I can't really say I ever "dreaded" potty training. Of course I also never looked forward to it. I never thought it would be easy or hard. It would just be. And it is.
Turtle-Love is 2 1/2. He is still in diapers. Disposable diapers to be specific. While moving last year we switched to them full time and when I tried to switch back he refused. I've tried a few times since then but he is not interested and I'm just not willing to go to battle about it. We tried a few times to start potty training but it never really fit our groove and he quickly lost interest. Through it he has become acquainted with the little potty, the big potty, and the potty adapter. We tried bribing him with stickers on a chart (we earned stickers to show him how it worked) and with matchbox cars and hot wheels (which sort of worked - for two days). We tried pull-ups with the fading pictures and with the cold stuff. I bought cloth trainers and underwear and he refuses to wear either with the exception of the random day here and there. All of it was a no go for us. It either didn't feel like a good fit or he wasn't interested.
And so he is still in diapers. And we are completely okay with that.
But he is still potty learning.
What? Let me give you an example.
Last week one morning we were in the pantry trying to decide what was for breakfast when he declared "I need to go potty" in a very not-a-big-deal way. Just a statement in passing. I encouraged him to go sit on his potty. Any time he says he wants to go potty we take him, no exceptions. He stopped for two seconds before we took his diaper off and I knew by the look on his face we were a little too late, but we stripped him down anyways and he finished up on the potty. I'm not talking a trickle of pee either. He pooped. Turns out he recognized the feeling, but in that two seconds of immobility in front of the potty didn't control it enough so he had a little in his diaper, but finished up on the pot.
Good for him!! He knows what his body feels like when he needs to go! I'm gonna say that is a pretty nice step in the potty learning direction.
He has plenty of examples to show him as he gets older we use the potty. We have several other children in our house, and an infant(Little Bean). Only he and Little Bean are in diapers even though his cousins aren't far from him in age.
He is a social potty goer. If his potty-using friends go potty when we are out with them, he wants to go too - and the attempt is rarely in vain.
We congratulate his potty successes and encourage his potty tries.
We never belittle him for not making it, or force him to go.
Anytime he says he wants to go potty we take him, no exceptions.
I'm not saying this is the fastest way to get things done. But I do feel like it is the most empowering for him. He is learning how to use the potty in his own time as he is ready - with our guidance and encouragement. Maybe we will be doing this for another year, or maybe he will decide he is ready for underwear next week. We are willing to wait and find out.