Potty Training

I recently attended a potty training workshop hosted by the DSAH. I love our DSA and all they do for our community. I wish we lived closer so we could participate more.

They held this course last summer but it was obviously too soon to think about potty training Eli at the time.

Now that he is two and walking, I want to prepare the best we can. We all know how important potty training is, especially for out kiddos with Ds who will be going into PPCD or other early learning programs at 3. Not to mention the social acceptance and independence it provides.
I don’t know anything about actually potty training, though. Add to that he has Ds and is a boy! I feel like the odds are not in our favor lol
BUT he is showing signs of interest and some readiness. Right now he will request a new diaper when he’s wet, but not when he’s poopy.
We used to keep the bathroom door closed but we have started to leave it open to normalize it. The only time he ever went in there before was to bathe, which he loves to do so he always wants to be in there to play.

Anyway, the course was good and gave some great advice. We haven’t started it yet- it’s a big undertaking and while Eli is interested I don’t think he is 100% ready to make the transition.
Plus he doesn’t have the motor skills needed yet.
So I know what you all are asking- what was the method?!
Here are my notes. :)

Potty Training in Four Days
The Murphy Method

Program Info:
-developed by a parent of a child with Ds.
-has been taught for 15 years and hundreds of children with Ds have been trained using it.
-record is 3 days
-at times it can take up to 2 weeks but is due to the parent not following the program or the child was not developmentally ready.
-a PhD in child development who works on toilet training has reviewed the program and endorses it.

True potty training happens when your child:
-has the urge to go
-finds the toilet
-pulls down their pants
-uses the toilet

This means your child knows when to go, doesn’t need help, and there is no schedule or having to remind your child to go.

When is a child ready?
-when they can pull down their pants and get on the toilet without assistance.
-typically age 3- don’t wait until the child seems interested.

Some tips to consider:
-don’t augment your toilet in any way.
-training toilets don’t exist in the real world, neither do special seat covers.
-a step stool is appropriate to use if needed.
-be consistent. Not matter what program you choose, stick with it. Do not try to borrow ideas from other programs or try to make up your own. Try a program and commit.

The 5 C’s:
Cool- this is a normal part of life, so don’t make it a big deal
Calm- no drama and no anger
Collected- prepare ahead of time
Confident- be certain of success
Committed- see it through- don’t go back.

To prepare, you need to plan. Make sure you have the time to commit to this training.
With your child present, throw away all their diapers. Don’t keep even just one as backup. Your plan is to never go back, so prepare to change sheets. ;)
When you purchase underwear, buy twenty lairs of identical underwear. Many children with Ds are quite literal (hence the tip to not augment the toilet itself). So if you but Spider-man underwear, they need to all look the same.
Next, prepare the space. Make sure the bathroom is free of distractions and things that would take away from your child going to the bathroom. You want them to get in and get out.

The goal is elimination in the toilet (don’t worry about wiping or handwashing- you can facilitate that).
First thing in the morning, 30 minutes before you know that your child is likely to need to go “number two”, you will go take your child to the rest room. Then you wait. The child will wait on the toilet or in the rest room until they have gone potty.
Once they have done that, you will have them clean up, pull their clothes back on, and go about their business.
Tell the child “Do not wet ot poop in your underwear. Wet or poop in the toilet”.
Wait. If they come out, or don’t go, keep trying. Wait outside the bathroom with them until they have completed.
Back to the toilet: every 45 minutes.

No prompting!
Learn through failure- again, make it the child’s responsibility to prompt using the toilet, or if they have an accident.
Make sure all family members are on board.
Remove all distractions.

Off to a friend’s house.
-No rescue clothing
-Show location of toilet
-No warnings
-No prompting
-Go home if pants are soiled

Off to Grandma’s
Drop the child off with a family member, or babysitter.
-No rescue clothing
-Show location of toilet
-No warnings
-No prompting
-Pick child up if pants are soiled

The program seems great, and I plan to attempt it when it’s Eli’s turn. The thing I liked best about it was the advice that, no matter what program you decide is best for your family, pick one and stick with it. Don’t pull several ideas from different resources and create your own program. Commit and stick with it, even if it doesn’t work the first time.
What I liked about this method was that it’s been so successful for so many people with Ds.

Like I said, I’ve never potty trained before, so this is a new adventure!
What method have you used? What worked for your family?

NOTES: http://www.kcdsg.org/files/content/Potty%20Training%20in%20Four%20Days%202010%20Version%203%20slides%20to%20a%20page.pdf


Where We Are At: Family Update

I’ve been spending a lot of time working with the kids on their specific therapy treatments and reflecting on their development.
They are all so different from each other, which I guess is an obvious statement to make, but still, I’m really blown away when I spend time thinking about it.
I also foolishly thought that having a “typical” child would some how be easier or less stressful than having Eli. Isn’t that silly? Perhaps it’s because literally everyone you speak to 100% believes that having a child labeled as “special needs” means your life is harder automatically. And maybe for some people it is (not even taking into account medical needs, etc). But Eli is exactly what we expected when we dreamed of having children. He’s like his daddy- smooth, calm, easy going and sweet. He’s not hard or more work or difficult. He seems perfectly typical to me!
Most of the stuff that stresses me out is mommy stuff- making sure I’m getting him what he needs. Keeping up with therapies/development/milestones and making sure he’s healthy (thyroid, CDC, growth…etc) has become a part of our lives more than I ever anticipated. That doesn’t feel like a burden to me.
Truth be told, though, all three of my children have “special needs”. They each need different things. There is no mold that they all fit into. And I’m happy to make sure they are getting what they need ;)
I’m even more happy to be home full time offering these things.

So what are we working on now?




Eli- Feeding had suddenly become a challenge. He thinks when it’s time to eat that he gets dinner and a show- so we are working on him focusing on eating and mommy not singing so he will eat supper…lol He is so active now, walking all over the house and too busy to be bothered to do anything he doesn’t want to do. He will tell me he is hungry, I will prepare food at our normal eating times, and once he sits down, he doesn’t want it anymore. Even favorite foods. So I’m working on stressing less about his eating, and letting him decide how he feels about that- without singing…since that seems to be the only way I can get him to eat unless he is starving.
I’ve also moved his meal times later and that has helped a ton.
His walking is improving, and he met his goal of walking 25ft unassisted. We have now moved to working on going outside and to the park. There are so many things he can get into now- climbing and sliding, and exploring. I’m so proud of him for this huge milestone and he’s so much happier with his new independence.
His speech is starting to pick up. He is babbling all the time, signing like crazy too. Recently he has just started to imitate sounds. Mind you, this is only when he wants to do it…but his favorite word as of late is “dada”. lol of course.
Eli will see his new Osteopathic doctor this month which I am excited about. She gave him an adjustment- I’ve really enjoyed working with her and we are looking forward to the positive benefits of using her services. We also plan to have a doctor look at his past thyroid history just to make sure there isn’t anything else we can do about the subclinical hypothyroidism diagnosis we got a while back. It’s so difficult to find doctors who will actually support that…so we will see how that goes.

Ruby- Communication has been our biggest road block, but she’s just decided that perhaps she would like to try talking. She did start an “ah” conversation with me the other day and now she walks around saying “dada” as if she had always been doing it- that was so cool! Her voice is so sweet, and she is learning so so much!
Feeding has improved greatly. We are also working on using a straw sippy and phasing out the bottle. I’m following this awesome feeding guide, and along with the help of our SLP, OT, and SST we are working on some great stuff for Ruby.

I’m also trying to do some research on CAH. I’m wondering if an adrenal problem could be causing some of our struggles…upset tummy, spitting up, crankiness, sensory dysfunction…it just is a huge part of our lives right now and I want Ruby to be as happy and healthy as possible.
A great list of labs I plan to get checked out can be found here: Down Syndrome Support
In the mean time, we have cut out all dairy and gluten. We have seen a happier Ruby for it. Honestly, I don’t know if I have ever seen her this happy for an extended period of time before. I know she loves it and so do we.
Now that she is a year old, she is walking, talking and happier than ever. So proud!

Wyatt- We are working on tummy time and talking. He is a tummy time pro now, and he;s falling into a nice routine as he grows and his alert times change.
Eli and Wyatt are very similar. They are both very easing going, sweet and smile easily. As infants, they were both very chatty (though Eli’s speech has dropped off and then fluxed as he has grown). Wyatt is super social and does exactly what our SLP have been trying to get E and R to do for months/years. When he starts talking, he waits for you to respond and make sounds back at him. It becomes a conversation. And if he stops, you can make a sound and he will start again. It’s really amazing and considering I spend all day feeling like I talk to myself, it’s kind of nice to see this speech development.
Anyway, Wyatt is working on sleep training too, which will hopefully mean more sleep for me…hopefully.

There’s my update! Summer is nearly over, and I’m keeping busy with the kids and my photography. Blink, and it all changes. In fact, I started this post 4 weeks ago…and since I just now got to post, I had to make many changes to what I said the kids were doing. These three are changing all the time! ;)
Yay for boring family update hehe ;) we are busy and I like it this way.


Summer Pictures

I’m sitting here in the dark nursing Wyatt and wishing I had something profound to say. Lack of sleep and baby brain will suck the life right out of you. #thankswyatt
Since making the decision to stay home, I have been very focused on my new mom job and finding a rhythm.
I’ve been working on ways to help make my day feel more meaningful (as if 3 underfoot doesn’t do it for me…).
But I feel like I keep coming up short.
I want to end my day feeling like I’ve accomplished more than the laundry (which seems to *never* end).

This, naturally, leads to many conversations about feelings of mom guilt and being able to do it all for my kids. Am I doing enough? Do my children feel loved? Am I challenging them? How many times did I say “no” today? Blah blah blah…you guys know what I mean. I think all moms have been there. We all worry about our kids and about our parenting abilities.

As Ruby grows, I can see our need for her ECI services fading.
As Wyatt grows, I can see him being the “little big brother”.
As Eli grows, I can see how far he has come and the person he is becoming is more clear.

Yet, it still feels like there is always something. Something to learn, something to add to my list of therapies or things to look out for, something to teach my children, something to worry about.
I have always found the 3 month mark to be a time when baby becomes a bit easier and you begin to fall into a routine. This is where we are at right now. Falling into our daily pattern. So I’ve decided not to muck it up with worry. Not to freak out about the small stuff, and to embrace this short season.

With that, I will leave you with some summer fun pictures. Because it makes the mom guilt melt faster than they can all load up on this page. Because this season is short and because, damnit, my kids are happy and thriving. Isn’t that what we all want?















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