We've been potty training since Thanksgiving 2008. It has not gone well. Usually, after his bath, Ethan gets himself dressed. Usually it is in underwear and whatever clothes he can scrounge from his dresser. Today, even though it was a beautifully warm Spring day, he dressed as if it were winter. He wore long track pants and a long sleeved shirt, and .... training pant type underwear. I encourage him to put on a pull-up. Sometimes he listens, sometimes he doesn't.
When Ethan has a bowel movement, he's sneaky about it. He will go into a corner, under the air hockey table, or under the kitchen table to do his business. Then he does the poopy pants shuffle. You know that special walk that clearly conveys he is carrying a present meant just for me. These are the moments I want to look around me say, "Who are these children, any why do they call me mommy?" (Thanks Anne Taintor, I love her art work! She's a comedic genius.)
Today, as Ethan waddled over, little nuggets escaped his pants. Yuck! He pointed to them and said, "Look, I pooped!" Disgusted, I told him to go to the bathroom where I would clean him up. What made me fustrated is that the house cleaner had just come and cleaned our dirty, cluttered house, including the floors. And, now little #2's were migrating from his underwear to the clean floor. Calgon, take me away!
We have a chant we practice with Ethan when we're toileting. We chant, "Where do we poop? We poop in the potty." And, "Where do we pee? We pee-pee in the potty." Did you know there are songs about toileting habits. Kimya Dawson sings "Pee-pee in the Potty" and my children's all time favorite "Alphabutt". I have purchased these songs from iTunes and we listen to them occasionally in the hopes of brainwashing Ethan into compliance. So far, these attempts have failed and simply serve to promote loud, raucous laughter.
We keep potty training, though. Ethan pretty much has gone back to wearing pull-ups almost full-time. What I find particularly onerous about this whole situation is that at school, Ethan will stay dry and mess free most of the time! There has been a time or two where he has had a bowel movement at school. It always comes as a complete surprise to them. I get a note home about it in his daily communication book. I'm surprised it hasn't happened more. But, maybe he saves it all for me. I am that special person. I'm the lucky individual he calls Mommy.
I am grateful for him. I love him desperately. Don't get me wrong! I just have never had such a difficult time potty training any of my other 3 children. The normal bribes haven't worked. For example, Steven had difficulty going poop. I promised him if he could poop in the potty, I would take him to Chuck E. Cheese as a reward. So, he finally decided to poop in the potty on a Sunday afternoon. We dutifully carted him over to Up Chuck's and that cemented it for him. That was his turning point. After that, except on rare occasions, he pooped in the toilet. I have tried to bribe Ethan with a special trip like that. I have bought candy bars. I have bought a special M&M dispenser that he could use when he made his special deposit. None of these have worked!
I am hoping that perhaps it is a maturity issue. I have been told this could be the case. It would be a relief if that is truly the case. Some people have said that these special kids need privacy. We've given him privacy. He goes in the bathroom, locks the door and makes a mess of the toilet paper or plays in that magical holder of water. One time, I even prevented him from drinking that water! Another time, he flushed his underwear down the toilet. A behaviorist I talked with suggested having him help me wash out his dirty underwear in the toilet. (This would be a natural, logical consequence of his behavior. It didn't work. You could say she was full of xxxx! He would watch me flush the toilet while holding on to the soiled underwear and his hand and we'd swish it around the bowl in hopes of dislodging his unwelcome deposit. I think he thought of it as a kind of game. I really don't know.
So, this whole blog entry is one long rant dedicated to the beauty of bowel movements. We have failed thus far in our attempts at civilizing our little hellion. But, we march on! Someday, Ethan will master this most important hygiene habit. That is my hope.