My friend recently had a huge win toilet training her daughter Eden (who has Down-syndrome). Ruth writes a great blog over a Perfect by Design x2 and so I asked if I could share some of the ideas with you all.
So turns out my mums crazy… all week she’s been putting these things called undies on me. She must have run out of nappies or something, they don’t seem to hold much. Oh and she’s also making me sit on a “toilet”, it’s in that room she’s been chasing me out of the last two years, all of a sudden its OK to go in there. We play this game where the alarm on her phone goes off and she races me in there, it’s heaps of fun. Once I’m in there we blow bubbles apparently to get my pelvic floor working (whatever that is). Getting me to sit for any time has proved to be a challenge, you know with my attention span and all, but mum quickly worked out if she gave me wiggles on the iPad I didn’t move at all. Shes been following me around all week cleaning up this water she calls wee, Im blaming it on the undies but she seems to think it goes in the toilet. On day three my nappy was dry after my nap and this kept happening so then I just wore undies for my nap too. On day 5 I woke up in the morning with a dry nappy so mum put me on the toilet first thing and I did a poo and wee, she got so excited and started screaming and dancing, she scared me so I cried. She then gave me a prize for doing it, I don’t know what prizes are but it was wrapped like a present. It broke within the first two minutes, but as mum always says “It’s the thought that counts”. She put me on the toilet every morning from then on, it seemed to be a lot easier for everyone if I just did it there and then so I did. And guess what happened, I got stickers for my reward chart! Mum then put me on the toilet after my nap and I poo’d then too, and I got more stickers, then sometimes I get a prize. The presents are rubbish from a two dollar shop, (well that’s what I heard her tell dad) but they keep me amused for 15 minutes and I just like unwrapping them any way.
(Turns out $2 barbies don’t last long, 15 min).
Mum keeps persisting with these ridiculous undies apparently I’m kicking goals in the poo department, but this wee stuff is a little hard to manage. I now know what it is and mum taught me a sign for it, so when I’ve done one I just go and tell her (with my sign) and she cleans it up. She even gave me a prize for telling her where it was one day, sort of made me want to try a little harder. She also gave me a prize when I wee’d all over the toilet floor, apparently for making it so close. Mums been real nice considering I’ve done nothing but wee everywhere for the last 10 days, she’s never raised her voice or sounded disappointed, she’s quick on the prizes when I get something right and just ignores my mishaps. She was even OK when I wee’d on her at the doctors… she just changed me, washed our hands and sat in wee for the rest of the time. I’ve kept up with the whole poo in the morning thing, everyone seems pretty impressed with that. On day twelve mum was a bit down I don’t know why, she called her friend Tracy, you know from the toilet training place. All of a sudden she seemed happier and she restocked the prize box and ramped up the praise and guess what happened next? The very next day I got every wee in the toilet and every poo, mum was so stoked and I got loads of stickers and two prizes in one day. Mum kept saying how I’d “turned a corner”, from then on I’ve been doing better especially in the wee department. And I keep waking up each morning with a dry nappy apparently that’s a good thing too, not sure why they keep making me wear one, they’re so uncomfortable.
(When you look in the rear view mirror to see your child doing the toilet sign you have no choice but to pull over, hanging on is never an option).
Just to keep her on her toes I decided to have a really bad day, I even wee’d and poo’d when we went to dinner at friends (on the floor). Dad said it wouldn’t have happened if mum had her A game on and wasn’t drinking wine and talking so much. My families become pretty good at reading when I need to go, they always make it fun and do their best to get me there. Mum’s been very guarded with what she says in front of me, people ask how Im going and she always says good even if its an off day. I may have a developmental delay but there’s nothing wrong with my emotional intelligence, she know’s I can read a room like no one else. Now my good days are more than my bad days, I still have accidents mostly when Im distracted and when mum’s distracted. Last night was my first night not wearing a nappy, boy is that cooler! Today I went to daycare for the first time in three months, I’m the youngest in my room and I was the only one who didn’t need to wear a nappy at sleep time. Mum reckons she’s spent a small fortune on prizes but she tends to exaggerate, my brother told her she would have spent more on nappies in 3 weeks and he’s right. When it’s all said and done my mum’s pretty happy with herself but we all know who did all the hard work ME. I’ve learnt heaps over the last three weeks, what wee is, what poo is where it’s meant to go, the Auslan signs for toilet, poo and wee. I’ve learnt that my bladder can last going to the shops, going to school pick up and mostly all night. I’ve learnt I can control my bladder, I may not be perfect yet but hey that’s why they call it “toilet training” not “toilet perfection”. Im glad my mum didn’t listen to any of those ridiculous websites that say things like; a child must be independent and able to dress and undress, able to get on and off the toilet (lets face it that’s not gonna happen for me until middle school) and those TV adds by nappy companies; a child will become dry in their own time, what a load of BS, oops I’m not meant to say that but my mum says it all the time!
5 THINGS I LEARNED ABOUT POSITIVE TOILET TRAINING
- Be prepared, find a good proven system. We used the ULTIMATE TOILET TRAINING SYSTEM from pottytraining.com.au Eden seriously thought she was playing a game the whole time. At no point was it hard work for her, just fun. In the pack they have personality profiles, choose your child’s profile and tailor the system exactly to their personality. We have used this system for both our children typical and Down syndrome with great results for both. It seems to be the norm in the Ds community to spend hundreds on early reading systems but toilet training people just wing it, makes no sense to me. Invest in a proven system and set your child up for success seems far more beneficial for everyone.
- Set your child up. Undies, don’t be a miser get them the themed undies they want, take them shopping make them a part of it. Take them prize shopping even, build anticipation.
- Set your house up. Make it as easy as possible, we have a LUPI LOOwhich is an adult seat and child seat all in one, they aren’t cheap but ours was used for 3 years first time round and I’m guessing longer for ‘tiny butt Eden’. We have a POTETTE PLUS for the car/parks/holidays, it’s been used many times just off the freeway as we’ve had to exit quickly. I also have a folding seat insert that fits in my handbag to take EVERYWHERE it’s called the CUSHIE TRAVELLER! A child cant focus on weeing if they’re trying to balance on a toilet seat.
- Once the nappy comes off that’s it, it doesn’t go back on, not for anything other than sleep. Not to the shops, not school pick up, not to the park and not because you’ve had enough. Not even on that trip to the city an hr away (unless its sleep time). It sends mixed messages not good for any child but to a child with Down syndrome that can be disastrous. I traveled the first two weeks with a hand towel in her car seat, only once was this utilised and we left the house everyday!
- Make it fun! If it’s not fun they won’t play the game LITERALLY. Making it fun helps you enjoy it too, this is a huge developmental step in any child’s life don’t make it a negative one. Notice every step of progress, progress isn’t the end result, progress begins at the start.
(The specific pack we used was called Ultimimate Toilet Training System – Bella Physical)
Eden will be 3 in April she is night trained and well on the way to being day trained with a 90% success rate on any given day now. I wish I’d started 6 months ago I think we would have had just as much success! If you have a typical child I’d be aiming to train between 18 months to 2 years. If you have a child with Down syndrome I’d start any time from 2 and most definitely before 3 when the “no” factor kicks in. I selected this time because Edens signing has reached a point where we can teach signs in a day, I felt from a communicative point she would be able to succeed. Edens therapists are blown away by her achievement in such a short space of time!
Head over to Perfect by Design x2 to read more great stories about Eden’s amazing life.