Since beginning potty training Drake about three weeks ago, we’ve seen small progress almost every day. Drake will now go to the bathroom when he feels the urge. He holds it and tries when I ask him to. He remembers to pull down his undies most of the time. He still has accidents, but he is also independently using the potty or asking to sit on the “big boy” potty.
We still haven’t tried leaving the house in undies. I am considering getting a travel potty that can fit on public restroom seats so he is comfortable when we are out, but we are not ready for that step just yet.
He doesn’t wear undies every day. Most days, for at least half of the day, he wears undies, but the rest of the time he wears a diaper. We are pretty relaxed about it with him. If he is particularly cranky, or having any trouble doing a number 2, we break out the diapers.
Why am I taking a relaxed approach? As I’ve mentioned before, Drake can be stubborn, and I am trying to avoid him digging his heels in against potty training. If I don’t meet him half way, that is what will happen. On top of that, potty training stresses Drake out. It’s one more thing he has to think about in his day and navigate, and some days he just isn’t up for it. As he builds up his potty skills and comfort level, I expect that it will be less stressful.
I am pretty laid back for a type A, so a relaxed approach fits my parenting style overall, but in the coming weeks Drake will need to wear undies more frequently, and making bigger steps towards full potty proficiency. We are hoping by the time he starts school in September, he will be ready to wear his fancy underpants and impress all the other 3 year olds.
I'd like to say I prepared for potty training Drake. I'd like to say I researched effective methodology, bought pull ups and appropriately sized undies, prepared a goodie bag of rewards, and had some kind of plan. Of course, there was no plan. As with many things, I woke up and decided that today Drake would wear undies, I would pull the potty chair out, and we would see where things went. No pressure and no commitment.
I wasn't very optimistic. Drake is not usually the most cooperative and had shown no inclination to use the potty or wear anything but diapers. And despite what everyone says about structure and routine with Autism, it really doesn't work for Drake most of the time. He likes to know what to expect, but too much of a routine irks him and he refuses to take part.
So I put (too small thanks to my poor planning) underwear on him in the morning, popped on Thomas and Friends, and sat him in his potty chair. He sat, and sat, and sat. Nothing happened. We continued. When I wanted him to sit, I gave him a distraction, and he'd happily sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Screen time was at its height in our house. Close to noon he had an accident, but I directed him to the potty even though he had clearly finished what he needed to do on the floor, and he cooperated with me.
A few hours later, with the help of too much watermelon, Drake peed on the potty! Startled, he looked down at himself peeing, then up at me like "what the heck is going on mom!?" I praised him, gave him a cookie, and praised him even more. I was proud, elated, and optimistic. That day he didn't do a number 2 at all, but he used the potty two more times after I directed him to sit (and had a couple of accidents).
The next day was the real kicker. He did number 2 multiple times thanks to all the watermelon he consumed the previous day. I don't think I've ever been so happy about a poop in my life. He even went to the potty himself while I did the dishes although he did forget to pull down his undies, which kind of defeats the purpose. It seems pooping on the potty makes more sense than peeing though as he has never once done that on his own.
Since we started a few days ago, we've had bad days and good days. When we leave the house, I put pull ups on him or a diaper as we are not ready for public restrooms. (Can't they have kid sized toilets?) So if we have a busy errand running day, he doesn't get much practice. If I'm not paying close attention to the time and providing distractions while he sits, accidents happen, but I'm hoping over the next month he will make the connection. I don't expect miracles or an overnight success. That's not Drake's style, but I think we are on the right track.
Here's what I've learned so far:
Both Drake and I have learned a lot these first few days of potty training. Even though I didn’t have a plan, things are going smoothly, and I’m beginning to wonder if his success was helped BECAUSE I didn’t have a plan or expectations.
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