Sunday, March 7, 2010

Another leap in our Elimination Communication

I have to be honest and realize that the lack of progress we have made in our elimination communication (EC) has been mine and Daryl's fault. Jonah has been communicating to us beautifully, but we have not been very consistent. Shortly after we introduced Jonah to the big potty upstairs, we got frustrated. Jonah would tell us he needed to go, so we'd take him to the toilet and put him on his little seat. His diaper would be dry. We would give him the cue to go, just as we always had, but Jonah got so distracted in this new potty environment. He could reach the toilet paper holder, and the wallpaper has big pink flowers on it, and the lid behind him can go up and down. Jonah got so distracted by all of these things, that he forgot to go! We'd wait for up to forty five minutes sometimes for him to go. Then we'd take him off the potty and go back to the living room. Two minutes later, he'd sign "potty" we'd take him back to the toilet, take his pants off, and his diaper would be freshly wet.

So we became very inconsistent with taking him, after about two weeks of this. Jonah has also found that he kind of likes going in his diaper rather than being interrupted to go all the way to the potty. He has found that he would rather go in his diaper than stop our activity. This is completey our fault. He was almost ready for trainer pants. I even bought a sewing machine so that I could learn how to sew his large prefolds into training pants that we could use as underwear.

We went from thinking about undies, back to using diapers almost full time. I'm ashamed that it's my fault, but I have to admit it. To say Jonah regressed wouldn't be fair to him- his communication is still right on. I've even found myself whispering to him in restaurants or public places "It's okay to go in your dipie this once!" Embarrassing, but true. I was beginning to miss being a part of family dinners and outings because I had to keep taking Jonah to the bathroom. He had to go, and he knew it, and he told me so, he just got distracted once we got there.

Today we made a huge leap, though. Jonah hasn't gone to the potty on his own since we moved his potty chair into his bedroom. We used to keep it near our play area, and he would crawl over to it, climb on it, and pee. But it got to be a hygiene concern, as he would often go back over to it and take the little bowl part out. I always dumped any waste right after he'd go, so it would be empty and cleaned when he'd take it apart. But, it still kind of grossed me out that he was playing in his potty. So we moved it to his room and took him there whenever he would tell us he needed to go. We also started to take him to the big toilet on the upper level of the house when we were up there, cooking or eating etc. He has never gone to the bathroom upstairs with the intent of going potty.

Today, Jonah was crawling around the house like a madman. I have no idea where this energy came from! I gave him a bath, before which I put him on the potty but he wouldn't go. I'm pretty sure that he didn't go in the tub, and his diaper had been dry before getting into the bath. After the bath, he was crawling circles through the house, going up and down BOTH flights of stairs faster than I could keep up. The upstairs bathroom is right in front of the stairs that go down to our little apartment area. He was making his zillionth trip back up the stairs, and he headed straight for the bathroom. I said "where are you going?" and he signed "potty" I said "Yes, that is where we potty." and at that, he took off into the bathroom and tried to climb up onto the toilet. He was almost frantic about it! I followed behind him, took his pants and diaper off, but it was too late. His diaper was very freshly wet. He must have gone while trying to get up on the toilet. I sat him on the toilet anyway. He looked down and strained as though he was trying to go more. He signed "pee" and looked down again. He likes to see what's happening down there when he goes potty! He waited a few seconds and then reached for the toilet paper. I helped him rip off two squares, which he promptly used to wipe his bottom (as best as he could, anyway) and threw it down into the toilet. He was so proud of himself for using the toilet paper, too! This was not only the first time he went to the toilet on his own, but also the first time that he used toilet paper properly, and didn't just rip it to little bits and throw it on the floor.

I'm happy that he's taking the initiative to go to the bathroom himself. But at the same time, I'm scared about the safety issues of him climbing onto the toilet himself. He is too short to do it safely. I have seen videos of kids that have gotten their foots stuck in the drain of the toilet, and the EMTs had to break the toilet apart to get the kid loose.

I will have to be extra vigilant when Jonah is near the bathroom now, and learn to find the balance between giving him the independence he needs to learn to use the bathroom on his own and keeping our expectations realistic as well as safe!

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