Monday, February 15, 2010

Pea to be, you and me

Popular topic these days, going pea. It seems a lot of kids are having a flare up in their mad pea-ing and their parents are having a bit of a "I have had it with the effing pea already" moment. Pea-ing where there is no toilet involved, no toilet for miles. On stuff that is not porcelain or filled with flushable water. Pea pea pea. Corey put out a post the other day asking for Dr. Mom opinions and idea's about how to handle pea issues. Since I am way to wordy to just leave a comment, here I am.

Yes, I am deliberately spelling it "pea". I used to be consumed with pea, and subsequently posted about it often. This led to a trail of perverts doing perverted searches on the subject of perverted pea things and finding me and my lovely little mommy blog. Not good. Now if anyone has a perverted thing about pea's the vegetable, well, you just cannot avoid the whole world.

You don't shame the child for having pea "accidents". But that doesn't mean you just ignore it either. I couldn't live with myself if I did not at least make sure the child knows how nasty and disgusting it is to pea places where pea is not meant to be. Once that is done however, ignoring freestanding pea to the fullest possible extent really is the best way to go. THIS DOES NOT mean there are no consequences! It just means that if pea-ing is about attention, DON"T FEED THE BEAST!

We had massive pea issues here. When Genea came to us she was fully potty trained at the age of 4. It was several weeks in when she started peeing on herself. At first we were supremely kind, considerate, helpful and pleasant with her about it. So, it progressed. It went from one time every few days, to several times a day. Now, Genea has never been a "mad" pea-er. Some kids are and will pea in revenge when you make them wear 2 matching socks, or whatever. Genea has highs, and lows as far as her moods and then she has the in- between times. Her pea-ing always spiked when her other issues were more subdued. Just as I would start to think, ahhhh, the incessant never ending control challenges are letting up, pissssssssssssss, nope! Don't you go thinking you got this parenting business under control lady! Pisssssss on you! And pea everywhere else too. On the bed, on a chair, on the couch, on the rug. She always pea'd in her clothes and then would wander around like that until we noticed while sitting on various surfaces.

So along with Bribe and Threaten Parenting, I also have a few beliefs in the area of motivation. I think that if you are going to try to make a behavior stop you have to make it more worth it to stop the behavior than to continue it. Likewise you have to make the reward they get out of it less appealing by using natural consequences. In other words, the resulting hassle has to really suck if it is ever going to devalue the thrill.

Now I am only talking here about daytime pea "accidents". Nighttime bed wetting is a completely different thing and often the child needs to physically mature out of it. Here are some things we have done that worked in that it would stop the pea streak for several weeks at a time before it reappeared. Incidentally, we always let the first few go without any consequence in a streak. This was probably a mistake with Genea but I felt like, all kids have an accident here or there, it happens. But with her, she rarely benefits or changes her behavior with a warning or a considerate sort of, "I'll ignore that this time". To her that is a challenge and offensive to her rigid nature. This list might seem overly punitive and harsh but for most of the time we had pea issues I did parts of the list at a time, not all. The also assumes you have exhausted all the typical, more positive ways to go about the business of keeping pea where it's supposed to be.

So, here we go!
Set a timer for every hour. Child brings the timer to you to reset and leaves it in the bathroom in between visits.
Child has to sit on toilet for 10 minutes, also dictated by timer.
Child clearly needs to spend more time around the toilet and should really become more familiar with it, so child becomes in charge of cleaning toilet until it sparkles (I just made a spray bottle with soap and water, I never actually considered that to be a cleaned toilet lol!)

Child has to hand wash all soiled clothing in the sink, rinse and wring out.
Child has to take wet clothing to laundry room.

If those don't work, progress to:
Set timer for every half hour with child in charge of carrying timer around and responding to it.
Child has to sanitize toilet seat after every use.
Child has to clean up all mess.
(Note, I never consider any child-cleaned thing to actually be clean! Having her do it is for show, to make the point and to know how it feels to have to clean up pea and pea residue all day. Same with the potty and laundry. I went back and re- did all of it all sneaky-like).

Child has to carry around a sheet of plastic to sit on if child continues to pea on furniture.
If child forgets to put down plastic, she has to then sit on the floor on her sheet of plastic and on no fabric surfaces.

We went through a phase towards the end of the last school year, where Genea started pea-ing herself at school. Once she did it, she opened her own floodgate and discovered all the cool things that adults will do for you and with you when you have had an "accident". The problem quickly accelerated and the school teachers were extremely careful that no other child should catch on to the accidents. Unfortunately that took out the social stigma aspect for Genea, and just left her with the fun, manipulative aspects. This was the point where I started having her wear pull- ups to school. I hated to do it, but being known as the kid who pee's herself in kindergarten, well, we all remember kids who never recovered from that label even years later. It was going to be horrible for Genea socially if I just let her go on. So, from there I told her I will pay for one pull- up, the one you wear at nighttime. Any more pull-ups and you have to pay me back by doing a "nasty chore", such as scrubbing out the garbage can or wiping down the stairs, pulling weeds, etc. Thankfully, this was what it took to knock back the pea problem almost permanently. I used every single weapon listed, once she started going on herself at school and it was hell. Hell. But, it worked after several days, maybe a week or two and control pea-ing never came back.

The last 2 weapons in my arsenal are things I never used, thankfully. One was fairly dramatic. Pea-ing on myself. Take the shock and vileness out of the equation. The other was to use the placebo effect, but I don't know that that would have worked. There is too much of a deliberateness to Genea's pea problem.

Don't forget your "RAD Rule of 3", that I just made up. It will take your child 3 times as long to get the message and stop the behavior as other kids. Your child will try 3 times harder to make it your problem, not hers. It will appear to get approximately 3 times worse before it gets better.

Remember, the pea-ing and its fall-out should be all about the child. It doesn't bother you one bit if your child wants to marinate in pea all day! It is not anything for you to worry about or have to deal with! Really, you are thankful because your toilet is being scrubbed and your floors and being washed and you don't have to do it! Score!


  1. It all makes sense to me, the consequences that is. A got (cant think of an alternate spelling here...pewp?) on the toilet lid, somehow, and L had toothpaste all over the place, so they spent the day cleaning all sorts of things to include the bathroom....we will see if they stop trashing the bathroom now.

  2. Your last paragraph was real close to a conversation we just had at Princess when children other than her were going visiting with Daddy: "hey, we sure don't mind! We're pretty sure you'll get the hang of the toilet before you get married. Or maybe you'll just have a real understanding husband. It'll just be kind of boring around here for you in the meantime. Not a problem! AND extra Princess time for us. YAY!"

    I'm considering the carrying around a timer thing- that's pretty good, and it's not often I run into a new idea. Do you have any timers to suggest that are close to impossible to break or rig?

    I think I'm going to go change all me pee spellings in my blog now.

  3. Heh. Well, I hardly ever said "pee," but I did say "toilet" a heck of a lot. Are there any strange toilet fetishists out there I should know about?

  4. Here's a voice for the moms of the NCP (non-compliant pee-ers).

    Having the kiddo be responsible to clean the mess (even if "clean" is relative) is fabulous. If setting the kid loose on the area isn't like telling a puppy to clean up it's own mess. You know. The puppy is cute and all, but it will still chew your toilet paper holder off of the wall if you leave it alone in there, and it will track the urine and feces all over the room and jump up onto the walls with icky feet. And it might even lick it's feet clean.

    I'm just sayin'. Great advice unless you've got a puppy or NCP. ;)

  5. OMG, I love your blog! I just spent the whole weekend reading it! Thanks :)

  6. I have not quite figured out how "pea-ing on yourself" would "take the shock and vileness out of the equation". I must be missing something.

    Excellent essay, making me very glad this is one problem I have not had!

  7. Annie, I read it in a book somewhere and I was desperate. Did I mention the desperate? I never liked the pea-ing at home but at school it was terrifying and I was.... desperate.

    MIT, I have gone thru the making the mess worse bit with Genea. So I put her in the shower to do all of her cleaning and just hose it all down when she is done. Including her if need be. The cleaning has to be done right or its not done. The rest of us might be going to McDonalds which she misses by not having her chore done and done right, for example. Also, I do closely supervise at all times so no one chews up the toilet paper holder lol! Not everything will work though for sure, kids at various ages and stages will be different.

    Hi Angie!

  8. Hmm, tried to post earlier but I guess Blogger doesn't like foreigners ;-)

    None of this seems extreme or overly-punitive to me. Her actions have consequences which are directly related to the actions. Making her aware of that, or at least making darn sure that the consequences do apply to her, in no way seems anywhere close to out of line to me.

    Now if you were rubbing her nose in it...maybe we'd have to talk ;-)

  9. I'm sorry, the pea-ing on yourself made me laugh. I'm reading along, taking it all in, and BAM, I'm laughing. I think you are a very smart mommy!


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