OK, so we've been having a bit of a dilemma at the Butler home lately. It would appear that Isabella, you know our four year old that has been potty trained for well over a year, is going through a "phase" of having frequent potty accidents. It usually happens when she is focused on watching TV, playing or doing something so fun that apparently stopping to go to the bathroom is not an option. We know it's not a medical condition because she had some procedures done at the beginning of the year that came back normal. And the thing is when you ask her if she needs to go her response is always the same: "No", but then she has an accident. To say that this infuriates me and Scott is a gross understatement.
Anyway, yesterday I finally hit rock bottom. I was so upset with her for going potty on herself that I told her she was not allowed to watch any TV for the rest of the day and she was not allowed to stay overnight at her grandma's this weekend and that if she kept this up she would have to wear diapers again. She was so distraught over all of this that I thought for sure she'd go and camp out in the bathroom even if she didn't need to go. Right! Well, the joke's on me since she went potty on herself again last night after dinner. WHAT?! She said she didn't want to get up from the toy she was playing with because she didn't want Sam to take it away. Are you kidding me?
Scott had some discussions with her and took away the Leapster and I had some discussions with her and thought for sure I was going insane. So I decided I would Google the issue, like you do, and was shocked to discover that apparently this is just a "phase" that is quite common in the 4 year old age group. I looked at five different websites and all of them basically said the exact same thing:
*It's very common among the 4 year old age group
*It's just a phase and it too will pass
*Whatever you do, do NOT punish or take toys or privileges
*Praise them when they go to the bathroom and set goals and offer rewards
OOPS! Guess I like totally missed the mark on this one!
Listen, I try my hardest to be the best mom I can be to these two wonderful kids. I really do. But I gotta be honest ~ this whole potty training thing has brought out my ugliest side and I have to make a HUGE conscious effort to remain patient and understanding. And if you've been reading this blog you already know this, remember this?
So, I decided to once again readjust my approach and expectations and try the praise, goals and rewards method. Last night I printed out a picture of one of the items on Isabella's Christmas list and made this here little poster:
So there you have it,... seven days accident-free gets her the super fabulous and very coveted Play-Doh Ice Cream Making Kit. They don't have to be seven consecutive days, they just have to be seven whole days.
This is taped to the kitchen cabinet directly over the TV she watches every single morning during breakfast. She responded very favorably to the challenge this morning and cannot wait to move the first star from the right side to its assigned location tonight.
I'm praying this works, cause quite honestly I'm not sure what the next step will be if it doesn't. If any of you have any suggestions or tips that have worked with your children I would love to hear them.