Saturday, May 15, 2010

"Can We Do It? Yes We Can!"

I just posted a rather exuberant statement over on my Bear In The Woods page.
Bob's Dad and I are more than a little excited about the fact that for the past three nights, Bob has been refusing to wear his nappy...and has remained as dry as pepper.

What is both thrilling and perplexing is that we have been focusing on day-time toilet training for the last year and a bit, and we are about 70% of the way there.  But night-time training had been relegated to such a distant back seat that a map, a compass and military binoculars would be required to catch a glimpse of it.  Night-time continence has assumed the mystique of the Yeti and the Loch Ness monster.
Even though we had heard the occasional urban legend that it had been achieved, we remained sceptical, needing more evidence than footprints in the snow and grainy photographs to prove it's existence.
We were non-believers.

So, like learning his alphabet, he did it entirely on his own...

...which, true to my nature, begged a question (or two).

Will our kids eventually achieve milestones on their own, at their own comfortable pace, without us hectoring them with charts, rewards and reinforcements?
Are we just creating pointless anxiety by forcing our kids to strive for achievements that they just aren't ready for?

My gut says an annoying "yes" and "no".

It seems to me that some of the time, some of our kids will Just Do It and cock a two-fingered salute at all our efforts to impose education.  See alphabet and night-dryness above.

But it also seems to me that other skills (like independent dressing and feeding) would never be realised for Bob without the input of occupational therapy and shed-loads of patience...and I don't want to be spoon-feeding a 25 year old sporter of shell-suits (as I won't have the strength to hoick anything else onto him in 20 years time).
Sole responsibility for the prevention of future fashion atrocities lies with dogged education.

This is making my head hurt, and it's too early in the morning.
I'm off for a giant mug of tea and a little lie-down.
But I would love your opinion on it to help me untangle this particular knot.

Bob will never cease to surprise us, and we fully (and shamefully) expected the need for canoes and life-jackets when nappies were finally disposed of.
What a fool I am for under-estimating him.


  1. Hiya Jean, I'm so delighted for you as toilet training can be difficult for all sorts of children, and sometimes NT children can need intensive work to stay dry at night. If you did nothing, you risk your child not achieving the milestones that they could, so I think it's better to help them along the way xx

  2. Thanks for that Blue Sky...I'm just thinking out loud really. I think you're right...leaving things to chance just isn't worth the risk. XXX

  3. Such a coincidence! Butto has just this last week given up the nigh time pull ups too! And he's 8! Like bob, he did it in his own time, I simply noticed that he was dry in the morning a heck of a lot more often than he used to be, so off came the pull ups and hey presto! Dressing is our next big challenge! Excellent blog as always xx

  4. Coincidence? *coughs* or that you and Taz have been going to classes recently?

    I think when you start to learn about this stuff in a setting with guidance and other parents experiences, you can re-prioritise and stop beating yourself up.

    Letting go of anxiety can be the key. When they feel you are relaxed and ready to just "help" but not get too uptight about it - they relax, and start asserting themselves.

    Because toilet training is not just about "going" when and where someone else wants you to. It is about "holding on" and that is really personal.

    The dry bed at night is a sign that his body is ready to start taking control.

    I know I sound like a stuck record but I think a lot of parents start toilet training WAY too early, based on the expectations of others.

    Start when the world says you should and it can take 3 years, wait and start when the kid is ready and do it in 3 months.

    I learned once as a sales rep, sometimes you can do a whole strategy and plan and achieve your target. Or sometimes you can do the "leave it alone and then take credit if it works out. Both Works! xx

  5. Hammie, I agree about some parents trying to toilet train too early, but it's getting the balance right, and knowing when to intervene I guess. It's an area I know a bit about cos I do know of at least one NT adult who is not dry at night and I know of NT teenagers who needed a lot of help to become dry as well. Smiley is clean but not dry, and even that is a great help.

  6. Thats fantastic news Jeanie! I have no designs to night time train Munchkin until SHE is ready. We are dry and clean most days now but there is no sign of staying dry at night yet but like you, as long as daytime is relatively successful I won't be pushing her that direction yet. Its difficult enough to teach them to recognise the signals from their bodies when they are awake so can't see how to teach and reinforce when they are asleep. She will hit this milestone in her own time. Some things you can teach, others you are better to leave to them to learn instinctively xxx

  7. Hi Jean. Great news re Bob staying dry at night time. I think from my limited experience of our recent attempt at training the Doc that it is one thing that cannot be forced. Unlike lots of other things which we can reinforce like communication etc. So all the work we do is worth it.

  8. @ taz...that's great news! We're doing pretty well with dressing as well
    @ Hammie, afraid we had to cut the course short due to hormonal teenage tornadoes chez Bob, but it has given us food for thought...
    @ Blue Sky...I have a 10 yr old NT girl who still isn't dry at night so, you're absolutely right, it ain't exclusive to special needs kids
    @ petunia that certainly seems to be the case for less battle, eh?
    @ patsy it's reassuring to know that our efforts (eventually) pay off lol

  9. Woohoo, well done. I am a great believer in doing it when the child is ready but sometimes they need a prod so that they know they are ready. For now we have no plans in that direction at the moment, I will be following yourself and Taz and he will get there when he gets there:) Very pleased for you all chez Bob, it is a big milestone. Jen.

  10. @ Jen, we're still pinching ourselves xxx

  11. That's fantastic news Jean...well done!
    I think it is really at their own pace, at the end of the day. I didn't even begin toilet training WiiBoy til he was about 3, for daytime. He's only dry at night time the last year or so. xx Jazzy

  12. Bob and Jean, congratulations!

    In our case it was really strange - he was dry at night about 8 months BEFORE daytime. Go figure.

    I was wondering about whether things would/do happen on their own or through intervention. But I don't have a "control group" extra child with identical needs and delays, to be left to develop on his own speed, so decided for intervention. Better than a lifetime of regret, anyway.

  13. @ jazzy, toilet training just doesn't happen until the child is ready
    @ Truf that's mad! Love how individual our kids are xxx

  14. Brillant for you, may it long continue. I have had two or three months of dry nights but there were 2 accidents in a row one night and then back to dry nights. I keep a protector sheet underneath the main sheet just in case. Reading some potty training books if they remove the nappies etc and want to be without nappy go with it (but keep a watchful eye). Best of luck x

  15. I know how happy you must feel about this Jean. My little boy with ASD is five since March and I had no intention whatsoever of attempting night time training for ages. I hadn't a clue how to tackle it anyway and I said I'll wait until I get some sort of a sign. I had no idea what sort of a sign to look for either! Then just before Easter this year T said 'no nappy tonight Mom' and I said 'right so' and that was it. My amazing little fella has been dry practically every night since. There have been a few accidents (when he was sick and when we went away for a weekend) but he quickly got over those and got himself back on track again. Isn't that just fantastic or what?

  16. @ irish Mammy...yup, I have an industrial strength protector underneath him too (phew!). Thanks for the good wishes
    @ Eadaoin, our kids are amazing...this is such a huge achievement!

  17. Great news about Bob being dry at night and learning that he controls his body. We are far from dry nights at the moment but I am in no hurry to get there until he is ready for it. He was day time trained by the age of three and that was a big enough achievement. Once they GET IT they really get it and that is brilliant.