Parenting/Toilet training help needed please.

Hiya all…
My foster son is 3 years old but developmentally about 18 months to 2 years old. He does not have a disability but is delayed mainly IMO due to the lack of care he recieved while still a baby.

He went to visit at his mother’s house a few weeks ago for her birthday and spent 3 nights there. Before he went there he was toilet trained to some degree (number 1’s in the toilet and he would tell us that he’d done a number 2) and generally ask for things by saying “pweese” or “mmmore”. Now, all that has changed. He has reverted to not saying “please” or “more”, he just points or stands next to what he wants and makes “uuuh, uuh” noises. He has also reverted in his toilet training, not urinating in the toilet any more and even worse, has taken to doing a poo and wiping it everywhere - the bed, his room, his toys.

My wife and I would appreciate any advice, suggestions, helpful hints - anything you might think would help in this situatuation.


Apart from visiting his mum, don’t forget that there have been a few other issues happening in your household of late…the arrival of a new baby is often accompanied by regressive behaviours in the ‘previous’ baby. Pissed-off at having their position usurped, it is not uncommon for the older child/ren to adopt previously outgrown stuff (like pissing their pants) in an effort to reclaim the attention that they think is being devoted to the new baby.

You claim that Murray does not have a ‘disability’, even though he appears to be developmentally delayed. Have you had him assessed? What are his gross motor skills like? Is it only a problem with language and potty-skills or are there other issues that indicate that he might not quite be up on the normal curve for a three year old? What does the paediatrician recommend? Does he/she agree with you that it was the early parenting that accounts for the problems?

You really need to get this checked out by a professional if it is bothering you. And the sooner the better: if there are indeed some sort of intellectual or behavioural issues, the quicker they are addressed, the better the outcome will be.

He is on the waiting list to be tested for autism and he has had testing for “Fragile X Syndrome”.

Other than that, the Pediatrician we saw in May said in his report that he is developmentally about 18 months to 2 years. He has the gross motor skills I would expect of a almost 3 year old, but his fine motor skills are about that of about 18 months old.

Surely that would have happened when the baby was younger, she is 10 weeks old now. The major problems started about 3 weeks ago.

would agree with Kambuckta as far as making sure he has been fully assessed.

Other then that I would say in the huge scheme of things toilet training can wait (yes I know smearing is not a a pleasant thing) leave the nappies in place. Ask him frequently if he needs the potty but do not force the issue.
There can be many reasons why children fight potty training, one of which is a sense of control. If he has just been in a situation beyond his control (being with mum) he may just be “staking his claim”. A new baby is another reason to make sure mum is still focusing, on him, in his mind ( I know you both are…that was not an attack at all!)
I have recently helped toilet train a Downs boy who is 4. Even with a significant issue like Downs simple things like a star chart can have be very useful.
The most essential message is you are doing good work! Don’t give up! One day wiping up poo will seem a small price for all the rewards.

I saw this after I posted. At a develomental age of 18 mths he and you are both doing well!! Toilet training is one of lifes great mysteries. Some kids take to it like a duck to water, other seem to like to make it an oddessy. Your chap is doing really well for his developmental stage I would think.
And a 10 week old baby is about long enough for your chap to realise “hmmmm it’s not going away”

Hang in there you are doing a great job :slight_smile:

My son was not toilet trained until 4, that’s without the kinds of problems and challenges your foster son has faced. I’d back off on it. For whatever reason, your son is telling you he is not ready.

Also, a good tip for young kids (and not-so-young-ones, too): If they are pursuing a particular behavior, check how YOU feel in response to it. Kids, even with delays, are master communicators. It is likely that however you feel when he poop-smears or refuses to use words is how HE feels at the same time. Confused? Powerless? Angry? Frustrated? Hurt? Disappointed?

Those are HIS feelings you’re getting, loud and clear. Work with them. Kids will ignore people when they feel ignored, will destroy things when they feel wounded, will be defiant when they feel powerless, etc., etc., etc. Talk to him. As much as he may not understand in some ways, he probably understands a lot more than you think. He may not have expected many of the things he encountered with his mother. He had no control over the visit. He has no way to tell you that he’s confused. If he can nod, you can communicate. He may need more preparation (explanation of rules and expectations) before such trips. He may also need more support of transitioning back - did he know he was ever coming back? Did he believe you if he did know? Did he doubt even if he believed?

Also, I highly recommend “Siblings Without Rivalry” - the ouch reaction happens at different points for different ages, and that book will help you nip problem situations in the bud. Even for very young kids. As much as my older son wanted a younger sib, and as much as he apparently adored the baby, he also had mixed feelings at times that he didn’t know how to express. Especially after a trip away, your foster son may have thought it was the baby’s fault that he was ‘sent away’. The problem may not be so much JUST the baby, but the combination of baby-plus-home-visit.

Good luck. And don’t push it. They generally potty train when they are ready. Starting early only makes the process take longer, not finish sooner.

My son was not toilet trained until 3.25 years old. He was scared of the potty previously, but one afternoon my wife and I sat him down when he was due, and he got it all figured out within a few hours. Now he’s thrilled at not having to wear diapers and enjoys going by himself. I also had a coworker who claimed he wasn’t potty-trained until 4.5 years. :eek:

As the others have said, be supportive and give it time.

At the risk of sounding indelicate, do you pee in front of him? That’s what my ex and I did with my son, and he was potty trained before his second birthday.

He wanted to be “just like daddy”. We never pressured him, just let him draw his own conclusions, and when we’d ask, he’d want to go. It was practically painless.

A “sure-fire” way I saw demonstrated was on “Dr. Phil” (yeah, I know, I KNOOOOOOW :D). But it looked very promising. So far it (allegedly) has a 100% sucdess rate of potting training a child that same day.

He’s got it posted on his website.

Good luck!

ACK!! Just realized how that second sentence reads!! My EX peed in front of my son, not ME!!

You know, kindof inconpicuously demonstrating?