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March 6, 2003 - Thursday
It's now been three weeks since Harry first pooped in the potty and two and a half since his last such success. Donald (the train) and Harold (the helicopter) have been sitting on the shelf for that time and clearly not providing sufficient sway anymore to overcome Harry's nervousness, fear, or whatever it is that makes this act so difficult for small children. I suppose Harry will come around eventually and we really haven't been forcing the issue very much, beyond a continuing reminder that Donald and Harold want to join their friends and making a few trips to the potty to "try."

This morning, however, at breakfast I got the sense, as I did that first time three weeks ago, that Harry was moving in his seat like it might be time. So, after breakfast we went up and tried. Harry had no success, but within five minute of getting up, he pooped in his Pull-up. This was frustrating to me and I probably expressed that frustration more strongly than I should have. I caught myself and tried to accentuate the positive that he had pooped and tried to focus my disappointed on the fact that he had apparently not "tried" as he had claimed while sitting on the potty just moments before. I realized that the negative was probably all that would get through. I tried to turn the conversation a more reason-oriented one with an idea that we've thrown out a couple of times for Harry's consideration. I reminded Harry that the Pull-ups, which he has come to like a great deal, are not for peeing and pooping in, but rather for taking off to use the potty and that if he did not want to try and use them that way perhaps we should return to the older bigger diapers. Harry has never overtly argued this point, but it's been clear that he does not like the idea, for example, by quickly reaching for a new Pull-up in the cabinet before I might have a chance to get one of the others.

Then, just before dinner, still frustrated myself that the successes of the past few weeks might be slipping away, I decided that maybe we ought to initiate more regular times to "try," and I took Harry upstairs. Interestingly, on the way upstairs, Harry mouthed off a little about "liking the old diapers" in an effort either to convince himself or me (or both of us) that a return to them would not be a defeat. I hadn't planned to make that change, certainly not yet, because it seems to me that having it hanging there is a greater carrot than making a potentially embarrassing, if not regressive, switch. But, it was interesting to hear that it was on Harry's mind. Harry did not poop in the potty, but since he did this morning I wasn't expecting it or talking about it. This visit was about trying to pee in the potty and to that Harry responded with aplomb. The "tools" on his Pull-up were still visible, showing that he had not peed in it, and still he filled the potty with a surprising amount of liquid, showing he has certainly been gaining bladder control. It was a great and, following the tension of the morning, a relieving cause for celebration. We gave Harry a couple pieces of Skittles as a reward and he had given me a new strategy for maintaining the focus on training.

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