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Monday, April 7, 2014

House Broken Toddler Pees on Floor

Three days ago Anders peed on the floor twice in one day. The first time I didn't think anything of it and just cleaned it up, but the second time I thought there may be more too it. Anders is 29-months-old in this post and has not had an accident in the house since he was 20-months-old. I asked him about it as follows (to the best of my memory):

*I want to note that there is no judgement in my voice when I ask Anders if he wants me to be mad--wanting to make your mom mad is a perfectly normal and legitimate thing for a toddler to want.

Mama: Anders, when I see pee on the floor I feel sad and frustrated. I also feel confused because I don't know why you peed on the flood. Did you want Mama to feel sad?

Anders does not answer.

Mama: Do you feel mad at Mama? Do you want Mama to be mad?

Still no answer.

Mama: Was it just an accident? You just forgot to go to the toilet?

Still no answer.

Mama: Did you just want Mama's attention?

Anders: Attention.

Mama: Oooooh. I've been so busy working on my book, are you missing your mom?

Anders: Yes. Miss Mama.

Mama takes Anders in her arms.

Mama: When you are needing attention Anders you can just tell me. I always want to meet you needs if I can. You can say, "I need attention!!!" like that and I will hopefully be able to stop what I am doing and give you attention.

Anders: Ooooooh.

We clean up the pee and it doesn't happen again. But three days later, Tom (my husband) and I are sitting at the dining room table after eating dinner. We are chatting on and on about something. Anders is running back and forth from his room to the dining room. He does this about two dozen times over the course of half an hour. He is very high energy and being very funny. Twice he comes to me for a kiss. And then suddenly he throws himself onto the carpet near the table and says very loudly:

Anders: I NEED ATTENTION!!!

Mama: Oh Anders, thank you for telling me! You want me to stop talking to Papa and give you my attention?

Anders: Yes.

Papa: How can we meet your need for attention? What would you like us to do?

Anders: Come watch me work.

Tom and I follow Anders into his bedroom where we watch him practice jumping and playing with his tools. Anders is very happy. And I am very happy--both that I don't have to clean more pee off the floor and because of Anders's self-awareness and ability to communicate his needs.

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