Last summer, I tried to encourage Felicity to use the potty (which she has done for pee but not anytime recently) and she got all excited about it and wanted to use underwear. I let her try it but for three days I dealt with accident after accident after accident, wet and dirty underwear after wet and dirty underwear, I forced her back into pullups and told her when she can use the potty and keep her pullup dry and clean, she can wear underwear.
This disappointment quenched her interest in potty training for a couple of months. (Since I was struggling with the trials of the first trimester, I can't say as I minded either.)
Around the middle of October I began vocally encouraging her again mentioning that when she could keep her pullup clean and dry, she could begin wearing underwear like her big sister. One evening late in October, James had gotten Felicity into the tub for her bath, I was brushing my hair after a shower, Elizabeth was safely confined in her crib (until I could get her for her bath) and Grandpa was trying to get Cecilia in the tub. For a few minutes, while Felicity was in the tub by herself, she knew she needed to "squeegie" (as we call it). By herself, she got out of the tub and went over to the potty. Before she could lift the lid or put the potty seat on or get the step stool, it happened. Grandpa walked in trying to take Cecilia to the tub. He never even got to say a word. Felicity was so embarrassed by her accident evident on the floor she began crying hysterically. Grandpa wisely just left the scene and came to tell James and me what had happened. I went to her alone and she was sobbing that she had made a mess on the floor.
She had absolutely no thought for her valiant (a 2 year old getting out of the tub by herself!) and self-controlled (for the first time in a long time, she thought of using the potty on her own before she had actually done anything) decision. She thought only of the mess on the floor. It was heartbreaking in every way.
I cleaned the mess and her up. And then I reminded her that everyone has accidents and even reminded her of one Cecilia had had only earlier that week. It happens. To everyone. Her sobbing calmed some but she was still crying. Then I think I stunned her. I hugged her and told her how proud I was of her. She had only thought of the mess. She hadn't thought of how well she did in trying. I emphatically repeated to her how proud I was of her for trying so hard to use the potty. She calmed down dramatically. I was able to get her back into the tub to be washed and then got her out again. By the time she was to go to bed, she seemed perfectly fine again but, again, she wasn't anxious to try the potty any time soon.
So I waited. I waited through her birthday, the company of Thanksgiving, the business and excitement of Christmas and the celebration of our wedding anniversary. But, with the house clean, the holidays behind us, Elizabeth moving up into a big girl bed and the impending arrival of a new baby, it seemed a good time to try again.
So, on Monday, January 24, I gave her a pep talk and got her into underwear again. I then proceeded to ask her every 10-15 minutes if she needed to go to the potty and if she was still dry. For almost 4 hours she said no and stayed dry until she was eating lunch and then, oops. An hour later, another oops. Oops after oops after oops. For two days. She would never once tell me when she needed to go before she "leaked" and would be wet again. She even "squeegied" in her underwear and was deeply upset about it. By Wednesday, she refused underwear sadly professing that she would squeegie in them.
While we kept the whole experience very positive and hopeful, I really simply think she isn't ready yet for two reasons. First, she likes her pullups and has no interest in using the potty. She likes playing the "baby" and doesn't have any attraction to the idea of being a "big girl." Even though Elizabeth is in a big bed, because it is Elizabeth's, Felicity has asked to sleep in "the baby bed." Now, I don't really expect the arrival of a new baby to smooth her out of this preference. I think it will be later than that, so I don't really expect this problem to go away until at least the summer if not the fall. Second, she does seem to sincerely have trouble recognizing when she needs to or is about to go to the bathroom. She just doesn't seem to pick up on the signals yet and that is purely a physically developmental issue that I cannot force. She doesn't like being wet. She was deeply upset to mess her underwear and yet she would do it every single time. No amount of bribery or promise of any reward was sufficient to move her past either of these obstacles.
So, while we will remain open and optimistic on the subject for her should she have any interest, it does appear the Potty Front is at a bit of a truce for Felicity. Hopefully by this summer, she will feel more ready. In the meantime, the floor will stay dry.