Below is a full account of Layla's recent success in potty training. It's been a long road; for over six months she has stayed dry but refusing to actually go in the potty (preferring diapers). Long story short, she turned the corner this weekend and started using the potty. All the nitty gritty details of how it went down are below.
About three months ago we sat down with her teachers at school and made a plan to expunge our house entirely of diapers, and bear down for a week or two until she caves and starts going in the potty. By coincidence the same weekend we wanted to start, we had scheduled a babysitter, V, to spend the night. We asked V if this would be ok and she was onboard.
The diaper-free weekend started Friday night. We had the 'diaper fairy' come and take all her diapers. I believe Layla's strategy, which she had total faith in, was to hold it forever. This lasted until midnight, when she finally let go. I think she peed at least a gallon. Fortunately she still has a rubber-covered mattress on her bed.
In the morning, after wetting the bed again, she went back to her plan. She didn't indicate any sort of discomfort until about noon, when she started getting mighty uncomfortable. She squirmed and resisted the potty again, but this time we were on her. As soon as she finally couldn't hold it anymore, I swooped in and relocated her to the potty where most of her pee ended up going. We acted like it was a success and gave her lots of cheers. She seemed kind of surprised.
A few hours (and no nap) later, it happened again. This time, she told us "I have to go potty!" and ran for the potty. She didn't quite make it on her own but we helped her out and again most of it ended up in the potty. We considered this an even bigger success and gave her lots more cheers.
We switched duties to the babysitter V after that. V used a similar strategy only this time when Layla indicated she had to go, V made her sit on the potty until she couldn't hold it anymore. All the pee ended up in the potty this time. The next morning, V switched it back over to us. It was then that Layla turned the corner - when she had to go, she told us, went in the bathroom and peed in the potty. A few hours later she pooped (which she had also been holding in), and then did it again about 10 more times throughout the afternoon and evening.
After the turning point, some funny things happened. First, Layla decided she needed privacy. Now she goes in the bathroom, shuts the door on us (and even says "go away!" and pees on her own. Second, Layla figured out fast how to use this to her advantage and when bedtime rolled around she suddenly had to go potty over and over again. At first it was funny but eventually we actually had to tell her we were all done getting excited about it each time.
So, we seem to have really rounded the corner. Hopefully this time will be for good..!