I can't tell you how many times I've heard well intentioned people (other moms usually...) say the phrase "don't worry, no one goes to Kindergarten wearing diapers!", and then proceed to tell me their tip or trick on how to potty train you.
I myself have often done the same - thinking I had some pretty solid advice seeing as I was a pro at training Clara and Gabe.
"Step right up for words of wisdom from this expert potty training momma right here folks."
You have taught me otherwise my dear. 5 1/2 years old and still rocking the size 6 diapers (only because target doesn't stock size 7 - truth).
I now realized that the only advice I can give (at least as far as autism potty training is concerned) is that you have to have the patience of a saint!
So let's walk down memory lane... when you were about 4yrs old, and we hadn't yet had success, I decided to put my foot down. I said to myself - "It is time! We are going to do this!"
Keep in mind that at the time you weren't waking up dry, still had no interest in the potty, and hated the sound of the toilet flushing. Soooo... the concept was generally flawed, but I had this magical idea that was an absolute game changer, and like many such ideas, it started with a trip to target...
The week before, while strolling through the extra large kid diaper section, I noticed a new addition to the child sized toilet options (a phrase said by no one ever...). There it was - an "Elmo" potty. "Wow - you love Elmo" I whispered to you as you were in the cart gnawing away on the handle (a story for another day..).
We had been reading you the potty training book with Elmo in it, and you liked Sesame Street, so obviously this was the missing link to our potty training dreams!
When we got home and set it up, you actually sat on it. Wow. Progress! I soon realized it was just to appease me (and because I was chain feeding you pink squares as long as you would sit there), but in reality, there was no "action".
"Hmmmm" I thought. We need to kick this up a notch. Something to jump start things. Oh! I then remembered that this awesome little product of modern marvel (the Elmo toilet) had a unique feature where at the touch of a button, Elmo will talk to you, speaking words of encouragement! Just what we needed!
So, I push the button and Elmo's voice started coming out of the seat. Oh my, you jumped your little naked body a mile high in terror. I guess if my toilet talked to me, I wouldn't like it too much either, so note taken.
A few days later of having zero chance of you going anywhere near that "possessed" potty, we decided to scrap it. But, what next? We decided to go back and try the big potty again. Since you sat so good on the Elmo one, I thought maybe it was the right time, but we just goofed up the execution. So I stocked up on pink squares & took you back to the big potty!
Baby, I was so proud of you. You got up on that throne, got your hands down firm on the sides of the seat and stabilized yourself.
You were doing it! You were actually sitting on the potty! Five minutes. Ten minutes (and about a dozen starbursts in), and then it happened... you started to pee! Yay! But, the sensation startled you and caused your grip to slip, and then... you started to fall in!!! Noooooooo!!!!
You were never in any risk, but in your mind the toilet was trying to eat you! A monster! Clearly this was going to put a little wrinkle in my "not buying size 7 diapers online" plan. What happened next was unforeseen.
Not only were you seriously opposed to using the potty yourself, you took it as your personal mission to "save" everyone else from the certain death that using the potty would cause. We lovingly would say that you were actively trying to "un-potty train" everyone in the family. You would rush in and literally try and pull them off the potty!
In those days, it wasn't uncommon to hear "Mom help me! Get Addie! She is trying to pull me off the potty!" From Clara and Gabe, only to come see you trying to "save" them! I do want to thank you though, as you helped me remind them to close the door behind them!
Eventually you started waking up dry, and when you peed in your diaper you would take it off and kindly toss it over the balcony with a nice, wet SPLAT! Look out below... seriously! I had to start making you wear leotards to help keep your diaper ON! How is that for a plot twist??? I guess you at least were becoming aware of the sensation.
This past year, we were blessed with the true pro... your school teacher, Ms. Becca - for many reasons, but potty training being among them. She was determined to help us and wanted nothing more than potty success before you graduated her class!
So we started sending you in big girl underwear and a backpack full of extra clothes! Ready, set, go! You were never interested in nap time so here was a prime opportunity! It didn't happen over night, but with a whole lot of ice chips, pounds of pink starburst and a boatload of Ms. Becca magic... it happened! You started going at school! Yay! We were so happy!
I'm happy to report that today you are well on your way! We are definitely not 100% there yet, but I see the light at the end of the Target diaper aisle!
Keep it up Addie! You got this!