potty training


(Down syndrome) Potty Training Diaries

I suppose you’ve all been there – that place when you look around and scrunch your nose and SWEAR you can smell pee – but can’t place the source and you realize you are at a place in which you feel like your every waking hour revolves peeing and pooping. It’s like, what should be a total unmentionable is now ALL you can mention, because it’s YOUR WORLD.

So, yeah – that’s where I am! Toilandia: where, like clockwork (or because of clockwork), every 40 minutes you think about toileting.

I know a lot of parents of kids with Down syndrome go through this, often for a while, so I thought I’d go public with how it was going on facebook. High Five – that was a good move, because you guys reading on facebook have given me so much support and super awesome tips. Actually, some of the tips were inspiration to write this post, because I wanted to share some of these nuggets:

  • Pour warm water on the child’s thighs, or place child’s hands in warm water, while on the potty to get them to go
  • Some kids go for distractions, some don’t. Some parents use iPads or shows to keep their child occupied while on the potty; some don’t. It was nice to know that it all works for different people.
  • Blow bubbles from the toilet. It relaxes “those” muscles.
  • Make a “toilet box” – with an egg timer, a new book, some stickers, a tube of bubble solution and bubble wand – make the box toilet exclusive (hence new book) to the toilet. Use the egg timer as an aid to give child enough time to relax and do what they need to but knowing they will be off in (5!?) minutes if they don’t go. Plenty of praise when they do, act normal when they don’t.
  • Charts! Charts! Charts! Hand-drawn charts (each child with their own color marker), or charts with stickers to track success and progress. This can be used with behavior as well.
  • Make a “Potty Bucket” – small, inexpensive stuff in it. They can pick out something from the bucket when they go. This can be used in conjunction with the star chart with behavior – when x number of stars are earned, they get a treat. And once the training is going well, taper off on the stars.


 The Potty Book – available on kindle/print – Moxie love it; great toilet book that Melissa recommended (- thank you!)

Once Upon a Potty: cute e-book for girls from Om media. Moxie loves it too.

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Potty Time – app, dvd’s, etc. App is free and it’s awesome. In-app purchases include the whole DVD, but there are plenty of free extras – like charts, Rachel calls, etc. Really fantastic.

Daniel Tiger – here’s the link for all the episodes related to potty training. They never fail to inspire Moxie/Mack to do things like “flush, wash and be on your way” (- hard to work with when you have an outhouse, by the way): http://www.pbs.org/parents/daniel/episodes/

Down syndrome Potty Training Facebook Group: good place for support, tips, inspiration. https://www.facebook.com/groups/166428150042326

For those of you not following the blog Facebook page (and why aren’t you?!), this is for you:

The Complete Potty Training Diaries (from Facebook):

Day One of our INTENSIVE POTTY TRAINING. This is for Moxie and Mack, both. So far: we watched “Potty Time” (Signing Time) and an episode on Daniel Tiger. The kids are chock full of fluids. They should be slushing as they walk. So far, Mack has gone twice and Moxie, not at all.


It got to be around 3pm and I put them in pull ups for a Doc Mc Stuffins show (- I knew they would fall asleep, and sure enough..they are snoring away on the couch now). SO! You want to know how it went? Well, Mack pees in the potty just fine. He likes it. Moxie does NOT. I plied her fluids for hours – to the point in which she was just like, “No!” when I thrust more juice her way. She finally went, but it was outside, and not squatting. Any ideas on how to get to her actually pee in the POTTY?

Day Two of our INTENSIVE POTTY TRAINING. Moxie got up and I brought her to the potty like Chris suggested – took off her diaper and had a go at the potty (- and no go on the go.. ) Put on her underwear per her request. Mack got up and also went potty (and actually went). Moxie still hasn’t gone yet. Mack, on the other hand, WENT POOP!! IN THE POTTY! High fives all around.

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Day Two of INTENSIVE POTTY TRAINING: Well, the Dynamic Duo are napping now – both in pull ups. I am following Chris’s advice in doing everything toileting-related by their potty, and getting on board every hour and a half. That’s going well. Moxie’s not peeing in the potty yet. She peed pretty much everywhere else though! Marking her territory, I guess. Mack is pretty basically potty trained. He tells me has to go, he readily goes, he’s happy to go and go and go. We’ll see how tomorrow unfolds. I was wondering if any of you use stickers? Or rewards? I haven’t so far, mostly because I don’t have stickers or reward-like stuff. Or charts? Are they actually useful?

MOXIE POOPED IN THE POTTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I was going so long and so hard with the busta-joy that she was finally like, “yeah. wipes” and handed me the package of wipes. Ok, got it, not a big deal, Moxie. Just ENORMOUS!!! She said “poop”, got on the potty, actually pooped and got up and said “poop” again!!! This was clearly with intention!! Still no pee. But poop! YES! YES! YES!

Update: mom fail, you guys. Major, bad mom fail. Moxie was horsing around, I kept calling her to the table for dinner. Then she wanted to sit on the potty and I thought she was playing and called her back and made her sit and eat. Well…then she was standing in a puddle of pee and poo. frown emoticon I felt bad because I think she was trying to go in the potty before but I was just too TOO tired and stuff to really comprehend that she was doing that. High five though to Moxie! And Mack pooped too! School will be tomorrow; we’ll see how it goes. I’m going to have her sans pull ups…

POTTY TRAINING UPDATE: I just sent Moxie to school with regular underwear on. And 2 spare underwear and 2 changes of clothes. Oh, I’m so nervous and hopeful. Kind of like waiting for an email from a hot guy when I was in my twenties… will he email? is he going to email? does he like me? is it all good? – only now it’s, “will she stay dry? will she remember? will the teachers be okay? will she be okay? is it all good?” The suspense!!!!

POTTY TRAINING UPDATE: Moxie peed at school. Like, in the room, at the eating table… even with The Best Teachers Ever as supportive and awesome as they are, I think I’m going to put pull-ups on over her underwear tomorrow and until the year is out. Have her bottom-free at home though, during waking hours. She has school Tues, Wed and Thurs, so more potty updates on Friday!

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POTTY TRAINING UPDATE! Moxie was in pull-up in school for the past few days, and bottom free at home. It worked out o-kaaaaay. Not okay. She didn’t go in the potty at school. She did at home though – still no pee though. I tried putting her hand in water when on the potty, but nope. Tried the ipad on potty, nope. Tried video on potty, nope. And I mean, “nope” for pee. We’ll keep trying. Mack, on the other hand, is just about potty trained for both. I hope that keeps acting as an incentive for Moxie – she tends to narrow her eyes in steely determination when she sees someone smaller than herself doing things she doesn’t do. That’s how she started walking, actually – she saw baby Zia doing it, narrowed her eyes and was like, I’M GOING TO WALK. Hopefully this will follow suite?? Meanwhile, I feel like my life revolves around bodily waste. And I’m achingly tired of Daniel Tiger’s potty episodes and Potty Time, both. Ideas for other potty-oriented shows? Advice? Good vibes? I’ll take ’em all, with thanks!

POTTY TRAINING UPDATE! I have my iphone back (yes!) and downloaded the Potty Time app, a book on Potty for girls (from om media which I love) and got the bubbles. No struggle at all to get Moxie to try – she LOVES blowing bubbles from the potty, but so far, no pee yet. The Potty Time app is a hit with both kids (- the call from Rachel is especially great). Pull ups when we went out and bottom free at home. No accidents today (knock on wood, day is not done yet).

POTTY TRAINING UPDATE: Moxie squatted to pee outside today which I count as a big win (she also pooped, which… yeah…). Mack, on the other hand, inexplicably thoroughly used his pull ups for both jobs today – I was surprised. Really surprised. Hoping tomorrow is a little more successful than today was.

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Real Time Update:

We started charts (see above) and it’s a hit. They love it. Something about stickers and kids, points and stuff, huh.

Mack got up this morning, walked blearily to the potty, unzipped his footed pj’s, pulled his pull ups down and sat on the potty. I think he’s totally potty trained now.

Moxie, still no pee. But we’ll keep working on it.

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The Best School Ever said that it’s okay that Moxie isn’t potty trained, they want her (and more stuff like that that has me looking at my toes because I’m always worried I’ll start crying over their total awesomeness). But even with them saying so, I know it’s a good thing to get her on the bandwagon now. I’ve been feeling guilty on account of how MUCH she wanted to do it before and how LITTLE I did, and so… we didn’t. But I’m ready now!

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I am potty training BOTH Moxie and MacQuinn: Moxie’s 4 years old and her typically developing little brother MacQuinn, is almost 2. I decided to just work with them both at the same time – I mean, why not?! Their level of interest was about the same and if I’m doing one, may as well do both, right?

This is a work in progress: we are not done

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I have been doing this for about 10 days now, but we are far from done. This is going to take some time, it seems. This post is more of a beginning of the process as it has led me.

Prep for Potty Training

I prepared by googling “Down syndrome + Potty Training” – useful links are at the end of this post – and also googled plan ole’ “potty training techniques”.

I ended up liking Julie Fellom’s Diaper Free Toddlers Program the best, wherein you let your child run around naked from the waist down – and make the potty the centre of your existence for those three days.

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We got busy.

I took the clothes off of their lower parts and set the timer on my iphone to every half hour.

Then every half hour after the timer buzzed, we sang “Potty Time” (- from Signing Time) and sat down in turns, Mac and Moxie.

Both children would go potty in their toilet but to date neither poops. They both poop outside – squat, go and then come over to tell me about it. Since they both have predictably-timed bowel movements, I think I need to follow them around at that time and place them on the potty when they start to squat.

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Cloth diapers

I have cloth diapers that can be pulled up and used like underwear but with a little more absorbency. (I use Charlie Banana that we bought 50% off from Target -does the job). I use these now around the house,  but I use regular diapers for when we go out/to bed.

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I also use the cloth diapers when we hike around the property since it will keep their privates protected. Hill and tree climbing, you know.

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So far…

The kids have been half naked A LOT. Mac-Q will go on an almost laughably Pavlov-like basis – he hears the ringer go off and BAM! I just have to hope the potty is nearby.

Moxie will go (it seems) when she feels like it. She’s far less conditioned than he is.

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meriah nichols aug (1 of 3)-2If I drop the ball and forget the timer on the iPhone, I live to regret it.

But overall, I try to keep perspective and laugh and remember that it’s all a work in progress and it’ll happen.

Maybe slower than I want, but it will.

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Links for Potty Training Your Child (with Down syndrome):

Toilet Training Children with Down syndrome (NDSSS)

Toilet Training Children with Down syndrome (article by Kennedy)

Potty Training in Three Days (- Baby Center)

Diaper Free Toddlers Program (- Livestrong, because I couldn’t find a link to the actual program)

Naked Potty Training (- site)

Down syndrome Potty Training Facebook Group


Programs that are GOLD!

Potty Time – from Signing Time – includes songs and lots of inspiration for the kiddos. They love it!

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood – Potty episode – it is on youtube, amazon instant video and mayyyybe on netflix?

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I’d seriously LOVE to hear your potty training stories or tips!


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