Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Adoptive Parenting Tip #6: Potty Training

This is a problem for all adoptions, whether you've adopted a younger child or an older child.

If your child was not in a functioning family (a family that teaches appropriate ways in hygiene, eating, schooling, etc...), then they will have bathroom problems. I had to potty train Smalls, an 8 year old. How do you potty train an 8 year old? It was hard. She apparently had taught herself how to use the bathroom. I had to reteach her the appropriate ways of using the bathroom and wiping, oh the wiping. It was a challenge for her to do the bathroom routine correctly, but I think we are almost there! And they don't have any books on how to to potty train an older child because I googled and couldn't find anything!

At times, our bathroom looked like a preschool boys bathroom. Any pre-k teachers out there? Then you know what I'm talking about! I felt like we cleaned our bathroom on a daily basis, sometimes twice. I'm not familiar with the laws of physics and gravity, but I'm pretty sure my daughter broke them all. Pee was everywhere! How? She's a girl. Just sit on the toilet and go. No, that would be too easy. And did I clean the bathroom by myself? Heck no! We have a song in our house, "make a mess, clean a mess". So I would inspect after Smalls went to the restroom and then almost immediately start singing the song. She would cry and cry and cry and cry and cry. She knew that I wasn't going to clean this up by myself while she got to go play. As a therapeutic parent, I would help her clean her mess. I would say good job scrubbing or you missed a spot. After all the cleaning and the final mist of alcohol (instead of Lysol I use rubbing alcohol-much cheaper), we have a talk about using the bathroom appropriately and then we practice using the bathroom over and over again until she gets it right. The whole ordeal took about 45 minutes (tantrums included).

I didn't even mention our fear of public toilets. I think I will make that into a whole new post, because that's it's own crazy.

When you adopt an older child, remember that you may have to teach them things that should have been taught when they were at a much younger age. Frustrating? Yes. Take an extra dose of patience and try your best. Your child will get it eventually.

If you're about to lose it because pee or other substances shouldn't be where they are, just walk out of the room and breathe (this part usually takes me at least 10 minutes). And then walk back in and say with a a smile on your face, "let's go get the cleaning supplies. looks like you made a mess". The first couple of times doing this will be a nightmare (you have been forewarned). Smalls pitched a fit. She wailed. She threw stuff. She broke stuff. Once they are regulated, get them back on task of cleaning up their mess. You are working on the motor memory part of the brain. When they use the bathroom, they should remember to use it the correct way because of all the practicing (re-dos) and cleaning up their mess. Smalls doesn't get cause and effect very well, so we are constantly re-doing a lot of stuff everyday. It does make a difference, not as quickly as I would like but I will take what I can get. Hang in there! You are doing more for this child than anyone has ever done.

After the clean-up is finished and your child is happily playing in their room, go do something fun like read a book, garden, watch tv, or whatever you find relaxing. The next bathroom break for your child in in a couple of hours, so get refreshed it's about to get dirty again.

One of my favorite music videos:

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