Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is most notably used in the treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. But in truth, ALL children experience problem behaviors at some point in their lives - from the “terrible twos” to the rebellious teen years. This blog is designed to provide an overview of ABA and how it can be a useful tool for typically developing children, teenagers, and even your husband;)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Adventures in Toddler Potty Training - Revisited

A while back, we attempted to begin potty training with our then 16 month old daughter.  We had big girl panties, a potty chair, chocolate candy reinforcers, and a strategy (a modified positive practice method).  Our girl had been interested in sitting on the potty for months and going into the bathroom with mommy so we finally decided to crack down and get started with a potty training method.  Unfortunately, she quickly lost interest and began saying "NOOOOOO" everytime we prompted potty.  Not wanting to push the issue too much as to make the potty aversive (and thinking maybe she's just not ready) we discontinued.  We attempted again several weeks later and again several weeks after that.  Still no luck.  All of a sudden our now 23 month old started requesting panties and the potty.  Since SHE is the one who initiated this time, we figured we'd try again.  This time we took a more relaxed approach.  While wearing panties, we just let accidents happen and took her to sit on the potty when they did.  Her potty was wherever she was playing at the time so her activities were close by and she could continue to play (to an extent) while on the potty.  Within the first week she was requesting potty independently, holding it in until getting to the potty, and urinating in the potty seat.  Of course, we went through several outfit changes, loads of laundry, and paper towels along the way.  Then, a turn for the worse!  She started holding it in ALL DAY LONG, despite the amount of liquid she was consuming and despite wearing a diaper at naptime.  We worried that she would develop an infection if she didn't go so we resorted to (rather unpleasantly) placing her in the bathtub in order to get her to go and then placing her on the potty to finish.  She screamed!  She was so mad that we put her in the tub (I think she knew that it would make her go).  I don't know if it was a "fear" or a "control" thing for her.  Now she doesn't want to take baths at all.  NOW WHAT?!  It's a full on tantrum to sit on the potty or to get in the bathtub.  Nothing but the bathtub will "make" her go potty.  Running water?  Tried that.  Playing in a water bucket while sitting on the potty? Tried that.  Loading her with liquids?  Tried that.  Going back to diapers?  Tried that.  "Bribing" with candy and stickers?  Withholding favorite activities?  Oh yeah, tried that!  She's a stubborn one, she is!  TODDLERS!!!!  She holds it all day until she either naps or goes to sleep for the night.  Now I'm asking YOUR advice?!!  See, professionals need advice too;)  We have discontinued potty training for now and it seems she's back to going in her diaper (sometimes).  Guess we'll start again soon.  She's physically ready and capable, but maybe emotionally or mentally not quite there yet.   


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