So, today has been… tough, exhausting, boring, emotional. I’m glad it’s almost over and tomorrow is a new day.
In my wisdom, I had decided that even though Tink has shown no interest whatsoever in toileting, using a potty or toilet, wearing ‘big girl’ pants or anything remotely related to bodily functions, that now, the start of the summer holidays, would be an excellent time to try anyway! Ha! Big, ‘Family Fortunes’ style “er eeeerrrrrr”! Granted, we have only tried for one day, or, more specifically, four hours, but I just know that it’s not the right time.
I have done some reading and research on toilet training children on the spectrum and I am aware that is relatively common for children with autism to be in nappies for longer. Much of what I read goes against everything I’ve always believed about toileting children (and usually advise the parents at work who ask for advice): I’ve always been a big believer in waiting until they’re ready, and showing awareness, able to communicate the need and being physically able to manage the clothing aspect. Toileting a child with autism is totally different in many cases.
In Tink’s case, she is showing absolutely no awareness of her bladder urges and we have a whole other issue with poo – that’s for another blog post another day! She can’t communicate well at all and doesn’t seem to have any concept of what we do on the loo and how it relates to her. The clothing she is beginning to manage – she was pulling up and down her own knicks today, which was pretty much the only positive. She was also reasonably happy to sit on the loo, using the fancy new step seat I had bought her. She was even telling me what the pictures were on the PECS-type timeline I had made and lovingly laminated to put on the wall next to the loo. So, it wasn’t all bad!
However, the recommendation is, for children who show no awareness or are unable to communicate, to ‘habit train’, which basically means to take them at intervals throughout the day. To me, this means that they aren’t learning for themselves about their own urges, but I fully appreciate that for some children this will never be possible, and that habit training is what needs to be done.
I have spent a long time in the bathroom with Tink today! Not once did she do a wee… on the toilet. We did, however, have three on the floor. Again, I know this isn’t unusual when training any young child. Believe me, I’ve helped train enough to know! But she just seems to have no inkling whatsoever about what’s happening until it’s too late.
So, I’m taking my own advice and leaving it for now. Nursery are happy for her to be in nappies, so we don’t have the pressure of that looming in September. We’ll try again, maybe when she starts showing some awareness, maybe just the next time we have a good opportunity to have another go. Maybe we’ll have to go down the habit training route. Not now though. We both had enough of being bored, frustrated and irritable for one day! It’s the holidays; tomorrow is a new day and I’m buggered if I’m spending it like today!