Saturday, March 19, 2011

Pottytraining FAIL

This is Alanna's elimination chart.  As you can see by this graph, toileting is not going well.  It will drive you to drink.  It's hard.  And for us, it appears it is going nowhere.  We don't think Alanna is getting it.

The most frustrating thing is that she is doing pretty well with her therapists.  Just not with us.  Except for a couple of really bad days she is getting 80-100% success in six hours of therapy time.  It's the rest of the day she is not.  Why is this?  We suspect it's because therapy time is structured and Mom and Dad time is not.  She is allowed to stim and then it's waterwork central.  Even if we took her every ten minutes, she could still soil her pants.

Maybe she's just not ready?


  1. Sounds like the therapists are trained and you're not. ;)

    I have a couple of stories to relate:

    Our daughter was almost completely potty trained when she fell and broke a bone and was in a cast. Poof! Overnight, all that potty awareness disappeared. One big difference was the instant elimination of two epsom salts baths a day. (She refused to allow me to cover her cast in plastic, so I had to sponge bathe her quickly.) I e-mailed sulfation expert Susan Owens and asked her if epsom salts soaks could play a role in feeling the urge. She said, "absolutely" and sent me an explanation based in chemistry.

    I am not a doctor and am not giving medical advice. I'm sharing our experience that epsom salts soaks may have been a factor in our almost-potty-success at the age of three. As always, I suggest you do your own research and clear any intervention with your own doctor.

    More than a year later, when my child was not quite 4.5, I found "Once Upon a Potty" for girls, in a video format at the library. I played that video over and over and over. And I found the book with the same title at a Marshall's or TJ Maxx store and brought it home. We read that book in the bathroom, when either one of us was on the "potty". Yes, take Alanna with you, let her watch you do your business (you can do this AND protect your modesty at the same time), show her a related page in a story book. All of a sudden, over the course of two days, she got it - fully trained, day/night/everything. I think "Once Upon a Potty" was a big factor in making it happen.

  2. Ugh. My typically developing child of the same age as Alanna is struggling with PT too. It's hard.

  3. Please don't think of it as a fail. I know it is hard b/c it is so frustrating but if she really isn't ready then it is not a fail, just a timing issue.

    My son's therapists at school tried when he was three and it didn't work - it became aversive so they stopped. They tried again before he turned four and though it took a couple of months, he got it that time.

    Just one thing - my son's school (an ABA school)wanted him to work on potty training at school only for a while. They felt that having him potty train at school and at home could be too much for him. Also, I think their concern was that any work they did as trained therapists could be undone by "untrained" me. Maybe just have her work on potty training with the therapists for a while until she is really really confortable?

    Good luck.

  4. How old is Alanna? I am an autism teacher in VA and we typically have the best luck when the kids are 4-5 years old. Good luck!!! Michelle

  5. Not a fail brother (took us a second time round for our son and going number 2 came a few weeks after number 1), your thoughts of things going better during the structured time is (I think) correct. In our case the first time was hard (not as good as what you have here) and we seen that though he knew when to go (behavior = hide to void in diaper) the cognitive link of where to go was not there. So much "social" pressure on this for sure but in some cases things come at a different pace. You are doing the right things (per the research - been there done that), keep at it and there will be success. We know close to 30 ASD kids and families and all have been successful - not one at the same time as any other.

  6. There are no fails. Everything dones consistently is a teaching moment. Its not like she learned nothing, stay consistent she will get it at her pace.
    ANd for gods sakes who charts toilet data?

  7. oh and I forgot - every kid has their own strange routines around toileting (as do older people - have you noticed? hehe)

    Anyway, we had potte songs (dont ask) and my kid learned to stay dry at night first (he would wake up from the urge and I took him to the toilet. Then it was number 2 (reinforcer revolving strobe lights! - and i also did a wierd happy dance). Then it was number 1.
    ANd now he is perfect, at age 5. We started when he was 2.5!!!

    Also i was at a dinner party where a typical 5 year old, just peed all over the floor. She is a sweet, well behaved, intelligent, girl, I never would have thought. But Khaled would never just go all the way like that!

    So it happens. It takes a long time i guess. I feel we judge our kids too harshly sometimes cuz of the autism.

  8. Who charts toilet data? Have you met my husband? He charts EVERYTHING. He got mad at me the other day for NOT downloading a program that graphs functions (ok yes we are math nerds, too).