Welcome to the first edition of our weekly feature, Ask Arden Anything! We received several compelling letters from readers already this week and Arden described the process of choosing one as “arduous.” In the end, she felt one correspondent needed help more desperately than the others.
Today’s letter comes from “somewhere on the East Coast”:
You seem like an articulate pup, I bet you’re paper trained. God
bless you. I have a 2 1/2 year old son who really enjoys pooping his
pants. He lacks ambition. Any advice that would translate into the
Up to My Elbows
The process of housebreaking your toddler is a challenge for any new mother. Although I have been sterilized by my compassionate owner to ensure that I do not bring needless puppies into the world, I can empathize with your plight. It wasn’t so long ago that I, too, was “pooping my pants,” as it were.
My advice to you, Elbows, is to swiftly swoop down on your child immediately when he poops and shout at him with a stern NO! This will let your child now that his behavior is inappropriate. With equal swiftness, you should rub your child’s nose in his feces while continuing to shout NO! Then, lock him in a small crate for up to five minutes. When he emerges, shower him with praise and affection.
Another tactic is to place your child’s butt on the toilet every hour on the hour until something happens. Eventually, the child will poop, and he will begin to associate pooping with the toilet. This is how I was housebroken as a puppy. My owner—wonderful!—took me outside every hour to “take care of business” and to give me adequate opportunity NOT to do it in the house. Your child can learn much the same way. When he does finally poop in the toilet, throw a party! Let the golden shower of praise begin, and let him know you’re proud of him. He will never poop in his pants again, unless you leave him locked up in a crate all weekend long, in which case it’s not really his fault.
Arden answers your questions every Friday here at Kinemapoetics. Submit your question by emailing chasjensATyahooDOTcom with the subject line “Ask Arden Anything.”