Monday, January 23, 2012


Potty training N was relatively easy:

to encourage - gorgeous pink pants -     check
to sit upon - comfortable pink potty -        check
to enjoy - charlie & lola  (they are my favourite and my best) -   check
to reward - stickers galore -         check
to remember - patience (while under house arrest)         check

I had read Gina Ford's Potty Training in One week.  Niamh was ready, I was ready; we were ready!  Two days later and she was dry - whoopee!  (Please forgive the pun...)

Now two and a half years on, it's E's turn.  She's ready (according to Gina): she's over 18 months - yep, she's 36 months; aware when she is doing a poo - usually because it's so very stinky!; understands simple instructions - but chooses to ignore them; can point to different parts of her body when I name them - "look, boobies! mummy boobies!; and can sit still for more than 5 minutes without getting ants in her pants - yes, yes she can but ah!  well, that's because she has SMA... 

Oh, yes! SMA...

Mmm, I can see a few problems now.  No, she can't pull down her own pants or trousers, nor can she stand so that I can pull them down for her.  No, she can't run to the toilet when she's bursting for a pee - instead she'll probably pee all over whoever is carrying her at arms length as they run to the toilet (in galoshes perhaps?).

So, Gina Ford Frequently Asked Questions I ask you this:

My daughter is 36 months old and mentally ready and able to potty train, but she can't walk and uses a wheelchair: how do I get her to the toilet before she pees everywhere, take her pants off with one hand while holding her with the other, and get her onto the toilet without causing injury to one or both of us?

I wonder what she would say in response?

So, how exactly do I go about potty training Eilidh?  No health care professional seems to be able to give me the answer (probably because they themselves have never had to care for a child with a disability let alone potty train them) but they can - and do - provide equipment to make life easier, to save my back: hoists, toilet chairs, commodes and even nappies (I believe that we can get free nappies from the age of 3 here in Glasgow - but, as with every thing, they are starting to limit who gets them!).  But I need to look elsewhere for real help and I think that the answer may be from other mummys who have found themselves with the same problem; they know - they've been there, done that and got a sticker!  So, SMArty mummys, watch out, I'm coming to you to talk about poo, pee and pants!  I really hope that you don't mind...


Anonymous said...

MY son (SMA II) was 4 when I decided he was ready. I waited so long because he has to let us know. He can't just do it himself. He was totally potty trained in 2 weeks and never had an accident overnight. I had a friend whose son (normal) was potty trained at 4 just because he wasn't ready til then. I think it's a combo of being ready and understanding the need to tell you so you can help.

Looking for Blue Sky said...

Well as you know I have a dd who does not walk or talk, but I was always encouraged to try and potty train her, though I was not using a hoist until she was well into her teens. I lifted her onto a potty age 3 and she used it immediately and has been a keen user of it ever since ( apparently quite unusual in a child with severe physical and intellectual difficulties). So it can be done. Today she is clean (mostly) but not dry (because of weak internal muscles, a lot to drink and me not having enough energy to hoist her on more than 3 times a day). There's a post about it on my blog if that's of interest.