Warning: The following is kinda graphic stuff, so if you'd rather not hear about the logistics of poop potty training a toddler, please skip this post.
It turns out that O seems to have a fear of going poop on the potty. He has been successfully peeing on the potty (and keeping his underpants dry) for a couple weeks now, but has yet to have that first poop.
I'm not entirely sure why this is. At first, I thought he was just afraid of the different sensation — having the mess fall away from him into the bowl, rather than smash right up against him like in the diaper. (I warned you, this is gross stuff!) But sometimes I wonder if it's more of a physical difficulty. By that I mean that when he poops in his diaper, he's always standing and just sort of hunches over slightly. So, I wonder if being in a sitting position is challenging for him.
My plan initially was to keep him in a diaper for naps and bedtime, at least until he mastered pooping (and probably longer for the overnight stint). And, honestly, because I'm terrified of having an accident out in public, I've also been putting him in diapers (or pull-ups, which are essentially diapers that are a bit easier to get on and off) whenever we go out anywhere. With the exception of a few very short trips to the store that I've braved with the O-man in his underpants, I have been reluctant to take him anywhere else (i.e., the library, MOPS, church, etc.) without the safety of a diaper. As I said, this is mostly because I'm not too keen on cleaning up a public potty mess, but also because in many of those situations, I am not going to be the one taking care of him. I feel like I shouldn't impose on his church or MOPS caregivers by asking them to be sure to take him to the potty every 30 minutes, or worse, clean up a poopy-pantsed 2-year-old. That's not really their job, right?
But what I'm afraid has happened is that I've confused the poor boy. It seems that he will just wait and "hold it" until he gets put into a diaper, which is, at the very least, twice a day (naptime and bedtime). And while I'm grateful that I really haven't had very many poopy accidents to clean up in the past few weeks, I'm concerned about his lack of progress with this step.
He is making progress, though. We just spent the past hour before his naptime today sitting on the potty (two different potties, actually). I know he needed to go. And, to his credit, he was really trying. He would lean over and sometimes lift his body up with his hands. I heard a few toots in there and could just tell that he was making an effort. But after a solid hour (and 20-minutes into naptime), I decided to give it a rest. However, I chose NOT to put him in a diaper for naptime. I'm 100% positive that when he wakes up, there will be some sort of mess to clean up. He will probably be wet, and there is a good chance that he will also be dirty. And that means I will have to strip the bed and clean and sanitize everything. But I feel like if I don't just grin and bear this unpleasantry, he's never going to learn.
Anyway, he's fast asleep now and only a short time will tell how this little experiment goes. Thanks for following along as I keep on "wingin' it" over here in potty land...