Toilet training isn’t easy for any child or their parents. Most children take it in their stride though and slowly but surely they get there. Toilet training a child with special needs and sensory issues that is more than likely on the ASD spectrum is a whole different ball game and a challenge we were not prepared for.
When Wriggler did his first wee on a potty he was 2yrs and 9mths. Before we knew it, he was dry day and night within two weeks without any accidents. We took exactly the same approach with Bruiser, he will do it when HE is good and ready and not before!
Last year in the lead up to the summer holidays though, I was starting to feel the pressure; from school and other people. ‘Oh he really should be out of nappies when he starts school’ ‘You arent being pro-active enough’ ‘just go for it, he’ll never learn unless you go for it’ ‘let him wet himself, they don’t like wetting themselves’ blah.. blah.. blah..
But after a while (regrettably) I started to take this to heart and so against my principles of ‘he will do when he’s ready’, I attempted to start him toileting.
He really wasnt ready though. Yes he did his first wee on the potty and the toilet and this was quite a novelty for him (and me, I still love the picture of his cheeky little bottom peeking out of his trousers as he stood up to the toilet). But he wasnt ready in his head to do it. I tried jumping him in at the deep end and taking him to school in pants with loads of clothes to change into etc (like people told me to do). He really didn’t like getting wet when he had an accident, this was a big issue. Being wet is a sensory issue for Bruiser generally, he wont even touch the sink in the bathroom if there are water droplets on it, he has to wear gloves when it rains. All this added pressure was making him anxious and upset and very unhappy. He was starting to show signs of regression across the board, so I stopped it all. We went back to pull ups. No more pressure. He was happy again. That was it, no more listening to everyone else, we (hubby and myself) know our child best and we went back to our principles of letting him do it in his own time when he was ready!
Since we tried the toileting last year though, Bruiser has very occasionally used the potty or the toilet. More so when he was with Wriggler as he wanted to copy him but he had a lot of accidents. Then very out of the blue two weeks ago he was playing away in the kitchen and he started to do a wee but stopped himself. He then waddled up to the toilet with his trousers and pull ups around his ankles and finished his wee on the toilet. He was so proud of himself and I gave him a big high-five and LOTS of praise. I do believe now that that was the turning point. That was where it clicked. He continued to use the toilet/potty lots during the days that followed and occasionally even wore big boy pants.
After a few days of on/off success, last Monday I asked him if he wanted to wear big boy pants for school, there was no pressure, it was his call. He said yes. Off he went that morning with three changes of clothes in his bag. He came back with the same clothes in his bag and the same little pants on his bottom! He had achieved his first half day dry. It got even better that afternoon and evening. He had completed his first full day. No accidents or near misses. Another first 🙂
Tuesday morning he went to school just the same. He showed me the sticker chart on the wall that his key worker had made with him Monday. He proudly showed me the stickers he had earned the day previously.
He started to fetch his chart home with him after each morning to show me and his Daddy and Wriggler what he had done. He was very proud of himself and kept saying ‘me like Wriggler now’.
Tuesday afternoon he asked for a nappy though. *whispers… he wanted a no2* He was refusing to let it go in the potty or toilet. This wasnt unusual, he refused to let them go anyway. Passing his no2’s has always been an issue for Bruiser. He would hold to them, tensing himself up walking around doing his ‘poo dance’ as we called it, refusing to letit go. For almost a year we thought he was constipated but as it turned out (for reasons made clear by his OT only very recently) he was refusing to let go and was intentionally holding it in. It was one hell of an afternoon which resulted in a meltdown so bad that he fell asleep on me while I restrained him. Once that was over though, he was back in his pants and back on the toileting mission. I made a huge deal that he had done his no2 in his nappy though and gave him an extra star stamp for it.
The week continued to go great. He was still dry and still hadn’t had any accidents. Thursday afternoon I was washing pots in the kitchen when I heard Bruiser shout from upstairs (I thought he was in the room watching Octonauts!!) ‘Mumeee I done a big pooooooooooo on my potteeeeeeee’. I ran up the stairs saying you’ve done what? and he was there proudly stood over the potty pointing at it and signing that he had done it!! After lots and lots of praise and high-fives, I put him an extra two star stamps on his chart. Another first, his second of the week! He was making more progress than I ever imagined or dare hope for.
On Friday, Bruiser was awarded Star of the Week for his efforts and his increased independence at school.
He was over the moon with himself and more so, because he got to fetch Freddie home for the weekend. (Freddie is an empathy doll which accompanies every ‘star of the week’ home for the weekend)
By Sunday evening he had completed his first full week. He had one small accident when he couldn’t get his trousers down quick enough and although he was upset with himself he did get over it really well.
This was it, there was no going back now. He’d made it. He had accomplished more than what we set out for him to do. He was dry and clean through the day, he was dry and clean through the night and he had willingly without any hesitation done his no2’s in the potty too!
He had a wonderful weekend celebrating his efforts with Freddie and even Freddie is now toilet trained 😉
This week is currently going fantastic too. He has carried on exactly where last week finished.
We as a family are so proud of Bruiser and what he has accomplished. It hasn’t been easy for him and it really has been baby steps all the way but when he was ready, boy was he ready and he did it in probably record time!