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After being told I would never be able to have children, I am now a stay-at-home Mommy to Maddie who happens to have Down Syndrome. I've been married 16 years to my best friend, having the time of my life. Thanks for stopping by and sharing in our little journey through life.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One Little Secret to Potty Training a Child with Special Needs

I had an epiphany yesterday.
I've always believed that Maddie and can do anything any other child can do...she'll just accomplish it in her own time and in her own way.
Picture taken at Uncle Doug's wedding

It just occurred to me yesterday that the same principle applies to potty training as well.  
I realized there are 10 steps that must be followed for a successful person to put get his/her pee pee in the potty.

1) Feel the sensation that you need to go potty
2) Find the potty
3) Pull down pants
4) Pull down pull-ups
5) Sit on potty
6) Set your potty free
7) Wipe your bottom
8) Flush the potty (wave bye-bye completely optional)
9) Pull up pants and pull-up (can be done together with some skill)
10) Wash your hands

Envisioning Maddie doing all of these things felt overwhelming...because it was!

With any other task we have ever set out to do, we have always broken down the overwhelming task and simplified it.  
When teaching her to put on her shirt I had to teach her to:
1)Position your shirt in front of you on the floor
2) put your arms inside the shirt
3) pull the shirt over your head
4) find one arm hole and stick your arm through
5) find the other arm hole and stick your arm through
6) pull your shirt down

We worked on this for a long, long time at first only focusing on steps one and two.  

I don't know why this approach never occurred to me with potty training!  

Our potty training journey began last spring.  
Things had not been going well, and we had basically been taking a break from potty training all together.

Then, Sunday night I discovered she had blood in her poopy diaper.  
I tried really hard to stay calm, but was totally freaking out on the inside!!
My Granny called and suggested we try glycerin suppositories.  
She may have had a slight tear in her lower intestine or rectum.
She also added that it could help with potty training!
Maddie with her Grandpa at Uncle Doug's wedding

What a great idea!
I reignited the potty training quest with new vigor!
The first night we gave her the suppository, she pooped within a couple of minutes and we had the potty ready.
I am happy to report that there was no trace of blood this time!  

We gave her high fives for pooping in the potty and did a little happy dance.  

The next day, I gave her another suppository.  
Nothing happened, but she pottied just a tiny bit in the potty.
Yesterday I gave her another suppository.  
Nothing happened at first, but I noticed something weird in the potty.
When I looked closer, she had "spit" it back out!
My second attempt was more successful and she pooped and pottied in the potty!

We have successfully narrowed down the 10 steps to using the potty to three.
We start with the pull up and pants off, eliminating those steps.
Instead of finding the potty, we bring it to her.
So now, all she had to focus on is:
1) Feel the sensation that you need to go potty
2) Sit on potty
3) Set your potty free

Honestly, I don't even know if we're really accomplishing step one.  
It really helps to have an ipad.
She sat on the potty for ever watching Curious George and playing games. 

Suddenly she stands up and says, 
"Yay!  I potty in the potty"

She was super proud of herself and now I think we are definitely on the right track for the potty train. 
 (pun intended!! ; )   

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