• Laura

    I am a recent discoverer of your blog. I was so moved today by your post I have to immediately respond. Damn the laundry – it will have to wait!

    I swear this post has given me flashbacks… but first I want to say that the e-mail you quoted made me sick. If there is one thing I have learned from parenting it is “Keep you mouth shut about other people’s parenting decisions.”

    Parenting is the hardest and most wonderful thing I have ever experienced. Before I had kids I was full of ideas. Ideas about things I would never do, or never let my kids do. Guess what, now that my daughter is 8, those are long gone. Long, long gone. I used to say, for example, “I would never let my child do X.’ Well, I have since been forced, by pain and suffering to let her do X, Y, Z and we looped around into AA, and BB. Those rules just did not fit the amazing child I got.

    Parenting has kicked my butt. But I do think something good has come out of it. It has made me humble. It has given me compassion and empathy. It has made me realize all children are not the same. They are unique and quirky and heart-wrenchingly beautiful, each in his or her own way. Perhaps each child’s parents might know their child best. Certainly better than I, who has only seen them screaming and biting a shopping cart at the grocery.

    We too went through the constipation deal. Only 2 or 3 enimas were necessary, but it was enough to know that I never, ever would wish it on anyone else. When the child who trusts you completely looks at you in such horror because you are hurting them – that sucks more that I can express.

    On the positive side, our daughter is now well past this. It will get better. It took a good year of stickers on a chart, and the purchase of every Kelly doll and Kelly doll accessory Toys-R-Us had in stock as rewards, but she finally stopped being scared to go. But to this day, when I hear her in the bathroom having a good poop, I rejoice at my good fortune. Yes, she just goes in there herself. It’s unbelievable! She has even stopped telling me that she has gone. But I secretly try to keep track, just in case!

  • mm

    Oh Heather, I can’t believe people like that! Apparently she thinks she knows everything, but if she did, she would know that experts say that children should be potty trained when they are ready. And, they will, at their own speed. My daughter showed interest, but didn’t really want to try it herself until she was three. And longer for poopie. She had been potty trained for pee pee for many months, but would still go get a pullup and put it on to poopie. Now, at five, we thankfully have been done with pullups for a while, but there is no need to rush these babies! They will do things at their own pace, and there is no right or wrong age for these types of milestones. That woman is just a bitch, and it just kills me that people are so judgemental.

    I love your site, I am a long time reader. Keep up the great work with the site, and with that precious baby.

  • Ami

    My son (who is now 6) also refused to go number two when he was about 3 years old. We were trying to potty train him and he dug his heels in and refused. Well, as you described with Leta, he became constipated and the whole vicious circle started. For several months, we had to give him enemas regularly and it was HORRIBLE. I feel for you.

    Potty training sucked goat balls. For real.

    Best wishes to you and Jon.

    Ami

  • http://www.alexandrialeigh.com/coan Alexandrialeigh

    ARGH! Why are people such pricks?

  • http://reebeckisueprgirl.blogspot.com ReeBecki

    I feel for Leta! I felt the same way when I had a bladder infection but heck, I was a whole lot older and could handle it (though not very well but I did pretend). She’ll potty train when she’s ready. I mean, have you ever seen a grown (normal) adult wearing diapers? I bet a year from now, this will all be a distant memory.

  • PortnoyHP
  • Ceci

    Take it from me–your daughter will be potty trained one day. It will happen. My daughter, Hurricane Valerie as we affectionately call her, turned 3 with no inclination to use a toilet. I started training when she turned 2–and that was way too early. I think kids’ bodies pretty much decide on their own when they’re ready and no amount of cajoling, bribing, worrying will make it happen any sooner. Val will start kindergarten next fall–and she won’t be wearing diapers–my big fear!

    Take heart. You’re her mom–you know her best.

  • Jen – Lance’s Wife

    Oh! Heather, I can totally feel your pain! I’m a Mom of 4 and my 3rd child, K, went through the exact same thing. It can totally be frustrating and for several years we found ourselves only talking about poop!

    K ended up developing encopresis due to her severe constipation. (It means that her colon was so compacted that the nerve endings no longer touched, which lead to her pooping involunterarily all day long – a joy I can assure you!) We went to several doctors, a number of whom told us to put her on a laxative – just like what you have been given – and we were told to increase her fiber intake. That is very, very difficult when the darling child already ate next to nothing and could taste a fiber additive in any type of juice, milk or water. We did finally find that Yummi Bears makes a fiber bear. She loved them. They taste and look like a gummi bear, Leta might like them. The only draw back to them is that they can be pricey and K needed to eat 15 of them to get in enough fiber!

    After I talked with several of our doctors I realized that all of them were telling me that same thing – and this is important – around the age of 8 years old, most of these kids realize pooping is normal and the problem ends. That is what happened with K. She no longer has a constipation problem and we no longer talk about her pooping habits (something that we both love!)

    Hang in there, I promise it will get better. If you need to talk to a Mom who’s “been there, done that” please feel free to email me.

  • http://www.floydstailgate.blogspot.com Floyd

    Just wanted to throw in my own two cents worth of love to this lovefest. Don’t pay any mind to the mindless.

    Oh, and as someone who has been cursed with urinary tract issues since I was little, give that little Leah a cuddle for me.

  • causaleffect

    When both my kids were born they spent time in NICU. My first had health issues that resuted in two major surgeries. I have been there having to hold down my infant when they tried to insert an IV and they tried several times in both arms, both legs and eventually ended up in the scalp. My wife was sobbing and physically shaking after the fact. I didn’t get that option.

    That was painful to watch and still haunts me today. Over a decade later.

    Heather, you keep doing what you and YOUR family needs to do. It appears that the only ones that the ratio of supporters are about 400 to 1.

    causaleffect

    Organ Donation Awareness Project
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/oneaday2007
    http://causaleffect.blogspot.com

    Are you an organ donor?
    Have to talked to your family about it?

  • tinam

    Awwwww – poor Leta! Poor mom and dad! I’m sorry she is having these problems and hope she gets over it soon. I have no advice – nor do I think anyone should be offering you UNSOLICITED advice on when to potty train your child. I think you’ll know when the time is right.

    I can’t believe someone would be so rude as to tell you they don’t like your decorating style. WHO CARES? It’s YOUR home. Sounds like the emailer is jealous that you are able to be at home and she isn’t.

    Hope the potty issues resovle soon.

  • ugh

    I could give a rat’s ass about you or you stupid baby. I even feel dirty coming on here bc I know it increases your # of hits and in turn, your blog revenue. At least you are laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Abra Cat

    Geez… that sucks. I pretty much went through what you’re going through, except it was split between my two older kids. My daughter WOULD. NOT. POTTY TRAIN! and was getting close to three years old. I wasn’t too concerned about it, since I was already changing an infant’s diapers, I might as well change hers, too. Then she started showing signs of a UTI, so I took her to the doctor, and they catheterized her for a sample (she didn’t fight it though, because my kid weirdly loves doctors, hospitals, and medical procedures), and she started using the potty that night by her own choice. My older son was in diapers until nearly 4, and fighting making poop on the toilet (preferring his underwear, due to leakage from severe constipation– I have an X-ray souvenir from his ER visit during a trip to Disney World). His doctor prescribed Miralax to draw water where it was needed (the poop…), and it helped him become more regular (still not completely out of the woods at age 7, but mostly regular). Now, my third child (he’s three) has been watching and learning, and asked for a potty for Christmas, and actually completely potty trained himself on Christmas Day. Strange kid. Anyway, my point is, they all learn eventually, despite our “help.” Don’t let the haters get you down. Leta will get it when she’s ready.

  • http://kidkate.typepad.com/kidkate/ KidKate

    No advice, just wanted to say I’m sorry. I’m sorry you get emails like that (what is wrong with people?) and I’m sorry you’re going through such a tough time with Leta.

  • http://www.sarcomical.com Sarcomical

    Dear God, Heather.

    i honestly can’t believe there are people who could randomly trash someone’s life like that. i see it over and over again on the internet, and still each time i am equally as surprised. maybe i’m naive that way.

    i thought the pictures of your home were LOVELY. very zen and relaxing and welcoming. sterile was not a word that came to my mind, and perhaps this woman thinks clutter and massive amounts of idiotic fillers create happiness. i’m sorry for her.

    but more sorry for you.

    damn, the internet sucks ass sometimes.

    and p.s., the fact that someone made you feel like you had to jusify to the entire world how you and your husband are dealing with such a private family matter regarding leta’s potty training is obscene. what an ass. (heh…ass)

    please don’t ever doubt your parenting or lifestyle choices. no one has the right to make you do that.

  • The Bold Soul

    I think that the lovely Catherine could use an enema herself (preferably with cold water) because clearly she is EMOTIONALLY if not physically constipated if all she can do with her free time is bash another mother for her parenting and decorating choices.

    I’m not a mother but seems to me that everything I’ve EVER heard or read about potty training is that it’s unwise to force the child to do it. It really is all about control and when you’re 3 years old, there’s not much else in your world you can really control. She’ll catch on eventually.

  • tinam

    Awwwww – poor Leta! Poor mom and dad! I’m sorry she is having these problems and hope she gets over it soon. I have no advice – nor do I think anyone should be offering you UNSOLICITED advice on when to potty train your child. I think you’ll know when the time is right.

    I can’t believe someone would be so rude as to tell you they don’t like your decorating style. WHO CARES? It’s YOUR home. Sounds like the emailer is jealous that you are able to be at home and she isn’t.

    Hope the potty issues resovle soon.

  • dawn444

    I am so sorry you all are going thru what you’re going thru. I don’t have any advice to give, I can’t have kids, but from what all the other Moms and Dads are saying in your comments, it’ll happen when Leta’s ready. I suppose patience, prayer (?), and trying not to worry (easier said that done, I’m sure) is what you and the Mr. will have to do. Best of luck, youcandoit!

  • Jill

    I am sorry a comment from a typical judgemental mother brought you to the point of feeling like you had to justify yourself. Its not bad that you did especially since it seems many of the comments so far are helpful in at least saying you are not alone, but I hate that women make other women feel like there is always something to justify in our lives. Having said that, your story brought tears to my eyes and promted me to comment here for the first time (though I’ve been reading for almost a year). I am the mother of a 13 month old little girl I had to hold down for a regular well checkup visit and cried right along with her through it, to discover that Leta has this daily struggle is heartbreaking. I truly hope things take a turn for the better for you and Miss Leta soon. She is a beautiful and obviously intelligent little girl (you’d have to be a smarty to know to hold your pee).

  • tinam

    Awwwww – poor Leta! Poor mom and dad! I’m sorry she is having these problems and hope she gets over it soon. I have no advice – nor do I think anyone should be offering you UNSOLICITED advice on when to potty train your child. I think you’ll know when the time is right.

    I can’t believe someone would be so rude as to tell you they don’t like your decorating style. WHO CARES? It’s YOUR home. Sounds like the emailer is jealous that you are able to be at home and she isn’t.

    Hope the potty issues resovle soon.

  • ProfReb

    Clearly, everyone on the planet (or at least your blog, which seems to be a radically skewed and articulate sample) believes that woman is bad, bad, bad *and* all kinds of wrong and you are wonderful and entertaining and a perfectly good homemaker and decorator to boot. We should all be part Martha Stewart, part Shonda Rhimes and part Dixie Chicks simultaneously.

    I have two friends who’ve told great stories about their sons’ choices to stop using pull-ups. One had been ill (cancer) for years and so they didn’t want to force him to potty train — wasn’t important in the big scheme of things, I guess. His Mom and he were buying diapers right before his 4th birthday. She said, “Look! The package says they’re for up to four years old.” The number was right there on the side. He really believed that on your fourth birthday you switch to the toilet, so he did.

    The other little guy wanted to wear cool underwear with characters, but he was still going in his diapers all the time. His Mom bought a bunch of really cool big boy underwear and showed him exactly where they were in his bedroom for whenever he was ready and one day much (like months) later he could resist those SpiderMan undies no more!

    More proof that you’re right — kids will do this (or not) in their time, their way… and there are things you can do to help, but they don’t always involve sitting them on the toilet for hours at a time.

    More organic chicken broth posts please. I still think about that one. Who *are* these people?

    Luck to Leta!

  • Windy

    The advantage of being married to a newspaper reporter is that potty-training your child may actually end up in the paper:

    http://www.timesdaily.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060627/NEWS/606270301&SearchID=73270223368495

    That full-color photo? That’s my son. And his adorable little butt crack. My husband wrote the article and took the picture in our bathroom. When it ran, the picture was 4″ x 12″. I can’t wait until Tyler’s old enough to be embarassed by it.

  • sweetsunshine

    Heather, I can offer much empathy. I went through something very similar with my daughter who is three months older than Leta. She was urine trained relatively early- right around 2 years old. She continued to poop in her diaper- no big deal. We figured she’d get there when she was ready. Then, the constipation happened. Twice. We ultimately had to give her two doses of suppositories, which was pure hell for all involved. While reading your description of restraining Leta at the doc visit, I relived our suppository experience and had tears streaming down my face. It is one of the worst experiences I have ever had to endure. From that point on, she was scared of anything to do with poop. She was scared of her father (which totally broke my heart) because he was the one who inserted the suppository. She would hold it for days. Dance around, cry and whine. She looked physically ill during these episodes. We tried everything to get her to go. We used Miralax, but she was still afraid to go. She was on Miralax/pooping in her diaper for almost a year. Sometimes it was a huge battle, other times it wasn’t quite as bad. She finally, at age 3 decided to start going on the toilet. This was her own decision, and I tried everything to get her to go, but she ultimately decided.
    I feel for you and Jon. It was truly awful watching my daughter go through this. She was clearly in pain and scared and frustrated. And there was nothing I could do for her. Truly heartbreaking.
    Hang in there, Heather. She will get there and in the meantime I am sending you so much support. I know what you are going through, and it may not seem like a big deal to some, but I get it.

  • twoan7els

    Oh Heather! How awful for all of you to be going through that! I can only imagine how hard it is to watch your child go through something so awful. Potty training will happen when Leta is ready and not a minute sooner. My son was 3yr and 3 mo. old when he was finally trained and he didn’t have any of the problems Leta has had, he was just lazy. We tried everything to train him and nothing worked. Finally we just put him in underwear and within the week he had it. I have heard that Cranberry juice will help prevent UTI’s, and there is a Potty Elmo on the market.
    I thought your house looked beautiful. I wish my house was that organized, but with 2 kids running around I’m lucky if I can keep up with the dishes and laundry. I think that people who can’t say anything nice shouldn’t say anything at all. Didn’t her mom teach her the Golden Rule?

  • auntiem

    Heather, I know that my comment is like #385 and I’m sure you are tired of reading comments, so I’m not sure if this will help encourage you or not. I haven’t commented before, but I was so upset about that lady’s mean email and your tough situation with Leta that I thought I’d finally add something.

    I discovered your blog via google nearly a year ago because my 2 year old niece Olivia was struggling with constipation. My sister needed some encouragement that she wasn’t alone since they too felt helpless watching their little girl struggle to hold in her poo until her little tummy hurt so much. It was so sad! We found some of your past posts about Leta to be eerily similar to Olivia’s experiences. We laughed and cried along with you.

    Regarding today’s post, the 384 people ahead of me have probably exhausted the advice available on this topic, so I will refrain. If nothing else, maybe you’ll find encouragement in the numbers and the stories saying that you aren’t alone. I do hope and pray that your situation will be sorted out soon and without more pain and agony. Poor Leta, poor you and Jon. Hang in there!

    PS I read your blog regularly; it’s so refreshing!

  • http://hoshichan.com/ Danielle

    Heather – I stand before you as a 28-year-old survivor of the Fear of #2 Malady, and although I truly wish I’d been more reasonable as a toddler (being regular sounds nice, but my insides are now permanently trained, it seems), I did get through it after some hand-wringing on my mother’s part.

    You’re doing the right thing by going at her pace, don’t listen to the idiots. (You don’t need anyone to tell you that, I’m sure.) But seriously, I guarantee, she’ll be fine in the end and she’ll learn to accept that bodily functions are just a part of life. Until then, hugs to all of you, I hope she passes through this quickly. (Toddler UTI, ugh, I can’t even begin to imagine.)

  • birdy

    Hi Heather, I have been a devoted reader forever. I have groaned, giggled, and taken deep breaths along with you and relate completely. I am the older, shorter, version of you.

    Grew up in Provo a good little Mormon girl. Became disallusioned and moved to So Cal after 2 years at the U of U. It was much easier to be Non-Mormon 700 miles from home. I met and married my husband (not ever Mormon) and now, even though I know better; I have moved back to Ut to bask in the glow of my Mormon family.

    Okay, enough with the common background. I have never commented before because what fool really does that, I mean I have a full life and all. Well, I have to today because I was moved by Leta and her non movement. I have a 5 yr old and 3 (will be 4 in May) year old twins. All three are girls and I am convinced this is my Karmic payback for the terror I perpetrated on my Mother. One of my twins has had the exact same year as Leta. I can not even estimate the amount of Glycolax we have used. Her record for holding was 9 days. It was brutal, I cried as much as she did.

    I have taken the same course and have refused to push her in any way onto a potty or out of a diaper. I too received scorn and alot of “advice”. I am here to tell you there is indeed light. 2 weeks ago, this very constipated “super holder” announced that she was a big girl and would now go on the potty. She walked to the bathroom and took a dump that would surely injure a grown man. Her only comment was, “that’s stinky mommy” and it was. She has never looked back and I have a full pack of size 6 huggies in the closet if you would like them.

    Heather you are doing the right thing, Leta will let you know when she is ready. Thank you for blogging.

  • http://www.thegeneva.com theGeneva

    Grrrr, what a horribly judgemental and incorrect woman.

    MEDICINE dictates that children should not begin potty training before they are 17 months old because it can set them back even further.

    However, waiting a bit longer until the CHILD is ready always works best – it did for me and my daughter.

    Catherine’s hostility expressed in her email only shows that she is very insecure about her own parenting skills. I wonder how much difficulty she has getting her child to adhere to what makes her life more convienant?

    I applaud you Dooce, you are a great mom who puts HER CHILD’S NEEDS FIRST, and not many parents can say that they do.

    And yes, I AM a working mom. And Yes, my child’s needs come first – she was potty-trained when she was 2 and a half-ish,she started seeing other kids go potty and wanted to be big like them. Social groups are important for even small ones.

    She is ten now and doesn’t have any “bathroom issues”. Perhaps this is Catherine’s problem?

  • tracemb

    Most of the “professionals” who analyze kids and child-related issues agree on the issue of potty training. And the concensus is that they will learn when they are ready.

    So the rocket scientist who is posing as an ordinary mother must know this already and just forgot, temporarily.

    She should be thankful that it was not an issue for her. Count her blessings and move on to the next task, because I can guarantee that she will have a parenting issue sometime or another that will have her pulling her hair out.

    In the meantime, know that it is normal to have trouble potty training and also know that mothers like myself, who read your site appreciate you sharing your life in such detail. Because really, it is none of our business.

    Keep your spirits up and keep thinking that in a year, you won’t even think it was that big of an issue.

  • http://amylynn1313.blogspot.com Amy

    Heather,
    I don’t have any wonderful advice. I have a stubborn daughter whom, at one point, also had poop issues. Lucky for us, prunes did the trick. I’m sure you’ve tried everything, but in case you haven’t checked prunes off the list, maybe it will help. Our daughter loved them…still does…they’re like monster sized raisins.

    The people who send nothing but evil-driven mail should get a life and just leave you the hell alone. Really.

    Good luck,
    Amy

  • Jeff

    Bleh. The sooner women like that die or lose their arms, the better off we’ll all be. I don’t think the woman that spawns realizes just how fragile the balance in a child’s life can be.

    I’ve been working on potty-training my firstborn, just a year older than Leta, since about 18 months. He’s four now and still has to wear pull-ups. He had been all but done with potty-training about four months ago. But four months ago, my job changed from where I could pick him up from daycare myself to where he doesn’t see me for more than an hour a day. Split shifts suck…anyway, he regressed because of this. He started wetting himself at all times of the day. Some of it was willful, some of it not, but it’s just something we have to deal with because my job isn’t changing again anytime soon.

    You know what you’re doing…screw those who don’t think so.

  • Cindi

    My heart is broken for Leta. That sounds painful and scary for a little girl. I am so sorry you have to watch her go through this.

    And for Catherine – don’t be so bitchy. It’s just not cool. What kind of person takes the time out of their day to write mean emails to strangers? Go have a drink or get laid. Or clean your house. It sounds nasty.

  • Jack

    I can’t say when I was potty trained, nor can I offer you anything but support for all the issues surrounding Leta and her issues with #1 and #2. Afterall, how old was Chuck when he was potty trained, and he’s already been a congressman and who knows what else? Even though Leta doesn’t poop into the throne yet, her choice of when to begin this rite of passage will still not stop her from writing her own future.

    I can say however that I hope she is never potty-mouth trained, because I never was and that’s one of the things that make me unique. You have the most wonderful potty-mouth, it always makes me laugh! Now, don’t get me wrong. My not being potty-mouth trained as a 41 year old can sometimes be embarassing, especially in public, but it sure is fun!

    Regarding your house: I think it looks great, it isn’t minimalist but it is very feng something. Looks cozy, ain’t that what it’s supposed to be?

    Take care and relax. There is a time for everything.

    Jack Greenwood

  • http://www.gollygolly.com faustina

    I wanted to add, although you are filled with useless suggestions, have you tried giving her milled flax seed to eat? Try adding just a couple tablespoons to cookie batter, she’ll never know, and it will be hard to resist going after she eats it. When my son eats cookies with flax seed in it, he goes several times during the day. I’d say it’s worth a try anyway. Also, holy crap you get a lot of comments lol.

  • mm

    Oh Heather, I can’t believe people like that! Apparently she thinks she knows everything, but if she did, she would know that experts say that children should be potty trained when they are ready. And, they will. My daughter showed interest, but didn’t really want to try it herself until she was three. And longer for poopie. She had been potty trained for pee pee for many months, but would still go get a pull up and put it on to poopie. Now, at five, we are finally done with pullups, but there is no need to rush these babies! They will do things at their own pace, and there is no right or wrong age for these types of milestones. That woman is just a bitch, and it just kills me that people are so judgemental.

    I love your site, I am a long time reader. Keep up the great work with the site, and with that precious baby.

  • http://rocksandgarbage.blogspot.com/ angela marie

    I’ve had 4 children and only ONE of them has had no issues with the poop/potty.

    Oldest boy and oldest girl: Both have my constipation issues. In fact, Carly is right behind me drinking a bottle of water to help go poopy later. She has been trying to go for about 1/2 hour.

    Youngest girl: Many, many urinary tract infections. They started right when she was learning to potty train. Set us back, for sure…we felt horrible about her pain and her worry about going potty. Finally, she dealt with it herself and decided she was going to go and realized it didn’t hurt. About 6 months ago. Next month she will turn 4.

    A pox on parents who think they’ve got it all straight and don’t see that every child (and family) is different. Sheesh.

  • http://zucchinibikini.blogspot.com/ Kathy

    Admitting that I have not read most of the comments (300+? Who really has the time?) and that therefore I am probably repeating ad nauseam what others have said, I’d like to say this:

    1. I feel extremely sad for you that you (and Leta) had to suffer through the catheterisation. It’s painful to have done as an adult, I can only imagine how poor Leta felt, and how you felt there with her. I suffered the same sort of thing in miniature when my eldest had to have an IV drip inserted and oh but it hurts when your child is panicked and terrified and in pain. So all my sympathies on that.

    2. What IS all this emphasis on early toilet training in the US? Yes, I said EARLY – here in Australia we are being told by our district nurses / drs to hold off with most kids until they are minimum 2.5 years, usually 3 or more, and if there are excretary or urinary problems, LONGER. There is a wealth of research now about how older toilet training leads to a more secure, quicker and less stressful process for everyone involved. I have 2 girls and the oldest, now 3 years 6 months, started toilet training at 2 years 9 months because she was good and ready and had perfect digestion (still does) – she was fully and trauma-lessly trained at 2 years 10 months. Waiting is good, not bad. Rushing is very, very bad, and doesn’t in any case work (much as you can’t force them to eat, really).

    3. Re the fear of toileting – my friend’s son had almost the exact scenario you have – chronic constipation, eventual UTI from dirty nappy, then fear of weeing as well as pooping, although mercifully without the catheter (they were able to persuade him to stand over a bucket while watching a DVD and drinking a milkshake to get the sample). He is now 4 and a half and it is resolved and he is well toilet trained. Here is what she did, on the advice of a child therapist, and it worked:
    a) Placed no pressure, emphasis or stress on toileting, either verbal, physical or social
    b) Administered daily high-dose laxatives and high-fibre, high-water diet to reduce the physical symptoms
    c) Did lots of talk and play about how the body works and how it needs to get rid of its waste to feel good – never specifically tying it back to the child
    d) Provided emotional and physical support for the actual process, talking in low soothing voice, saying comforting things etc
    And here is the kicker…
    e) Encouraged sitting on the potty for extended periods, no pressure to do anything, just being there. Watching TV or whatever. With nappy on if preferred. The reason being that some (many?) children actually find the seated position makes their pooping easier once they get over the fear of it.
    It did work for her kid, although it took time (3 months maybe). He was very severely frightened before though so maybe it’s worth a shot.

    Anyway, enough from me. I truly hope you get it resolved Heather and that you continue to treat people such as Catherine with ALL the respect they deserve ;-)

  • Leon

    …..egad Dooce.

    I am sorry for the eternal and infernal suck-o-city of so many people and for what you guys are going through with the Frog Princess.

    Always look at it this way. You’re one huge step ahead of me and the misses. You took the plunge and decided to have a kid and deal with all those terrifying sacrifices you have to make. You have to realize how monumental that step is. Even if she’s not potty trained until she can legally drink, at least she’s got a mother and father who love her so. She’s more adjusted than tons of other kids in this world for that reason alone.

    I will say though, that your child rearing horror story will go on my ongoing list of reasons to not have kids. I do not know how you people do it.

    Power to the BlurboDoocery!

  • babbling

    Dear Sweet Caring Loving Worried Nurturing Previous but Evolved Mormon Heather,,,,,,,Leta is fantastically lucky to have you as a mom. Can you imagine this woman (who has obviously nothing better to do in her own life, than sit writing critical emails about yours) as Leta’s mom? Telling her to stop that sad, constipated, painful face, it’s NOT GOING WITH THE CHEERFUL KIDS ROOM DECOR ALREADY! I have for days and days drooled over your house photos. Longing to have such a beautiful, organized, classic, together home. I too have had a child strapped down, terrified, sterile cloths over her face, as her gaping split chin was injected with numbing shots, and multiple stitches. Begging the doctor to please not screw it up as she thrashed about, seeing as, well it was her face for the rest of her life ya know. My children have never been constipated. Our family has quite the opposite problem historically. I once as a toddler got onto the counter and ate an entire box of prunes cause I liked the taste. My mother was horrified for days afterward she tells me. You are doing well. I have a feeling you already know Catherine is off her Pier 1 rocker. Snoooooort.

  • Beret

    You’re doing the right thing (not that you need anyone’s validation).

    I believe a parent should never make a huge issue about food or toilet issues. Kids eat when they’re hungry and they potty train when they are ready. Forcing the issue (food or potty) will just make for power struggles and issues later in life.

    Leta will not go to Kindergarten in diapers. One day she’ll decide she’s ready for Elmo underwear and that will be that.

    About your house: it looks great.

  • http://www.dirtyunclemark.com mark

    To hell with the people telling you that you’re parenting wrong. You’re doing what you know and fell is right, and that’s the way it should be. Ignore the flippin’ peanut gallery.

  • Bripadme

    Heather, first of all let me say I’ve been a longtime reader (like many of us) and I love reading your blog. You’re an amazing person, and extremely ballsy for sharing your life with The Internet. As Catherine so wonderfully proved, not everyone is nice when they comment. I’m hoping she meant well, but who knows. She has an odd way of showing support.

    Secondly? I loved the photos of your house! You actually inspired me to get my house organized. I’ve been working my ass off on it. I even bought some of those cute little totes that you put under Leta’s crib – they are awesome in my linen closet. I think someone else put it nicely – something about simple elegance. Her room is lovely. Who needs loads of clutter?

    Thirdly, I don’t have children yet, but if I had a little one with this problem, I’d take her to visit my amazing chiropractor. There are a lot of negative perceptions about chiropractic, but I encourage people to learn more about it. I have horrible back problems and chiropractors have worked wonders on me. At one point I was walking hunched over and couldn’t even go to the bathroom by myself. Chiropractic isn’t just for back pain. When you’re out of alignment it effects your entire body – and that includes how you poop. I would really encourage you to look into that, as well as the diet changes and lots of liquids others have suggested.

    I hope the situation improves…and even I know that you can’t force a child to potty train (haha, I bought the SuperNanny book and she says the same thing!). Each child is different.

    When I’m a mom, I hope I don’t turn into Catherine. I think women need to support each other, not tear each other down.

    Best of luck, Heather.

    Jules

  • http://ser-kai.livejournal.com/ Naiiad

    Hey Heather,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while(try since before you had Leta)now and have decided to delurk. I think you’re doing the very best for your kid. Parenting isn’t easy at all. Also, your home is lovely, so FEH to Catherine. FEH, I say!

  • http://www.meretrice.com Meretrice

    Hi Heather,

    I can’t address the physical issues that Leta is having with potty-training. Frankly, I don’t blame her. If I had gone through those experiences, I probably wouldn’t want to go either. I wholly sympathize.

    What I can say helped my daughter with potty-training was having her around other kids her age who were potty-training also. She was in daycare and the facility implemented group potty-training for every child 2 and up. She was regularly using the potty within two weeks.

    I know your daughter isn’t in daycare. However, if you have any neighbors or family with young children, you might consider inviting them over for extended playdates regularly so that Leta can see what it is all about. Perhaps seeing other children peeing and pooping would help her see that it is not such a bad thing.

    Another thing that I learned was that continuing to use diapers and Pull-ups can really hinder the process. If the child doesn’t feel wet after urinating, they really don’t see what the point of the potty is. “Hell, I’m comfortable, what’s your problem, Mom?” At some point you will have to put her in regular panties permanently and not look back. Yes, I was terrified of this concept also! All I can say is prep yourselves with a water-proof mattress pad and water-proof pillow-cover for her bed.

    Good luck!

    April

  • JLJ

    I haven’t made a comment on the site in quite a long time, although I’ve sent you a couple of strange and probably gushy e-mails about how much I love what you’ve built here. I also realize I’m repeating much of what everyone else has said, BUT I can’t help myself. I must comment.

    Let me start with a small, rather disgusting personal story (How’s that for an opener?).

    Here is my oversharing moment:

    When I was six, after I had been potty-trained successfully, it was discovered that my urethra was a little too small and that I had three kidneys. (!) I had tremendous problems with kidney infections and bladder infections because of these conditions. I was very ill, and one of my strongest memories from that time was the chocolate-flavored antibiotic that I took every day for months.

    After several unsuccessful attempts on the part of doctors and nurses (one of whom I kicked in the mouth), a small surgery was performed to open the urethra. Afterwards, I believe I told the doctor I hated him several times. (To which he finally replied, “I don’t like you much either”–all said while my mother wilted in mild embarrassment in the corner–poor woman–I was a bit … strong-willed.) I screamed at the nurses. I called one nurse several names I was not supposed to know. My poor parents.

    Anyway, the upshot is that, when I had to use the bathroom, it hurt. So, I refused to do it. I held it through warm baths. I held it through large glasses of water and milk I was given to drink. I held it for SEVEN days. It just really seemed like the logical thing to do.

    My parents and the doctor all decided the best thing to do was to let me hold it until I decided to ‘not’ hold it, if you get my meaning. They decided to let me decide.

    I went home and held it (again, yikes, seven days). One afternoon, however, finally, while my mother and the woman who was helping her clean the house, were working, I could no longer contain the flow of what felt like the Colorado river. I leaped off of the couch, ran screaming through the house, pee flying behind me as I went, leapt up onto the bed (thankfully, the sheets had just been stripped off), and peed and peed and peed and peed, screaming all the while.

    Even after that humiliation (the cleaning woman laughed her ass off), I still hesitated before peeing for many weeks, although I never held it for seven days ever again.

    The thing that helped me most as a child was my mother’s understanding. She didn’t get angry. She didn’t push me. She didn’t force me to do what I didn’t want to do. She let me and my body make those decisions. She was kind. She understood about my pain.

    And this was AFTER I was potty trained. So, age of the child has nothing to do with it. Leta is doing what appears logical, because she sounds like an extremely intelligent and logical girl. And you sound like a wonderful mother.

    And I sound like a bit of a nut, but alas, I probably am, although I’ve never sent vituperative letters to strangers about the ways in which I think that they should raise their child. Now, THAT’S nuts.

    Your house is beautiful. I was openly envious when I saw it. I’m especially in love with the built-ins. Your mothering is compassionate and wonderful. I only hope I can be that sort of mother someday.

    And to Catherine, if she gets the time to read this, in between thinking about what the rooms of dead children should look like and ‘helping’ her nanny potty-train her children, knock it off.

    Catherine’s comments showed what she lacks, not what anyone else does.

  • http://www.cherisecarter.com/blog/ Cher

    Wow, after that many comments, I’m not even sure you’ll see mine, but here goes…
    Words of encouragement – being more concerned with your child’s health and well being far outways trying to meet some socialized standardized timeline as to when to potty train your child.
    I raised three girls and all of them were very different in their training tactics and techniques. What worked for one didn’t work for the other and none of them did it within the accepted time frame. One was far earlier and the other two were terribly late.
    My son – the baby and only boy – has a condition called IBS and also has systemic bowel disorder. He has accidents at 9 years old that both embarrass and upset him, but cannot at this time, be controlled, though we are working on it. I’ve had more people make rude uninformed comments than you can shake a stick at and no matter how I fight with myself not to let it get to me, it does. Guilt – “Am I being a good parent”, etc. I have to fight it. What I have to remember is.. I’m the one in this situation day in and day out. I’m the one at the doctors visits, the afternoon calls from school for a “clean up”.. the tears my son cries from sheer embarassment and frustration. Others aren’t. And so in the end, thier opinnions don’t really matter, unless I let them.

    I’ve been reading your blog for a long time (since the work incident) and if Leta is anything like her mom, she’s a very intelligent little girl. Maybe if you try talking to her in a more grown up way (not that you haven’t already probably) and explain to her that “holding it in” will cause her to have to go back to the doctors, she will learn not to do that, with time.

    I know this is turning into a full fledged letter, and i’m sorry LOL. Its obvious you love your daughter and you’re doing a great job as a parent. Don’t worry about others so much, or let it get you down thatthings don’t happen on that “time line” the way “everyone else” thinks it should. YOu’re the one that has to live your life.. no one else.

    As for the woman who thought it was okay to post such a rude post… wow… the idiocy of some people never ceases to amaze me. You’d think after 20 years on the internet, it would LOL.
    Hang in there.. you’re doing fantastically!

  • http://verygeorge.com GEORGE!

    Out of control sterile?

    The apocalypse is near. A member of my family has been described as “out of control sterile”.

  • Bunnilicious

    My mother had a similar experience with my older sister. While my sister did get officially “trained” when she was a year and a half, she still had accidents now and again. I asked my mother what she thought about Leta’s situation, and she said you just had to take your time and not try to force it. She said that for my sister, she had to make enemas a part of her potty training. Because she couldn’t go on her own, she had to be given an enema with a baby syringe and then put onto the potty. When she “went” on the potty (which she had to, since she was just given an enema) she would be praised and rewarded, just like any other child would be. She may not be able to “go” when she wants to, but enemas are bad enough, if there’s some light at the end of the tunnel (besides relief for the tummy!) it makes it a teensy bit more bearable.
    Just thought I’d share that with you. I don’t have kids, and I had diarrhea for pretty much the first twelve years of my life, so I have no experience to share with you. My mother wishes you the best.
    I’m sure Leta will go when she’s ready, and that you’ll do whatever you can to make the best of a shitty situation (sorry for the pun!)

  • http://jenmarya.livejournal.com/ jenmarya

    i hate catherine.

    when i read this entry it made me wonder if you and Leta share a hereditary condition. Whaleshaman may be onto something.

    congrats on your diapering skillz. i’m still working on diapering while daughter stands–so far i have to grab her shirt with my teeth to prevent her from running away–is that legal in calf roping and diapering, anyway?

  • whynter

    Hey guys,

    I have no advice at all for you since I don’t have kids yet, but… I think you are doing a fine job Heather, you have obviously done the right thing all along because you and Jon have produced and raised one of the cutest, smartest little kids around. Don’t let mean people get you down!

    Meghan