No One Said This Will Be Easy
Potty training is one milestone I have always been scared of, in a phobia type of way. I swear, my first time was sweat inducing and the feeling of “I don’t know if I can do this”, settled in the pit of my belly. All I thought is, I have a non-verbal son and the run-of-the-mill suggestions just did not cut it. I was way out of my league and I felt each and every drop of sweat sliding down my forehead. I was terrified and my oldest, Zach probably knew it.
Potty Training- With My Autistic Boys, is about how I am having quite an opposite experience with each of my boys. And as we continue on with this article, we can journey along together and see how Zach’s potty training went and how my current trainee, my youngest, Jojo differs.
Zach and Jojo are shaping up to be so incredibly different that it has extended into the potty training arena! There seems to be their is probably an unspoken agreement between my two boys on how different they can be. It is awesome, but also a challenge each and every day to keep up and ahead of them.
Honestly sometimes, rules do not apply in the potty training world.
Zach’s On and Off Again Road To Underpants
The first time I tried to potty train Zach at the age of 5, I knew he was not ready for it. He might have exhibited a couple of traits showing he was ready; like the grabbing of himself or his heighten excitement (running around the house all of a sudden), that I figured out was his version of the ‘pee’ dance. But alas, in one weekend, I all but gave up.
I let many people’s opinions or questions about what age he should be trained or why he was not already trained, get to me. It made me feel horrible, like I was not doing it right or wondering if I was being a good enough mother for him. The feelings I experienced after this first attempt and small failure was a determination to do better next time and to watch out for when the right time did come.
I learned to always remember: listen to my gut and if it is saying that your child is not ready, then most likely, they are not.
He did not seem to know what was going on and no one was able to really give me pointers on potty training my autistic sons. Methods generally used were useless to me. So instead of forcing the training, I decided to return to it when I felt he can handle it, and boy was the road a long one.
On The Road Again….
One beautiful Saturday morning, the idea popped in my head. I can NOT say there were signs per se. I can not say that he was talking at this time, just a few words, tops, and no leading me to the bathroom to indicate the need to go. As I review our day, I just thought of the tremendous work and growth Zach has shown and It lead me to believe that he was ready and so in one weekend he gained an understanding with using the bathroom for pee but number 2 was an another ball game that lasted for an eternity, but in reality lasted around a year.
Up To My Elbows In P**P For A Year
I did not know how to respond to people when I took Zach to the bathroom and get the ‘Oh, he’s potty trained?!’,.. I swear, don’t laugh, but I would shrug and say, ‘Yeah, sort of’ because to me he was 100% HALFWAY trained and patience was the name of the game. The amount of time spent cleaning, washing clothes and baths I have spent within this year was crazy and I thought that maybe, this was how it was going to be for the rest of his life. And sadly, no one had answers because autism can lead to many outcomes when it comes to potty training.
So for about a year I was literally on poop duty, 2 to 3 times a day, until something, someday it just clicked, and I was blessed with a fully trained 6 year old sons.
So you see, patience was a crucial element to training my oldest son in one of the hardest milestones I have yet to encounter, Potty Training.
Jojos A Quick Study
As much time as Zach took when training, my youngest son decided to do just the opposite approach to the potty training milestone. Even as ready as Jojo seemed, I still waited just a bit longer because once again, I had another non-verbal in need of potty taining and I wanted to do things better. I did not try to push anything before I knew he was ready. So I waited.
A couple of months passed by, and I showed different ‘potty training’ songs in the form of videos, mainly on YouTube and Netflix. I let him become curious, when he wanted to see what went on when I or his brother used the bathroom. I even made up this upbeat type of song, in which using the potty was this great adventure. The lyrics always changed because it was all made up as I went along and he loved it. So all was right in his world and therefore, my world.
Amazingly, it has been 8 days since I started this with Jojo and he has taken to it as if he has been waiting all his life to be trained. It is far from perfect (Psst, there is no such thing in the potty training world) but he is doing it and I can not wait to celebrate this new milestone with my son!
A Moms Milestone
A toast to all parents on a job well done and a toast to those who have yet to pass this milestone. This is not for the faint of heart or stomach, but there is not anything we would not do for our children and potty training is a BIG one.
So my advice is… trust your intuition and have lots of patience and it will ALL work out in the end!
Good luck and lots of light and love.
Keep Being AMAZING!