I will cure you of your suspense immediately. The Bear is not potty-trained. . . yet.
Our big potty-training journey started in March. For months prior to Ellie’s spring break, she was signing “potty” and screaming “Eeeee!". Andrew gets up to refill his ice-tea, he is going potty. A patron at the restaurant rises from her table, she must be going potty. A friend leaves the room during a play date, clearly he is going potty. Any person who stops what they are doing and leaves the immediate premises is “Eeeeeeeee!”
Ellie Bear has accomplished step 1 of potty training. She knows the word and sign for “potty”.
Step 2: she can pull up and somewhat down her pants. This started around the beginning of the school year when I thought using pull-ups would help her mastered this fine-motor, self-help task. It did. Bear has a big bo-dunk-a-dunk (aka booty) which makes it rather difficult for her to pull down her pants without assistance. This has led to rather entertaining incidents of her trying to sit on the potty while fulled clothed and falling in. Surprisingly, falling into the big potty does not scare-the-crud out of her. In fact, she believes that she has successfully gone potty.
Step 3: She can hold her urine. School had been reporting that she rarely needed to be changed. She would come home dry. She could, in fact, hold that urine in for 3-4 hour intervals.
Step 4: I was forced to buy princess underwear. Let me repeat that. Princess underwear. As in pink. Lots of pink. Girly panties. Ellie Bear wanted to be a “big girl” and be like all of her friends.
|This is the correct way to wear the Little Mermaid underwear.|
Yes, that is a princess chair in the background. Awa Grandma bought it for her.
Step 5: Ellie wanted to use the potty. Bear witnessed many of her friends using the potty as well as me (yeah, I get no privacy ever). It is true, Ellie is a potty voyeur.
This brings me back to March. Spring Break. The Big Potty Smack Down.
I thought the Bear would be ready only it was more like this mama was ready. Spring break and we would not leave the house. Intensive potty training. I was stocked up on the M&Ms and the iPad was charged. The peeing baby doll was ready and I had a sticker chart. This child would be day-trained. She would head back to school in her little princess panties like the stylish diva that she is.
Ellie was 3.5 years-old at the time. For those of you new to The Chronicles, Ellie rocks an extra 21st chromosome in her uniquely awesome DNA. Or in simpler terms, she has Down syndrome. As such, it is very common for many children with Ds to achieve potty training at an older age. Low muscle tone (hypotonia) runs throughout the body. This includes the muscles of the bladder and those that make of the urinary sphincter--the part of the body that allows the release of urine. You see where this is going, right? Additionally, my little Diva Bear also has Sensory Processing Disorder with hyposensitization to touch. She requires more pressure to feel things that other people feel.
|Ellie disappear for a bit and returned back with a plastic IKEA bowl. A frog IKEA bowl. The baby in this pic is going "potty" in her own little frog toilet aka the IKEA frog bowl. I promise you, I did not stage this.|
At this point, I can tell you all are laughing at me. Go ahead because I am laughing too.
Ellie nailed the potty routine in no time:
- sign potty and head to toilet (little frog potty or adaptable seat for toilet)
- pants down
- sit on potty while watching iPad as an incentive to sit (the M&Ms caused weight gain--for me)
- wipe, flush
- completely forget about pulling pants up and trip
- pull stool to sink with pants still around ankles and wash hands
- clap--it should be noted that this is the most important part of the routine
Sadly, she never actually urinated. The few times I caught her going, I would place her on the potty mid-stream. Those were her only successes.
I tried a few iPad apps to help her out. I highly recommend the AvaKid-See Me Potty app.
|In this app, you have an avatar designed to look like your kiddo and it walks them through the potty process.|
Ellie insisted on watching it over and over and over and over and over again.
|Ellie really liked getting the phone call from Rachel. The only problem was, she only got the "oh you had an accident" call and never the "you went potty, great!" call.|
By afternoon on the 1st day, I realized that she needed to wear underwear to feel “wet”. She didn’t get it at first. She had an accident and signed “water” all while grabbing washcloths to clean it up. (yes, be jealous. Ellie is an excellent cleaner). Two accidents later, she finally figured out that the "water" was coming from her and that she was wet. The shocked look on her face was hilarious. Oh Bear!
The rest of the week we ventured out a few times in the morning with big girl underwear and she did great. . . mainly because she didn't pee until naptime. The afternoons consisted of accidents. She would sit on the potty, but not for very long. She would pee about 10 minutes later. I am not sure if she felt the urge to go or what, but I wonder if she couldn't figure out how to let loose while sitting on the toilet---any tips for that veteran potty-trainers????
|Ellie seems to think baby needs to go potty all the time.|
Bath baby is fully potty-trained.
Fast-forward to mid-April. To the date of her tonsillectomy surgery, to be exactly. After surgery, Ellie drank like a champ, but her IV fluids were never shut off as per doctor’s orders. The anesthesia and pain medications caused bladder dysfunction, which is a rare but real side effect. Sadly, The Bear’s bladder continued to become over distended due to too much fluid and her little muscles couldn’t coordinate to let the urine out. This caused extreme pain. For nearly 8 hours post-op, Ellie would urinated twice and hour, preceded by 10-15 minutes of panicked fear and excruciating pain. I imagine many of you could hear her screams.
The potty training ceased.
Until this past week when Ellie began to show interest again. Pulling on big-girl panties over her pull-ups. Signing "potty" to actually use the potty. Has she peed in the potty yet? No, but she will!
Little Ellie Bear seems to think that sitting on the potty = going potty. She sits and then looks under herself for a stream of urine (see progress since March!). She then waves her hand under there to feel for urine. If it is the little frog potty and not a big toilet, she will then touch the reservoir to feel for potty. There has never been any potty. Poor Bear.
Socially, Ellie is ready. Physically, I think her body has a little ways to go.
The thing is, I really don’t care about potty training. She will eventually get it. What I do care about is Ellie getting teased at school because she still wears pull-ups or because she has an accident. We will work on it as she wants to and not push it. Until then, Huggies shall continue to receive a huge chunk of our take home pay.
|I know that this pic has nothing to do with this post :) I just wanted to share a non-grainy, non-iPhone pic of the Diva.|