The Potty Training Buzz

I find potty training is one of the most common topics of internet discussion for ALL mothers! Potty training my “typical” child was “easy”. It took just 3 days because she was totally ready. But it was a crazy 3 days because she knew she was in control! Potty training The Boys — my 5-year-old twins with Down syndrome — has been going on for a year now… and we’re not quite done yet!

I used a mix of timed interval training and the NY Times bottom naked method with a few personal twists… because I know My Boys! Alone, NONE of these would work but combined to meet the specific pottying styles of My Boys, they worked wonders… together! Sorta! (Read the gory details here.)

The boys are fully trained at school and when I’m diligent about taking them every 40 minutes like clockwork… And whenever they’re bottom naked ! After school, wearing pants of any kind and without our trusted gymboss timer presents challenges. When My Boys are massively engaged in home activities of their own choosing — outside on the Zip Chord, in the Tree House, on the swingset/junglegym, inside playing Wii, watching a movie or jumping on the trampoline — they will NOT break for pottying! If I take their bottoms off,  NY Time half naked method, they’ll potty themselves. BUT, if they’re wearing anything they’re peeing in it! When they are bottom naked they go to and in the pot… themselves! AWESOME! But they’re 5 and can’t be running around naked for much longer (in the house). 

It’s my bad! After a year,  I thought they’d be trained and I wouldn’t have to “do this” anymore. The various illnesses this Winter certainly set us back into pull-ups a few times (read: recurring 3-week-long intestinal viruses). But, I reinstituted the timed interval method to get them back on track and it always works. I’M the PROBLEM! Outside of illness, I only intermittently apply the timed interval method and they only intermittently succeed in pottying.

Last week Grandma came to babysit and brought my 2 nephews with her to play. My nephew, Danny, was oh-so-diligent in helping Grandma bring My Boys to potty every time that gymboss buzzed. For several days after the visit, My Boys pottied independently “like Danny!” THAT’s a perfect example of how it works!

1. Peer role models show My Boys what’s expected WAAAAAAY better than I ever could!

2. Rigid adherence to routine — UNTIL they get it — is absolutely necessary!

3. Potty Training happens in THEIR time, not mine (no matter how diligent I am). 

Pottying is their last bastion of control. I can’t make them go. I can lead the proverbial horse to water but I can’t make him drink (good analogy, bad visual)! That is, I can sit them on the pot for 20 minutes and they can hold it until 3 minutes after I take them off that pot… and I can’t do anything about it! They’ve got me over the barrel until they’re mature enough to consistently recognize that they have to go BEFORE they have to go and until staying dry is more important than anything else they’re doing. Until then, I will live and breathe by that darn gymboss!

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