Yes, I'm talking about potty training......something lots of people dread. When Owen was born, I started doing a lot of reading about how cognitive delays can contribute to delays in toileting and that the average age for a boy with Down syndrome to be completely day trained was between ages 6-7, while night trained would often come later--typically between ages 9-12. On top of that, Owen has extreme hypotonia, which means he has low muscle tone. That low muscle tone makes it harder to hold things in and make it to the toilet on time or even feel that you need to use the restroom. So I knew we might be in for the long haul.
Since Owen began walking when he was about 26 months old, we would have him come into the bathroom at home after a diaper change and wash his hands. We bought a tall step stool from IKEA which allows him to reach the sink and we also got a faucet extender that allowed the water to come closer to his tiny hands instead of him having to reach into the sink and get completely wet (although he doesn't care--he loves doing that!). We also started doing diaper changes on his mat in the bathroom because we wanted him to get the routine down about what goes on in the bathroom before he fully started using it.
We tried a potty chair and a good one at that--the Baby Bjorn potty which is highly rated. Owen didn't want anything to do with it; I'm still not sure why, but he always wanted on the big one. So I got an insert with the special boy deflector (I had no idea it was called that until I did a search for the seat!) with Sesame Street characters because I figured if Elmo told him to go, maybe Owen would listen. We also put some books, especially ones about using the potty, in the bathroom so that if he needed some reading material it was readily available.
We decided to move from diapers to pull ups this summer, knowing that he was going to Pre-K 5 mornings a week and the team would help us and keep our schedule. We began taking him every 15 minutes and then increasing the time. Now we can take him every hour to hour and a half and he is usually dry and ready to go. They are following the same routine at school.
Now these last few days........he has been grabbing at his pull up and if I ask him if he needs to go, he walks to the bathroom. He has been dry after napping several days in a row--some of those naps were nearly 3 hours! I'm not trying to jinx anything, but if he keeps this up, we *might* try some undies. We still need A LOT of work on the #2 issue, but I figure we'll get there someday. This has been one of the few things that I feel like I've been super patient about and I think Owen really senses it. It would be great if he was day trained in time for Kindy next year.....but we'll see. I've got ideas for a toileting plan if it becomes necessary. I'm just glad he is finally starting to initiate.........and it just shows me that he continues to do things in his own time and in his own way. And I like doing a happy dance if Owen wants to do a potty dance!