It's a little scary to even write the words... we think/hope that maybe, just maybe, Garrison is getting the hang of going to the potty and wearing big boy underwear (and staying dry!), and even telling us when he has to go. Yay!! We know we can still very well have setbacks and that he still hasn't seemed to master pooping in the potty consistently, but we are really excited!
We actually introduced the potty back when he was almost 20 months old (and I wrote about it here.) We weren't super consistent with him when we started just because he wasn't quite ready to be potty trained and we weren't ready to put him in big boy underwear, or take him in public, or try to figure out how to make him go at school, etc. But, I have to say I'm really glad we at least introduced the potty early because once we started back with consistent training, he was ready and knew what to do.... and best of all we weren't starting from scratch. It just seemed to make things easier overall. Of course the holidays were sort of a setback with traveling and being busy and away from home a lot, but then I think Terrell and I got sort of slack with it because we knew he wouldn't go potty at school (his teachers had tried) and we were definitely putting off taking him in public. My child touching and sitting on things in a public restroom... yuck. So we ended up sort of taking some time off from potty training. He would still go occasionally before getting in the bathtub and sometimes at home with me but it was a definite break from consistent training.
Finally we made the decision to start back the week of Garrison's Spring Break from school. That didn't exactly go as planned because we weren't in town for the entire week and the days we were in town we weren't at home very much. Sooo, the week after Spring Break is when I started taking him back to the potty and setting the timer so we'd keep track of when he needed to go back, etc. We clapped and made a big deal about him using the potty at first, and then about him being dry when we went to the potty. He got stickers for being dry and a small piece of chocolate for pooping in the potty. I put him in pull-ups everyday and encouraged him to tell me when he had to go.
Things went well when we started back (and again we were thankful we had already introduced the potty so he knew what do), however... we started noticing some major inconsistencies a couple of weeks in. It really seemed like no matter how often I would take him, there were always times he would be wet before we made it back to the potty. Then there were lots of times when I thought he had been dry all day in his pull-up, but as soon as we put him in big boy underwear he wouldn't be able to stay dry 15 minutes. We really started wondering if maybe he wasn't quite ready and just didn't know how to "hold it" or at least tell us before it happened so we could take him to the potty.
Then a few weekends ago when we were home almost an entire day on Saturday, we put him in big boy underwear and decided to take him to the potty every 15 minutes. This was our way of trying to "head off" an accident and prevent it from happening but also have him feel what it was like to be wet in big boy underwear and hopefully dislike it/get tired of it. Things were sort of frustrating because he still managed to go through almost every single pair of underwear he owns, but we didn't give up... even though I was ready to. We just tried to be patient with him and again made a big deal about him being dry and going tee tee in the potty, not in his underwear.
Even though we didn't see tons of progress that weekend, I believe it was sort of a turning point for us. The next week he wanted to wear his big boy underwear all the time (of course he was still in a pull-up or diaper for naps/bedtime/errands), we started using public restrooms (like Target and Chick-Fil-A), and he actually went at school! It finally occurred to me to take him myself to the potty at school and hope for the best. So for the past few weeks I've been taking him to the potty at school as soon as we get there and then his teachers try to take him a couple of times after that. He hasn't been consistent about staying dry at school, but I'm proud that he at least started using the potty there and we only have one more school day left before he's out for the summer. I also noticed that if I took him every 30 minutes, he seemed to be able to "go" more and then he would stay dryer for longer. (Thank goodness I was done with the every 15 minute drill. It felt like my entire day revolved around taking him to the potty. Not fun.)
We've now been on two outings in big boy underwear, plus to play outside for long stretches of time, and had a couple of dry naptimes and all nighters (which is amazing to us)! One of the most exciting things we've noticed just in the last week is that he has now started telling us when he needs to go. We still set the timer and work to take him consistently, but if he has to go sooner he typically tells us and if he doesn't have to go, we usually believe him. It has been so rewarding to witness him finally catch on and figure this whole going to the potty thing out. Like I said earlier, we still have to master pooping in the potty and we know setbacks are very possible, but we are just thrilled with how things are currently going! It seems silly, but I'm so proud of my little man and so thankful that I'm witnessing another milestone!!