Monday, April 2, 2012

Potty training kids with special needs: Weekend Boot Camp, Day 1

Potty training boot camp: Day 1, Saturday

9:05 a.m.: Oops, Dave let me sleep late. Max has been up for an hour already and I'm betting Dave didn't put him on the potty. OK, chill. Max hasn't been potty-trained for seven years, one hour won't make a difference.

9: 15 a.m.: I find Max, change him, say some potty prayers, get out my potty-training boot camp gear:

• 2 Cars potty seats already owned, like new (alas)

5 cheap shower curtains, which I spread over rugs and the couch

• 5 packages of Disney Pixar Cars 2 briefs that I was psyched to find in size 8 on

• 1 chocolate ice-cream timer that bears a remarkably strong resemblance to poo

• 3 packets Cars 2 stickers, plus a bunch of printouts of the ride-on Lightning McQueen electric car Max will get once he's a potty-trained; I tape them up around the house.

• Potty-training chart to track progress, courtesy of Max's school

• In case of Mommy emergency

Also, these just in: boxes and boxes of Girl Scout cookies sold by Sabrina. I bought way too many. I put them in the basement to resist temptation.

9:30 a.m.: I try to get Max to sit on the toilet. "NOOOOOOOOO!" he says, screeches and runs away. I haul him back to the bathroom, pull down his pants and sit him down. He's screeching nonstop as I attempt to hold him there for a few minutes.

When I let him get up, he dashes to the kitchen and attempts to throw away the potty-training chart.

9:43 a.m.

9:50 a.m.: I review my potty-training bible, aka a folder with printouts of How To Toilet Train A Child With Special Needs, How To Potty Train A Child With Special Needs: Step-By-Step Instructions and Applying Structured Teaching Principles To Toilet Training. I'm putting Max on the potty seat every 30 minutes. It's raining outside, which makes being home a lot easier.

10:00 a.m: Max willingly sits on the toilet. Progress! I give him a sticker. "Noooooo!" he says.

It's gonna be a long day.

10:25 a.m.: Max wets his underwear. "Max, pee pee goes in the potty," I say. He cries. I melt, but stand firm. "Max, if you go in the potty I will be so proud of you!" I say, and change him into another pair of cotton shorts.

11:00 a.m.: Max sits on the potty for about 15 seconds and gets up. I notice there is pee and toilet paper; Sabrina didn't flush. Max points to it. "INE!" he says  ["MINE!"]

"Max, I know that is Sabrina's pee!" I say. Nice try there, bud. Dave takes Sabrina to gymnastics and hip-hop class, and I ask him to keep her out all afternoon; it'll be easier if it's just me and Max.

2:30 p.m.: I've been diligently placing Max on the potty every half hour; he's been dry since this morning. I just gave him a glass of chocolate milk because I realize he's not getting enough liquids.

3:30 p.m.: How it it possible this child hasn't peed in almost five hours? If he's holding it in, it's a sign he is capable of controlling his muscles down there. That's a real question when you have a kid with cerebral palsy. I keep reminding him that if he needs to pee or poop, he should tell me "Potty!" but no such luck. I could program a sentence into his speech app but I know he could say the word (or some semblance of it) if he wants to; he just doesn't want to.

After Max potty-sits for 30 seconds, we go back to playing with the LEGO DUPLO Cars Flo's Cafe set I got for him in honor of this momentous occasion. Max grabs my hand, pulls me over to the doodie ice-cream timer and points; I forgot to set it. Well, at least he likes the timer.

4:00 p.m.: Back in the bathroom, sitting on the floor and keeping Max company. The floor isn't nearly as clean as I thought, although you would only be aware of that if you came to our house and sat on the bathroom floor which most guests do not do. Eeep: Wallpaper is peeling. Need Extreme Bathroom Makeover.

4:15 p.m.: Wet shorts. This time, Max doesn't cry. "OK, next time in the potty, right Max?" I say. He just stares. I'm getting disheartened. One of Max's speech therapists knows an expert who helps potty-train kids with special needs. I might go there but for now, I am determined to keep trying ourselves. Besides, she doesn't make house calls (now wouldn't that be an awesome business)?!

5:00 p.m.: The experts say that playing when you're on the pot isn't a good thing—kids need to learn that they can go quickly and get back to other activities—but I want to see what happens if Max sits for a couple of minutes. So I grab the music stand Sabrina uses when she plays violin and plop Max's iPad on it. What happens: Zip. Zero. Nada. Except, of course, that Max is ecstatic.

5:32 p.m.: I've left Max on the potty to answer the phone. "Max, did you go in the potty?" I ask when I return. "Eeeyah!" he says. "Really? Really?!" I answer, giddy. Except he refuses to let me look in the toilet.

"Gooooooo!" he says. He's making a face and I think he's not done. I walk out, then spy on him; I see him stand up, turn to check the toilet and sit down again. I walk in a minute later. Max stands, I peer in and there are two teeny doodie pellets. OH. Constipated.


Max laughs.

6:10 p.m.: I am upstairs, taking a break; Dave is home with Sabrina. Suddenly Sabrina wails, "MAX PEED ALL OVER MY MUSIC STAND!"

Sure enough, Dave didn't place Max on the potty seat quite right and there's pee all over the floor, which Dave is cleaning up with window cleaner as Sabrina cries pitifully. A lovely scene. Still: Max peed on the potty!

6:45 p.m.: YIPPPEEEE! Our babysitter is here! Dave and I are having dinner out with friends, my own potty-training reward. I can't wait to talk about something other than pee and poop. Although of course, I give my friend an account of the entire day. You know you're a mom when you have no issue talking toileting over appetizers.

11:05: We get home and the babysitter tells us Max pooped on the potty. Score!

The day was a good start to what's going to be a long process.

I am not going to tell you how many Samoas I consumed because someday, when I run for president, someone will use it against me.

Tomorrow: Potty training weekend boot camp, Day 2!


  1. God for you! Good for max! You deserve every Samoa and a lot more wine!

  2. How I remember pity training sessions. I used to go into homes and train. Every 15 minutes. And in extreme cases every 5. Lots and lots if items that had liquid juice, ice pops, jello and fruit. Good luck. Best feeling is when it is consistent. Small victory are even better at times.

  3. Woohoo! Good for both you and Max! Stand strong and keep with it. We haven't started here yet but I'm dreading it already...!

  4. Keeping going! You both are doing great!!

  5. I just want to know what the delicious-looking mommy beverage is. (Googling "Sofia" taught me a lot about Bulgaria, but not about potty-training-fueling alcohol.)

    Hang tough! You can see he has the control. You're doing BOTH of you a service by sticking to this.

    (Ask Judith N. to show you her ancient article for Child about outsourcing potty training. It is one of the funniest things I have ever read. Ever.)

  6. wow! that is huge progress for one day! you've inspired me to get more serious about potty training my son. maybe next girl scout cookie season. :)

  7. Sounds a lot like potty training a typical child! Great progress! :)

  8. Go Max!

    Potty training is the one thing I just cannot do consistently (I mean, with the kids. I'm potty trained :) )

    I need to put on my big girl panties and just do it. The kids would probably do great.

  9. I am so ENORMOUSLY grateful for you writing about this, because shortly I have to do the same thing with 2 7-year-olds!!!! AAAHHHHH! There aren't enough Girl Scout cookies in the whole world to get me through it. Can't wait for your next installment. And I can't believe he went all day without pooping. My two guys poop constantly. It's the constant poop that makes me afraid to do this.

  10. I totally LOVE your post!! Hahaha, it is funnily (? is that word and spelling right??) and honestly written!

    Way to go Max, you did such a good job! And here's to you, Ellen, you did a great job, too!

  11. That sounds like agreat first day! It took Sam months to potty train but the end result was worth all the laundry. Is his school on board? That was key for us.

  12. Yay to both of you for a good start and keeping it up!! Good luck for the next step.

  13. Keep at it and good luck! Make sure he drinks A LOT. It's a huge pain, but it will be so worth it when he's finished with diapers!

  14. Good for you! I have potty trained my two CP boys and I know how frustrating it can be. But, it is totally, completely worth it once they are done! I remember crying all of the time wondering if it was worth it when they would go for weeks of being dry and then have 6 accidents in one day. It's a process, but it sounds like he is getting it. Keep it up!

  15. Thanks for sharing this! This is my number one priority for us for the summer and you give me great strength! I think Day 1 went well and can't wait to read about Day 2! I knew I should've bought more Thin Mints! LOL!

  16. Oatmeal! Apples! High fiber pasta! That'll fix that constipation!

    At last you are on the way--it's a long road but you can do it!

  17. Well done! ANYTHING in the potty on day 1 is cause for a National Holiday.

  18. The most common reaction I get is actually just shock that yes my 20 month old is potty trained, yes even at night, and no I don't carry around diapers anymore. How to potty train your baby


Thanks for sharing!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...