I Met a Poop Guru

Anyone nice enough to read my posts, know that I am a mother to three children – ages 7, 4 and 18 months. Yes, you can say it – I have my hands full and since you said or thought it, if you could add a dime to the collection of other dimes from people saying the common phrase, I’d appreciate it. I have three educations to pay for so I need all the help I can get.

My hands are full … and usually it’s full of a shit. Okay, so the poop is in a diaper but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have to invest in a stout hand sanitizer/soap – that stuff lingers, bleh.

Am I the only mom who wonders what unholy creature crawled up their kids bum in the middle of the night and died a horrible death, and cooked in the desert sun for three days before being unleashed from their bowels? That’s a bit much, but you get the idea.

All mothers have embarrassing but funny poop stories. It’s one thing all moms have in common. No matter your pareting style, we have all been shit on.

I’m currently potty training our four-year-old. I should say we, and that my husband and I are potty training our autistic son together, but let’s just be honest – it’s pretty much me.

To help tackle the potty issue, I attended a special needs potty training class. Our middle son, J, is on the spectrum and the over-achiever in me wants to get all the information I can to help him … within reason. No need to start looking into school to be urologist or gastroenterologist just yet.

I envisioned a large room with 50 or more chairs, a microphone, podium, and maybe even a projector screen on the back wall. Instead, there were four families in a small room, two tables with 10 or so chairs, a small projector screen to my right and a handful of computers against the wall on my left. And it was perfect.

It wasn’t intentional, but two families sat at each table and those interested in overall potty training sat at my table and those just those interested in #2 were at the other.

The doctor entered the room and immediately you could tell by her mannerisms that she knew her shit – literally. When someone has so much to say about bowel movements that she dedicates her 20-page thesis in graduate school about it, you know you are either in the presence of a someone with too much time on their hands or a poop guru. I do believe she is the latter.

I didn’t have to travel to some exotic country and spend a year in silence at some ancient temple to be enlightened – this doctor knew her stuff and it was eye opening.

Did you know that if someone is really constipated, it seeps through their pores and you can smell it? Think about it. Those toxins have to be released some how.

The Poop Guru informed us that her nose is so sensitive that she can tell just how constipated a kid is in a few minutes of meeting them by their smell. I mean, I knew that a really stinky poo was a sign that someone was constipated but, wow, just by them walking in the room? If she decides to leave her job, she should look into working at airports. She could sniff out those who are desperate enough to shove drugs up their bum.

Anyway, back to the class. She was for rewards, doing the naked-from-the-shirt-down method for one day (also known as intensive training) and taking the potty chair with you everywhere. She had logged in countless hours training kids with all sorts of issues – withholders, nervous nellies, nonverbal ASD, mentally handicap – you name it, she had a solution. She had potty trained them all.

She recommended keeping track of your child’s bowel movements to find out when they went every day and if it didn’t follow your schedule to “train” them to go at a certain time every day. Her solution? Liquid suppositories. I know, I turned my nose up at it, too.

But if your child is in so much pain because they refuse to go (known as a withholder) then according to her, only a tiny bit of a liquid suppository will do the trick to give your child some relief and fast. She assures that it’s more tramautic for us than them. Not sure that’s the route for us just yet, but I have been keeping track of J’s movements so we can make him comfortable enough to go.

For those who are shy or have sensory issues, she recommended having the child spend time on the toilet with their clothes on to relax them. It’s all about creating a relaxing environment for them to feel safe enough to go.

So far, #1’s have been decent. Only a week or so in and he seems to show general interest in going. He likes his new “big boy” underwear. The reward system works but not the way that I thought.  Trinkets and fun snacks or candy work so-so, but you know what does work? iPad time. J is obsessed with YouTube kids so if he wants extra video time he’s learning he needs to go.

I took plenty of notes from the Poop Guru and I learned a lot, but I know every kid is different and what will work for one may not work for another. The thing is, something will work. We have to practice that “p” word, though – patience. And that can be tough, but I know you can do it.

For those in the same situation, I encourage you to take all the information in you can but at the end of the day, you have to do what is best for your family. The same goes for parenting books that make all sorts of promises. Same goes for me and the Poop Guru.

God made you a mama for a reason, never forget that. You may not always feel qualified, but He knows you are the right person for the job. Those mama instincts you have are from Him, so trust and know that each kid is on his or her own timeline. It doesn’t matter that your neighbor’s great niece was potty trained at 18 months. Good for her, but don’t compare, don’t let that beast in. Focus on the adventure ahead with the child, the gift, in front of you.

No matter how easy someone makes potty training seem, we all just have to go with the flow – literally.


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