We finally bit the bullet and decided it was time to get Jaxson fully potty trained. He was showing signs that he was ready (will get in to detail on that below), and the timing just seemed right to give it a go. We were finally home and able to put in the work, and Jax wasn’t due back to go to school for another 2 weeks, so it just made sense to give it a try and hopefully send him back to school in undies!
One of my online Ds momma friends posted a blog that she read/followed about potty training kiddos with Ds. Alex and I read it, initially thought it was a bit to intensive for us and did our own thing. Which resulted in us putting him in undies for 2 days and realizing that if we ran him to the potty every 20 minutes he will never learn to hold it and initiate going to the potty himself. Jax is a very complacent little dude and we knew his laziness would have him never fully potty trained and just relying on us to run him to the toilet. Which is not conducive and not realistic to send him to school and have him relying on his teachers to do that. So after 2 days in undies, countless accidents and lots of frustration we decided to give this ‘intensive’ method a go.
Here is a link to the blog. This momma explained the method VERY well. Please click on the link and give the “program overview” a read before moving on with my post.
Ok now that sounds like a lot of work right!?!? It is!! So here’s our experience with this method…
Where Jax Was At When We Began:
- We definitely didn’t go from diapers and no knowledge of the potty straight to potty training. So to be fair here is where Jax was at when we started training. For the last year Jaxson has been wearing pull-ups, only because laying him down to change a diaper would be damn near impossible!! Jaxson has been using the potty successfully for about a year now. He started when he was around 26 months old (I HATE having to break down his age in months….). Because of his constipation issues he was almost immediately poop trained because it was so much easier to ‘get it out’ sitting on a potty than in his diaper. I know poop training a kid can me much harder than pee, so I am thankful that was never an issue for us. Jaxson has been peeing on the potty for the last year and goes when we put him on. He also doesn’t mind peeing in his pull up. When we are home we would put him on the potty pretty regularly, however we never bothered taking him to the bathroom when we were out and about.
Showing Signs of Readiness:
- For about 2 weeks prior to potty training we noticed he was staying dry for long periods of time and waiting for us to put him on the potty. He was also making ‘pushing’ sounds but never peeing. At first we thought something was wrong (like maybe a UTI) but after a couple of days we noticed that was one of the ways he was telling us he needed to go to the washroom.
Our Plan Of Action
We deviated from the program you read in Nolan’s blog. Reading it and coming up with our own plan was crucial in the success of getting Jaxson potty trained. Here are the things we changed up for it to work for us
- The original program is all about having the child learning to initiate going to the potty. Given the layout of our house it wasn’t super feasible to have Jax in a sectioned off area right by the washroom that was easy to clean, and a SAFE place to play. We decided that Jaxson would be able to tell us ‘yes or no’ reliably when we ask him if he needs to go to the potty. So instead of having him initiate going to the potty we ask if he needs to go and follow his lead by his answer. If he tells us ‘no’ we don’t take him.
- The original program calls for solid days at home with 110% focus on potty training. THAT WOULD DRIVE ME TO THE BRINK OF INSANITY!!! We all HATE being cooped up at home. That was not going to work for us. We dedicated day 1 and half of day 2 to being at home and then began bravely taking outings. Short at first to test the waters then lengthening them.
- The original program calls for the child to help clean up the accident. That was NOT going to fly because we knew Jax would love that! hahaha!! So we nipped that in the butt before we started and took it out of our plan.
Here is a quick breakdown in point form of what we did and then I will write about how each day went. Jaxson’s reward for staying dry was watching “Paw Paw” (Paw Patrol). So When he stayed dry he got to watch. Which meant watching A LOT of TV!
- Our mornings started off with putting his underwear on and telling him that he can’t pee in his underwear. “No pee pee in underwear, Jaxson goes pee in the potty”
- And enter Paw Patrol. Jaxson got to watch Paw Patrol as long as he was dry. The first few days we did constant (every 5 minutes) ‘wet checks’. When he was dry we made a HUGE deal out of it “JAXSON IS DRY!! YAY!!! Jaxson I am SO proud of you! Dry boys get to watch ‘paw paw’!!”. Jaxson responds SO well to praise and was loving it.
- At the beginning we would ask every 10-15 minutes “Jaxson do you need to go potty? Do you need to pee”. If he ignored us we would make him look at us and give us an answer. If he told us “no” we wouldn’t take him potty and ask again in 5-10 minutes. If he had an accident after he told us “no” we initiated our “accident routine”
- We NEVER took him potty just to take him potty because we thought he had to go. Jax needed to learn that he has control over when we take him. If he chooses not to go then he has to hold it. If he chose not to go and right after had an accident then he had to learn the hard way.
- When he answered “yes” we would take Jaxson potty. We also gave him control by letting him pick which potty he wanted to use (his little Ikea potty or the big toilet with a potty seat). We put him on the potty and would say “thank you for telling us you need to go potty”. When he peed on the potty we would give lots of praise “YAY, JAXSON PEED ON THE POTTY!! Good job Jax, we are SO proud of you!!”. If for some reason he didn’t go pee right away (within a minute or so) we would take him off and tell him “the potty is to go pee. We don’t play on the potty”. This rarely happened but the odd time we would put him on and he would try to play and goof around. He needed to learn that the potty was not the place to play.
- Our accident routine: Immediately we stopped the ‘fun’ ie; turned off pawpaw. We then say “oh no! Jaxson is wet, no more fun. Fun is done” then we would run him back and forth from the ‘accident scene’ to the potty and say “you’re wet, you need to stay dry. Pee goes in the potty”. This part seemed silly and redundant. It also seemed useless as he would giggle as we went back and forth. But I also think that this was essential in the training. So just keep on it even if it seems dumb! We also NEVER sat him on the potty when he had an accident. It is crucial that he leaned he goes to the potty dry.
- Of course he asked for pawpaw right when we went back to the living room, but we would say “fun is done. Jaxson peed himself. No more fun” (in a stern, scolding voice). He would get mad, kick his legs, and cry. I got deep satisfaction out of this part because he understood that he was being punished, and he hated it! hahaha!
- Then we would continue on with the ‘dry checks’ and praise when he was dry. I found it hard to go straight back in to praising him and being positive because I was still a bit peeved about the accident that just happened. lol. But I forced the positivity back and he responded immediately. We would not bring back the reward (pawpaw) for at least 20 minutes after the accident.
- Day 1 of the program was LONG. We committed to staying home the entire day, which we NEVER do. Jax watched paw paw literally from morning till night. Since this was our first day we asked him if he needed to go potty every 10-15 minutes. At first he didn’t really understand but we made him give us an answer (yes or no). Once he said ‘no’ and he peed himself minutes after. That was all it took for him to ‘get’ what it was all about. He had total control over when we took him to the bathroom. He had 3 accidents that day but overall we felt very encouraged.
- Day 2 was horrible!! Alex was working so it was all on me. I decided that we would stay home for most of the day and venture out late afternoon. He had literally 4 accidents by 10 am!! I was so discouraged….. This was technically day 4 in undies (day 2 of the program) and I was ready to throw in the towel. I know, I know, potty training takes time, like lots of time!! But I was already done with cleaning puddles and being mad. I text Alex and said “I don’t think he’s ready. I’m not sure if he gets it” and was totally implying we just quit and get the pull-ups out. Alex reassured me that we need to persist and to give it at least 3 more days. If we have seen zero progress at that point we can reevaluate. I persisted the rest of the day and he did ok. He had one more accident on his grandmas couch (oops!!!) but otherwise stayed dry.
- Jaxson stayed dry ALL DAY!!! We were still asking every 15-20 minutes, and every 5-10 minutes after he answered ‘no’. There’s nothing else to say other than he wore the same gitch from morning till night!! We had many outings this day as we were prepping to go camping. We just made sure to ask him lots when we were out and about and no matter where we were we would stop everything and run (literally) to the washrooms.
- We woke up cautiously optimistic. Knowing that day 3 was most likely a fluke we were prepared for accidents but hoped for the best. We had lots of running around to do as we continued our camping prep. And what do ya know, he stayed dry!! This is when we started spreading out how often we asked. We were now asking every 30ish minutes and 10-15 minutes after a ‘no’.
I feel very confident to say that JAXSON IS POTTY TRAINED!!!! We survived camping and being away from home and out of routine. Jax came down with a sinus infection while we were camping and ended up having an accident on the day he was feeling the worst (to be expected). Otherwise he is staying dry and has even ‘told’ us on a few occasions that he needs to go potty.
We are still doing ‘wet checks’ just not as often. We are still giving LOTS of praise when he’s dry and telling him how proud we are. We are still cheering and praising when he goes to the potty as well. We are going to continue with the dry checks and the potty praise for quite a while.
To say we are blown away is definitely an understatement. We never expected this to happen so quickly. Yes he was already 60% there before we started, but still! This week he starts back at preschool. I am VERY nervous to see how that goes as up until now it has only been Alex and I who have been on top of him to use the potty. He is also getting his new full time aide this week so on top of going to school he is going to be with a new person. I will be packing LOTS and LOTS of undies and pants and hope for the best.