I’m Still Waiting…


I spend a lot of time waiting. Each week I now spend four hours in waiting rooms and school rooms while my son has therapy.  Add to this, waiting at gymnastics class, and I’m waiting five hours per week.  I’ve gotten used to it.

When my son was an infant, I could not wait for his body to develop enough that he would not need bottles every 1 to 2 hours all night long.  Those nights were exhausting.  I waited.  He grew.  The bottles slowed down and eventually disappeared.

When my son was very young, I could not wait until he quit chewing toys and drooling all the time.  I swore that kid wore a bib 24/7 during the first 2 years of his life. Bibs and burpie cloths and baby washcloths were switched out three or four times a day from that drool.  I waited.  Those days passed.

But, while other mothers waited out many other toddler stages with success, I’m still waiting.  I watched as the other children began to socialize and interact with each other.  To play together.  My son did not do this.  The other children began to wear underwear and became potty trained.  I’m still waiting.

I have heard many, many potty training tips, opinions, and methods since the very early days of potty training.  I bought, I think, every book on potty training written for children from Elmo, to Potty for Pirates, and Potty Training Your Monster (which he refused to read, by the way).  One of the weirdest ideas was the Dr. Phil method of getting my son a doll and letting him see it “drink” some water and go on the toilet and teach him from this.  I actually considered it at one point.

Yes, my son is four and a half.  His behavioral therapists potty trained him the week of Christmas.  The method worked, except for one detail.  The therapists did not sufficiently train me.

The therapists have a very intense potty-training method which I will call “potty party boot camp”.  First, they ordered that I provide him with really highly desirable and stimulating toys and activities to reward him.  Second, I had to provide a number of salty, thirst-producing snacks, juices and water so they could fill him like a water balloon.  Then, they used obstacles to “fence” him in to a designated small area, starting with just the bathroom.  He was not allowed to sit.  He was naked from the waist down.  They took data on how many sips he drank and how long he went once he “initiated”.

As they increased his distance from the toilet, he was given clothes.  This was to check how well he could hold “it” with increased distance and having to get his pants down in time.   He was to remain standing all day, drinking and eating with a puzzle or books to look at but nothing he really wanted to play with until there was success on the potty .  Then, it was party time.   Huge verbal praise, applause, and the most desirable activity my son desired.

The parties lasted for five minutes.  Then, he was fenced back in, provided with lots of food and drink and everyone waited until he peed again.  Another party.  Slowly, they would increase the area in which he was allowed to wander as he was more successful with each use of the toilet.

He caught on to “the potty game” very quickly.  He would get his five minute party and run right back to the toilet to eek out another dribble for another party.  When it was minimal success, the party time was cut short.  By the end of the day, he was in underwear and his distance from the toilet had max’ed out.  This went on from 9 to 5.

When the therapists left, I received a “data” sheet and was to record information on potty activity.  I was only to instruct him to use the toilet if we left the house.  If we did not leave, I was to give him his bath and put him in jammies with a pull-up for overnight.

It worked.  After four days of training, he was using the toilet!  It was amazing!!  Unfortunately, there was much disruption upon completion of the training due to the holidays.  I began to forget about not instructing him in the use of the toilet.  He started to have accidents.  My husband and I had made him “prompt dependent”.

A refresher course was required.  Another week of training.  Another bunch of potty parties.  No prompting now.  He has to go on his own. More data collection.

It is working and not working.  We’re getting there, slowly.  I have faith.  I just have to tell myself to keep waiting.


About solodialogue

I'm a lawyer and the mom of a 6 year old boy with autism. I work part time and spend the rest driving here and there and everywhere for my son's various therapies. Instead of trying cases, I now play Pac-man and watch SpongeBob. I wear old sweaters and jeans and always, always flat shoes to run after my son. Yeah, it's different but I wouldn't change it for anything. The love of my child is the most powerful, beautiful and rewarding aspect of my life.
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2 Responses to I’m Still Waiting…

  1. Cara says:

    I love the potty parties ha ha 🙂 but hopefully they’re done with for good! 🙂

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