Two weeks ago I was feeling pretty down about the whole potty training experience, but then Chad came home with an idea from one of his customers (I feel so touched that he shares our potty training woes with clients) that sounded like it just might work for our little princess. He said we put her in underwear, and when she has an accident, we don't change her- we let her sit in it and she is exiled to the kitchen where she can't soil anything. This idea appealed to me for several reasons:
1. The potty training had turned into a game for her where she was reveling in the attention she got from her accidents, and she held all the cards. This way, the accidents got her very little attention- the opposite, really, as she would be placed apart from everyone and there would be no immediate reward of one-on-one time spent changing and lecturing her.
2. No more shelling out the big bucks for Pull-Ups that were constantly getting soiled.
3. I don't have to constantly keep changing her and washing dirty clothes- saves me some time and energy.
4. We are employing natural consequences, which I tend to utilize and support in most of my other disciplinary techniques- if she chooses to have an accident, then she cannot enjoy the comforts that the rest of us potty-trained people enjoy. Simple.
Well, I continued to remind her to use the restroom, but I didn't make her. Her first accident came right before we were going to sit down on the couch in the living room and read stories. I told her I was sorry, but she was wet so she was going to have to sit in the kitchen by herself while we read stories. It felt harsh, but I knew it was the only chance for her to get it. Boy was she mad! My son and I didn't hear the end of it during the entire half hour we read- she screamed, she cried, she had a fit, but she stayed in the kitchen. It was naptime shortly thereafter, at which point I changed her into a diaper to sleep, but when she woke up and I reminded her to go potty, you'd better believe she didn't whine or complain about it.
Last week she also went #2 on the potty without me trying to talk her into it. She was sitting there and said she needed to, and she did! She's been doing fantastic with that part. We've had a few more wetting accidents, and every time she's miserable at her kitchen-bound fate. Whenever I ask her if she needs to go and she says no, I say, "Okay, it's your choice. Just remember that if you get your panties wet then you will have to sit in the kitchen all by yourself." She'll usually at least reconsider.
My most joyful moment was this afternoon. I had asked her several times if she needed to go and she had said no, so I was steeling myself for another kitchen scene. But then, as she was sitting watching tv right by me, she suddenly put her hand down and said, "Oh! Mommy, I need to go potty!" I said, "Well GO!" So she jumped right up and ran into the bathroom and went. It was a first, and I gave her an extra treat for saying it herself instead of me reminding her.
So that is the status for now. I am happy because it is all beginning to lose its sense of drama, and it's becoming somewhat more mundane. One good thing about doing this now is that with me being pregnant and her being 3, our bladders are about the same size so I don't mind the frequent bathroom breaks when we're out, and I usually know about the right time to remind her to go. I think she's also finally recognizing the pleasure of not having yucky diapers- we put her in a diaper to go to bed at night and she's come in a couple of times an hour or two after we put her down to tell us that her diaper is wet and she needs a new one. Would be better if she actually realized before she went in the diaper and used the potty, but at least we're making progress.
Let's keep our fingers crossed for more positive progress!