Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Developments in Pottyland

(Warning: if you are at all squeamish about bodily functions, don't bother reading this post. Just know that there has been much success and also celebration in our house.)

There have been some Big Developments on the Potty Training Front for the past three weeks. These Developments are so huge I've been scared to write about them, for fear that this might somehow negatively impact them. But we are going on three weeks now--I feel more secure in publicly acknowledging them:

Kieran has been Pull Up Free for almost three weeks now. And he's been regularly going #2 in the potty in the evening. In fact, I did away with Pull Ups all together and we are "trending well" in all aspects of Potty Training, including Nocturnal Dryness--again, I can't stress how big this is.

To understand you have to go back in time almost 5 years, to when Kieran was turning 3. I did it all wrong. In fact, if there is one piece of advice that I would give any parent of an autistic child, be that child "high functioning" or completely "non verbal", it would be--Get outside expert help with potty training. Like, Real Experts. And I mean, people who have done this with lots of kids, not just special needs. People who, if you will forgive the pun--People who know their shit!

I had been told to take it nice and slow, so when we introduced the potty, it was no real stress--sort of a "Hey, what do we have here....? Oh, look! A Potty!" introduction.

Well, this really got us no where, as Kieran could have really cared less. Then we started with lots of sugary drinks and no underwear one weekend in February, when Kiki was 4 1/2 years old. And while, yes...7 hours later, he did pee in the potty, since there was next to no real structure, he really didn't "get" it and I just got frustrated when he wasn't "getting it" and still shitting and pissing all over the place.

I did it all wrong. I know that now. And to be honest, I kind of knew it then, was a tough time.

Then we moved to Toronto, and I put off all potty training until after we were settled--and wouldn't you know it? The little bugger suddenly starts peeing the potty all by himself. Unfortunately this newfound initiative did not follow through with moving of his bowels. He would only "go" in a PullUp.

To label Kieran stubborn is a major understatement. His conviction level, when he so moved, rivals that of Gandhi, and I'm not exaggerating. The hours that I have spent trying to coax him to relax on the potty! For weeks on end I have made this my sole focus, only to be shot down by Kieran's solemn, big brown-eyed gaze. "No, Mommy. I don't want to poop on the potty."

So, I'd back off and try again a few months later.

Well, there have been some big changes with Kieran in the past months. He's asking a ton of questions...constantly. It's like he's finally figured out that there this whole, big, baffling world out there and if he only starts asking some questions about it, it will all start to make more sense.

He also is really big on testing boundaries. While this is utterly adorable now ---"What happens if I don't go to bed?" "What happens if I don't eat my dinner?" "What happens if I don't get off the computer?"---I'm sure this will lose it's charming appeal when these efforts become more sophisticated.

But the point is, Kieran now is thinking so much more dynamically about the world around him and his place in it. It's exciting stuff. Heady, even.

And he's eating fruit. Lots and lots of fruit. Cherries are a big hit. Peaches. Strawberries. Blueberries. Watermelon has not been tolerated well, but we will try again (the texture is a little different, if you think about it). He has even tried broccoli, as well as squash and other vegetables. Now, I'm not going to lie to you. Vegetables are not his favorite, but he tolerates them, and will eat one to three bites. He does, however, love carrot juice. A juice that, by itself, make me want to retch. Who would have guessed?

So, the child has more fiber in his system. With the lure and appeal of the iPad I got Dave for Fathers Day-which worked at being motivation enough to get Kieran to sit on the potty for quite a while, combined with that extra fiber, and things just moved along. While he zoomed around the globe on the Google Earth App, he relaxed enough and felt like he could go.

I didn't believe it was ever going to happen. That very afternoon, I had a conversation with a friend of mine where I depressingly opined that Kiki was probably going to still be pooping in a Pull Up when he went off to VoTech School for Computer Programming. I really didn't believe. Which if you knew me is shocking, because quite frankly, I think my kids can do anything. I have the highest expectations of them than anyone, just goes to show you how exhausting and demoralizing potty training can be on a parent. (Got to keep the emotion out of it!!!)

So, after bath, I went downstairs to do something with Blythe and I left Kiki to Dave's hands. Well, wouldn't you know it, about 15 minutes later, a naked-from-the-waist-down Kiki comes downstairs. "Mom, I have something to show you." And there you go.

I don't think I can communicate how thrilled and relieved I was. And, although I remained cautious in my celebrations that night (we had to run to Target to get the new Buzz Lightyear toy), he did it again the next night. And the next. And the next.

As I said, it's been over three weeks now.
I don't have to buy Pull Ups anymore.

For the first time in over 9 years, we are a diaper and Pull Up free-house.