I know I've been talking about potty training a lot lately, but its my reality and its exhausting. For the first time since he was born, I really felt like I was losing a battle with the boy. He wanted to wear the big boy undies and refused diapers but he also refused to sit on the potty and essentially peed wherever he felt like it.
We've tried nearly every suggestion I've read to get him to sit on the potty: special books and toys, treats, bribery, reward charts, bubbles in the potty, sitting backwards on the potty, even watching tv while on the potty. The only thing that's even been remotely helpful has been singing my 'pee pee in the potty' dance after a success.
Given that I see a lot of my brother in the boy, I decided to experiment with a tactic that worked for him. Growing up, my little brother had ADD and one of the things that works for him is to always offer choices and allow him the illusion of control.
When the boy started to shriek and protest a trip to the potty, I calmly told him it was his choice; he could go pee pee in the potty or he could go and have a time out in his room. I want to be clear, I was not trying to threaten or scare the boy into using the potty, I simply needed to provide an undesirable second option to increase the odds that he would choose the option I wanted. Once he thought it through, he promptly chose to head to the washroom where he sat on the potty and went pee almost immediately. Honestly, it felt like a miracle.
Since I started giving him a choice, he has not once chosen a time out (or time alone in his room as we usually call it) and we have had very few accidents. The boy seems to be embracing his new role as the big boy and the big brother and its absolutely amazing.
It's been about a week since I introduced the choice and we've had a number of accident free days and even a two-day streak. but yesterday we had two major successes. First, the boy peed in a public washroom (and on a full size toilet no less) and second, the boy initiated a successful trip to the potty; success truly does taste sweet.
I no longer need to offer a choice everytime I take the boy to the potty, more and more he is understanding how his body works and acts agreeable when its time to go to the potty. It's true, potty training is a tough road, but they all get it eventually and when we embrace and celebrate the little steps along the way the road doesn't feel quite so bumpy.