Cate is going on three and a half years old, and she refuses to potty train. We've tried every method known to man: "Potty training in one day," letting her run around without pants on all weekend, scheduled potty sits, bribery, sticker charts...you name it and we've tried it. I have thought since the beginning of these efforts that her refusal had a lot to do with the fact that her older brother, whom she loves and looks up to, isn't potty trained either. She is still too young to really understand that her big brother isn't "normal" and that typically developing six year old children are potty trained. I've tried explaining that to her on a three year old level, but she just doesn't seem to get it. I've mentioned this to some of my friends in the psychology field, and they agree. They also say that she's the baby and may feel like this is her last baby thing to hold on to. Another suggested that she may feel like the time we spend changing Will is special time just for him and that she feels like she's getting robbed of special time by having to use the bathroom.
It's very frustrating as a mom, and especially as a developmental pediatrician, not to be able to potty train your child. A lot of people look at your ability to potty train your child as an index of how good a parent you are and how smart your child is. I've come to believe that neither of these things are true. Some kids are easier than others to train. And some kids have extenuating circumstances that prolong their training - like having an older brother who is disabled and not trained. I guess I just want those moms (and dads and grandparents and...) who had kids who were super easy to train not to look down on moms who are still working with their kids after the expected age of training. (By the way, three and a half is still considered to be within normal limits for potty training.) Anyway, enough of my preaching and back to the story.
Cate started preschool last week at our church. She's going two days a week and absolutely loves it. She is in the three year old room, so I'm hoping she's being exposed to lots of kids using the potty. They requested that we send her in pull-ups rather than diapers so she can practice pulling them up and down more easily. I thought, "Sure! I'll do just about anything if you'll help with potty training." So, we changed to pull-ups about two or three weeks ago. The last time we tried this Cate freaked out. This time it was a breeze. She especially likes them because they're pink and have Disney princesses on them.
Anyway, since she tolerated that well, we've moved on to schedules potty sits. We started Monday with sitting on the potty every 45 minutes. She screamed and cried and screamed and cried! But, she did sit there. She never went in the potty that day, but by the end of the night, she had stopped crying! I give her one piece from a pack of fruit snacks for the initial sit, one piece half-way through (after about two and a half minutes) and a final piece at the end of five minutes. Then she stands up, flushes the potty, and washes her hands. By the end of last night, she was pulling her pants down by herself! So, no actually going in the potty yet, but definite progress. I count this as potty 1, Cate 0!
Please pray that she'll continue to progress and maybe even go in the potty soon. It would simplify our lives in more than one way, and any of you who have kids know that the simpler life is the better. I hope to have some more exciting news from the potty front soon!