After many many many tries, it seems potty training is FINALLY working!! I'm pleasantly surprised. I probably shouldn't be surprised since Elena is four and a half but it was looking like it would never happen. She had zero interest. I've been trying, on and off, for the last two and a half years so its about time. I've tried everything - potty books, rewards charts, praise, songs, musical toddler potty, candy rewards, the underwear only method - everything.
When she was younger, she used to go in her little princess potty about once a day. She did not tell me when she needed to go, I would just take her. I had her sit on it all the time but she didn't like to go in it but that once a day. Then she suddenly decided that not only did she not want to go in it but she didn't want anything to do with it. She'd cry and try to climb up me so she won't have to sit on it. You can read about my last attempt to potty train Elena here http://raisingablindangel.blogspot.com/2012/08/school-birthday-and-potty-training.html?m=1 (Sorry about the long address. Again, I'm on my blogger app and can't figure out how to do a hyperlink.)
I'm not sure what possessed me to try again. Perhaps it's knowing that she'll be starting kindergarten in the fall and she really needs to learn by then. Whatever the reason, I started taking her into the bathroom. The last time I tried this, back in August, I figured out that Elena will pee about every 2 hours, if she stays hydrated. So I started taking her to the bathroom every two hours. I took the seat off her little potty and put it on the big toilet. (A while ago, we were visiting Grandma and Elena insisted on going potty. I didn't have her little one so I just put her on the big one. Ever since then she refuses to use the little one. Good thing it can be used as a step stool.)
At first, nothing happened. She just sat there. We talked, sang songs and read books. Her OT said to do this to get her to relax and distract her. She said the muscles that control the bladder have to relax to pee. (We tried this in the past and it didn't work.) I checked out a book from the library for Elena to read while on the potty. It's called My Big Girl Potty by Joaana Cole. It's great. It's talks about everything from first checking out the potty to using it, to accidents. It took many tries and Elena sitting for an hour or more at a time before she finally went in the potty. We clapped and sang. Then I helped her wipe, flush, wash her hands and pull up her pants. More praise followed by me dancing with her and singing a made up potty song. Basically just singing that she went peepee in the potty like a big girl. Then I gave her a few M&MS and told her repeatedly that it was a potty treat for going in the potty like a big girl.
One thing the OT told me to do I think really helped. She said that even if Elena didn't go in the potty to still have her wipe and flush. Elena loves flushing. It's her favorite part.
It only took a few times of going pee and receiving a treat that she figured out the connection. Finally something clicked! After 4 days of going in the potty everyday and keeping her pull up dry for half that (including no poop!!) I took her to the book store and told her that because she was doing so good at going potty she could have a special potty treat, a book. She loves reading. With some help, she picked out Potty Time with Abby, the fairy from Sesame Street. It has buttons that make noises, including flushing. She loved that. Every time she flushed for the next week she say "Just like in the potty book!" She has me read it at least three times while sitting on the potty. It's been three weeks, I think since we started and she's kept herself dry everyday that I keep on top of it. If I loose track of time, then she wets her Pull Up.
Something I found very useful was giving Elena a daily probiotic. I give her Nature's Way brand Primadophilus Kids. It comes in a small plastic bottle in the refrigerator section at the health foods store. It's a chewable. I started giving it to her for occasional irregularity but turns out that it makes her so regular that I know exactly when she will go. So every night around 6pm I put her on the potty and she poops. No more dirty diapers!!!!
I'm now working on getting her to tell me when she needs to go. She usually won't say anything until after she has already gone. When school gets out, I'm going to switch her to underwear again. My hope is that by that point she will either tell me when she needs to go or it will bother her if she gets wet. Since it will be the summer, I can have her spend most her time outside so if she has an accident it won't make a mess on my carpet plus we won't have anything to do so we can stay home while she gets used to it. I do not want to have to clean up a pee mess in the middle of Walmart.