Sunday evening found us setting our feet on a new path. Beth was doing her moaning thing (usually a bm alert) in the tub, so I asked her if she needed to sit on the potty. She responded: “Beth poop on the potty.” So I let her sit there for a little over 5 minutes, but nothing happened. It took another 5 minutes to convince her to get back into the tub to finish her bath, because she was determined to “poop on the potty.” As soon as the bath was over, she had to go right back on the toilet to “poop on the potty.” She did pee a little in the toilet, but the bm never happened, and she was DEVASTATED. It was a mega-meltdown, and although I praised everything else about the experience, because I was so very proud of her, and also wanted to help her feel better; she could not get over the fact that she didn’t poop on the potty, and kept begging to go back. I told her sometimes our tummy feels like we have to go, but it is really just gas, like when we fart or toot. I could not believe how upset she was, and of course she wanted to go right back to the toilet Monday morning. I let her sit for 5 minutes after breakfast then had her get ready for school. Again nothing happened, and she spent the rest of the morning pleading: “Please, Please, Please Mommy, Beth poop on the potty, PLEASE!” It was horrible to see her so distraught. I was prepared for this adventure to be difficult for a multitude of other reasons, due to her sensory issues and delays, but never considered her devastation/meltdowns when she failed to make a deposit in the toilet.
Monday, when she returned home from school, there was a note on her sheet that she had spent the entire day happily talking about her princess potty. So I decided we needed an approach that would make this a more positive, less stressful, experience for her. We watched Once Upon a Potty (several times, because she was entranced) and read the book the video was based on. Naturally when reading the book we made Prudence a Princess, because all little girls are princesses, and she likes the story better that way. I told her we could sit on our princess potty for 5 minutes while we read a book, and then when the timer goes off, it is time to put our diaper on and wash our hands. We read Once Upon a Potty, giggled at all the silly parts, and cheered for Princess Prudence. The entire book is great, but for us, here are the BEST pages:
When the timer went off, she had a HUGE smile and squealed: “Beth poop on the potty!” I told her what a great job Princess Beth did trying, just like Princess Prudence, and she was HAPPY. She put her potty seat back on its hook, let me put on her diaper, pulled up her pants and washed her hands (while being tickled by mommy). I was amazed at the quick transformation from sad girl to happy princess. Tuesday when her Speech Therapist came, she proudly read her the book and told her all about Princess Prudence, then at the end of their session she showed off her princess potty, and was happily sitting on her throne, reading her favorite book, as Ms. L took her leave. Today when Ms. S came for OT, she showed her the book and talked a bit about her princess potty. After their session she said a quick goodbye to Ms. S, took off her princess dress and diaper, then got on her throne for our story time. I never realized how much fun could be had while hanging out in the bathroom several times a day with your kids.
Here is the thing; Beth is not ready to be potty training, which is why we were planning to start this summer, when we hoped she would be ready. She says: “poop on the potty” but means “sit on the potty.” Just like when she says “Beth have poopies,” she is usually just wet and means to say: “bad diaper,” or “wet diaper.” She does not yet comprehend all that going on the potty entails, and her body is not communicating properly with her at this time. However, she initiated this HUGE milestone, and is showing a wonderful interest, which is Au-Some, and I would never discourage her desire to start a new adventure. Plus, there is so much amazing communication and language happening, it is a miracle. So we go in the bathroom typically after meal times, and any other time she asks. If she doesn’t ask, we don’t go, because she is directing this show. When we do go, we already have a routine in place:
Get our potty seat off the hook
Place it on the big girl potty
Pull pants down (if she is actually wearing clothes)
Take diaper off
Sit on our throne
Set timer for 5ish minutes
Read books and Play
Wipe (when timer goes off)
Put clean diaper on
Pull up pants
Put potty seat back and flush
Celebrate with “Beth pooped on the potty”
Wash hands and get tickled
When we are done she is happy and extremely proud of herself. At this point I must mention that Beth’s shadow (aka Anne) must also be involved, hence the two potty setups in the about photo. Sometimes Anne sits on her potty the whole time, and other times she is in and out. Although my girls are 2 years apart in age, developmentally they are more like months apart, and I always suspected I would be toilet training both girls at the same time. It looks like I may have been right, but only time will tell, and if nothing else at least they are learning to tolerate each other in a small space. The fact that no one actually deposits anything into either toilet doesn’t matter, because the girls are getting comfortable on their thrones and having fun while doing it. When the time comes, and they are actually ready to use the toilet for the real thing, then they will already be right at home on their thrones, as every princess should be. Our potty training style is going to be slow, no pressure, and fun; because our girls do everything in their own time and fashion. I think if we can keep this path’s adventure light and fun, then it will remain a positive experience for the girls, so they can relax and let nature take its course. So we may be potty training for a few months or maybe even a year, but as long as they know it is okay to go or not go in their own time, we are golden. As I am always saying Progress not Perfection, and the progress we are seeing in several areas as we start this adventure, makes this momma beam with pride.
Autism Proud – Journey With Us – by Jest Tu Positive by Dorothy Stronglove is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.