Saturday, September 24, 2011

Potty Training: The Differences in Training an ASD child and a Non-ASD Child.

Potty Training can be a daunting task - especially if you have a child with and Autism Spectrum Disorder.  At this point after potty training two girls, I have to be honest. . . I AM NOT A PRO!  I faced each experience with a little bit of fear and concern. 
Elizabeth was 2 years old when I started trying to potty train her.  In hindsight, I wish I had waited a year before starting to potty train.  But you know what they say about hindsight - it's 20/20.  My mom lived with us and we started working with her.  Our plan was to take her into the bathroom with us when we would go potty or poop and go often with her and let her sit on the potty.  After one of us finished using the bathroom we would clap and exclaim, "YEA, for the potty girl!"  As she got a little more into it, we would go potty - EVERYWHERE!!!  Public restrooms, home, other friends houses, you name it, she had to try it.  And she would do this with some success, we eventually got her to poop as well, only we called it pwew!  I would ask her, "Do you need to go pwewy on the potty?"  Sometimes she would and sometimes she had zero interest in it and of course, during all of this began the fecal art phase of our journey with Elizabeth.  That finally ended when Daddy came home and it happened again.  I'm still unsure what Chris did with her or said to her, but after that, she never painted with her feces again.  Slowly as we got closer to the time when Daddy was supposed to be home, I came to this conclusion.  When Chris came home one of two things was going to happen with Elizabeth - she was either going to poop and potty on the potty because she was waiting for Daddy to come home, OR she just wasn't ready and Chris being home would make no difference and we would wait a little bit before trying again.  So I kept investing in pull-ups and the day came for us.  We drove to Junction City, KS and picked up Chris - Daddy was home!!!  It was a good day and we came home.  Shortly after returning home, Chris went into the bathroom and was going potty when Lizzie came into the bathroom and watched him, just fascinated.  He finished and she began clapping and calling out, "Yeah for the potty girl!"  LOL!  The look on his face was priceless!  I explained it was about giving positive reinforcement and to please go with it.  He did and the next week, Lizzie got up in the morning and announced, "Mommy, I need to pwewy on the potty!"  She marched into the bathroom and proceeded to poop like a big girl then ask for help wiping.  Chris was happy to oblige and as he walks into the room, looks at me with a mischevious smirk and says, "I don't know what you are griping about, potty training is easy?!"  I almost killed them both right then and there!  6-9 months of attempting to get her to poop and potty on the potty and she does it one week after Daddy gets home!  I was a little annoyed, now I could care less, but then I wanted to throttle them both.
Now Beka, well Beka was interesting to say the least.  First, she didn't turn three until a couple of months after Chris came home from Kuwait & Iraq (he was deployed to both the second time).  Shortly after her third birthday the lady in charge of the nursery asked me when I was going to potty train her?  When, not until her Dad comes home and she shows an interest - which she didn't until AFTER Chris was home. Besides, Chris wasn't home to potty train Sarah or Elizabeth and I was determined he was going to help potty train at least one of his daughters!   Let me tell you, it's amazing how many people think they have a right to tell you what to do with your child - it's really annoying and highly dangerous when annoying a woman who has three children and a husband overseas.  So Chris comes home and Beka goes to Preschool and her teacher and I had our conference and she told me,  Beka is ready.  So we discussed it and when I came home, I made a plan with Chris.  We set a date for when school would be out and we had one potty cover seat upstairs and a potty chair downstairs for her.  I put her in panties and a t-shirt and the weekend before that weekend we decided to start introducing it.    So here we went, neither of us knowing what to expect and I set a timer, so every 20 minutes we would sit with her on the potty and she could read a book or watch a tv show, but she had to sit there for 5 minutes to see if we could make it happen.  I remember when it started to take.  She came to see me and was jabbering to me and suddenly she started crying and so quickly moved her to the potty chair and we praised her for going potty on the potty and didn't yell at her for her accident on the floor.  We had a few more of those before it was all over and we had to do a few trips at night to the bathroom between Chris and I for a few weeks to get her fully night trained.  However, it took us maybe one to two days, but once she put two and two together, she had it down. 

Either way, the girls got it down.  Slowly but surely Elizabeth has made gains, she has had one or two accidents since potty training, but most of them are because the bathroom isn't free in time, not due to a control issue. Beka digressed a little when we moved to Washington, but it wasn't unexpected and I had purchased pull-ups to take on the road with us so if she had an accident it wouldn't be a huge problem.   She did need a dose of tough love because she wanted to play more than stop and use the bathroom and so I had to tell her only big girls who went potty on the potty got to play outside.  So if she pottied her pants, then I would make her spend the rest of the day inside, it took three or four times of this happening and it seemed to nip it in the bud.  The same went for Elizabeth - although not on all things.  Sometimes she gets it quicker than others.  Sometimes it take 20 times and others it take 3 or 4 times for her to get it.
I hope you all have a good weekend.
Love in Christ,

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