Diaper Freedom

In Dis Abled Mom, Family by Amy Blanchard

No more diapers
No more mess
No more struggles changing a pest!

Okay, so my poetry skills leave much to be desired. But you get the idea, right? Yup, Ella is potty trained! Hooray!

This “event” that I’ve been dreading for well over a year is now over. And pretty easily, I might add.

Oh, there were the doubts, the frustrations and the worries. All on my part, that is. But she did it. In less than a week, Ella became a potty pro.

I’ve written extensively about the whole experience both on my blog (http://spinabifidamoms.blogspot.com) and in a Go-To Mom article I wrote for ClubMom. (http://www.clubmom.com). But I also wanted to share the process with you, the Audacity Magazine readers. Hopefully I can provide some helpful tips and tricks for other struggling disabled parents.

You see, I’ve tried potty training before. One Sunday last fall when Ella worked my last nerve during yet another diaper-changing fight, I gave up and declared, “That’s it! No more diapers for you. You’re learning to use the potty today!”

Long story short – that didn’t go over very well. Not with Ella, who proved to not care in the least when potty-related accidents occurred. And not with my husband, who felt slighted by my rash decision to make this happen.

After about 5 hours of wet underwear and floors, and frustrations mounting all around, I gave up. I mean, I really gave up. I had a taste of what training was like and what sorts of things I was simply incapable of doing for Ella (i.e., picking her up and rushing her to the bathroom when accidents where imminent), And I didn’t like it. So I didn’t dare broach the subject of potty training again.

That is, not until this recent Memorial Day Weekend.

I figured that since she was older she would hopefully be more interested. I also figured that, since I had a plan in advance, I would get the help I needed from my husband. He would be around to do any physical work necessary to get Ella trained.

Plus, I had Training Days rules. Rules for her to follow, but as a bonus, they provided added help to me.

Rule #1: Ella must stay bottom-naked and off the carpet. (Luckily, our ground floor is about 80% wood floors).

Bonus for me – no wet underwear to contend with and I knew it would be much easier to clean accidents off the wood floor than the carpet.

Rule #2: If Ella wanted to sit down, she must sit on her potty chair.

This eliminated my worry about rushing her to the bathroom, since I knew she’d always be near her potty wherever she went.

Ella was a trooper with all of this. The weather was warm, so she didn’t mind being half naked. And she adapted well to sitting on her potty as she watched T.V., played board games or looked at books. In fact, Ella was very good about taking her potty chair with her everywhere she went.

At one point we had some friends stop in for a quick visit. We were talking in the kitchen when Sweetie came in, carrying her potty behind her. She sat down with it in the middle of the floor to entertain us all. How cute!

Whenever Ella succeeding in peeing in the pot, we gave her tons of praise and her promised treats – chocolates and stickers!

Trouble was, she’d only pee there because she happened to be sitting on her potty anyway and not because she recognized the need and took herself to the potty for relief. Oh well. I knew understanding was sure to come sooner or later. Only time would tell.

Yet, so it continued. After four days working with her at home, it was time for me and my husband to go back to work and Ella to go to Nana’s house for the day. We took her there wearing her big girl underpants, but hardly confident that she was “all set”. She was still having accidents. Still not completely “getting it”.

However, after two big accidents that morning on my mom’s new carpet, and some stern words from Nana, things seemed to finally “click” with Ella. The very next time she had to pee, she stopped her playing, told my mom, and they got to the potty on time. Yay!

And that was that. Other than the rare occasion when she just couldn’t pull her underwear down far enough, Ella has been accident-free. We don’t even have to remind her to go. She understands, stops what she’s doing, and takes care of business with minimal help from Mom, Dad or Nana.

So, Potty Training Mission: completed. In 4 1/2 days, no less. It couldn’t have gone smoother if I’d tried.

Planning ahead, setting some rules, giving rewards and, yes, even a few stern words all helped everything fall into place more easily. But, really, it was Ella’s success. She was finally ready to learn. She was ready to tackle this interesting new phase in life.

She was ready to grow up a little, becoming a little more independent.

My baby girl isn’t a baby anymore. So sad for me, yet so rewarding as well. Seeing my Sweetie beam with pride as she accomplishes great new life skills warms my heart and makes me feel so proud – both for her and for myself.

Email us your comments at nathasha@audacitymagazine.com .