Help-Dealing With Terrible Two's

  1. My daughter turned two in June of this year. She has been stripping off her clothes and her diapers. She fights both very hard, to the point where she screams, cries and hits/kicks me. My husband is a big, strong guy who can get clothes on her, but I can't handle her. I had breast cancer/cancer treatment at age 33 (had my daughter at age 40) and have since developed lymphedema in my left hand. If I struggle with her too much, my hand starts swelling up and it becomes painful. On top of that, my husband travels a lot for his job and our families are all out of state, so I can't just call someone to come over and help me. My mother and his mother have been deceased for over 20 years, so I can't pick up the phone and call them for advice. I'm suspecting she really needs to start potty training, but she wants nothing to do with the training potty or the grown up potty. She will just strip off her diaper and take a whiz wherever she is standing, and it doesn't matter if I try to get her to sit on the potty.

    I'm just at my wit's end with my daughter. She goes to daycare twice a week just so I can do some shopping or just go to a doctor's appointment if I need to. Taking her places can end up being a nightmare. The daycare teacher has told me she is trying to strip and they end up calling in another woman to get her clothes back on her!!! I feel like she is just too strong and uncontrollable for me.

    If any of you older, more experienced moms out there can give me any helpful tips, please do. I've become totally convinced everyone else has perfect children who are potty trained by 18 months and I'm the only mom whose child isn't perfect.
     
  2. I can assure you that this isn't true.

    First of all, congratulations on surviving breast cancer! That is a huge accomplishment and then to go on and be a mommy is fantastic!

    I will say this sounds beyond the terrible twos, IMO. Granted, my baby is just shy of 6 months old and I have no other mommy experience, but the things you describe she is doing sound beyond what I've ever heard from anyone that made it through the 2's.
     
  3. First of all, big hugs!! :hugs: We are in the midst of the terrible 2s at our house too, and it has gotten the best of me more than once. I actually have a very strong-willed 2 year old daughter, and we are having a similar experience with potty training. Let me assure you - no one is perfect and you are definitely not the only one with a non-potty trained 2 year old!

    My DD takes off her diaper & clothing at naps/bedtime, and it doesn't bother her at all if she goes in her bed, or... where ever! It is frustrating. I do her sheets twice a day sometimes. She too does not want to even sit on the potty - and I can't help but wonder, if she won't even SIT on the potty - how is this kid ever going to be potty trained?!?! ;)

    The non potty training issue and outbursts of kicking/crying & fighting to be dressed I think could be two issues to tackle separately? I wouldn't let her get away with being disrespectful and would make that my first priority of tackling (just my opinion) - so if you can nip that in the bud with time outs, taking privileges or toys away... whatever you find works best, I think that will help when you go to tackle the potty training issue. I find those are the best disciplinary actions with my extremely smart & strong-willed 2 year old.

    Once you have that under control, then I would address the potty training & undressing - of which, I have no suggestions... because have the same/similar problems at our house! I'm hoping someone that has been through it can chime in, because I'm really trying everything I can think of - but nothing seems to work. The one thing I have had in the back of my mind, is that she WAS interested in it and went in her potty a few times... but we got those potties that have music that went off when they go and it scared the daylights out of her.

    A few times of her going on her own no problem, she became sick, potty training went by the wayside that week, and then after that she just never would sit on the potty again... so I just have left it alone for a while - but I feel like we need to pick it back up again soon. You little one didn't have any similar issues with not liking a potty with music by chance, did they? Just trying to see if I can find some cause here.

    In any case, I wish you luck - and hope that we can find some techniques that will work... I will be checking back into this thread!
     
  4. No great advice here. My son turned three last month. We have had our share of tantrums and we usually put him in a time out/let him cry it out. We potty trained with jelly beans. If she just turned 2 in June, I would definitely not stress about it! Plenty of kids don't potty train until they are close to 3. Hopefully it is a phase she will grow out of soon.
     
  5. Here is my advice as a parent of 2 and a past pre-school teacher (of mostly toddlers and pre-K kids):
    First, a 2 year-old does not need to be potty-trained. If she's not ready, she's not ready. Period. I would suggest ending all communication about the potty and go on with life in diapers for maybe another 6 months, when you can revisit potty-trianing again.
    Second, the "terrible twos" is one thing, but hitting and kicking mommy is another. That behavior should not be tolerated and should be handled with swift, consistent punishment. Place her in a Time-out spot and if she gets up, don't speak, just quietly place her back again (repeat as necessary until she realizes that the only choice is to sit and fulfill her time-out). Set a kitchen timer if you'd like (2 or 3 minutes is probably sufficient). At the end of the time-out, get down to her eye level and speak to her about how her actions are inappropriate, disrespectful, and will not be tolerated in your home. Keep it short and to the point - no need to go into a lengthy dialogue.
     
  6. I agree with the above. The potty training will happen when she is ready--no need to worry about it now if she isn't. Then it would be easier to address the bad behavior as a separate thing.

    Also they do go through various phases...this one will most likely pass, but more will come along later on :smile: That is why being consistent with discipline along the way will be helpful. Good luck!
     
  7. At this age, they are at a life stage called "Autonomy VS Shame and Doubt"
    The child asks "Can I do things myself or am I reliant on the help of others?"
    The best way to address your issue is through "play."

    Start by having a few dolls and having her dress them and go through these steps with her during "play"..(not being serious about it at all)
    For example, dress the dolls or any figure that needs clothing..play and have them go to work or school..then before (their pretend)bathtime, undress figures and change them into pajamas, etc.
    You can even do this with multiple dolls representing each family member to make it fun!

    Herein she will start to associate that she can dress herself, and undress at the right times.

    So that out of play, you can go through those same steps with her throughout the day.
    Have a fun! Kids learn best when they know they are having fun.
     
  8. Op, how is it going? My heart goes out to you. 2 year olds can be so challenging, epsecially if you are tackling a majority of problems alone. What your daughter is going through, unfortunately is normal for a lot of kids. I agree with previous posters that said not to push potty training. She may not like diapers but not ready for potty training. For a while, my DS (26 months now) was getting picky about his diapers and would try to pull his diapers off. My only saving grace was that I always kept him in onesies so it was difficult to pull them out. I bought diapers with different designs, as well as pullups with cars on them and let him choose which one he wanted to try. It worked for a while but again nothing is permanent in this parenting journey. The only constant is that it is always changing. I talked to other moms, and it was relief to know literally everyone was going through the same thing. Don't get me wrong, I am not always calm and relaxed although I try to be! Sometimes I just want to pull my hair out and cry when DS starts acting up. One thing that consistently works for me is to leave enough time to get ready/do anything with the little one. That way, I don't get frustrated if it takes an hour to get him dressed. We do timeouts but I find that it is most effective when reserved for the worst behavior (i.e., hitting).
    Anyway, just wanted to tell you that you are not alone, and that it will likely get better over time. Hang in there!
     
  9. Well, all I can say is if this is a typical toddler phase, she needs to outgrow it ASAP! I am dreading her daycare days because she fights me getting out of bed, she fights putting clothes on, she fights diapers and she fights the car seat! It doesn't matter how much time I have or how prepared I am, we are always at least twenty minutes late for daycare. Yesterday she fought getting up and kept running back upstairs to her bed!!! Even though I'm not supposed to, I had to bodily carry her to the car in nothing but a diaper and pajama top. She fought the car seat, and cried all the way to school. Even in the school parking lot, she only reluctantly got dressed, but would not put on her Halloween costume. Let's just say I dropped her off at her classroom and walked out of the place in tears. I am thinking of just stopping the daycare altogether because this is becoming the norm. It just drains me physically and emotionally for the rest of the day.

    I've tried to get her excited about school, getting dressed, the potty, etc. I've tried giving her choices, I've tried special videos. I doubt playing with different dolls is going to work. Maybe it works for other kids, but not mine. I'm at the point I'm regretting having a child. I couldn't get pregnant for many years and had to put up with other women rubbing their motherhood status up in my face, like it made them better than me. So this is the joy of motherhood they bragged about up in my face all this time??? They must be liars and sadists!!! Maybe getting breast cancer was the Almighty's way of telling me I wasn't supposed to be a mother because I stink at it!!! I used to be a wife my husband wanted to be around. Well, the marriage front isn't so great either.
     
  10. :hugs:

    Most of us, if not all have days (or phases) when things are simply dreadful.
    My boy went through terrible two's and three's. And it was sometimes very hard to stick to my own rules.

    Try to address this in unison with her daycare teachers. And do not blame yourself. Some kids are stronger willed than others. Do not despair, pls. Take "time out" whenever possible (thus, I would not stop sending her to daycare). Things will get easier.
     
  11. Big huge hugs!

    Being a mom is hard!

    On the potty training I would say try the no pants method. It worked on my boy who just did not want to be trained, but I don't know since she is already stripping...might be worth looking into. Try googling mo pants potty training.

    As for the kicking and screaming, I agree with the other ladies. Time out, something...that (to me) is above and beyond normal terrible 2's.

    Maybe her pediatrician can offer some advice, since this sounds like you need help.

    Again, big hugs, hang in there.
     
  12. I am so sorry about your lymphedema :sad: It is awfully hard to manage an active 2 y.o. when one has health issues going on (I'm there myself and some days it takes everything i've got just to get thru it with them).

    Have you considered creating a rewards system for your dd? If dd puts on her diaper, pants, shoes, she gets a gold star in her book - a little bauble to put in a treasure chest, a barrette for her hair, etc. My ds1 wasn't fully potty trained until 3.5 y.o. just when his baby brother was born. He used to wee wee right onto the installed carpet in the guest bath ugh! We had a marker and clipboard on the bathroom door and everytime he went, he used the marker himself to check (scribble) in the box. When a week's worth of boxes were checked off, we went to the store together and got him a little treat (99cent toy car). The rewards system I tried worked very well during the day and then he was quite ready by pre-Kindergarten.

    PLEASE, everyone who says their 18 month old is toilet trained is exaggerating just a teensy weeny bit. I suspect most of these are cases where the parent drops everything and runs to pop the child onto the toilet seat just before they go (there are cues from the child that they are about to go!). I'm sure there are some extraordinary kids who are able to but not without some regression once in a while.
     
  13. LOL :P I hear you about that.... all the supportive people who were in my face about starting a family became strangers when I had my first baby... All of a sudden they were no where to be found!

    Oh no.... please don't think that way about your illness and the child rearing... I think about that too and it doesn't help me much to be so down on it... when I had ds2, he was diagnosed with a disability and there were times when I felt and thought to myself that since we were doing so well in life, there must have been "a reason" why karma dealt us the card we got. Maybe I was punished for something I did or didn't do, or maybe someone put a hex on us, you know, the crazy things that go through our mind when we are tired, stressed, overwrought. (((hugs))) hang in there... it gets easier!
     
  14. Clearly, some things need to change. Tackle the issues one at a time. Is there something "wrong" with the daycare that makes her not want to go? Has something changed there? I would speak with the director to see if there are any underlying issues that could explain why she's doesn't want to go. Also, you mentioned that you don't have family to ask for parenting advice, but perhaps the Director of your daycare can help. They often have the expertise, so don't be afraid to ask.
    If you are always late for school, then you may need to start getting up earlier. Allow for more time in the morning to get ready, so that your little one isn't feeling rushed out the door.
    For the potty training issues, I mentioned before that I believe that you should discontinue it. That will be one battle that you can put on hold for now. It doesn't sound like she's ready yet, so give it up for now and revisit it in another few months (with my DD, she wasn't ready at age 2, so we gave up for 6 months and then started again).
    As far as your thoughts about motherhood are concerned, it seems like you've made some pretty unfair statements (saying that women rubbed their "motherhood status" in your face, etc.), but I get where you're coming from (I had some issues trying to conceive too) and I understand that you're feeling frustrated. Many of us have feelings of inadequacy, but it is usually a result of our own insecurities and perceptions. Do you have any support system at all? Friends or family? Have you thought about reaching out for some sort of professional help? I used to work for a state-funded program that offered crisis services to teens and families. One of my responsibilities was teaching parenting classes. Perhaps you could do some research and locate some services in your area (maybe even a breast cancer survivor/parenting organization of some sort)?
    I'm sorry you're having a difficult time, OP. Hugs to you:hugs: Please try to take it one step at a time. Choose your battles and try to take them in stride.
     
  15. #15 Nov 1, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2012
    ^^ I was wondering the same thing. Great post, btw.
    Does your daughter like the daycare? Do you think there is a reason she may not like going to daycare? Just my opinion, but it may be hard to adjust to daycare and the kids there when she is only there twice a week. Is it a possibility for you to get a babysitter to look after her at your home so you can rest or do errands? I honestly feel like it isn't worth it if she is fighting that hard not to go to daycare. My DS hated going to mommy and me activity class with a passion, he just did not like it there. Finally I decided not to go anymore and he became happy again. On the other hand, he never fights going to daycare because he loves it there and the friends (he's had the same classmates since he was 2 months old so they are pretty tight). He is an introvert and does not like mingling with a large group initially.

    I do think you may benefit from talking to a counselor or your PC doctor about this. It is hard without your family around as a support system - we all need a support system and sometimes we have to seek it out if we don't have it. I don't really have family close by and all my friends have busy careers. It felt good to talk to someone about my frustration when I needed to.