Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Potty Training with the Reluctant Trainee

I have been given lots of tips and encouragement on the subject of my Reluctant Potty Trainee from chocolate button rewards to progress charts to favourite books to read whilst sitting. The most encouraging words of wisdom came from Kat at 3 Bedroomed Bungalow who said for her youngest that "one day it just clicked".

You would think, with this being my fifth child, that I would be something of an expert by now but it is so true that every child is different and what works for one is not necessarily going to work for another.

I do believe that the improvement in disposable nappies over the years has a lot to answer for with regards to delayed potty training. They absorb so much of the wetness and keep the skin so dry that there seems to be very little discomfort involved. What incentive is there to be rid of them?

I have tried all sorts with my daughter. She has a beautiful selection of big girl panties featuring all her favourite Disney characters. We have read potty training books together including "I Want my Potty" by Tony Ross. We have potty trained teddy. I have reasoned with her. Made a game of it. Watched potty related videos on YouTube. I have tried all manner of bribes incentives.

The bottom line (hard not to make unintentional bad puns) is that if she doesn't want to, I can't force her.

On account of some consonant mix  up early on, she calls her nappies 'happys'. Can you imagine how it tugs at the heart of you when your precious child has worked herself into a snotty faced frenzy, standing crossed legged and jiggling, screaming "WANT HAPPY!' Sometimes, in desperation she will run off to get  a happy and try to put it on herself.

Expert opinion seems to be that children should be allowed to get round to potty training in their own time. Expert opinion also seems to think that this should be somewhen between 18 months and 3 years.

My daughter is exceptionally bright and galloping along the developmental milestones. Why then, as we approach ever closer to her third birthday, is she still showing no interest or desire to be nappy free?

It isn't that she doesn't know when she needs to go. She clearly does. It isn't that she physically can't sit on the potty and let go because there is the rare occasion when she does perform.

When I have managed to persuade her to wee in the potty (I could count the times on one hand) I have foolishly thought to myself that we have made the breakthrough and the rest should be plain sailing. Not so. Despite the success, the praise, the feeling proud of herself... next time would be as though it had never happened. This would be when I would tell myself that she was obviously not ready yet and leave her  for another week or month or wait for a sign from her of readiness or a sign from the Gods (!) that today's the day.

Yesterday we actually had the most success we've ever had. It was utterly exhausting for her and me (she spent all afternoon asleep on the sofa recovering from the trials of the morning). She shouted at me, she held onto the wee to the point I was worried her bladder would explode, she even bit me in protest (she's never been a biter). She would sit on the potty with a toy or a drink quite happily then get up and scream for her 'happy'. She so obviously needed a wee and we had come too far to just give in and put her in a nappy so we played in the tiled floor kitchen where an accident would be easy to clean up and waited for the inevitable.

I had actually momentarily left her on her own when I heard her little voice say "I did it , Mimi!" I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw  a good sized wee (mostly) in the potty. She took great delight in helping me to carry the full potty to the toilet, flushing it away and rinsing the potty ready for next time.

We did not have a very long wait for 'next time'.

All the extra drinks that she had been given as incentives to sit on the potty were working their way through her system quite rapidly. The crossed legs, the jiggling, the "Want Happy" started over again. I tried to gently remind her that she had been a big girl and done her wee wee on the potty and wouldn't she like to do that again... etc. She did go on the potty eventually, but not before another round of distress, frustration and exhaustion. It was after this that she fell asleep.

She woke from her nap dry and managed a reluctant wee on the potty before having her bedtime nappy on.

This morning, she did not want me to take her nappy off. I was faced with a dilemma. Do I try to capitalise on yesterday's success and move forward with the potty training or will I be doing more harm than good by pushing her into something she is not ready for?

I had to ask myself what does it mean to be 'ready'. She is certainly capable. She proved that yesterday. Is capable the same as ready?

I decided to persevere.

She is happily watching CBeebies without a nappy.

I have had my felt tip pens out to make her a reward chart.

The potty and treats are on standby.

We wait.

1 comment:

  1. I have a 3 and a half year old and am in the exact same situation as you except that it is with No 2s not number 1s. He is scared of doing them in the loo. We've had tears, shouting, all sorts. I have made charts, given treats etc etc but we're just not getting there.
    It's tricky. And exasperating. To say the least.
    Yesterday he went and pooed all on his own, but it has happened on the odd occasion so i'm not getting my hopes up.


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