Godmother Needs Major HELP!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-29-2009
Godmother Needs Major HELP!
Thu, 01-29-2009 - 10:28pm

Hi, I'm new to ivillage, but decided to check in out on a friends recommendation and am glad I have. Currently my husband and I are trying to potty train my godson (who has been essentially abandoned by his mother to our care). Over the past four months, I have tried EVERYTHING I know to try....rewards, potty charts, lots and lots of encouragement and praise, I even took my cousins advice and made HIM rinse his poopy underwear out in the sink and stand in the shower to get his but rinsed off (what she had to do for her little girl) and nothing is seeming to work...He's been peeing in the potty inconsistently for approximately 1 1/2 years (his mother seeming to take no interest in whether he actually started using the potty until after they moved in with four months ago and I started pushing the issue). Recently, it has become a fight to even get him to go into the bathroom and pee and then sit on the potty. I can't allow him to run around naked because it's cool in our house (we heat with wood) AND he was allowed to run around completely naked ALL the time until he moved in with us at which point it became a struggle to get him to keep his clothes on)...I feel like I am pulling my hair out with this issue. I have no children of my own, but have helped potty train other children over the years as I am in child care...never before have I felt so inadequate and at a loss as to what to do next. The worst part is, he knows how to use the potty, and what its for, but he waits until right after he leaves the bathroom to poop his pants, or (his latest antic) till he's standing in front of the potty to pee his pants...we can't even go out to our friends homes anymore because he keeps having accidents ALL NIGHT LONG while he is playing with their children, even though I take him to the bathroom every hour. He started preschool the first of january, and we thought that would help, but thus far it hasn't. If we make him sit on the potty every half hour to hour at home and he doesn't poop right after he gets off the potty, he just waits to do it at school the next day.

Sometimes, i am at a loss and feel very inadequate. I was not ready to be a parent to a toddler and this is just one of the many battles I face daily. Somedays I feel like I am ready to pull my hair out. I am willing to try anything to get him potty trained and ANY ideas would be greatly appreciated.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-14-2004
Fri, 01-30-2009 - 9:31am

I feel your pain!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2005
Sat, 01-31-2009 - 8:32pm

I agree with the PP that all the upheaval very likely is impacting your gs. If you can allow time for him to settle, that'd be helpful. If you think he's ready to move along, here are some suggestions.

Get some thick training underpants and plastic/vinyl pants. The thick training pants will help absorb accidents but still keep the wetness against gs skin to create discomfort to motivate him to use the toilet. The plastic pants/covers will help reduce messes. When ds wets himself, make it HIS responsibility to change his clothes and put the wet things in proper order. Just be matter-of-fact about it. If he's wet, it hurts no one but himself.

For pooping, you can offer to let gs have a diaper or pull-up to poop in. You don't want him withholding his poop or getting in a power struggle over it because it can lead to bigger problems. If ds asks for a diaper or pull-up for poop, he is praised. If he poops in his pants, he has to help clean up the messes, and he also gets an additional negative consequence (for instance, TV time taken away). After several weeks (8-12 weeks) of gs asking for a diaper to poop in, select a day to begin poop toilet training. On the appointed day, when he asks for a diaper, take him to the toilet instead. Since he'll have asked for a diaper, you'll know his urge to poop is strong, so take advantage of it and make gs sit on the toilet. If you think he'll withhold his poop, you can use a small dose of a mild, non-stimulant laxative (not senna-based products) daily while poop potty training to make it difficult for him to withhold his poop.

You can additionally try reward charts. Every time gs pees in the toilet, he gets an "X" or a sticker on the chart. You can do short-term and long-term prizes. After 3-5 stickers he can get a piece of candy. After 10-25 stickers he can get a trip to the $1 store or a trip the movies or something like that. After more stickers, he can go to Chuck E. Cheese's or something else big.

If you thought it would help, you could also get a wristwatch with a timer or a vibrating alarm to prompt gs to use the toilet.

Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2004
Sun, 02-01-2009 - 10:08pm

annabelle32_25, Hi and welcome to the Toilet Teaching board.

I agree with the previous posters, and they had some wonderful ideas, and I can't think if anything else to add at the moment. Just keep your calm, and don't show any frustration.

Please keep us updated your Godson's progress.


iVillage Member
Registered: 07-05-2005
Mon, 02-02-2009 - 11:46pm

Hang in there. Sounds like the poor little guy has had a rough road - and unfortunately, you are on the receiving end of dealing with the fall out. I'd be surprised if you said he is otherwise very well behaved - does he have other behavioral issues?

I'd suggest too backing WAY off on PT. Then, try to find any and all sincere opportunities to praise him. If he sitting quietly, tell him how proud you are of him. Don't comment on the accidents besides a calm "let's try again harder next time, ok?" and then totally celebrate when he DOES use the potty - even if he has an accident 30 minutes later. This little guy needs consistent and supportive parenting. Probably his only way of getting attention before was to misbehave and he's also learned this is something in his life that he CAN control. How old is he? Is mom still in the home or is she gone entirely? I think this is much more than a potty issue and would suggest working with a psychologist on his behaviors and maybe getting him some therapy. I'd agree with the giving him 6 months and trying your best to be consistent and firm on the "zero tolerance" behaviors like hitting, biting, unsafe things, but try to overlook other things and find every single opportunity to praise him. Kids respond very well to praise. Let's give him a reason to WANT on his own terms to do things that illicit a positive interaction with adults.

I'd also suggest that you go to your local library and rent the video and check out the book "1,2,3 Magic". It goes over a behavioral system that I think will help you a lot.

Best of luck to you and God bless you for taking an interest in this little boy. Your actions will pay off for him with interest one day...he needs you in his life right now as hard as this is for you it is the right thing to do for him.

Good luck,

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