For quite some time now Monkey has been aware of his need to potty. He seeks out appropriate privacy and shows other classic signs but the piece that has been missing is his ability or desire to communicate to us what is occurring. Obviously, there were a few non-verbal cues that we would pick up on but he never indicated to us by speech or by sign that he’d soiled his diaper. If we took off his diaper he would let us know, in no uncertain terms, that we were to put a new one on right now, thank you very much.
He had some success with peeing in the toilet or his potty chair as long as 18 months ago but he never sought us out or initiated the process. He would pee, or try very hard to pee, on request but that was it. Once he started school, going to the potty became a part of his everyday schedule. After observing the process for a while he decided he too wanted to go potty. He would join his friends in line for the toilet and pee into the toilet standing up. We were even informed that one of his great friends at school (a little boy) was being very helpful about showing Monkey how to aim. Around this time he decided he didn’t want to use the potty chair at home.
We were fine giving up the potty chair for the toilet but our toilet is much taller than the pre-school toilet. He had difficulty hitting his mark, so to speak. I’m not sure if he was discouraged or just not a fan of the adult sized toilet but soon his potty strike extended from the potty chair to the toilet at home and we’ve been stuck ever since. If we ask him if he wants to go potty he will sign “all done, all done, all done” and run away. We don’t want to push the issue so we decided to back off. He continued to participate at school so we weren’t too worried.
I’m not sure how long we would have elected to wait if he hadn’t discovered a rather disturbing pastime. What I’m about to share is fairly gross. I know parents of special needs kids will be familiar with this sort of thing but I want to warn anyone who is even slightly squeamish about poop to just hit the back button and skip the rest of this one. Really.
Monkey discovered that one of our dogs is a connoisseur of poop. He will excitedly lick every single digit on Monkey’s poop covered hands. He’ll even chase Monkey to catch another nibble. Monkey finds this very funny. Umma and Duhdee, upon discovering their beloved child with a handful of poop and a dog with poop on his face and breath, did not find this amusing. In fact, they were both brought nearly to tears (and vomit) during the prolonged clean-up process. If this were a one time event that would be one thing, but it wasn’t. Any time Monkey escapes from sight long enough to poop and gain the dog’s attention it happens again. We’ve been vigilant but we still sometimes are outwitted by the poop fascinated duo.
We decided that this could not continue. I know I speak of it lightly now but we were not amused, not in the least. We were disgusted and fairly angry. We scolded Monkey for putting his hand in his diaper but we did not shame him or carry on about the actual poop. We yelled at the dog. We cleaned sheets, floors, carpets, clothes, the kid and the dog and still couldn’t quite get rid of the scent which just made us even more angry. It was a very bad situation. And, in one memorable weekend, it happened twice in less that 18 hours.
We called in the big guns. We started seeing a psychologist with Monkey, we asked for help from the Fragile X clinic. I was so grossed out and embarrassed by the whole event that I almost didn’t tell the psychologist what exactly had happened since we had other behavior issues we wanted her to address but I did and she was so sweet to us. We were told we were doing everything we could to attack the potty training issue and were commended for not hurling ourselves out of the window after that weekend of events.
For the last 3.5 months we’ve been in a holding pattern with potty training. The psychologist suggested that we visit the toileting specialists at Children’s Hospital, which we will do this month. These last few weeks I’ve been very encouraged by the signs that Monkey is increasingly interested in the potty. He still does not want us to remove his diaper for more than a few minutes but he is very aware of the dogs’ potty habits. He’s begun signing “potty” and saying “pee” whenever the dogs go. He has even started asking me to let the dogs out frequently, indicating that they need to potty. Need I say the dogs love him even more now?
This weekend we seem to have had another breakthrough as well. I was sitting with my laptop in the living room and Duhdee was off doing Duhdee things and Monkey walked up to me and signed “diaper” while saying “’per, ‘per” he was very insistent. Once it dawned on me what he was saying I changed his diaper and then I did a little dance and praised him to high heaven. We had tickles and giggles and high fives. Since then he has come to me and told me “’per” each time he has pooped except for one time when he got into it again. Ugh. I’m not focusing on that however! My son is telling me to change his diaper for the first time in his life and we have an appointment with the “toilet experts” coming up. What good timing for us all!