It’s all about the poo these days. I’m not even talking metaphorically about our state’s shutdown or the pay cuts that will show up on our first fall pay check, or even the price of gas. I’m talking about good ole fashion poo or poopsy as my son calls it.
Caden has been tinkle trained for almost 2 years; honestly he was perfectly trained in one day. #2 training has been a whole lot more challenging though. We own just about every expert’s book on the subject. We have children’s books that flush. We’ve watched Elmo talk about the potty. We’ve tried begging and even a little bribery starting with matchbox cars all the way up to new wii games. The pediatrician use to offer advice until she realized that everything she suggested we had already tried. Eventually she just started avoiding the subject as did most of our therapists.
A student teacher tried embarrassment (Oh Caden don’t you want to be a big boy?). He desperately did want to be a big boy but the potty was too scary so he held it until he was severely constipated. It took over a year for his insides to heal from that episode so we designed a system that would let him be a big boy while accommodating his fear. He wore underwear throughout the day until he needed to go #2. Then he would get us a diaper and we’d put it on him. He’d come back with wipes when the deed was done. It worked for us and thankfully his preschool teacher was willing to accommodate the unusual request as well.
Of course family and friends didn’t hesitate to point out that if “he was old enough to get the diaper and wipes, he was old enough to use the toilet.” Family, friends, parenting advice, and autism is a whole other subject for another day.
But about 3 weeks ago, Caden and his dad started talking about him outgrowing diapers (a suggestion that another asd parent suggested) every night at bedtime. He eventually decided he could try the potty and thankfully had success. In the name of disclosure he doesn’t use the usual method; he lifts ALL of the toilet seats up and sits on the bowl. Well sits is a little inaccurate. He holds himself over the bowl with his arms but I must admit his balance is absolutely amazing although I am waiting for the fall in incident. This success and I must brag for a moment and say that he hasn’t had a single accident, has come with a total fascination of poopsy. It’s a fascination that we are totally and completely encouraging.
He’s talking in terms of past (what went in the bowl that morning) and future (what he might accomplish tomorrow). He’s using descriptive and comparative language (size is a frequent topic) and he’s counting (yes he is keeping track of how many poopsies have gone in the potty). He’s also using creative imagery which is something that he has always scored horrifically low on when he takes development tests….wait for it. Yep, every success is explained in terms of what shape he thinks it looks like. This morning he was convinced that the poopsy was shaped like a butterfly. And have I mentioned that he is also practicing expressive language; this morning’s success was met with a “oh my goodness mommy look at that” complete with perfect intonation and pitch. It’s not that we really enjoy talking about poopsy morning, noon, and night but we LOVE the conversations with our son. CONVERSATIONS people, real interactive conversations.
Now many of you know that I messed up a few months ago by pointing out a Seeing Eye dog to Caden. I temporarily forgot the literal nature of autism and consequently Caden has been convinced that he doesn’t need nor does he want a service dog because he can see just fine. I’ve been a little worried about this one because he gets quite upset when the service dog is mentioned. But tonight, I pointed out to him that the service dog will go poopsy and he was absolutely fascinated. I’m calling it a big ole butterfly shaped success!
In case you are obsessing with us, we leave for service dog training 2 weeks from Tuesday….gulp.