Last week, I took my kids to their pediatrician for their yearly wellness checks.
Josie went first and got a clean bill of health with instructions to eat more fruits and veggies.
Moses went next and squirmed like the wiggle worm he is while the doctor checked his heart, ears, and throat.
When the doctor had Moses lay down with his head on my lap so he could check whatever needed to be checked in his nether regions, Moses put up a little fight and about kicked the doctor in his own nether regions.
When the doctor pulled Moses’ pants down and saw his diaper, he said something to the effect of “I see potty training isn’t going well.”
I was a little taken aback and explained that we’ve gone through spurts of Moses being interested over the last year and have had off-and-on success with getting him to go on the potty, but overall, he’s not really into it yet.
The doctor’s response?
“So he’s lazy.”
This time I was a lot taken aback and said nothing.
But just because I didn’t say anything doesn’t mean I wasn’t thinking plenty of things, including that I wish Moses would’ve kicked a little harder a few seconds before. I almost asked, “Do you mean he’s lazy or I am?” Because let’s face it, Moses isn’t going to take potty training matters into his own hands.
So what did I do?
I came home, felt guilty that my kid wasn’t potty trained yet because I had allowed him to be lazy, and began mentally preparing myself to have him potty trained by Christmas.
Monday morning I got the pull-ups out and started making Moses sit on the toilet every 10 – 15 minutes. One time he peed. The other times he yelled and made it clear he did not appreciate being on the toilet. By the end of the day, he was happily in his diaper and I was feeling sane again.
Here’s the thing. I know my son. I know him much better than this man who sees him a handful of times a year. I know that him not being potty trained has more to do with him not being ready than either of us being lazy. Could I put him through potty training boot camp and force him to become potty trained? Probably. But again, I know my son and I know that this approach is not the best for him. (Or for me for that matter.)
He’s just not ready.
Would I love for Moses to be potty trained?
Well, yeah. I’ve never met a parent who says, “Changing diapers is my favorite.” Especially when the child can contort and twist and put up a fight like none other.
From what I’ve learned about potty training kids with Down syndrome, it’s pretty common for them to be closer to 5 or 6 before it really clicks for them for a variety of reasons: cognitive ability, bladder control, realizing the sensation of needing to go, etc.
Some kids with Down syndrome are successfully potty trained by the time they’re 3 or 4. Which is fantastic for them! And another piece of evidence that God didn’t use a cookie cutter when making our kids. I’ve also read accounts of parents in which their child with Down syndrome was seemingly potty trained for a while and then suddenly reverted back to being in diapers.
I know that other parents have different theories and ideas about potty training for kids with and without Down syndrome. And I hope that those work well for them.
This experience has once again reminded me that while books and doctors may say what my child “should” being doing by certain ages, and that other people may have opinions about what he’s ready for, I know him best. He depends on me to do what’s best for him, not what’s best in the eyes of or for the convenience of others. I hope other parents remember that, too, whether their child has a disability or not.
I know he’s going to knock potty training out the park. Just like he’s done for learning to drink out of a straw, crawl, walk, go up and down the stairs, use a spoon (and a fork when he feels like it), and a whole host of other things. Just like he will do with talking, reading, writing, riding a bike, and whatever else he sets out to accomplish.
It will happen.
When he’s ready.