Monday, June 01, 2009

Exciting Times Over Here

If you look closely at the picture below, you can see that there are six stickers on Bridget's potty, which means that she has successfully used the potty as many times :)!

We are not officially potty training yet, but I thought I would start experimenting with Bridget. She started taking off wet diapers on her own awhile ago. She kept wanting to put them on the kitchen counter, so I make sure she is always wearing a diaper cover of some sort.

When she began doing that, I also made a note to myself that being unhappy in dirty diapers was a potty training readiness cue. I bought her a new potty that looked like it offered back support and would be comfortable for her and easy for me to clean.

When I put the potty in our downstairs bathroom, I started to get nervous. I began to think about how and when I should truly begin trying to train her and whether potty training would be more difficult with her than with the older kids. Like everyone else, I've heard that children with Down syndrome tend train later than typical kids, and I've never trained a kid with Ds before. I didn't want to screw it up by starting before she was ready, or by being inconsistent. Chrystal wondered about this with her daughter, too (find that here).

We began to ask Bridget to just sit on the potty. The first time she did it, she said "tssss", stood up and clapped. Hmmm, I thought. A few weeks ago, Bridget took a tiny piece of tissue and was dabbing it on the front of her diaper (pretending to wipe). Again--earth to mom--time to start training her.

I found a Sesame Street Potty Book at Discount Drug Mart one day recently (you can also get it at Borders, or on Amazon) and couldn't decide if it was worth the $3, since Bridget still only watches Hi-5, and since some of it seemed difficult for her to understand. In the end, the coloring pages and stickers were too cute to pass up, and I thought it was worth a try (even later down the road).

I also considered whether I should offer her some type of sweet reward. Bridget doesn't really eat sweets, except for ice cream on occasion. She also wasn't chewing effectively (until recently), so I second-guessed giving her a treat as a reward. I ended up settling on mini-m&ms, which fit the bill on all accounts, and which I bought the same day I bought the book.

So I had supplies, but how would I do it? Put her in underwear, fill her with fluids and put her on the potty every 15 minutes like I did with everyone else? Let her pick out stickers to put on the potty each time she goes, and reward her with m&ms? Would Bridget be able to tell me she needed to go? Would she even care about rewards? With our older kids, the routine worked like a charm, and they all trained in a weekend. But what to expect with Miss Bridget?

I should know better. I should know not to assume that anything is beyond her comprehension, and that she is more like the rest of the kids than she is different.

I should also know by now to follow her lead. She leads well :).

I am planning on getting serious in a few weeks, when it is consistently warm and when can be home for several days in a row and just focus on potty training.

But, as you can see from the above photo, we've already started having success--and I have some answers to my initial questions. I taught her the signs for "potty" and "potty chair", which she is using proudly at this point after she goes. My goal is to help her understand when she needs to go and use one of these signs to alert me--she is already saying "poop" after she's gone, so she might also be able to express her needs verbally. We'll go with whatever works for her. (I'd rather she say or sign "potty" than shout "POOP!" when she needs to go, but that's my own hang-up :).)

She loves the stickers (she points to which one she wants, I take it off the page and she puts it on the potty). She loves the mini m&ms and is already asking for them after she goes by saying something that sounds more like "luh-muh-nuh-muh-nuh", but I know exactly what she means.

She's so excited about what she has produced that she looks into the potty and waves. She waits for me to dump the contents into the big toilet, and then she flushes it with a giggle. I have even caught her trying to wipe the potty clean with toilet paper (she's seen me using Clorox wipes on it a few times).

Her lesson is my lesson. With her, I should always presume competence. I should anticipate nothing other than to be surprised with what she accomplishes, when and how.

Looks like she's training me well...


  1. Well done Bridget (and Mom)! I like the idea of the stickers right on the potty (much better than on a separate paper!)

  2. That is just terrific!! Thank you so much for sharing this,I'm going to try and remember this when it's time to potty train Ruby.

  3. I loved the idea of stickers :-) And congratulations to daughter and mom!

    Take care :-)


    time to get with it, mom!

    love this new story!
    thanks for sharing!
    we too are looking forward to starting the potty adventure.

  5. Oh, I love it. Go, Bridget!

    How great is it that our kids are really training us, and everyone else they meet?! I, too, am learning to raise my expectations and keep them there.

  6. Great post. I'll look forward to hearing your successes on this one. Keep raising the bar and adjust when necessary. I'm always reminded our kids are more than a diagnosis.

  7. oh i am going to buy that book for mayson right now! great idea!!

  8. Way to go Bridget!

    To be honest, I am dreading potty training! Greg wasn't easy and didn't potty train until almost four (not many months ago). I pray Leah and I do better!

  9. Yay Bridget!

    I need to get rolling again as well and you are giving me the push I need. Sam shows the same signs of readiness so what am I waiting for?......

    Thanks for the post.

  10. I say YES!, Bridget is an AMAZING leader and she is doing a GREAT job training you. :)

    …“she is more like the rest of the kids than she is different”…, I agree!

    Continue to expect that she will always gives you her best. When in doubt, always trust her, Bridget “knows” best ~

  11. We recently started potty training too. I decided my "reward" would be to flip him up in the air a few times and shout hip, hip, hooray...sounds dorky I know but Reid squeals with delight and it seems to be working! :) One of the downfalls to this new experience though is he insists on getting the "potty tray" thingy out and flipping the pee in the big toilet by himself.....ummm, yeah, not so fabulous from my perspective as most of it ends up all over my bathroom floor (lovely....) But, I am thrilled he is taking an interest and starting to be successful.... :)

    Way to go Bridget!!! Potty Time=Sticker Time!

  12. Woohoo! She's got a lot going for her- she's a girl and she has older sibs! Any tips on night time training. My daughter is a bedwetter so we just keep pullups on. She does not seem interested in staying dry, doesn't wake up unless she's cold, doesn't drink alot at night?

  13. AWESOME! She is such an amazing teacher and leader :)! High five little girl!!!

  14. Hooray, Bridget! This all sounds so familiar, too. Sammi will go on the potty pretty much every time we put her there (pee only), but just won't tell us she has to go, other than at bedtime when she's stalling. LOL We tried the sticker approach, too, and it was okay, but not so effective in getting her to tell us she had to go. It was just a fun thing to do on the potty. I love hearing what's working for other people out there!

  15. I wish you much success! We went through the "great fake-out" this winter and now we're back to the beginning ... sigh.