Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Ah, Yes, Potty-training...

Because potty-training is such a dangerous sport...

We are attempting this method of potty-training that my sister used and was successful with.  Basic idea-- you use a peeing doll to model what's expected, have the child help "teach" the doll, give the doll treats, and then this transfers to expectations for the child.  The main idea is encouraging and giving constant rewards for dry pants, and revisiting expectations and routines with each accident.  What goes along with this is the idea that the child is self-sufficient-- there is no relying on telling mom and dad, but the child just goes to the toilet, takes his/her own pants down, etc., with no help from the adult eventually.  The method was born from psychologists teaching mentally retarded adults to toilet themselves, then they modified it for toddlers.  Supposedly it can happen in just half a day, but it can take a few days as well.  The book is very convincing.

Well, I attempted this a few weeks ago.  Day one went ok, and we got some promising signs by the 6-hour mark or so.  Nap-time and a park visit interrupted it a bit, but we were like, "Wow, this is gonna work!"  Then, the next morning, I got the phone call that Dad was having emergency brain surgery.  We ditched all efforts to pack up and leave, of course, and made no more mention of it.

At the hospital, Elliot asked to use the toilet so I entertained him, took off his diaper, and put him on it.  Yep, he waited just a bit and peed in the toilet.  Pretty good, he retained something!

Then, we're back in Chicago and on Tuesday morning, he woke up asking to use the toilet.  We did, then he wanted to wear underwear.  Ok, how could I then say, "Nope, I'm not ready, had other plans today, you're going back in your diaper."  All to-do lists were put on hold, and we dove in.  I hesitated to revisit the intense training from day one, thinking he wouldn't tolerate it well and would melt down, so we reviewed the basics and gave it a shot.  Probably a mistake.  Two accidents, and he held it well, but never went on the toilet... just kept going in his pants and getting upset.

We ended the day with him sitting for long periods of time on the toilet, mainly because he knew he was avoiding the inevitable bath/bedtime...

Today is more of the same.  We are failing to get him to connect having to pee with running to the toilet.  He is not tolerating the "practice"rounds that the method insists are necessary with each accident, and I know that would help.  Meltdowns lead to him hitting, etc, lead to punishment/timeout and we lose the positive focus that we should have.  He wants the treat so bad that he's getting upset with himself for not being able to pee when he does sit down.  Pat's ready to bail (but he's only partially helping!), insisting Elliot's not ready.  ??  Me-- I think no matter when he's "ready" or declared such, whether it's 2, 3, or 5, he still has to learn that sensation and connect it preventatively to peeing on the potty.  Maybe it just comes when they're older, but I'm not convinced.  Am I wrong?

I guess I am also realizing that just like EVERYTHING else with kids-- there are stories of success and stories of nightmares with every single stage.  My sister reported to me that one of her girls had accidents for a week with this method while the other accomplished it in 4 hours.  On Facebook already we've been told-- it's easier when they are older and ready, don't even try or force it because they'll just start going when they're ready, stick with it as it's a rough 3 days but it'll work... This all leaves me wondering, so how do we know when to bail or to stick with it?  Where's the breaking point and will I recognize it?  And, of course, my other realization that is a bit daunting-- only Pat and I can answer these questions for our child.  Eep.

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