It’s POObacca!!!

It's POObacca!!!

I nearly tripped over myself trying to avoid this GIANT pile of cat POOP…turns out it was just Chewbacca.

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Master Potty Jedi

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Well, the 5yo did it!  It’s official, folks.   He has now mastered the potty.  I know the last couple of posts have been a little on the more serious side and that you can probably tell my heart is hurting quite a bit.  Well, 2013 has got to be our year because after nearly 2 years of fruitless potty training, our 5 yo son is not using the potty completely.

If you want to read how the victory started… check out my last post Tootsie Roll Factory Working Again! Thanks, Homeschooling.

I couldn’t believe that on March 4th I could be putting him in underwear, but the day after the post went up we tried it.  He has been in underwear for TWO WEEKS!  3 small pee accidents for waiting too long, and 2 poop accidents for being sick (I don’t really count those, but for posterity I list them 😉 LOL!).

Before all of this happened he used to complain about the “bad feelin’s”.  He would say things like “I don’t not

Don’t Point That Turd At Me!

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Since SuperHubby has been out of town this week things have gotten very interesting.  The beginning of the week is always easiest for the kids and the last two days are usually insane filled with frustration, tireness, sadness because they miss their daddy.

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Here’s what happened last night as I posted on Facebook:

THE BIRD JUST GOT OUT!!! I managed to catch it. My poor MIDGE! 😦

I needed to clip their nails and midge snuck out! I caught her with very little stress and quickly but James got upset and almost cried. John was in awe. He kept pointing up and with an amazed look said “Boooooo” at least I got her nails trimmed WHEW!

AND….

James FARTED in my face!!!! I breathed it right in. Full on! … I can’t wait for Vernon to get home.

Midge on the left and Kevin on the right.

Midge on the left and Kevin on the right.

These are our Zebra Finches. Kevin and Midge! We’ve had them for 3 years, this spring. Midge is fine, but James is super concerned. Here’s the conversation we had after The Flight of The Zebra Finch.

James: Is Midge hurt? Can she fly again?
Me: She’s fine! Mommy saved her.
James: (quitely thinking with a furrowed brow) Is Kevin sad about Midge????? (his eyes a little watery)
Me: No honey. Keving not sad.

After about 15 min….
James: What happens when birds die?
Me: What? Honey.
James: Do birds die?
Me: Yes, son. Birds dies. Midge is going to be just fine.

My poor mommy heart…. I really really cant wait for Vernon to get home. 😦


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It was a very exciting and difficult night.  Bathtime was insane and getting them to bed was like trying to herd CATS!  So I thought that  when I woke up this morning, it was going to be a new day.  Shoot! We get to start another day over… on the right side, right????

WRONG!

The whining! Its just wouldn’t end! … and then the KIDS started whining.  I guess I didnt start everyone out on the right foot today.  Anyway!  I left the kids alone for 3 minutes so I could put on my gym clothes and here’s what I saw when I exited my bedroom.

The 2yo with his diaper off and a very concerned look on his face: “Mama?”

Me: What’s wron…. *GASP*

The 2yo is pointing a turd at me.  Yup!  On the tip of his tiny pointer finger is a smooshed and smelly Turd.

2yo again: “MAMA??????” (looking very worried)

Me: GROSS!

I grab the baby and take him into his room to change him, clean off his hands and then I leave him on his changing pad (on the floor).  I run out to the living room to grab the diaper.  As I slowly pick it up and giant log rolls out onto the carpet.

Me:  NOOOOOOOOO!  sick sick sick sick sick

I turn around and there’s my half naked son laughing his tiny biscuits off. I grab the Poop Log with the diaper with one hand and the baby with the other and drag them both back to the bedroom.  There, I see poop kisses on the changing pad where his anus has been.  His rectum had left little tiny @$$ kisses all over it!!!!!   I throw down a towel and clean up the baby. I cry.  I laugh. I cry some more.  How do single moms do this?! I feel like I’m losing my mind and … I’m late for my gym appointment.  Oh well!  I probably should have taken pictures, right? 😉

I thought it ended there, but I got about half way through this entry when I was interrupted by silence.  Parents, you know what I’m talking about.  The Silence means one of two things: The children are doing something naughty or there is a mouthless alien behind you that you cant remember who is trying to kill you.  Both of these scenarios are very dangerous and press upon you that nagging suspicion that somehting horrible is happening but you don’t know what it is.

I went to find out what was going on and I see the 2yo with his diaper off AGAIN! There is another Butt Nugget on the floor and it has been baptized in Catholic fashion with his urine!! …. LOL!

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Parenting is an adventure, for sure.  A big, stinky, hilarious adventure that I wouldn’t give up for all the Latinum in the universe.  I love my boys ❤ with both of my hearts! *It’s a Time Lord thing 😉

sigh…. its not too early for a drink, is it?

 

 

Celebrating The Yuletide Poop Log!

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We have had a major victory here in the last two weeks in our Potty Training!  Two week ago last friday our 4.5yo, who has been having an amazingly difficult mastering bowel training, walked into the bathroom independently an put his poop in the potty.

Some of you might be thinking, “Um, yeah, that’s what 4.5yo’s do.” or “big whoop” or “so what?” If you are, then you haven’t been keeping up around here 😉  LOL!  Let me tell you, until you have a child that cant use the potty you just don’t understand how hard life can be.  Especially if that child is a withholder.  Its a whole ‘nother level of frustration… for everyone.  Just count your blessings and rejoice with us!

I couldn’t believe it when I I heard the bathroom door open, the toilet lid go up, silence, then a loud “Mommy! I did it! I did it!!!”  I ran in there to find him sitting there with a large Yuletide Poop Log in the toilet and a totally clean diaper.  Not even the faintest Bacon Mark. (sorry for the Bacon blaspemy… it was term I heard as a child and it stuck).  What a victory for him!

Now it was important for him to start his Pee training again.  We took things really slow and had an entire week of success, followed by a week of constipation and accidents, then two days of independent toilet use!  This is incredible!  I am so happy for my little guy and his success.  Most importantly, I’m happy for his condifence.

Thank you all for your support, prayers, thoughts, helpful advice, patience, concern and hope!  Things are looking better this time of year and we are incredibly grateful!  Love all of you!

On a side note, there have been several people who have been helping me find myself these last six months and I’m so thankful for them.  But there is one person who I really admire.  She’s a nursing mom, with 3 kids and a love and talent for playing video games.  She is also a positive force in a culture that can be elitest and I admire her and love her with all my heart.  She’s been a virtual friend in the Twittervese and FaceBookdom and though I’ve never met her, her honesty and caring nature has inspired me.  She has helped me to resolve my identity issues simply by being herself.  I just wanted to thank you here, Carrie (@Keeba13).  Cyber-hugs to you from your Virtual friend who is virtually unknown to you, but admires you immensely.  I wish the best of weeks and the Happiest of Christmas’.

❤ Jen 😉

The Mystery Poop Log

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I know I talk a lot about poop, but right now… THATS my life.  I walked in the door today and the entire house smelled like a dirty bathroom in a Mexican Restaraunt!  I’m not being racist, it literally smelled like burritos and turds.  Appartently both the kids had poopy diapers for a while before I came home and the burritos we had eaten for lunch smoldered from the decaying process in the trash.  It was eye watering!  The smell extraction process should have required a hazmat team but I really didn’t feel our crisis required government intervention.  So I did it myself!  All the trashes were taken out, kids changed, and the mother of all oil burners was lit.  Yet as I sit here at my computer, I smell it.  I can smell a poop.  It is only right near my computer….In front of my face.  When I look down I expect to see it sitting on the tab key, but no.  It’s The Mystery Poop Log.  It’s haunting me with it’s appetite killing aroma and I can feel my hair falling out as the stress builds.  Sigh…I can’t wait for the day when my house smells like it should… POOP FREE!

Crap Mastery and The Potty Training Push

I understand that there is a movement to avoid the word “training” when referring to learning to use the potty.  I respect the reasons why, but just so we are all on the same page and because that’s what the book I will be referring to calls it, I am going to call it Potty Training.  Maybe you like to call it “potty learning” or “toilet training” or “Crap Mastery”… whatever you like, please feel free to insert your personal choice when reading this 🙂

Also, if you have not read the previous post, Lets Talk About Poop Logs: Our Potty Training Struggle, please stop here and read that first.  Otherwise you’ll be more lost than I was when I started watching LOST in season 2.  Seriously, I was like “What the heck is going on?!” Point is, I had to go back and watch season 1.

This will be long! So feel free to break it up over your lunch break for the next couple of days LOL ;).  I had wanted to post a more detailed account of our experience before, but decided a lighter approach would be better. After receiving comments about my post, I decided to do a follow up. My first post, Lets Talk About Poop Logs, was to just say “Hey, you’re not crazy and you’re not alone.” Now I want to give you a real account of our journey so you can see how “not by the book” (even though we were using a book) our experience was.  This is mainly inspired by a woman on a thread I had been commenting on about Lets Talk About Poop Logs.  She had brought up the very  important fact that putting kids with physical limitations on a schedule can cause more damage than good.  I wholeheartedly agree.  We experienced the same problem with JEM.  Her testimony brought up the negative side of what I call “THE POTTY TRAINING PUSH” or TPTP. So I decided to write this to clarify some things I referenced in the book, The Potty Journey and to give you a detailed look at our approach.

There is a huge cultural pressure to potty train our children at a young age.  I have known parents who started their kids on the potty at 18 months and have agonized over how long it took.  Its not their intention, but their complaints have been discouraging because I felt they were diminishing the true struggle of potty training a child with a physical disability. I’m going to speak boldly now *takes deep breath*, so prepare yourself for some admonition parents.  If you have decided to potty train your kid at 18 months and they are struggling and not finding success…it’s going to take a long time.  You have a “choice”, though.  You can choose to stop and start again when they are ready.  So for a parent who is struggling against a real disability combined with a lack of support and information to understand what that disability means, how it affects the child and how to resolve the situation, listening to that “whining” (for lack of a more sensitive word) is really painful.  Its not that we don’t care about your discomfort, its just comes across as not being grateful.  You have a choice.  We don’t.  So don’t get sucked into the The Potty Training Push and just let go!  Be free to do what’s best for you and your kids and stop the madness in your life.  You deserve peace. Lets face it, very few babies are ready to use the potty in a completely autonomous nature at 18 months.  Yes, “BABIES”.  Babies are considered to be “BABIES” until they are two years of age.  We call them “infants”. Then, they are considered to be toddlers and most of that age group is still not ready to use the potty until they are 3.  I’m just talking about children with NO disabilities.  When you take a physical disability into account, those statistics change dramatically. (I don’t have actual statistics…I’ll just call that a figure of speech and move on 🙂  ). But really, all of the moms I speak to that started TPTP at 18 months regret it. 

Note: I am not judging or discouraging the Elimination Communication style of toileting.  Please see below for more information and breaking the myths behind it.

Elimination Communication Approach used by some parents…see link below to dispell myths

Even when I would begin to dispair I thought of all of those parents out there whose kids will never be able to use the toilet.  Imagine how that must feel to them. Their child is being denied the basics of a normal life, toilet use, writing, walking and talking.  Some have disabilities so severe they will be in the mind of an infant their whole life.  Or some, the mind of a 6 year old and those children understand that they are different. The reality of not being able to use the toilet affects them greatly. As their bodies grow and their mind stays the same, they know they might never get married or have kids.  So when I start to feel really bad.  I remember that there is always someone struggling more than I and I need to respect their pain by getting over mine. Rather than belittle someone’s experience, when asked, I would simply reply that we were having great difficulty and prayers were welcome. But it hurt to hear parents complain about decisions they had the power to change.  It hurt a lot. My purpose for sharing this particular piece of information, is not to accuse, stir up strife or judge. Its to be a voice for the hurting and lonely out there who have less suppoort and help than I.  So, please understand that I write this admonition with the greatest of reverence and least of condensention.  I only want to give a voice to those who are hurting and be their advocate.

On To The Next

So! I want to talk more about the book The Potty Journey that I recommended, to give you all a clearer  understanding of what the book is trying to convey and to talk about how we utilized it and how we didn’t. 🙂

Available on Amazon.com Also, check you local library.

Judith, in regards to her book, The Potty Journey, says “It is NOT a book of ‘toileting tricks. Step-by-step, it leads you, the tour director, all the way through the toilet training journey to its ultimate destination: successfully toilet training your child with special needs.”  This book is less about a rigorous schedule and more about routine.  It is not for children with a severe medical physical disability because those children have very special limitations.  It’s for those children with special needs, Autism spectrum disorders, including Sensory Processing Disorder.  It is designed for a child with  the physical age of 4 years, the mental age of 18-24 months, stays dry for 1-2 hours, has formed BM’s (meaning they don’t have a medical problem that causes loose stools), they are emotionally ready and additional stress is absent (there’s no major familial change like the birth of a new sibling), and there is an absense of Physical Contraindication.  Physical Contraindication “basically means the medical professionals agree that tthere is no medical reason not to begin toilet training”.  I am very interested in information on Potty Training children with medical physical disabilities and extremely sensitive to those difficulities. I encourage any of you to send me comments with that information to broaden my understanding. The main voice of the book is for children with Autism, which most agree that a schedule and routine is essential for.  Kids with SPD need routine too and like those with Autism, are often scared by TPTP.  She addresses this and creates a very slow systematic approach.

One thing I struggle with is caving into the meltdowns and tantrums of my Sensory kid (weird label).  All of the professionals, specialists and SPD Potty successful moms that I know agree that gentle pressure can provide amazing results.  The key is not to overwhelm, but to get them used to change and discomfort.  So they can learn to regulate themselves in order to function among their peers.  Therefore, pushing them to a breaking point with some huge shove, is not as effective as our mainstream society would tell us.  Tough Love, they call it.  Cowboy Up!  No one just throws their baby into a pool and says, “Deal with it! Sink or swim, kid.” That approach is not effective in a child with Sensory Issues.  However, a gentle but firm approach, in a safe and secure environment, displays amazingly effective results.  I have seen this produce INCREDIBLE results in our son.  However, he had to be ready physically and emotionally.  Determining when that is, is the most difficult part of the journey (at least, it was for us).

NOTE: These blogs are not written by a professional.  They are written by me.  A real mom just like you! Well, you’re probably normal. 😉  I want to be clear when I say, we did not follow this book step by step because it wasn’t appropriate for our son to do so.  We took the parts that were applicable to him and went with that.  So, without further ado, here it is!

How we overcame The Potty Training Push and finding victory! Yay!

As I mentioned in my previous post, Lets Talk About Poop Logs (I admit, I love writing that), JEM really struggled with using the potty.  We first started him on the potty 5-6 months after his little brother was born (he was 3.5yo).  We bought a little potty and had him sit on it for a couple minutes at a time , 3 times a day.  We did this for a couple of weeks and realized that he was just not physically ready.  Other than his own motivation and excitedness about the potty, he showed no sign of physical readiness that was mentioned to me by our friends and pediatrician.  He wasn’t staying dry through the night.  We noticed other things that no one mentioned though.  We noticed he didn’t truly understand what we were saying and he could not communicate to us at all about the potty.  He wasn’t staying dry, but biologically it appeared he just couldn’t do it.  So we stopped. We didn’t talk about it until he was nearly 4.

After our vacation in late October of 2011, we decided to try again at the recommendation of our friends and pediatrician.  So we began The Potty Training Push.  Sigh. Not only did it take a confident sweet little boy and turn him into a fearful little maniac, but it had physical set backs as well.  He began withholding.  No matter how hard we tried to find a motivator and encourage him with prizes and candies, movies, books, trips, EVEN A PUPPY, it only made things worse.  By that Christmas (only 3 weeks after the start of TPTP) he’s was so bound up and in physical pain that we were in absolute dispair.  Our poor little guy.  I would just be in tears at the end of the day and I entered such a deep depression I thought the world, especially my kids, would just be better off without me.  For those of you who haven’t read my previous post, Lets Talk About Poop Logs, please stop here, read the post and come back so you can see the full scope of pain this little guy was in.

Now we were just trying to get him to poop at all!!! We didn’t even care if it was in his diaper.  We tried to tell him it was okay to poop in his diaper if he wasnt ready for the potty, but the damage was done.  He felt like a failure if he didn’t go in the potty and he didn’t want to poop in his diaper because he desperately wanted to be a big boy.  So he held it.  We went through 3 major incidents of the sore butt, but really, the wounds never fully healed.  We talked to our Pediatrician over the phone (who is a GREAT doctor btw), our friends who are doctors and pediatricians, had those three even look at our son and they all said that even though it was the worst they had seen that it would heal and everything would be fine.  Those were the longest 3 months of my life.  I just knew something wasnt right.

By his 4th birthday I had started noticing other delays in his gross and fine motor skills.  So at his appointment, I talked again to the doctor about the struggles, wounds and the other issues. He advised stopping potty training and potty talk altogether. He also gave him Miralax to help.  He referred us to an OT (Occupational Therapist) to evaluate JEM for the other delays and we finally got to the root of the problem.  I totally expected them to say I was overreacting and there was nothing wrong with him.  To my surprise the told me he had Sensory Processing Disorder with subtypes Postural Ocular Disorder and Self Regulation Disorder.  And problems in potty training are one of the most prevelant symptoms for that particular subtype.  WHAT?!  SO I’M NOT CRAZY?! Now, let me just say, I don’t pretend to know more about child rearing than anyone that has paved the way ahead of me, but no one knows their kid like their parent/ main caregiver.  I was relieved that I trusted that. They told us to stop potty training altogether and wait for the therapy to help him.  We were told that it could take up until he was nine, but we believed that our little persistant guy would be ready again.

So…we waited.  We spent the next 5-6 months just working on the withholding issue.  If he wanted to sit on the potty, we let him but we didn’t push it.  As we approached this summer (2012) we felt like he was ready to talk about it and that’s when I found the book, The Potty Journey.  I found that it was more important for me to be ready this time around.  Over the last 6 months I’ve struggled with anger and frustration.  I was up to my elbows in poop all day long for a year now and I was absolutely exhausted.  I was ashamed of myself.  I sought forgiveness.  I got some courage on me, put on my sh** boots and prepared to get dirty.  Things began to go well, with gentle pressure, strong reinforcers and lots of encouragement and cuddles. We noticed JEM asking dad for help. So, he decided to take a week off of work so that could work with JEM on it and I could have a break.  There, at last, VICTORY!

The Process:

1. We started with bowel training first, since that was the problem area.  I made note of when he was having his BM’s so that I could be watching him for his urges and help him to the potty.

2. I increased his Miralax (recommended by doctor) which enhanced his feelings so he could push during the urges.

3. I created VISUAL potty reminders and put them up in every room.  (See picture!) The book I used has a great recommendation for creating a communication chart for children with low language comprehension.  This helped him tremendously because I could just refer to the picture. Boy on potty = iPad Time.  Later, it was Boy on Potty + Poop In Potty = iPad Time.

4. I spoke in words he used instead of my words.  That took a couple of weeks listening to him talk about it.  He used words like “feelin’s”.  So I used the term “feelin’s”.  That way I could say, “When you have feelin’s, stop, go to the bathroom, push your poop into the potty.”  That helped a great deal.

5. I put him on the potty for very short periods of time and rewarded him for potty time spent. Poop or no poop.

6. We talked calmly about the potty and tried to find a really powerful reward for the end of the journey.  At first he wanted a puppy, but after seeing a karate class, he decided that Karate was the thing he really wanted to do. Note: This took us a year to find his motivator.  So if you haven’t found one yet, have hope.  There is one, but your child might not be able to communicate to you, in words, what that is.  When they are capable, they will let you know.  But keep trying!

7. I  started having him sit on the potty for longer periods of time so that he didn’t do the whole… Drop a half nugget in and your done.  For large BMs we through a huge celebration in the bathroom. Jumping and singing and clapping (not good for all kids… some prefer no attention drawn to them).

8. NOW, it was time for Daddy to come and SAVE THE DAY!  We had set the groundwork for him and now it was in his hands.  I took a back seat and took on a demo and build project in our bathroom.  There’s nothing more cathartic than putting on your TARDIS shirt and swinging a sledge hammer at some ugly tile ;).  If you have the means, I highly recommend you do it. It is so choice (random Ferris Bueller reference). So last month, he spent a week with Daddy and surprised us.  My husband took the baby with him to run some errands one day that week, and while watching TV I heard a voice cry from the bathroom “I DID IT!”  I couldn’t believe it.  He had gone to the bathroom and put his poop in the potty on his own!!!! Amazing!  What a victory at 4.5yo!

UPDATE: he is still in diapers and still has lots of accidents.  This is not a “How To” post, but a “Heres How We Did It” post. And we’re STILL doing it.

That being said, the victory lies in him being able to go to the bathroom by himself and actually push out a POOP LOG!  That’s a huge deal for him.  I am not concerned with consistency right now.  I’m just celebrating with him in his new found autonomy.  He’s still on the Miralax periodically and he has had one sore bottom episode since then, but it was nowhere as bad as before.

To Sum Up:

1. Potty Training a Sensory Kid is HARD! …LOL…duh 😉

2. You are NOT alone.

3. There’s no one book or person who can tell you what to do.  They can only tell you what has worked for them.  It is then our job as parents to look into our kid, see their need and use the information we read or hear just like any other tool.  Not all jobs call for a flathead screwdriver.  Some require a paintbrush. But the flathead screwdriver might come in handy when opening the paint can!

4. We need to fall out of agreement with The Potty Training Push.  We need to wait for the child to tell us when they are ready.  Now, some kids are ready but because they fear change they will resist it.  The key is to know the difference between the two. If you are a person who believes that TPTP works, then use it.  🙂  But as a society, a one size fits all approach to potty training is just ineffective.  It’s rare that it works for a Sensory Kid, so we parents need to renounce our guilt and be sure in ourselves.

5. Reach out to people who will be supportive and offer encouragement, even if it means getting online and talking to a bunch of strangers like me who only now took a shower after 2.5 days had gone by.  My poor family and they sensitive olfactory organs!

6. Do whatever is best for your kid. They deserve it!

7. Contact me if you ever need anything by leaving a comment.  I’m happy to encourage you the best I can.  I honestly love people and pray for you parents out there that are hurting.  I will do whatever I can to help you.

Thank you so much for reading these posts and spreading the word to other parents out there who need help.  Like I said, I’m not a professional.  I don’t have all the answers.  I don’t even consider this post to be any kind of answer!  Mainly I just want you all to know that there is hope.  Even when it seems like there isnt.  There is also love and empathy.  Sometimes when we cant find an answer or don’t have one to give, it really helps to just hear someone say, “I’m sorry you’re going through this right now. I’m here for you.”  So if none of what I wrote above helps you, just know that I’m saying those very words to you now and you are cared for deeply.

This was incredibly taxing and difficult to write.  So please be kind in your comments. I really would like this to be place for postitive talk.

The Potty Journey: Guide to Toilet Training Children with Special Needs, Including Autism and Related Disorders, written by Judith A. Coucouvanis, published by APC (Autism Asperger Publishing Company), copyright 2008 

*Elimination Communication is not early potty “training”, but a method of noticing signs of eliminating and placing the child on the potty to do so.  I don’t want to bring judgement against that movement.  I’m only saying that there is a more inappropriate movement (that they would agree with me) that is damaging to some children (not all children). Like me, they are just providing an alternative to The Potty Training Push. I found A Hippie With A Minivan’s blog about this very interesting.  Though I don’t feel like this method is right for my family, I don’t want my post to bring criticism against alternative toileting methods. We’re all looking toward the same goal…a child that has a confident and positive perspective of using the potty!

Let’s Talk About Poop Logs: Our Potty Training Struggle

POSSIBLE GROSS OUT WARNING

If you’re eating right now, you might want to come back in an hour because I’m going to be graphic.  I will probably be using different words for fecal matter because first year English teaches you that the reuse of the same word is monotonous.  *side note: have you ever noticed how the word ‘monotonous’ is monotonous? Look at all of those O’s! At the most, its monotonous and at the least, it’s redundant.* Anyway, this is going to be gross.  If you have a strong stomach and choose to stick around while you eat, then be warned. This post might be a choking hazard.  Laughing and eating is not recommended.

Let the poop talk commence!

Background: My 4yo son was diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) with the Subtype Postural/Ocular Disorder and Self Regulation Disorder.  His language comprehension is low, also. The technical explanation is long and complicated, with lots of fancy words. I’m neither complicated nor fancy, so here’s the SuperJennie version… Part of his brain don’t work so it don’t understand what the nerves ar tellin’ it to do.  This makes his eyes funny, his hands wiggly, his senses dumb, and his sittin’ lousy.  And he don’t understand whachya sayin’. Wow. That was actually more complicated than the technical version… but the technical version isn’t as fun to read 🙂

Is it just me, or is this a freaky picture?

POTTY TIME!

So, when SuperJEM was a little over 3 we started potty training.  (JEM are his initials…yes, we knew JEM is an 80’s cartoon show about girl rockers… no, we didn’t name him after her… maybe, we thought you’d all just overlook it).  We went really easy on him and let him set the pace.  We talked to a dozen people, went to the library and got all kinds of books, made charts, got special seats, tons of candy and a big dose of courage. Things weren’t going well at the 6 month mark.  He had very little success with pee and no success with the poop. We were exhausted already!

We talked to a lot of people about it and determined he wasn’t ready so we backed off completely but then he started withholding.  Withholding is when the kid holds his poop in, which can be dangerous if it gets bad enough.  He would do everything possible to keep his poop in, even when we told him time and time again to just “let it out” in his diaper.  We gave him laxatives and he still tried to hold it in.

See how the prarie dog is peeking out of the hole? *wink wink*

Here’s where it get messy and gross.  His body would try to poop and he would try to hold it in so he’d be Prarie-Doggin’ it all day long. That’s when the log comes out of the butthole but the kid sucks it back in. *pause while you clean up the Coke Zero you just spit out over your computer screen* This meant he needed a diaper change because he’d still be a mess.  They were like Ghost Turds. Let me just describe what a ‘withholders’ crap is like.  It’s basically compacted sand. So every time you wipe their sensitive kid butts, it like using sand paper (whether your using TP or wipes). Do this 20 times a day and you’ve literally wiped off the first layer of their ass-skin.  He had open wounds like you wouldn’t believe. His pediatrician said it was the worse he’d seen but didn’t have any suggestions as to what we could do.  We had to keep him clean! So we work past the pain. I started putting him in the tub and rinsing him off in the shower up to 8 times a day.  We were REALLY EXHAUSTED NOW!

I googled Ghost Turd and this is the first image that popped up…LOL!

NOTHING motivated him.  We tried to bribe him with books, trips to the bookstore, trips to the zoo, going to the movies, big toys, little toys, quality time with us, game nights, visits with friends, we even tried a PUPPY!!!!! Nothing worked.  He literally didn’t give a crap.

Potty Training was becoming the hardest thing I ever had to do.  It was the most physically, emotionally and even spiritually challenging experience of my life.  That may sound overly dramatic to you, but when you’re baby boy is screaming his head off because his butt is an open, bloody, pussy wound, he’s literally scared sh**ful of sitting on the potty, and he still has to take a dump, you’ll realize what real drama is. I had no idea what to do and no one had anything to offer me.  I was on my own.

Me on a GOOD day.

The thing that really upset me, is that his pediatrician and Occupational Therapist were no help at all. They told me this was all do to his “disorder”.  He doesn’t have the core muscle strength to sit on the potty for long periods without getting exhausted or dizzy because of his balance issues. He’s also hypo-sensitive, which means his sense of  touch is diminished, so he cant feel the urges to push out his poop.  There are no books on potty training children specific to SPD, no articles (that I could find and believe me, i spent hours searching and emailing people), no advice… NOTHING.  Though I was alone in the area of ‘real’ information and help, I was not alone in my fear and frustration.  Many others have kids with Sensory Processing issues that are experiencing the same thing.

I love this Steam Punk Super Mom Picture
http://www.sheknows.com

HERE’S WHAT WE DID

1. We got over what other people thought about us.  We decided to do what was best for him, not what others thought we should do (because we were obviously doing something wrong Hahaha!).

2.  I prayed and prayed. I cried and cried. I prayed some more and eventually I taught myself to laugh about it.  Laughing really helps (just don’t do it in front of your kid ;), not very confidence building).

3. We took a break.  A LONG break.  We didn’t talk about potty training for about 6 months.

4. It occurred to me that since we really needed a diaper sprayer for our cloth diapering needs, we could use it as a bidet! The one that I got said it was both…  why didn’t I think of this before when my baby boys biscuits were bleeding?!  After suffering initial guilt over my obvious oversight, I just enjoyed no more booty wounds and the giggles that exploded from my 4yo’s joyful face as his bottom was sprayed with delightfully cool water.

We found a generic brand on ebay for $19.99

SERIOUSLY: if you have potty training kids. GET ONE! It’s great for spraying

them and all the poopy underwear!  WHY IS THIS NOT MENTIONED BY

PEDIATRICIANS?!  Plus it will save you hundreds of dollars on what you

would pay for disposable wipes.

All the books I mention are available on Amazon.com

5. I found ONE book that helped me understand Potty Training Kids with Sensory Processing issues.  The Potty Journey: Guide to Toilet Training Children with Special Needs, Including Autism and Related Disorders …whew, that was a mouthful. But this book really helped.  We didn’t need to do the full strict program because once we started it, JEM led the pace and we were able to follow his lead.  I highly recommend this book to every parent.  All parents! This system is good for any kid, especially one with a need for routine and structure.

6. We eventually found something that motivated him.  We still offered him a puppy, but he asked if he could go to karate instead.

7. My husband took a week’s vacation to help.  We stayed at home and he helped my son.  My son identified with him better and within a couple of days, he was actually POOPING IN THE POTTY.  *Dads, you are amazing! Without you guys, our kids would suffer.  Thank you guys for laying down your life to be a present, loving husband and father.  You all deserve more than just one day of acknowledgement.*  Thank you, SuperHubby for all your sacrifices.  I love you so much!

THE LOW DOWN

In short (LMBO…nothing about this has been short), we did whatever we needed to do.  All other ‘priorities’ took the backseat.  The house was a mess, but patience and endurance were gained and we now have a child that goes to the bathroom (most times without being asked.)  That part literally happened over night.  We started the program and after a few weeks, I heard him go into the bathroom on his own and actually poop in the potty! Once that was going well, he started peeing in the potty! He still has accidents, but he’s not withholding and he’s excited about being a big boy.

MY ENCOURAGEMENT

I wanted to write about our experience to help all of those dads and moms out there who are having a difficult time potty training their kids.  I went through a very deep depression that year.  My baby wasn’t sleeping, my toddler wasn’t pooping and I was beyond exhausted.  So if you’re struggling, please reach out to someone.  It may sound pathetic, but social media changed my life.  I was able to receive understanding and encouragement from people who empathized with us. Don’t be afraid to join online groups or get on Facebook or Twitter.  There might be a lot of Bull Doody out there, but there is also a wealth of information.  Use discretion (lots of it), be cautious, be honest.

I have made some excellent friends on Twitter. Sure, I’ve never met them and its not the kind of friendship that is intimate. But its one full of shared interests, laughter, omg’s, acceptance and encouragement.  I’m so thankful for their kindnesses.  It really got me through a dark time.

I don’t want to diminish the love and understanding from our closest friends and advisors. They are the foundation of our lives. Well, actually God is the foundation, but they are like the stones we build around us to protect us and give us peace. Thank you all so much for loving us, supporting us, and encouraging us.

JEM 1 month… I can’t believe how much he’s grown!

ITS ALL GOING TO BE OKAY, my mantra. 😉 In the end, he’s my precious little baby boy and I love him with all of my heart :’) *happy tear*

Please comment below if you have any questions.  I will try to help as much as I can.  Love to all!  I’m listing resources for Sensory Processing Disorder, for groups I’m a part of and for books/materials.

PEACE! …I don’t mean in the gangsta way, I mean, literally.  Have peace today 😉

RESOURCES

Potty Training Related:

The Potty Journey: Guide to Toilet Training Children with Special Needs, Including Autism and Related Disorders by Judith A. Coucouvanis

Scared To Poop: A Guide to Overcoming Constipation and Stool Withholding in Children by Kathleen M. Diehl (I haven’t actually read this one yet)

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi (this is good for little kids…2yo)

It Hurts When I Poop! by Dr. Howard J. Bennett, MD (this book is awesome! and for older toddlers who withhold their poop)

Sensory Processing Disorder:

The Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation (should be in your Bookmark’s Bar)

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensational Kids by Dr. Lucy Jane Miller, Ph.D., OTR

The Out-of-Sync Child: Recognizing and Coping with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Stock Kranowitz, MA

The Out of Sync Child Has Fun: Activities for Kids with Sensory Processing Disorder by Carol Stock Kranowitz, MA

Tool Chest: For Teachers, Parents & Students A Handbook to Facilitate Self-Regulation (this book was written by an OT for kids with Sensory Processing Disorder and contains physical activities to help SPD kids. It’s like OT in your own home)

Groups and FaceBook Follows:

The Mother Company

https://www.facebook.com/TheMotherCompany

https://www.facebook.com/sensoryprocessingdisorder

Diaper Sprayer/ Bidet

PS… This took me five hours to type, edit and post, so please be kind.

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