Back in September, we had high hopes for potty training with our daughter. She was doing really well, all by herself. With very little prompting from us, she started asking to use the potty (or just taking herself, especially at daycare), and was even staying dry many nights. I was hoping that she'd be in underwear after Christmas.
Then, right before the holidays, things took a turn for the worse. Charlotte started getting defiant if we'd ask her if she needed to go to the restroom, and throwing temper tantrums if we either hauled her in or tried to change her diaper. She refused to acknowledge that she was wet or stinky. But, when we were out of the house, she generally was staying dry and asking to use the potty, just like before. We've been trying to massively back off any pressure--trying not to ask if she needs to use the restroom, or if she's wet or anything else. We've been letting her sit in a wet diaper all evening if she doesn't decide to use the potty or request a diaper change. So, she's been sitting wet for hours on end, and apparently doesn't care. We give lots of positive re-inforcement when she does use the potty (cheers and hugs and smiles, even when she just goes through the motions and doesn't actually wet). We tried buying some of the pull-ups that feel cool when they're wet--that worked only for the first time she peed in them (and told me immediately that she was wet). After that, she must have gotten used to the cool feeling, and is back to ignoring them. We've tried bribing her a bit with potty trips (you can watch Elmo if you go to the potty first)--no go. She's even addicted to an Elmo game on pbskids.org where Elmo and friends have to stop what they're doing to go to the bathroom--she tries to recite many of the words along with the game/story, but they obviously aren't sinking in ("If you get the feeling that you have to go, stop whatever you're doing and go. Otherwise, you might have an accident").
This past weekend I went to Walmart and bought some training underwear (the padded kind) and vinyl pants to go over them. I could have bought regular panties, but the smallest size they make is a "2T/3T" and she's barely in 2T...the padded kind came in 18 and 24 months, which looked closer to our petite daughter's size. She wore a pair around Friday night, and stayed dry (mostly because she did not need to pee, I think). Saturday morning, we put on another pair, and 5 minutes later she peed in them. It ran down her leg, and she got very upset about it. She got a fresh pair of panties, and also got dressed in jeans at that point. A couple of hours later, she wet her pants again, but this time tried to tell me that she was not wet (she was soaked, and it had leaked out of the plastic pants and on the back of her jeans also). Grr. At that point we had errands to run out of the house, so we put on a pullup and gave up on the underwear for the weekend. I guess we need to start over with the "back off" approach, and start letting her run around wet until she decides to complain for herself. She's been very demanding and defiant in everything lately, so I think that the potty training is just one more area where she's trying to assert control. Unfortunately, lots of time-outs in the corner, and (loud) harsh words have been working well at keeping her regular behavior in check, but we're unwilling to punish her for potty training accidents as of yet (if ever). *Sigh*