have and began offering solid, high-volume foods (protein and vegetables) instead of his preferred yogurt and apple sauce. Our problem was compounded by the fact that he was consuming so much liquid because he was still on a bottle (sometimes) and he often wanted his bottle to comfort himself, regardless of whether or not he was thirsty. So we weaned him off that and it was basically a nightmare – screaming fits – but we stood firm; no more bottle. Liquids from a cup only, and only in the kitchen. NO liquids within an hour of bedtime. He was allowed to turn up his nose at mealtime, but then when he complained about being hungry, he was offered the same food – and I don’t mean a cold, congealed plate as a punishment, but the same type of food, i.e., real food – veggies and protein – not snack food or low volume food. His mother – wisely, I think – did not concern herself with when he ate, so long as he was eating good food, and since that became basically all we offered him, that’s what he ate, despite some initial world-class temper tantrums. In this way we got him to:

  1. Stop wetting the bed/getting up so often (because he wasn’t having so much liquid, and he wasn’t going to bed hungry);

  2. Stop drinking so much and start eating real food – which basically was a matter of leaving him no other choice;

  3. Stop eating low-volume food and start eating a more nutritious diet – again, basically because he didn’t have any choice.

This was a tough process with a two year old – I still remember it vividly – but well worth it in the long run. But you have my sympathy; it’s no fun, is it?

And you can’t have my nanny!!!

I am, however, just behind you so am really interested in this thread.

I just bought the kiddo a double bed (being delivered next Wed) but she’s NEVER slept well in her crib. Most nights she sleeps with me. That all changed when she kicked me in the face last Saturday night and gave me a black eye. Time for your own bed kiddo!! I am just placing the set on the floor also.

I have a booster seat with a tray (made by Safety 1st), straps to a chair and has a seatbelt that I’m going to transition her to soon. Currently, I just use it on the road and she’s just fine with it. Sounds like you got that covered though.

Potty training? Ha!! She peed on the floor today, it’s not an unusual occurrance since she’s learned to remove her diaper. I’ll tackle that when she’s older.

Sorry I had no advice for ya. Good luck!

The liquids can and will be problem for years to come. It’s been my experience that children seem to be ALWAYS thirsty. They’re like camels that just hauled a whole village of Arabs across the desert. Even my son, who is almost nine, will drink until he floats then there is no room for food. He also loves popscicles and will eat up a box in 2 to three days if I don’t monitor his intake. Not much nutrition there. But he is eight and I do not believe in being the “food police” like I have seen parents do often. I allow my children to have access to food when they are hungry. I have actually seen parents go the the trouble of never allowing a kid to fend for themself. Almost like they are rationing food in case of a holocaust. My kids don’t have a weight problem either so I let them eat whatever they want. (Maybe someone should hire a food detective to monitor Mom’s intake. LOL)

You could cut back on his liquids especially at night but when a kid is thirsty they will drive you crazy until they get a drink. Not to mention bring all their friends in for one regardless of the proximity of their own refridgerators. I liked the story about the kid that ate soup for a year and is 6 foot something now. My daughter is similar. She was always tall but very thin. My grandmother wanted me to feed her milkshakes to fatten her up. She also went through various stages of pickiness. Now she is 5’9", 130 lbs. and just beautiful. She plays softball and basketball and now tells me she wants to play football in the fall. She also has wonderful eating habits. Other than not liking a few things, she generally has a very good balanced diet. She loves vegetables. So even though my son is Mr. Picky right now and seems to only enjoy eating about 3 things. I don’t worry about the little skinny fart. I figure he’ll grow to like more things and eventually have a more balanced diet.

As for potty training, what a pain. While I was never one, I am from a family of female bed wetters. My mother wet the bed until she was 14, my sister until she was almost 16, and my daughter wet almost every single night until she was 9.

Pull-Ups are expensive but they are nice. Keep a pack around for night time and when you are out and about. You can get off brands at places like Wally World and Kmart.


Wow!! Your’s still naps!? You’re amazing!

Bowen has issued his Official Refusal to Ever Nap Again. Which has turned out to be a good thing, because when it’s bedtime, he goes to sleep. Woohoo! :slight_smile:

Bowen loves his new potty. He likes to sit on it, stand on it, and throw toilet paper into it. But he won’t pee or poop in it. I’ve told him, when he asks for toilet paper, that only boys who poop in the potty get toilet paper…we’ll see how that works. A friend of mine suggests putting Cheerios into a little boy’s potty to help them work on their aim. (I can’t help it…I laugh my ass off at the thought.) So, anyway, can’t be any help on the potty training issue, as I’m still trying to figure it out myself.

As far as eating goes, he gets his meals with nothing to drink till afterward. Snacks are graham crackers or a piece of fruit or something. I’m not a member of the Clean Your Plate Club, but I try not to be too lax about what he eats, either. If I give him a snack and he doesn’t finish it, he gets nothing at all till the next meal.

So…how’s the baby?

I agree about not being the food police. It’s hard when you spend time making something and your kid takes two bites and wants out of there, but I’ve learned not to sweat it.

When I was a teenager I babysat for a couple of families who had overweight kids. The parents were overweight, too, and refused to give up their goodies. But they wanted me to keep the kid from snacking. The poor kids knew there were treats stashed in the house and having them forbidden just made them absolutely psycho about food. (The parents thought all their hiding places were secrets. Hah! What else do kids have to do but snoop out where Dad is keeping his candy bars this week? One woman had a refrigerator stocked with diet pop, diet coffee yogurt and cigarettes. The freezer was full of frozen fried chicken and donuts. Bleah.) I swore I wouldn’t treat my kids that way. Just feed them good stuff and make sure they get plenty of running around. Toddlers will eat when they are hungry, as long as they aren’t getting too much milk and juice.

Of course, I post that Bowen no longer naps, and as I type this, he’s been napping for two hours… He just crawled into my bed and crashed out.

I’d wake him, but he looks so cute…

I didn’t read all the replies, 'cause they seemed kinda long, and how many times am I expected to read the word poo-poo, for Pete’s sake?

But here are some things you might consider.

First, don’t worry about him eating. When a kid is hungry, he’ll eat. Unless you’re a stickler for family dinner times. But sometimes I think it pays to be a little flexible.

As for the bed and the potty, an incentive program might work. We’ve had success with charts with which our son can not only track his progress but can actively participate. Just a large sheet of paper or oaktag gridded out for the days of the week and hung in his room or in the kitchen or playroom is a constant reminder. Set the criteria for “good” days, make sure he understands them, and then use the ritual of placing a sticker on that day for more positive reinforcement and praise. Kids really groove on stickers and charts, and they can see their progress (“Three stickers in a row! You’re having a good week!”).

Also, a reward incentive can help. Four stickers in a row, or five stickers in one week can mean a treat or a toy. Get creative in your carrot-dangling, and work together rather than trying to force compliance. Sure, he may be doing it only to get an ice cream or a Hot Wheels car, but repetition is the soul of this type of training. He’ll get what he wants, and you’ll get what you want.

Good luck.

Been there, done that.

Hell, am there, doingthat!