DS was potty trained in July. He's really awesome- I can count on one hand the number of accidents he's had since that first week. He was never punished or shamed for an accident. We just clean things up matter-of-fact and have some loves and go on with our day.
I know that I can't make him pee. So our rule is that he has to "sit gentle" on the potty when mommy or daddy says it's time to go. He won't volunteer himself to go potty, ever, so we just send him along every couple of hours. Most of the time he happily goes whenever we say its time. We also tie it in with events "First we go pee, then we can XXX" and its worked out well.
But.... every two weeks or so, he freaks out about going potty. Just refuses to go. Screams NO NO NO. Tantrums. The whole bit. I'm 99.9% sure that there's no medical condition behind it- he's just asserting his will.
Today was one of those days. We were running errands and had picked up from lunch and it had been a couple of hours, so I told him we were going to go potty, then have lunch. He sat without an issue, but very briefly and was protesting the whole time. So I asked him if he wanted to wait until after lunch to go pee, and he said yes. Fine, no problem, very typical.
So lunch comes and goes, and I had turned on a Thomas video, so it was probably over an hour later when I remembered and said, "Ok, time to go potty!"
And HOLY HELL. Total meltdown. Went into the bathroom willingly, but pitched an absolute fit and refused to pull down his pants, refused to sit on the potty, refused to stand. Defcon 5 nuclear meltdown.
The thing is, by this time it had probably been close to four hours since he'd gone pee. We were coming up on naptime. He had to go now. So I drew a line in the sand, and there we were. I stood in the doorway of the bathroom, refusing to let him leave. And he stood there and had a tantrum. Whenever he asked for anything, my answer was "Sure! Just as soon as you sit gentle on the potty." Occasionally I would crouch down and ask him "What do you need to be able to sit on the potty." And when he asked for his blanket, or his robot, I would say, "Sure! Yu sit on the potty and I will go get your (whatever) for you." And that would start the next round of crying and NO NO NO NO NO.
We were there for 45 minutes before he finally sat on the potty. Little booger still didn't actually pee, but at least he sat.
So here's my question for you fine mamas: On the one hand, I figure that because I signed up for this power struggle, there was NO WAY that I could lose. I had to wait him out and out-stubborn him. If I had given in, that would have taught DS a horrible lesson about what kinds of behaviors get him the results he's looking for.
OTOH, it sure didn't feel very gentle. I mean, sure, I didn't hit, I didn't yell, I didn't shame him. When it was over I rocked him before nap and cuddled and acknowledged how rotten we both felt and told him how proud I was for sitting on the potty. But for those 45 minutes we stood in the bathroom- UGH. Most of the time he kept crying and asking in a pathetic tone, "Mama, carry me!" And I just kept repeating, "Sit gentle on the potty and I will carry you." A lot of times I didn't look at him or interact- I just looked out the window over his head. I even had to turn my back to him at one point because I was getting so frustrated. It felt very cold.
I also kept thinking of that saying "A child needs the most love when they are acting the most unlovable." And time-ins, rather than time-outs. But I didn't want to reward his negative behavior, you know??
What do you mamas think? I'm not really looking for ways I could have avoided the power struggle altogether.... I'm more looking for feedback about how I should have / could have acted once I was in it. What is the GD way out????
Thanks for reading my novel (and for being gentle with me, if possible.) I really do have good intentions and just want to be a good mom.