A simple apple timer from the Dollar Spot at Target, which I bought last year hoping to use it for time outs. Unfortunately, it didn't work very well for anything under 5 minutes, so I stuck it in a drawer.
Then I posted about our potty training troubles on a mom's message board that I frequent, and a few of my friends suggested trying a timer. I'd read about using a timer somewhere in all my research, but never thought to try it. The idea is that you set the timer for regular intervals, and when the bell rings, they have to go sit on the potty. You kind of make a game of it, but most importantly, it gives them a little more control because you aren't telling them to go (or nagging them or begging them), the timer is. Control seems to be our main stumbling block in recent days, as he resists my attempts to get him to go, stubbornly refusing, and then having an accident minutes later.
Because I am determined to make it work this time, out of desperation I thought I'd give it a try, figuring he'd still be too stubborn. Amazingly, after only a few rings of the bell, he got it. Now every time it rings, he stops whatever he's doing, even watching one of his favorite shows, and says, "Time to potty!" and marches right in the bathroom! He had no accidents yesterday after he got the hang of it, and no protests either! He even told us he needed to pee during dinner! The highchair is where many of his accidents have taken place, so that is awesome.
We are setting it in 30 minute intervals most of the time. I adjust it depending on when he last actually peed, or how much. Sometimes he sits but doesn't pee, or doesn't get it all out, and that's okay, because most of the time he goes. If he doesn't pee, I set it for 15 minutes. I think the intervals will change over time as we get into a rhythm and he learns his body signals better.
I did a bunch of reading up on potty training yesterday while he napped (he played for half his nap, and slept for half, with no destruction of his room!), and I decided that I also had to work on my attitude. I was starting to get frustrated, and it showed, and I know he picked up on that. So now we are all about praising the tiniest success, and brushing off any accidents as part of the learning process. It's making for a happier mommy and toddler, lots of stickers, and on Saturday, he'll get his incentive toy!
So maybe we're getting this thing figured out. Let's hope so!