I haven't wanted to say it aloud, for fear of jinxing it or scaring it away like a wild deer (though not the deer in my neighborhood that stare at me and go back to nibbling my roses). But it IS a pretty huge milestone. Eva's wearing panties! No diapers. I am beyond happy. Beyond.
I can't say we did anything to make this happen, this time around. Just all the stuff They say to do: potty books, potty video, go with Mommy to potty, little potty chair, set up a routine, talk about it a lot--but not with any pressure! Yeah, we did all of that since she was 2 1/2 and had her first stint of success. But she protested fiercely; it went away. Back and forth a few times. I was out of ideas and tricks; she was getting too old to buy into the games and has never been one to be motivated by bribes. They say it'll happen when the child is ready--and not before. I had to let it go and trust.
Over the summer, I started telling her, matter-of-factly and without blame or guilt (I hope) that I was done changing her diapers. I didn't want to do it anymore. I refused to read her potty books to her the sporadic times she was sitting, saying I didn't think she needed it anymore. She was a big girl and could do this on her own. After a bit, I think she started to believe me.
In many ways, teaching her to use the potty was no different than teaching a typical child. One thing that differed was that her gross and fine motor skills are not as refined as a typical child. So while I was waiting for her to take an interest in using the potty, I worked with her, outside of the bathroom and without mentioning the potty, on the skills she needed to be successful. Signing "toilet" before she could speak (language). Practicing standing up and sitting down, over and over (gross motor). Getting pants on and off (fine motor). She would "help" me go and tell me what to do next. She would flush the toilet for me. She knew what to do, she just needed that secret motivator to get her to do it.
I think peer pressure at school this year did the trick. And the staff work hard with the kids to learn to use the toilet and stay dry. The other two girls in her Supported Kindergarten wear pretty panties and she wanted to be like them. One day, several weeks ago, she came home from school and said she wanted to wear pretty panties, too. OK! We gathered up some hand-me-downs, bought some exciting new Tinkerbell panties and that was it! The first couple days were a little rough, but after that, she has done amazingly well. It's been rather easy (if you don't consider the five years and nine months of diapers before that, but who's counting). Hooray Eva!