How do i get through this potty training stand off?

Carlene - posted on 04/11/2011 ( 10 moms have responded )

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I have twins, one with autism, one without. My daughter (who's "typical") is not wanting to potty train because her "older" twin brother with Autism isn't ready or willing to try. She started crawling, walking, and talking first. but each time, when she realized that her brother wasn't keeping up, she would quit! She started potty training a year ago, about had the hang of it and when she realized that CJ wasn't following suit, she quit. I'm ready to pull my hair out bawling. this is driving me crazy. i understand she realizes that CJ is different, but seriously??? any suggestions?

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Jean - posted on 04/13/2011

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Maybe there's a different way to look at this? I can tell by your post you're and active and vigilant mom not given to denial. Maybe this is okay. Twins have a special bond that others may not understand. Just because she slows down for her brother doesn't mean she's going to lose the race. Perhaps you have a daughter who from an early age will be compassionate to her brother. As long as she CAN do the things, why not let her choose? She needs to meet her milestones (but I can tell you're all about monitoring that) but does she have to sprint? Can she walk so her brother can keep up? You don't want to old her back, but is it okay if she holds herself a little (just a little)? That said I'm sure your life would be far easier if she'd potty train. I remember the stress of those days and there is so much pressure to train!! We used to sit around at the ECFE classes and talk about it and my son was way behind (he did train at about 3 1/2) and I felt like if I could just potty train him he'd be "OK." Does it help at all for me to tell you that while you feel like this now, in 5 years you won't care one bit about when they potty trained? Keep up your vigilance. Try the things other have suggested, but perhaps try to cherish in your heart that your son has the gift of this sister. There will be many people in his life who will not love and accommodate him. What a beautiful thing if she is always at his side.

Sheila - posted on 04/12/2011

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Hi Carlene,

I cannot even begin to understand what you are going through with two little ones. It sounds like there is agreement with your little boy, but you are experiencing what sounds like a mommy instinct telling you that there is more going on with your daughter than what the specialists can see.

I have heard from too many moms that they were told that discipline was the issue, not something greater...but like you, they kept feeling that something wasn't quite right.

I am wondering about when you said she can recite a song, but not give me a complete sentence. This sentence reminded me of my son who could recite entire bites of dialogue from TV...but, couldn't converse. I would say, do you want to go to the park? And he would respond...the park. If I asked, what do you like at the park? He just wouldn't give an "answer." I often say he was like a little announcer...he would just say things randomly, but if I asked a question about what he said, he couldn't do the back and forth thing the way a typical little guy would. Have you had her to a speech path?

As well, since you know the importance of consistency, and that is your parenting "backbone" so to speak, then parenting shouldn't be that challenging....but, saying that, since your little girl is perceptive enough to realize that CJ is getting special help, and sees doctors etc...her little brain might be working overtime in trying to figure out how to redirect attention onto herself. This would not actually even be a disciplinary issue....this is a bright child saying stop looking at him, and look at me!! Of course, she wouldn't be rationalizing it that fully...but, it is a possibility.

In saying that, if you are concerned about your daughter, and finding it hard to get support for her, is it possible for you to visit a college or university near you that has a developmental program that specializes in twin development? They might be able to shed some light onto this pattern of behaviour that you described in your initial post.

I really don't know how mothers of multiples get through the day.

I wish you and your family well.

Sheila

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Carlene - posted on 04/18/2011

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Jean: your words are so awesome! thank you for the encouragement. i just am at a stand still as to what to do next... thank you

Carlene - posted on 04/12/2011

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we always have one day a week of just Mommy and Maria. we will drop CJ off at Gma's and go to the park, walk the puppy, or just sit and watch a movie, whatever she wants to do and she loves it. i just feel that i HAVE to spend more time with CJ with all of his therapies and such. His therapists have always been really great about accepting her in the play and letting her do the activities with them. this also teaches him turn taking. :). I will to try some of your advice Sheila, thank you:))

Carlene - posted on 04/12/2011

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The twins will be three on the 29th of this month. I have had her tested by three different specialists and all have told me that she just has "disciplinary problems" and that I'm not trying. it seems like i try the hardest with her. i work with him a lot too. She concerns me in the "red flag" ideas when she will recite whole songs but not be able to give me a complete sentence. I'm really upset about the entire idea about her not "being disciplined" because i am very consistent with them both. i completely understand that i have to be consistent or nothing is going to stick, especially with my special needs child. and to answer your question Shiela: she realizes something is different with CJ because of all the therapists and special doctors that CJ has to see. He's had these for almost a year now. She asked me one time y CJ had so much with him and i told him that it's to help him talk (she used a three word sentence to ask). I just think it's odd that "nothing's wrong" but we are having so many issues with her...

Louise - posted on 04/12/2011

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Most children have a relapse at some point. I have been toilet training my daughter for 2 months and she has been great with very few accidents right from the start. I took her to the beach on Sunday which was two hours away and she wore pants all day no accidents. Yet today she has wet herself three times and we have not left the house. There is no rhyme or reason this is very common. Stick to it do not revert to nappies or pull ups now you have started. Let her sit in her wet clothes for five minutes before you change her as this lets her know how uncomfortable it is to wee in your pants and not in the toilet. Girls normally do train quicker than boys any way with out the learning difficulties. Stand firm with her you have got this far.

Kym - posted on 04/12/2011

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Do you have a behavior specialist? I know when my son was little we had to use a BSC to help us with the potty training. They kept track on input/output, rewards, etc. We actually did it over the course of a week (I took off work) and went cold turkey no diapers. It was really difficult but it worked. I don't think I could have done it w/out the help of a behavior specialist because my son had so many behaviors and didn't even want to sit on the toilet. With rewards & reinforcement, we did make it. I know it can be difficult.

Sheila - posted on 04/11/2011

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Hi Carlene,

I don't understand when you write, I understand she realizes that CJ is different. I teach kindergarten, and children at age 3 or 4 don't realize differences in the sense that we as adults do...

I am also concerned with your statement that when she realized her brother wasn't keeping up, she quit. I know each situation is unique, but whenever I hear of a child that has developed skills, and then lost them, a red flag goes off. Children who develop a skill don't usually stop or regress....regardless of siblings. Are you sure there isn't something more to this? Of course, you don't say how long she "quit" for....

I realize my initial comments have nothing to do with your question, I just felt a need to voice a concern and suggest you talk with your family doctor if the loss of these skills is still something you are dealing with.

As for potty training, I am actually of the belief that if it takes longer than six weeks, your child is not as ready as you would think they should be....this doesn't mean to stop trying, I just mean don't beat yourself up over it. Make the potty available, sit her on it at regular intervals, have stickers ready for rewards....but don't stress.

Sheila

Bethany - posted on 04/11/2011

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How old are they? My daughter started potty training at 18 months. She was very interested in it, but then she stopped when I got pregnant with her brother. She didn't train until 3yrs ols, a bit after actually. It's a lot easier to train them when they are fully ready. Modern convention is to potty train at 2, 2 1/2, but not all kids are ready for that. My daughter was interested at 2, but not enough to sit on the potty. At 3 when she seemed very ready, but slightly resistant to the seat, I bribed her. A couple of M&Ms if she went in the potty. It worked like a charm. In 3 days she was using the potty, telling me when she had to go. She back-tracked slightly, it happens with lots of kids. So she has a few accidents, but cleaning a mess once in a while sure beats diaper changes all the time.
So you could try bribing or you could wait a bit, maybe she really isn't quite there yet. It's frustrating, but it WILL happen eventually. Hang in there!

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