So, today, I decided to use Teri Crane’s method for potty training your child which is all explained in her book, Potty Train Your Child in Just One Day (http://www.tericrane.com/). Now, first of all, I must say that this method is not recommended for children with special needs and/or developmental delays, so please, please don’t read this post assume anything about this method.
So, it all started one day when I was looking for a quick way to teach my son to go potty. I’d done all of the things that were suggested to me, like re-enforcement with candy or stickers, putting my son on the potty with clothes on and clothes off, putting him on the potty in the mornings when I know he has to go. This all lead up to Monkey going potty every morning as part of his morning routine, but if I put him on the potty during the day, he holds it until he has a pullup on. So, I began looking up potty training techniques and found Crane’s book. It was at my local library, so I picked it up and read it. I have to admit, it was highly entertaining.
At the time that I read the book, I still didn’t have the money to get the potty training materials, which included a doll that wets, party supplies, snacks and drinks, so I took the book back and decided to wait until I had the supplies. Then a couple of days ago, searching online, I found a store that sells a doll that wets (http://www.toysrus.com/product/index.jsp?productId=3252893). That was the only product I was having issues finding, but I’d found it and when I opened the box to see how it works, I was delightfully surprised to find that it is anatomically correct. The book recommends that an anatomically correct doll be used if at all possible, however, a doll or stuffed animal that does not wet can be used. So, last night I prepared by learning how the doll works, blowing up balloons (which my husband helped with) and putting out potty training books and DVD’s that I found at my local library.
This morning, I woke up early and began making final preparations. I put the balloons in Monkey’s bedroom floor, put the doll on a table where I could easily reach it when I woke him up and made my way to the kitchen to prepare some snacks. The book makes it seem like the party has to be really expensive, but it doesn’t. I paid about $25 for the doll that wets, used my son’s comforter for a water proof blanket, found snacks we already had and then bought balloons for $1.25 and stickers for $1 at my local Family Dollar store.
Then it was time to wake my son up. He was actually already awake when I came into the room. The book says not to immediately put the child on the potty, however, since my son has Autism and needs routine, I decided to go ahead and put him on the potty because that’s normal for us and he needed to have at least one part of his routine left in the day. So, I showed Monkey his new doll and told him that today, he was going to teach his new doll how to use the potty. (I accidentally skipped the part where I give myself a gift, too.) My son did what he normally did and went potty, but rather than give him his normal treat, I presented him with a tray full of tasty treats and let him choose his own.
While he was on the potty, I grabbed his comforter and put it on the couch. Then I got my son off the potty and brought him into the living room where we watched one of the DVD’s I’d borrowed from the library. After the movie was over, we went back to the potty to “try again.” Each time, I made sure to bring the doll with us and explain to my son that he was showing the doll how to go potty. We did this all day and then at the end of the day, my husband went off to pick up a friend of mine for the end celebration. I continued the schedule of back and forth, watching DVD’s and going potty (taking short breaks from potty related stuff throughout the day) and then I got a phone call. My husband had accidentally popped one of the tires on our car, so he went off to fix it and my friend told him that by the time he got back to pick her up, she would have money to put gas in her car and would be able to drive herself. She was planning on stopping by the party and then driving on to another city anyway. I’d invited other people, but since it was a spur of the moment event, most people couldn’t show.
By the time my friend showed up, my son had had one accident and had not actually peed or pooped in the potty all day, except when he went, very first thing in the morning. No matter how many trips we took to the potty, it looked as if this technique was not working for my son at all, but I continued to go through all that I could remember from the book. My son was pleasantly surprised when my friend showed up, too because he hadn’t seen her in about two months. (She’d been in another state for a while.) So, this evening, I put a pullup on my son and explained to him that he still needed to use the potty. The pullup is for just in case. However, all hope is not lost. My husband and I plan on putting my son on the potty every time one of us needs to potty, that way he understands that going potty is part of the entire day, not just part of our morning routine.
As for the book, it’s entertaining and the technique of having a “potty party” would probably work for a normally developing child. As for my son, I’m still not sure if he understands why we did all that we did today, but he’s still dry for now, so we’ll see how it goes over the next few days. I should have reviewed what I had previously read yesterday and given people more notice so that they could have celebrated with us. Maybe then it would have worked better, but for now, I’ll wait and see if this day was worth all that was put into to it. Even if it wasn’t, I still took away something. I’ve been told by professionals and other parents to put my son on the potty at regular times throughout the day, but we never really begin or end our day at the same time, so this isn’t really an option unless we can figure out a regular schedule, but maybe putting him one the potty when we need to go will work along with the reinforcement of this day.
Lastly, I’m not sure a doll really benefited my son with potty training, but in the long run, it might benefit him with socialization. He’s never had a doll before. He’s had stuffed animals, but no dolls. He was semi-interested in the new doll, but generally ignored it when it made noise or went potty. I’ll keep using the doll and some of the techniques from the book, but this is definitely not a one day program for my son.