After being some comic relief for my God Mother the other night on the phone, I decided I better write. Let me just start by saying, this is by far the hardest parenting I have ever done to date. It’s Monday, we are on Day 4 of potty training and I have not showered since Thursday night. Now before you get completely disgusted, I at least have jumped into the pool a few times just to reset my mind, gather my thoughts so I could start right back up with positive reinforcement for Cody. We used this quick 30 minute pool break as a reset button for us both.
So to catch you up, here was my journals from the last 4 days on his progress so far:
Day 1: By far, hardest parenting day to date. Not sure how this is possible for just one person to conduct this training? I wish I could tell you we made the connection and it clicked for the little man but not there yet. We did have some successes and lots of accidents but Behavioral Analyst informed me tonight that I should be proud! Won’t lie feeling a little deflated and exhausted but will start back fresh tomorrow. Teaching Cameron to aim for Cheerios was so much more easier then this…#GoTeamCody
Day2: We ended on a high tonight and with 10 successes today! If you were to ask I would say were about 50% there maybe? Thank goodness he is so darn cute in his new undies and my AUsome support moms and friends! I am wiped out but look at that cute smile!??!? This was his last success and the Fruit Loops and iPad for reward is working like a champ so far! #Dislikecoloredcereal #Day2Complete Sharing a link to a great lecture that helped me with potty training with ASD.
Day 3: Spoke with our BCBA today for some encouragement and confirmation. Day 3 also ended on a high with 11 successes with pushing a lot less fluids which means lesser trials but more succession. I will take it. Connection is there in order to get iPad for reward when “on potty” but still working on the initiation of “wanting to go to the potty” on his own. She says that’s the next step. He once requested, we ran and rewarded today! We are on track. One day at a time. Patience is tested to a whole new level. Might need back adjustments. Hubs has been great support. Photo of his last success today. #FrutloopsandPBSKidsmakestheworldgoround
Tomorrow’s Goals: less fluid, more successes, longer time between.
Day 4: 9 and 3. What could those numbers possibly be? Could be…. 27 or 12 or 6 BUT that’s none of them! This is 9 successes my friends as of 5:44pm! 20 min on 10 min off! Tomorrow we will try 30 on 10 off and start getting that little bladder on a schedule!
Check out video Thumbs up!
What these updates above don’t tell you is how much urine has sprayed me from head to toe, how many fruit loops have been eaten in the last 96 hours by this kid and how many times I have listened to the intro of PBS Kids – Sid the Science Kid! But all 3 of these things only means one thing. A LOT of success has occurred! These are his rein forcers for eliminating in the potty so if we were not getting peed on while eating and watching Sid the Science Kid then he was not catching on to this whole potty training thing!
For those that do not know my little guy, we are 45 days shy from his 5th birthday, he has very limited language and uses ProloquoToGo on his iPad for his communication. This makes the process a bit challenging and have been pulling out all kinds of tricks out of the hat to start building the connection to potty, following by bladder training sequence and self-initiation. I don’t even want to think about the bowel training right now. Potty training any child is difficult, but potty training a child on the autism spectrum can be particularly trying. Our little ones like their routines and are often resistant to any changes, and they often have sensory issues and ritualized and repetitive behaviors which make it difficult to transition from eliminating in their diapers (which, remember, is all they have known, and with which they’ve gotten very comfortable) to the potty (which is a new, unfamiliar place, with new sights, sounds, and feels to process). Furthermore, Cody has limited expressive language capacity which means is not easy for him to tell me when he needs to go to the potty, or what he does not like about going so that we can help him.
I have been getting quite a few private messages about potty training. Many people have asked what techniques we have used, how to prepare and have you lost your insanity? I know you can google search the Azrin and Foxx method and several other methods geared for children with developmental disabilities so I thought I would just share some added bonuses that worked for Cody along with the Azrin and Foxx method. Here is how we approached potty training in no particular order but what I believe thus far has helped tremendously.
- When it comes to communication: less is more when giving instruction. Be consistent with the language you use. Share with all therapists to ensure consistency. I taped a small piece of paper on the clip board with the data sheets and wrote the actual words we are using. (Pee pee, undies, potty, potty checks, etc.) There are too many variations of these words.
- Have a clip board with your data sheets and Velcro a pen and your timer to the clip board. This was a life saver for me. First day, I needed the pen that was over on the bath counter and I could not get up because Cody was going to release any second and I had to ensure it would go in the potty and not spray like we were at the splash pad! I started using the timer on my phone but it was difficult to unlock and get to the timer app all at the same time not getting peed on!
- Shoes will get peed on folks! Crocs or any rubber shoes is required. Go bare foot if possible but we went outside on the swing for quick visits and concrete was hot so Croc’s were perfect!
- Get creative when it comes to entertaining your child while sitting on the potty! We played chase when the timer went off to run to the get back on the potty! I almost lost my voice, I sang so many songs. Have a DVD player, bubbles, books, toys and everything at arm’s reach from your potty.
- Positioning is everything. Be sure to have the right sized potty for your kiddo, a stool so feet are positioned properly and a chair for you! You will need to be eye level with your kiddo to truly entertain and assist when needed. Your back will hurt so have plenty of Advil and jump in a pool and have the pool jets work out those areas! (Its a win win because you get a quick shower too!)
- Be organized BEFORE you start the training. Each morning before Cody woke up, I made his breakfast and BOTH of our lunches for the day. Learned the hard way on the first day and forgot to eat. Have your play areas “potty ready” and a stack of extra towels nearby!
- When pushing fluids have a few sippy cups full and ready in your bathroom not in your kitchen. Also, note how many waters you are pushing on your data sheets. Important so you can gauge when pulling back.
- Have salty snacks handy in your bathroom with a snack cup. Again, difficult to leave bathroom while they are doing their potty time.
- Have plenty of undies! I thought 15 was enough and we went a purchased another 10 pairs. You will not have time to do a load of laundry unless you have another person helping.
- Don’t fuss over accidents.Stay neutral when your child does have an accident, provide a brief reminder that you expect them to pee pee in the potty not on the (blank). Then complete the cleanup with as little fanfare and discussion as possible. Save your attention for when your child is using – or attempting to use – the toilet and praise at that time. We do 5 minute “potty checks” and toss him and celebrate when he is dry!
- Reward the desired behaviors. We stored the magical Fruit Loops and iPad in the cabinet above the potty. Cody would reach his hand up (knowing they were stored in there) and it would give me an opportunity to say, “iPad and Fruit Loops are for when you go in the potty.” This shit worked ya’ll! It motivated him to pee after a few days! Also, keep in mind, throw a huge party in the bathroom, and give rewards. Make going to the bathroom so much fun! It is key to reward and reinforce success through this process! Be over the top!
Please feel free to add any other ideas that may have worked for your family in the comments section below. One thing I know for certain is this is a process not necessarily a method. In my eyes, I thought of a method as a few days perhaps a week of training but it’s going to take some time as its technically several methods you need to achieve. We will continue strong and I will remind myself daily to keep patient. Oh, my shower tonight was amazing.