Monday, November 5, 2012

Potty-training - take 2!

As I mentioned, my Mom came up this weekend to help with my second attempt at potty-training Karen.  I originally tackled it this summer with both girls when the weather allowed us to spend most of our days outside.  It was successful with Megan, but not so much with Karen.
Our attempt this summer...

The struggle has been understanding how much of the lack of success was due to motor-planning issues - which is common with speech apraxia, or due to sensory processing problems, or plain old stubborn resistance to the status quo!!

In recent weeks, we had several successes that Karen initiated prior to going to bed or into the bath.  She was also starting to show awareness of bowel movements by hiding behind a chair to go (something she had NEVER done before).  I was talking to my Mom last week and mentioned in passing how nice it would be to have help when I tackled it with Karen again since we would be stuck indoors and there would need to be a significant amount of vigilance watching her to help minimize the "mess" from accidents (especially since we have brand new carpet!!).  My Mom took my words to heart and made it work to come and help me for a long four day weekend!

We started the process when Karen came home from preschool on Friday.  The pullups were put away and we told her that we were all done with them.  She heartily agreed but just as heartily protested sitting on the potty.  I set my timer for 50 minutes and forced encouraged her to sit on the potty at those intervals.  To put it mildly... it was a battle.  The only way she would agree to sit there was if she got to play on the iPad... but experience has shown me that she will sit there for a half hour (or more) and not do anything.  So I always limited her time with the iPad to 5-10 minutes and then we were done.  We had no successes and accidents galore either just before my 50 minute timer or halfway between after an unsuccessful attempt.  Color me discouraged Friday night.

Saturday morning Mom and I took a short break and left Karen and Megan with Carl while we went to Mass for First Saturday and enjoyed a cup of coffee with some friends.  Potty-training with Daddy was not any more successful.  The day was filled with accident after accident, fit after fit.  The attempts to get her to sit on the potty were becoming more contentious and both Mommy and Karen were frustrated.

I got online and read an article about potty training resistance.  One of the things they recommended was transferring all responsibility to the child.  Telling them that you were no longer going to remind them or make them sit on the potty.  But also that it was not okay to be wet, so if they had an accident they had to go in and change themselves.  To also heap on the praise for successes and continue with prizes or treats if that has been what you were doing.  Not knowing what else to do, I gave this a try.

Two and a half hours went by - no accidents and suddenly Karen came running to me saying and signing "potty"... we went in and she had her first successful potty trip in two days.  This was immediately followed by two accidents over the course of the next hour.  But my attitude and reaction to it was much different from what it had been earlier in the day.  I asked if she wanted to sit on the potty to finish but did not force her.  After her bath, before bed we had another success where she (on her own without telling us) went in and had a successful trip - I suddenly heard the little potty chair say "hip-hip-hooray"... went in and she was grinning ear-to-ear!  I was much more hopeful going to bed on Saturday.
A happier girl now that she's "in charge"
Sunday started with Karen in a dry pull-up... a successful trip on the potty before church and came home with a her pull-up still dry.  Yay for progress!!  I was a little slow getting her out of the pull-up and into undies and we had a small "accident" in the pull-up, but Karen alerted me as soon as it started happening and headed for the bathroom.  We had a mix of accidents and successes - but the overall attitude of both me and Karen was SOOOO much better.  It is really hard for me not to remind her and ask if she needs to go (partially because Megan needs some of that encouragement and partially because of my type A personality...) but Karen seems to do better without it.

Bedtime has been a little bit of a circus (both last night and tonight) - I think she was getting signals that she had to go and maybe also needed to have a bowel movement... she was up four separate times saying that she needed to potty... the fourth time she came to me she had a wet pull-up... but I'm still encouraged by her enthusiasm!

Today - we only had one small accident and it was again in a pull-up.  We had to run a few errands and she was in one for that time and I had again been slow in getting her into undies when we got home.  I'm a little amazed at the difference in our progress from Saturday until today... especially considering I was so frustrated on Saturday I almost threw in the towel!! 

Yay for Karen!  I know that potty-training with apraxia is a challenge for most kids and I'm thankful we're making progress!  More importantly, I'm so thankful for the animation I see in Karen.  She seems to understand that she is accomplishing something and in control of it and her excitement about it is wonderful to see!

To be honest, back to my earlier question about her delay... our lack of success this summer I think was due to sensory processing delays.  I really don't think she had figured out how to read her body signals and understand what she was supposed to do with them.  Ironically, watching her younger sister, I think, has helped.  Now we seem to have overcome the stubborn, stuck in the habit of having her diaper changed portion... the only piece left is the motor planning and whether that is a problem or not will become more apparent as we continue to progress!

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