Who would have thought that pee pee and poop would require so much soul-searching. After being warned that Jacob may not be able to attend his preschool next year if he is not potty trained, I drove home, put the baby carrier down, and had a nervous breakdown. I consulted with the Brain Parents Group on Facebook, with Jacob's pediatric neurologist, with the YMCA, with my dad... Ultimately, there IS a neurological basis for why Jacob is not yet potty trained at 4 years old. What is problematic is that this developmental delay is treated differently than another such as speech. We never yelled at him to speak to us. We took a class through Early Intervention to address his speech delay. We waited patiently as his skills developed. And we celebrated every success such as when he said opah instead of "o" for the word open. Speech was very slow in developing until it exploded. But potty training is different because it is socially unacceptable for a child to wear diapers after the age of 3. Every daycare, preschool, and summer camp that I have researched requires that children are potty trained by the age of 3. My 6 year old Matthew, who is a typical child with a very sophisticated thought process, was not potty trained until he was 3 1/2 years old.
We introduced both Matthew and Jacob to the potty before they were 3 years old. I determined that Matthew was finally ready because he would fight with me about changing his diaper and he would readily go to the potty when I asked him. He wore "night-night" diapers for a while until he stayed dry through the night.
Jacob showed real potty promise before he was 3 years old. I blogged about it in June of 2011, that Jacob had gone on the potty about 8 times over the course of a few days. But rather than the right switch going off and Jacob being in underpants to this day, Jacob became tearful, upset, and completely non-compliant about using the potty. So we let it go.
We have tried intermittently since then, using rewards, trying to reason with him. Sometimes he goes but most of the time he does not and many times he becomes agitated. Yesterday, he stood at the potty 4 times at 30 minute intervals and "tried". Then 5 minutes later he ran to me and said he had to go potty. We've been here before so I asked him if he already went in his underpants and he had. He asked if I was angry at him. This morning, I made him sit on the potty after he woke up and after some fussing, he went pee and was rewarded with two Hershey kisses and a coin for his piggy bank. After we got to his school, I told him we would try again and he had a meltdown.
Although Jacob shows signs of readiness, he is not ready. He's saying "o" now and maybe in a week or a month he'll say "opah" until finally he explodes and is open to potty training.