Saturday, April 30, 2016

Special Needs Potty Training . . . Week 1 Update

As most of you know, we embarked on potty training with Clara this past Monday. We are now a solid five days in thing thing. School is using a researched, evidenced based method for potty training kids with Autism and/or a similar diagnosis. A method that takes time, but that is proven successful if followed consistently. Patience is the name of the game, and I know this is true whether training a special needs or typical child. :)

Here's the breakdown of week 1. . . 

Day 1/Monday:
  • Started day at level 1
  • 4 accidents, 0 successes
  • She doesn't seem to care being wet, and sometimes urinates when she gets excited. She moved from Level 1 to 2, but that is when most accidents occurred.
Day 2/Tuesday:
  • Started day at level 1
  • 4 accidents (school actually didn't give me number so going on previous day's total) , 0 successes
  • She seems to urinate right after she gets off the potty so tomorrow they will increase her time on potty from 10 minutes to 15-20 minutes (then off for 5), to see if they can catch a success
Day 3/Wednesday:
  • Started day at level 1 (well, technically not level one since scheduled sit is upped to 15-20 minutes)
  • Several accidents, 1 success!! (Urinated while sitting on toilet!)
  • She is no longer given access to a moderately preferred reinforcer while on the toilet. And stays in the bathroom during the 5 minutes off the toilet. After the one success, she got lots of praise, access to her highly preferred reinforcer (iPad) and was taken out to swing on the playground. Then back to the restroom for another scheduled sit. After one scheduled sit she got off the toilet and immediately began to urinate. Her teacher put her right back on to finish on the toilet and Clara clenched and stopped once back on. Smart cookie. :-)
Day 4/Thursday:
  • Started at level 1 (20 minute sit, 5 minutes off, no access to reinforcer while sitting)
  • 1 accident, no successes (Due to another appt, she was only at school for about 3 hrs this day)
Day 5/Friday:

  • Started at level 1
  • 2 accidents, 2 successes!! Woohoo! 

Her BCBA came home with us Friday for a little while to train us in the weekend protocol. We will work from level 1, except are only required to do 10 minute sits followed by 5 minutes off, not the 20 minute sits they are doing at school. She is allowed access to moderately preferred items while on the toilet (only if she needs a distraction to keep her on) and while off the potty. Her favorite things/activities (iPad or certain light up toys, going out to swing, cuddling the bear in her room, playing on our bed) will only be used to reinforce success.

She had two accidents at home Friday evening and no success, but we are hoping and praying for a great day today! (Note - She had a 30 min sit post dinner, since she drank a ton with her meal and we were hoping to catch a success. After that sit we were done for the day.)

Before each scheduled sit we prompt her with a picture of the potty from her PECS book. She is required to pull off picture, hand to us, then we walk to the restroom.

If you need us, there is a 99.9 % chance we are right here. . . 

Can she even pee like this??? Love her! 

Stay tuned! Or not, maybe just unsubscribe for a while . . . lots of potty talk in the near future . . . 


  1. Sounds like y'all are on the right track- can't wait to hear how the weekend goes!!

  2. Yay, Clara!! I love the look she is giving in the first picture of her - like, "Really, mom? You are going to make me sit in the bathroom all weekend long AND take pictures of me?!"

  3. Way to go with keeping at this - seems like a tough job!

    One question - I do not have kids with special needs, but we discovered with our daughter that she much preferred going on the "little" potty than a big potty, particularly because it gives her somewhere to put her feet. I think there is something about having their feet dangling that makes it hard for them to have the physical response to go potty.

    I am kind of guessing that maybe you are using the "big" potty because that's what she has at school? I know this is a VERY well thought out program! But, did want to mention that we've seen a big difference in how our 3 year old uses the little potty vs. a big potty (with a potty seat insert.) Just an idea :)

    Hang in there!

    1. Kelly - that is a great observation! The reason we are training on a big potty is because for kids like Clara, sometimes you have to begin with the end in mind. Training her on a kid potty and then expecting that skill to translate to the big potty would not be fair to her. We would basically have to retrain all over again because while for a typical child it would make sense to just eventually graduate to the big potty, it would not make sense for Clara, it would be scary, something completely different in her mind. Unfortunately for her, skills just don't translate over well. So instead of having to train twice, we are training with the end goal in mind. Hope that explains it a bit!

    2. And yes - this was the recommendation from the school, as they are also training her on a big potty with a potty seat attachment. :)

    3. Totally makes sense!!! :)

  4. Oh my gosh, this is SO well-thought out and comprehensive!!! I think the fact that you've sorted through and identified all of her "moderately preferred reinforcers" and "highly preferred reinforcers" is my favorite part, hahaha. I'm trying to figure out what those are for me so that I can use them to train myself to do something really hard!! ;) Keep up the good work- this must be exhausting, but surely it will be worth it!! (Focus on the TRUE end will be a dang millionaire when you aren't paying for all those diapers! Ha!!)


© A Joy Renewed. Made with love by The Dutch Lady Designs.