Potty Stress & The Wisdom of Waiting

Some months ago, as my youngest son approached three years of age, we began to talk about the toilet. For Christmas, we bought him a book about it, "Pirate Pete's Potty" which he loved. He became quite obsessed about bodily functions as he processed the idea of moving on from nappies, and we have an Usborne Body Book with which he has become very familiar, showing particular interest in the page all about digestion. I noticed he seemed to have a dry nappy a lot of the time, and that he was becoming aware of when he was weeing, so I decided to take the nappies off and see how he got on. We had a potty around, and he was talking very eloquently about the whole process and what he had to do. Of course, he has the example of three older brothers to follow as well, so it seemed the time might be right. However, what happened next was not something I experienced with any of my other sons. He willfully stopped weeing, and stubbornly held on to it, even when it began to cause distress, even though I was very calm and patient and he knew what was happening and what he needed to do. I became so concerned about his holding on that, after talking to him about it, we decided to go back into nappies. I even rang my health visitor for some advice, and she supported my decision to just back off for the time being. But he clearly knew now that he could control things so, even back in nappies, he refused to go. He was so wilful about it that, when he did finally had to let go, he would tell me in advance and we went into the bathroom and stood beside the toilet. He would then wee in the nappy and we would then change it. However, he had held it so long that, twice, the wee was so big it leaked through his nappy and on to the tiled floor! This caused some distress, so I tried doubling up the nappies when he was ready to go. From this experience came the idea of going 'on the tiles'. This meant, when he needed to go, he would go and stand on the tiled floor by the toilet so as not to leak on the carpet. This became his new habit and, as he relaxed about this, he began to go regularly again, always "on the tiles". Even when we were out and about, "on the tiles" meant he needed to be taken to the toilet. So, now, effectively, I had a child who was 'toilet trained' in that he knew exactly when he was going and what he was doing, but was still insisting on wearing a nappy. Well, I just waited and we carried on like this for a while, relaxed and not making any fuss about it. Then, suddenly, on his 3rd birthday, he woke up and stood in front of a big mirror talking to his reflection ... "I am a big boy now, so those nappies will just have to go in the bin. Wees need to go in the toilet," he declared. And that was it. From then on, he has been using the toilet for both wees and poos, day and night, he is fine with it. And we've had no accidents to clean up. Isn't this an interesting lesson in the beauty of waiting until a child is ready? It certainly saves a lot of stress. I remember potty training my eldest son and what a drama it was. I wish I had known then what I know now, and had just had the wisdom to wait.
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