Our Family

Our Family
"These are the children God has graciously given to me. (us)" - Genesis 33:5

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Potty Training

Well, my sister and her daughters have left the building...so to speak. They actually moved out last Thursday evening, but have officially moved their residence to my parents house in Maine. We have spent the last 7 or so days trying to reclaim our house. Mind you, my children can and do make quite a mess of things all by themselves...however, when you add two more children and one more adult to the mix...disastrous.

Besides cleaning, and rearranging furniture...we are also trying to reclaim the little progress we had made with Ethan's behavioural issues. He learned a few new things that we have to help him unlearn, and we have to reteach him some of the tactics he had learned to deal with over stimulation. So, it's been an interesting week.

Due to the amount of children I did have here, the TV was on... A LOT! So, we are trying to "wean" him off of that. I tried cold turkey...not good. The tantrums and meltdowns that resulted were unmanageable. So, we are back to trying to work with his schedule, unfortunately with setbacks as well. We are working with a new OT and she's had some awesome suggestions, so we will try that.

The big thing that I really want to work on however, is potty training. For those of you who've been gracious enough to change Ethan's diapers...know exactly why this is a priority for me. Besides the fact that all of my children are in diapers...due to the laxative that Ethan is still on he will have a bowel movement 3-6 times a day...sometimes more! YUCK! The problem is that it bothers me more than him. He doesn't smell it. He doesn't seem uncomfortable with that in his diaper. In fact he would go all day in one diaper if I didn't drag him down to get it changed...simply because I can't stand the odor anymore.

In talking with several of his docs., his OT, and in some reading and research I've done...we've all come to the conclusion that it must be a sensory thing. He never comments on scent...good or bad. He never complains about his clothes...in other words...they could be on backwards, inside out, or two legs in one hole kind of thing...he doesn't notice. (Yes, all of these have happened!) He confuses the senses of hunger, tired, thirsty and temperature all of the time. So, why would he be able to tell me he has to go to the bathroom?

He can't. In reading one of the many toilet training books for autistic and spectrum children...it suggests the possibility of habit training. Yikes! Whose habit...his or mine?? What it comes down to is bringing him to the toilet every 20-30 min. every day, no matter where we are, no matter whether he's gone in his diaper, or actually went on the toilet. It's a matter of me setting my schedule (ha-ha-ha...schedule) around this habit of training him to sit on the toilet regardless of his need to urinate/defecate. We can put pictures of toilets on his schedule as every other activity for him to do, and I've even created a Toilet Rules poster to place in the bathroom so that he knows exactly every step that goes into using the bathroom.

Toilet Rules

STEP 1 Pull DOWN pants
STEP 2 Pull DOWN underwear

STEP 3 Sit on toilet
STEP 4 Use the toilet paper

STEP 5 Pull UP underwear
STEP 6 Pull UP pants

STEP 7 Flush the toilet
STEP 8 Wash hands

We even have pictures that go along with each direction. The hardest thing for me to deal with is...he as absolutely NO INTEREST whatsoever. How do you teach/train that? I can't show him what it feels like to need to urinate. It's a sensation that most children learn over time and eventually becomes part of daily life.

Of course I worry that my child will be in diapers for even longer than he already has been...let's face it, he will be 5 in December. I know I just have to shake off the looks, the stares, the comments that get (intentionally and unintentionally) thrown my way, for having a "normal" preschooler still in diapers. It's at those times I wish I had a card that I could just hand out to those people that said "I have Asperger Syndrome and Sensory Integration Dysfunction...if you'd like to learn more feel free to ask my Mom!" But then I feel like I'm just being as judgemental as they are.

Only time will tell...and since we've made the decision to home school him...(a whole other topic for another post!) we have all the time in the world.


Anonymous said...

sometimes our dreams for our children are not to be realized.
our son is soon to be 16, and we finally gave up trying to "train" him and just accepted the fact he will be wearing briefs the rest of his life.
it's hard to know when to let it go and just enjoy them for who they are for the time being.
best wishes. DEBORAH

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog. I read a great book on homeschooling with an autistic child. I found it very helpful in my homeschool. Its by Olga Holland. Good luck!

My husband is gluten sensitive- thats how I found you!