|Fail-proof potty motivation|
The potty training approach we have embraced to date has been a “softy, softly” one where we have gently encouraged the use of the potty, but never demanded it. We have been led by Bode and his needs and have rewarded him accordingly when he made an effort or successfully used the potty. For the past week, Bode’s nappy has come off in the morning and has stayed off all morning until his naptime. Some mornings he has told us he needed to pee and has successfully done so, and some mornings he has held it in all morning until it was time to go to bed, when he would then choose to use the potty right before we put on his nappy. Some days he seemed very comfortable using the potty and some days he seemed to avoid it at all costs.
Today was Bode’s first morning at “school” without his nappy and I was nervous about it, but figured I would just see how things went. We talked about using the potty at school, I informed his teachers that he might need some encouragement before he would go, and I left, hoping for the best. Not surprisingly, when I picked him up four hours later he still hadn’t gone to the potty, making it over 5 hours since his morning nappy had come off. We drove home and he still wouldn’t go. He drank milk, we read books and we talked about having his nap, and he still wouldn’t go.
After over an hour of gentle encouragement, Bode sitting on the potty to eat blueberries but not pee, and him refusing to go to bed, my patience was wearing thin. I used a last ditch technique which had always worked in the past: the countdown. I was counting to five and if he hadn’t gone to the potty by then, I was putting him in a nappy and he was going to bed. In the past, this has always resulted in him sitting on the potty to have a pee before then letting me put his nappy on and tuck him into bed. But today, Bode chose war. He screamed, he refused, he ran from room to room and then finally stood and emptied his bladder on the floor of the living room. And then I burst into tears.
I have just had enough. I have put more energy into this effort than anything since breastfeeding. Bode is a smart little guy and he knows exactly what is right and what is wrong. We have never scolded or embarrassed him for little mistakes or for choosing not to use the potty. He knows exactly what to do and how to do it. So today when he simply refused to go on the potty, then peed on the floor (almost defiantly) and seemed utterly unfazed by it, it was more than I could handle and I gave up. I feel completely alone in the middle of an epic battle of wills; one I’m obviously losing. And I know, I know, I can hear the chants already; it’s a process not a battle, be patient, keep encouraging him, don’t let the setback get you down, la-de-da-de-da. But I’m bloody burning with frustration.