Tidbits and toilet training

2 May

Me (looking out the back window to see what Maura was doing in the back yard) – Oh dear…Maura has a tennis racket and a golf ball.

Miriam (looking over my shoulder) – Well this will end well.


Sean walks in the door from school – Yeah, so guess what we’re doing in gym class?  Javelin!

(speaking of things that’ll end well…oy…)


In a note to a very dear friend – Whenever I see a dog rub his butt on the grass, I will think fondly of you.



In two days time, Maura will officially start toilet training, a combined effort with the school, to maybe, finally get this girl toilet trained.

Yes, she’s almost nine and not toilet trained.  Not even near potty-learn-ed either.

No, this is not due to sheer laziness on my part.

Yes, we think maybe this time she’s ready (attempts have been made in the past.)

I can’t tell you how much I hope this is really successful.  I’ve heard from other parents at the school that the school staff are amazing when it comes to toilet training these special kidlets.  I’m banking on that.  I am so. damn. tired. of changing diapers.  I’ve been changing diapers for 16 years now.  I’m done.  I’d like to spend that diaper money on other things.  Like a new car!

Okay, maybe not a new car, but a shiny gold medal for butt-wiping.

The one fun part of toilet training is that Maura and I will have to do a pre-training shopping trip…like today.  For underwear and a pair of fake Crocs (so she doesn’t make puddles in her nice shoes) and maybe a couple spare outfits for the school.

Did I mention I’m really ready for her to be toilet trained?

Well, I am.  The main part is that I think it’ll make our lives easier.  But a small part is so I can get Society off my friggen back.  Because there are some – including some moms of special needs kids – who see Maura’s diaper as a sign of my incompetence.  Which is beyond irritating.  I mean, I managed to teach the older three how to use the toilet successfully (and then I taught them how to clean it).  I do know how to toilet train a child.

What they didn’t get is that while Maura may have been 4/6/8 years old physically, mentally she’s lagged behind.  Right now, I’d put her mental age between 3 and 4.  Which is when most kids learn how to use the toilet anyway.  Most children are not toilet trained at 18 months of age, why expect a child with the mental capacity of an 18  month old to know how to use the toilet?

And aside from that, there is the sensory part of things as well.  If your child is blissfully unaware that they’ve done anything, how can they follow signals?  If they don’t care if they’re wet, how to you convince them that wet is not good?  If they refuse to poop in a diaper, how the heck do you get them to poop in a toilet?

To tell me “Oh, you just need to be consistent!”, thatwill earn you an invitation to come to my house and show me how this toilet training thing works.  So far, no one’s taken me up on that offer.

The one redeeming moment in this years-long journey was when Maura was in kindergarten.  The lovely women who taught Maura decided to try toilet training. We all read the book on how to toilet train a special needs child, charts were made, underwear bought.  After a few weeks, Maura’s aide said “I don’t think she even gets the concept!”

I said “Thank you!  I’ve been trying to explain that to others and people don’t believe me.”  I guess it proved that you have to be in that particular situation to truly understand.  Even having a child with special needs doesn’t mean you’ll get it.  If your chid loves his or her routine, and toileting is part of that routine, then your child will probably get it sooner and easier than my child, who has no need for routines.  If your child doesn’t have sensory issues, then it’s harder to understand how sensory issues come into play with this.

I’m just happy part of our move to Ireland has lead us to what sounds like the experts in toilet training.

So I’m going to take my girl shopping, for new stuff to start a new chapter in her life hopefully.  And more carpet cleaner.



17 Responses to “Tidbits and toilet training”

  1. Nicole guerra May 2, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    I love this post! Good luck in the potty training road ahead! My son is 4 1/2 (but developmentally he’s more like 3 1/2) and we just potty trained over a week ago. It came out of no where and before he showed zero interest. He was finally ready mentally and physically. I also at times felt judged by others for having even my 4 year old (who is huge and bigger than some 5 year olds) in diapers still. I wish you the best!

    • Christine May 2, 2012 at 11:18 am #

      I also had a child who, for sensory issues and just sheer not giving a crap – pun intended – wasn’t potty trained until 4 1/2 (and he also looked older than he was) and I recall the stigma that having a big kid in a diaper carried & the advice everyone felt that they should give you.

      It is a wonder, Phoebe, that you haven’t hurt anyone yet.

      Godspeed to you in this endeavor.

  2. Janet May 2, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    I wish you & Maura good luck!! I hope this is ‘her time’. I hated potty training my kids (3) and don’t think I was all that great at it, though it did happen.
    Have fun shopping – Janet

  3. Gale Kelley Hinson May 2, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Sending prayers your way. I am so amazed by Maura and how well she has done. So hoping this works this time. Kelley was 18 months when she walked into the bathroom, and asked to use the potty. but Andrew was 3 before he became trained!! I try very hard to not bee judgmental about such things. Your posts help me alot – thanks for writing them. gale

  4. Rachael May 2, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Good luck to you all!! I hope this is *the* time!

  5. Angie May 2, 2012 at 10:09 am #

    Good luck with this! It took Christian (who has Autism) until he was 6 to be potty trained. I completely understand where you are coming from!

  6. Courtney May 2, 2012 at 10:19 am #

    I’ll be praying for you. Ella went to a private school for special needs kids when they toilet trained her (she was 6). I’m sure your school is competent, but if you don’t mind, I’ll share how we did it. They had her sit on the potty every 20 minutes at first, and then bumped it back to 30 minutes. If she went, she got to watch a video of her choice (Barney) for five minutes or listen to his music on an Ipod. If she didn’t go, she got an M&M or Smartie for trying. The first few days she was still wearing her pull-ups. After a week they said bring in lots of undies, shorts, and socks! What made this successful was their willingness to do this. My first day with her in undies she was changed 3 times in 30 minutes when I got her home and I almost put her back in diapers. But I stayed patient, reminded myself of why I hate diapering, and cleaned the carpet. She still wears Goodnights when she is sleeping and she is almost 9, and I wonder how we’ll get her to make it through the night, but I remind myself we’re saving a lot on diapers versus where we used to be (she has been leaking through every night for the past week). All in all, after just 3 weeks she improved significantly, and we bought pads to put under her carseat in case she went while we were driving. She doesn’t give us much notice when she has to go, so it gets a bit dicey at times, we try to be proactive and force her to go when she doesn’t really have to. I carry undies in my purse and have bought clothes to change her into while we were out shopping. She also can’t wipe herself properly, her arms are too short! I too feel judged when I tell new people she needs help with wiping and it’s a main reason her older brother can’t watch her for very long, and we have a ‘females only’ edict for babysitters. But, she is my baby, my miracle, and I love every advance she makes, even when I’m tired of washing bedding on a daily basis.

  7. Anne Liptak May 2, 2012 at 10:22 am #

    Best of luck to you both, but if it doesn’t happen try NOT to blame yourself! There really is, I’m convinced, a right time and a wrong time for this, and autism confounds the issue!

    Mine has mild Asperger’s, and he still had accidents up through age 9! God bless you with patience…and talk to the pediatrician about DDAVP(it helps at night).

    • phoebz4 May 2, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      Oh no – there will be enough people involved in this that no one will shoulder the blame 😉

  8. Denise May 2, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    I’m sending positive thoughts out to the universe because I think only the universe has the power to reach our children sometimes. My daughter is 12, she potty trained herself a year ago when I went away for a week to training. I don’t know if she just wanted to surprise me or she didn’t want dad and grandma changing diapers, but it was a Hallelujah moment. She can’t be bothered with wiping her butt, flushing or washing her hands independently, but she loves to say “go pee” and go do for herself; I’m guessing it’s a sense of independence, but heaven forbid that she’d be “independent” enough to feed herself (LOL). There are lots of us out here who understand your feelings and we are rooting for you. Thanks for putting your feelings out there, I’m not brave enough.

  9. Cheryl-Lynn May 2, 2012 at 10:57 am #

    Bless you for sharing and I’m sending you good wishes on this venture. Shame on anyone for pointing fingers and blaming …you are an amazing mom and I love how your transparency invites other wonderful moms to share. Thumbs up!

  10. Joan May 2, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    I second what Cheryl- Lynn said!

  11. Maria May 2, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Don’t justify yourself to those that refuse to understand. My daughter will be ten in just 5 days and we just completed this task, though she still has an accident every now and then.

    Good luck to all of you.

  12. mumstimeout May 2, 2012 at 3:03 pm #

    Good luck, it will happen when Maura is ready! 🙂
    My son was 9 and then age 11 for #2’s!!

  13. Mommaswan May 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm #

    Best wishes on your toileting adventures! My son was 12 when he finally got the knack. Pediatrician thought maybe puberty sparked the self awareness needed to understand the signals. Before then it was just a lucky chance that he would go while on the toilet. Still, we were SO very happy! It was just as he was outgrowing the largest pull ups and we were faced with adult diapers that didn’t fit properly and leaked ;-/ It was very frustrating to have well meaning do-gooders hand me one magazine article after another and analyze what we were doing wrong, not to mention we couldn’t leave him at nursery or find sitters willing to change him. For every person who judges you, there is someone like me who completely understands. Isn’t it sad they don’t have something better to do with their time, like butt wiping?

  14. Czechlady May 3, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Phoebe, I love you. Charlie was 8 before he got the wiping thing down, and that was only with wipes. Toilet paper still doesn’t work most times. You are a great mom. Special moms with special children have to find success in different ways (like when your son learns to respond when someone makes a comment to him, instead of just ignoring them).

    • phoebz4 May 3, 2012 at 9:19 am #

      I just flashbacked to a time when we had to teach one of the boys how to make eye contact and a good handshake when meeting new people…good times…

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