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Tricky Toilet Training

Little L is still in the throes of potty-training, and it's mostly a process of two steps forward, one step back. For the most part, she is pretty good about identifying when she needs to "make a brown poop," but sometimes she won't want to use the big or the little potty, opting instead to retreat to a small private space in our living room or beneath the clothes hanging on a rack in a department store. She is good about not pooping in the bath (and has told me that she needed to use the potty before every bath-time poop, PTL). However, her on-potty ratio to off-potty ratio is probably only 1:2, and her pull-ups are often still a bit wet.

Anyway, when she actually asks to sit on the potty, how can I refuse? Whether it's for poop or pee, I'm just happy that she wants to do her business in the proper place. While she's sitting and waiting for the happy event, I also allow her to play on her iPad. It gives me a little break, it keeps her entertained, and let's face it - her daddy and I are just as guilty for taking tech to the toilet, so why be a hypocrite?  Do as we do, right?

Sweet face, but she's learning to be tricky
The tricky part comes when Little L makes requests to sit on her potty under the auspices of voiding, while actually just wanting to get some extra screen time. Do I let her go on the potty whenever she vocalizes this desire, or do I assess her bowel-bladder situation and determine that she's not really needing to go? On occasion when she has just done the deed already, I will deny her request. I'm cautious about doing so, however; I wouldn't want to prevent her from actually reading her body cues to "go" if she happens to have more to void, thereby pushing her to rely on pull-ups again when she could be practicing good toileting habits.

Sometimes I will let her get back on the potty, but I make her read a book instead, or play with a stuffie, but who are we kidding here? I'm usually happy to let her have a "reward" if this is the currency that it takes to get her to do her business in a toilet of some kind. However, when there is no "product" at the end of 5 (or 10) minutes, I am not pleased, and wonder if I've just been duped by a two-year-old trickster.

So I'm not really sure how to proceed with this whole potty-training business. For now, we are just sort of letting her continue on her own timeline, and not giving a lot of pressure for her to be potty-trained. We prompt after meals and naps and prior to bath time, but we don't force her to use her potty, even when she's starting her poopy-squats and we know what's coming. We ask when that happens, but if she chooses to hide behind the curtains instead, we usually let her. For now.

I'm starting to wonder if we need to be a little more assertive about enforcing toilet use for #2, but there is that part of me that really just hates forcing children to do things that may not be developmentally-appropriate yet, and might create negative associations down the road. I mean, if she was 4 and nowhere near potty-trained, you can bet your a$$ that I would be laying down the law. However, at 2 years and 4 months, I'm not sure that she is so "behind" that we need to take aggressive measures yet. *sigh* Who knew that potty-training would be such a marathon?

How old was your little one when he/she finally hit a consistent routine of potty-use only? Did you do intensive potty-training or did you let your child take the lead on learning this?  

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