Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Potty Train

Okay. So we've been at this whole potty training thing for a while now. Like, close to two years to be precise. I try really, really hard to be relaxed and not stress myself out. At age 2, it wasn't even in my realm of thinking. Age 3, we started working on it, but I wasn't too worried. Age 4, we got more serious, then lost some momentum, got bored, got motivated again, slacked off, and didn't really see a whole lot of progress. That's when I started to realize that perhaps THIS was another thing that just wasn't going to come easily like it does for MOST people.

Now they are 5. And I am trying really, really hard not to freak out.

Holland is potty-trained during the day. She wears underwear to school, and did all last year as well. She used to have a few accidents a week, and would ONLY go potty when we gave her frequent reminders and basically MADE her go. She is just now getting to the point where accidents are much less frequent, and she is making it to the potty on her own accord. She is NOT however, potty-trained at night. She wears a diaper to bed and wakes up every morning soaked. She sleeps very soundly, and hasn't shown ANY signs that she is ready to wake herself up and go to the bathroom during the night. I have no idea what to do.

Eden is still in the hit-or-miss stage. She wears a pull-up during the day. The only way she can stay dry is if we take her to the potty every hour, and even then, she may have an accident. We made quite a bit of progress in the potty department last school year, and had a pretty good pattern going on. Unfortunately, near the end of the school year, her one-on-one aide had to be out for a few weeks, and I truly think I saw a regression in the potty-training at that point, even at home. Then, for several months, we made no progress at all. She was back to pooping in her pull-up on a fairly regular basis, unless we got lucky.

We reinstated Eden's potty chart near the end of July. I tried, at the same time, to start a "chore chart" for Holland so that she could work toward a goal as well, but it was SO much drama...Eden couldn't stand that Holland got stickers for chores, and thought she should get stickers for chores too, and it detracted from the whole goal of potty-training, so I had to do away with Holland's chart, and just let Eden work on potty-training. Really, it was pathetic, Eden crying big crocodile tears saying, "I can clean up my toys too!!! I don't want to go potty. I want a chore chart TOOOOOOO!" I just couldn't take the drama.

So anyway, back on topic... Eden was able to earn a sticker on her chart for every time she peed, pooped, asked to go potty and actually went, and was still DRY. So, she could potentially earn up to 4 stickers at a time. When she reached one of the small stars on the chart, she and Holland could pick a small (dollar store) prize out of the prize box. When she got to the BIG star at the end of the chart she earned a trip to the TOY STORE to pick out a BIG prize. It started kinda slow, but after a little while she got the hang of it and started making progress again. It took her about two months to make it to the end of the chart and to earn her BIG prize.

So, where are we now??? It's still hit or miss. Most of her poop (like 80-90%) is making it to the potty. She asks to go potty a lot more often, and experiences a lot more success. If she says she has to go, about 90% of the time she really does. The problem is that about 50% of the time, she is still wet when we get to the potty. We have tried on multiple occasions to put her in underwear, but she just can't seem to hold her pee for long enough to really be successful at it. Like, literally, she will have an accident within a half hour after using the bathroom. We'll try again, and within another hour, another accident.

I am at a loss. They are 5 years old. Cognitively, Eden completely understands the concept, and knows what she is supposed to do. I find myself getting frustrated with her, especially with big accidents (poop), but then she will apologize profusely, and I feel like a total schmuck for giving her any grief.

At what point do I stop trying to get her in underwear and just accept the pull-ups? I have always assumed that it is possible for her to be potty-trained, but what if it isn't? How do I know? I don't want to push the issue if it just isn't physically possible for her to control those muscles that are necessary for her to hold it and control her bladder. But, at the same time, I have heard from multiple sources that there is no reason she should not be potty-trained. Apparently some people believe you can potty-train anyone, even kids with very significant impairments.

And what about the potty-training at night thing? I'm feeling some real pressure...stemming from cultural expectations, the feeling like someone might judge me as a bad parent for not having my kids potty-trained at AGE FIVE, like maybe I have absolutely no clue what I am doing despite years of training in behavioral psychology....and on and on.

I'm at a loss. Anybody out there have any ideas? I'm open to anything...but would especially love to hear some success stories from families in a similar situation.

Has anyone experienced success at FULLY potty-training their child with a physical disability after the age of five???

Please help!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Sunday, October 04, 2009


Needed to write an update to let you know that we are all home...and very happy to be here.

Very busy, and it may take a while to regroup, but for now, John and I have polished off a bottle of wine, and are off to bed...together.

The girlies are sleeping snug in their beds. I can't say that we are completely out of the woods yet. We will be heading to the pediatrician tomorrow, and the pulmonologist in a week. I don't think they are quite ready to go back to school yet. But, we are home for now.

And happy to be here.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Staying Put

Well, we're still here... Holland is definitely feeling better, and was up and around playing and having a good time without oxygen or an IV all day yesterday. We thought for sure we'd be heading home this morning. Unfortunately, last night didn't go quite like we'd planned. As she was falling asleep her oxygen saturation kept falling to 87-89. She needs to be able to stay above 90 while sleeping in order to go home. We ended up putting the oxygen cannula back on. We tried weaning it down throughout the night, but any time we went less than a half liter she started desatting again.

It's especially discouraging when we get our hopes up.

Eden is in good spirits and feeling better too, though not quite back to normal yet either. I took her to the pediatrician yesterday, and we ended up starting some steroids with her as well. Her lungs are still sounding tight and crackly, but she is still oxygenating well, still eating, and still happy. I think she'll be okay.