Yes, that's right. No candy, in any form, was going to get this kid to use the potty. Why would it? He doesn't like to eat! No toy I could dream up would entice him to sit on it willingly. I encouraged, praised, and danced around until my voice was hoarse and my back was sore. And that three-day potty training plan (you know, the one that worked SO WELL for my friend's kids?) was totally useless.
But that's pretty much how Samuel has been his whole life. He has been opinionated and strong-willed since the moment he decided to come early. He is also a perfectionist. If he can't do something perfectly, he doesn't want to do it at all. Potty training is a messy business that he wanted nothing to do with.
We have been working at this for almost four months now. It's much more difficult than I ever dreamed!!! After the first three weeks, I was at my wits-end. We were seeing a lot of the same behaviors from him at potty time that we had seen at meal time...and it finally dawned on me that potty training had become a power struggle. So we stopped the pleading, the book reading, the sticker charts, the bribing, and the over-the-top excitement. We gave him control over going #2 (he asks for a pull-up.) He decorated his potty seat with dump truck stickers. I had a good laugh over that one! His therapists began asking him to potty at therapy. And we finally made progress!
In four months we've gone from flat-out-refusal to willingly-sitting to happily-standing-to-pee. He still won't tell us when he needs to go, and he never takes himself to the bathroom, but I've seen a little more independence from him over the last few days. I think we're getting close!
And we're about to tackle going #2. Wish us luck!
All that said, Samuel needed to be potty trained to enter the three year old preschool class at school. I'm sure that if we had rushed him, he would have been ready in time. But the thing is, I had planned to start him a year late in school anyway.
You see, he was born in March but due in July. That's pretty close to the August cut-off date. Having been a first grade teacher, I have seen how hard school is for those young, small, and immature boys. Although he is very bright, Samuel is small and socially immature for his age (that's what two years of RSV isolation will do!)
With that in mind, we decided to start him in the two year old class. I'm working with the teacher and the administrator to see if it is the best fit for him. Academically, he is ahead of his classmates. They are working on shapes and colors....Samuel is beginning to sound out three letter words. But he is making friends, playing with others, and learning to navigate the school setting. He is doing great!
So we'll see! Sometimes I wish parenthood was more cut and dry. I wish that every kid responded the same way to a proven plan. I wish every kid was at the same maturity level at the same age. But that's not life and it takes a little trial and error to find what's best for our kiddos.