When Gabrielle had her first evaluation for North Carolina’s Exceptional Preschool Program back in January and her IEP was being developed I stated that my main goal for the year was to get my sweet Gabby potty trained. Over the last several months I periodically stuck a resistant 3 year old on the potty but we never had any success. As summer approached and with it fewer responsibilities and commitments I vowed that potty training would become my priority. I would start on this endeavor the week after constraint camp ended.
So as I began meeting other families at camp, many wonderful families who also had a child with hemiplegia, I inquired about approaches and success in the potty training arena. I was so encouraged by their stories. They all had positive outcomes. They all seemingly began with scheduled potty times and it gradually became a habit. I was ready to get started!
I armed myself with a few good children’s potty books and prepared myself to do battle. The first few days I spent an inordinate amount of time in the bathroom. (So glad we recently repainted the pepto bismol pink bathroom to a more soothing shade of blue.) We would be at that crucial juncture when you know the child’s bladder is ready to explode and you don’t want to risk taking them off the toilet for fear of missing the long awaited opportunity. My husband returned home from work one day and my eldest child announced, “Mom has been in the bathroom for like the last 3 hours!” Gabby would be trying to remove herself from the throne as her anxiety mounted with the sensation of a full bladder. I would be restraining her, distracting her with books and songs, and then finally she would relax her muscles. Voila! She would pee on the potty.
It only took a couple of days for Gabby to learn to control the muscles so that now when I sit her down she can go in under a minute. Gabby has not had an accident in a couple of weeks. She is even staying dry during nap time and through the night.
We went to Walmart, as promised, to purchase Elmo and Abby underwear which Gabby has been sporting ever since. Initially Gabby refused to wear clothing over the undies because she wanted to flaunt them, proudly parading about the house. Now she is once again open to wearing clothing and she tells me “Mommy, potty.”, when she needs to go. Then we bust into song together: