Thursday, June 30, 2011

Pee Everywhere

Yikes! If I went to confession, this would start with a huge omission of guilt. I have not been posting and have been so busy that I don't feel bad.

You'll live. I'm pretty sure there aren't many out there knocking down the door to check our humble blog each day.

Finally, what has been deemed [by me] as "the worst school year ever" is over. After spending a week enjoying breathing, I hunkered down for POTTY TRAINING!

I have to admit, I am not afraid of toilet-training. Doesn't scare me. Doesn't intimidate me. Doesn't make me wince or cower with fear of ruined clothing, floors or furniture. Why? Because I am a behavior analyst working with children with special needs. Toilet-training is what I do on a regular basis, so I figured I would stick to the plan and do what I normally do.

I don't usually talk about what I do on the blog, which is meant to highlight Olivia and our family, but the wonderful success of toilet-training has inspired me to spread the word. As a behavior analyst, I use the research-based methods put forth by Drs. Foxx & Axrin. It has worked well with all my clients, so I figured it would work with Liv, too.

You can find a short description of their book here, on the Best Nanny Newsletter. Essentially, it's an intense, scheduled system that utilizes reinforcement for success & teaching/practicing when accidents occur. The book is very easy to read and can be purchased on Amazon for relatively little. I've used this many times with my clients, so I did a slightly modified version with Liv, especially after the initial 7 straight accidents in about 20 minutes incident on the first night. I switched to a 5 mins on the toilet/5 minutes off after that and increased by 5 minutes [off] after the 3rd straight success. Instead of "pumping her full of liquids," as I often suggest to clients, I gave her about 1/4 - 1/2 box of juice every hour. And I cut her off about 1 - 1.5 hours before nap/bedtime. She does still sleep in pull-ups. We were at 20 mins off/2 - 5 mins on when she self-initiated for the first time. I waited for a second time and stopped scheduling her all together.

There was some major, hysterical, roof-raising crying every time she wetted herself, which affected her willingness to even sit on the little, green potty conveniently set up in our living room. So I did a little re-pairing and allowed her to watch her most favorite show, Yo Gabba Gabba! I also set aside M&Ms - 2 for pee pees and 4 for poops. Eventually, I faded the TV show to books (see the picture above), so I could also give her Gabba when she successfully used the toilet. In order to keep the allure of Gabba high, we did not watch any TV... this did lead to my temporary insanity and a strong desire to interact with other adults that may have bordered on unhealthy.

Tomorrow I'm letting her wear pants again (she's been running around in her skivvies and a t-shirt), and I'll put the TV on non-child-friendly programs. Over the weekend I'll fade out the use of Yo Gabba Gabba as a reward, and then, I'll start thinning the use of M&Ms.

I began the program after I picked her up from daycare on Monday -- so around 5pm. It's Thursday (4pm-ish), and I can honestly say that she's got it. She may still have an occasional accident, but I'm so proud of her. That first day there were 6 wet accidents in about 4 hours. The second day 1 wet and 1 poop; yesterday, 1 wet accident. So far today, nothing (knock wood...). She is telling us when she has to go, and for the past two naps, she has woken up dry. Maybe I shouldn't count my chickens, but it is, at the very least, exciting.

And for all you fellow behavior analysts: Yes, I took data.

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