After training Sage to use the potty, I was left with two conclusions: 1. I don't want to train subsequent children as early as we did with her (before she was 2), 2. I want to wait until the child is ready, and 3. if the experience isn't going well for either party, we would stop and wait for 2 months to try again.
I assumed Fern would be interested in copying Sage's behavior, and enlisted Sage's help in showing Fern the potty experience. Fern wasn't interested! She was freaked out by sitting on a tiny potty on the ground, let alone the big potty. We both knew before she was going #2 in her diaper, and I am pretty sure she was aware of going pee as well. She wasn't interested, plain and simple. I finally felt at peace with her, and the night before Mother's Day had a realization: I don't have to stress out about it. I don't have to control it. I CAN handle two kids in diapers, it wouldn't be the end of the world.
On Mother's Day, she decided she wanted to pee on her little potty! I was kind of in shock (we hadn't been talking at all about it), and didn't get too excited or expectant. However, 3+ weeks later, she's still plugging along great, very self-motivated and self-aware. There have been SO few accidents, and I feel much less stressed out or controlling than I did with Sage. I don't worry about when Fern wants to wear a diaper or needs to wear a diaper. I don't worry about accidents, and don't really get upset. I am proud of her when she uses the potty, but it's not the highlight of the day or a cause for bribing (like it was with Sage). Fern doesn't knowingly stand in the living room and pee all over herself, seemingly intentionally, like Sage did, just to get a rise out of us. What a difference between these two kids.
I am LOVING not changing poopy diapers anymore, and having a break before our poop machine arrives in the fall. Here's to continued success.