Thursday, August 21, 2008

Returning to the Basics: Potty Training & CP

Once upon a time, this blog centered on my daughter Darsie and cerebral palsy and since then its focus has obviously developed and changed somewhat. I'd like to keep it focused on Darsie, Elise, family, friends, and food and sort out the Etsy and crafting stuff to another venue. Like I've mentioned, we're working on a new site but it is going slow (because of me, I will admit).

Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Darsie will be turning four next month (!!!!) and I've recently started to feel a bit of pressure to potty train her. And I understand that it is a step we need to take but I want to take it slowly. I've always thought that the child should lead and here I feel like I'm expected to take the lead and enforcing the process.

We've had mixed success over the last year or periods where D would routinely use the bathroom and then periods where she wouldn't. She responded well to rewards for awhile and then didn't. It is such a mixed bag. She is a very strong willed girl with the nature that she wants to please. Mixed with the cerebral palsy and the idea that we don't know how much sensation she has in her bladder, it has been a frustrating process for both sides (her and us).

Our most recent "process" has put her back in regular diapers (can you believe that Darsie and Elise can wear the same size?) and it is had moderate success. She can undo the velcro sides and "let them drop" herself whereas with pull-ups she just didn't have the hand strength in her right hand to do so. So as long as she isn't wearing pants, she can take her diaper off to use the toilet on her own. And she has, a few times just not consistently.

So if anyone has any suggestions or advice or books or web sites that deals with these issues, I'd love to hear about it.


Unknown said...

I sure don't have any ideas, but a friend of mine is going through some potty issues with his 9-year-old who has CP... so I just thought it timely that you mentioned it.

Joy said...

My daughter is 4 and also has mild CP with right side weakness. She is potty trained but I found that the easiest way to train them (her and her twin sister) was to let them run around naked. I know it sounds strange but since she has trouble getting to the potty in time to get her pants down (because of the weakness) it was easiest if she could just sit down. She will still have some accidents mostly because she waits too long to get to the potty. Also putting her in underwear and letting her wet herself helped. She hates to be wet so that was a huge motivation for her. Good luck and feel free to email me anytime! Does your daughter tip toe on her right side as well? That has been our biggest battle.


Nowheymama said...

The naked trick worked for us, too.

Could you make cloth underwear (out of cloth diapers, maybe?) that fasten with Velcro? That way she would have more of the helpful "wet pants" feeling that you don't get with diapers, and they would be easy for her to undo.

Amelia Sprout said...

No CP experience, but I know that the real underwear (even maybe thicker "training" ones) would help know if the feeling was there. Also easier for on/off.

My mom potty trained me by letting me run around in dresses without underwear on. She said it was a little risky, but overall it was quick.

Mommy Daisy said...

Wow, I have no good advice. I've tried potty training my son with little success off and on for a year now. Recently there is no interest and it's frustrating.

And I'm sure with her CP it's even tougher. I love the idea of making her a cloth diaper with velcro she can undo herself. I put Zachariah in the thicker training underwear when he's going, so maybe that would work for her too.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi there! I've visited your page a few times, but I don't think I've ever left a comment. Darsie is such a cutie!
My son just turned 4, and has left - sided hemi. He was around 2 years old before he was fully trained. As with all kids, there is a wide range of "normal" when it comes to potty training kids with hemi. In our support group, some kids trained before age 2, while others were well over 4. It really just happens when it happens. But what worked for us were the cloth training pants, which are basically just underwear with a little extra padding. Those, combined with frequent trips to the potty, really did the trick. We did try Pull Ups for awhile before that, but they didn't work. They just made it too easy for my little monkey to have an accident.
Anyway, keep at it. She'll get there in her own time. Good luck!

Gwyneth Paltrow said...


Men’s Health Magazine (Sept. issue) is recommending Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day: Proven Secrets of the Potty Pro by Teri Crane. My husband picked us up a copy after reading the article. IT REALLY WORKS!! We didn't potty train in one day, but we did have fun.

Everyone is talking about throwing a "potty party" to potty train a child. I was so desperate, I was willing to do anything. Her book outlines 10 themed parties. What kid doesn't love to play and pretend? All my mommy friends have successfully potty trained their kids with her book too.

Honestly, when I first learned of this book, I thought NO WAY! Maybe this would work on a little girl, but NOT a BOSSY, 2-1/2 year old BOY. NO WAY! Guess what? It REALLY WORKED!!! Teri Crane SAVED MY SANITY!!! Her book was easy to read, funny and extremely helpful. I can't thank Teri enough. I would HIGHLY recommend this book to EVERY parent. It will save you much grief and frustration. Potty training shouldn't be difficult, we as parents make it difficult because we don't know what to do. Teri teaches you. Buy the book, it's the best money you will ever spend

Most amazingly, I had some questions, so I called the author, and she CALLED ME BACK!!

Anonymous said...

We have a 5 year old daughter Megan with moderate right hemiplegia. We spent over a year potty training and she finally mastered it when she turned 4. She would always pee in pullups, and she needed to feel wet to learn not to wee, so I used toweling type underwear first. The terry-type fabric worked. She learned to ease her knickers down using one hand (one side at a time!) and can pull them up one handed too now (although it does take a bit of time!) another tip is to wear cotton knickers under the pullups, so there is no mess but they feel wet!! With Megan, the penny dropped and she suddenly was dry day and night. Wishing you all the best with the potty training fun!!
Abi from UK

Mel Fraase said...

I'm at the same point with Piper, my RH. She's only 2 but I feel the pressure to at least start trying out the potty. My other 2 were 3 or more when we potty trained and it went fast. Naked was the way to go with them. I wonder the same things with Piper, what control and sensation is actually there. Good luck, keep us updated (I could use some tips, too!)

Amy Rhodes said...

I just found your blog and I'm wondering how the potty traing went? Our son, Aaron is 3 1/2 and has moderate diplegia in his legs. He's interested in going on the potty in that he sees his twin, who is fully potty trained during the day and getting closer at night, and wants to do the same. The problem is that we also don't know how much sensation he has down there. He has a very high pain threshold, so I'm wondering if it also affects how uncomfortable he might feel in a wet/dirty diaper/pull up.

We've become more persistant/consistant with getting him to the potty, putting underpants under his pull ups, or using all-in-one reusable training pants. I have a feeling this will be a long process.

Do you have any advice or tips?