Potty training is hard to nail down in the best of circumstances. But add to the normal stress between parent and child the possibility – nay, the likelihood – that said child might not be able to have sufficient bladder control at all, well, things might get interesting. Then again, everybody involved might just learn something new.

We’ve spent time before with Namine to work on potty training, but it’s never taken for long. Namine would get tired of it, she’d forget to tell us that she needed to go to the bathroom, or she couldn’t even tell that she needed to go.

That last one is exactly what the chuckleheads in urology told us – due to Namine’s having caudal regression, no one knew if Namine was incontinent, if she lacked the sensory perception to predict the need to use the bathroom, or if she simply lacked the time and experience that all children need in order to start using the bathroom instead of their diapers. The results of their tests on Namine told them that she was probably slightly incontinent; at the very least, she was unable to completely empty her bladder. Whether time and practice would allow her to improve, or whether that was a hard limitation posed upon her by the CRS, no one could tell us.

All attempts so far have not ended well, but we wanted to try again. So on Saturday, I put a pair of underwear on Namine under her diaper, as a test run of sorts. I told her: “Remember, you have your underwear on, and the diaper is only just in case, so we don’t have a mess to clean up. I want you to tell me when you need to use the bathroom, okay?”

“Okay, Daddy. I will tell you.”

Namine with her Aunt Lydia at the church dinner.
Namine with her Aunt Lydia at the church dinner.

It certainly wasn’t like the other days we’ve tried this. We didn’t just stay at home with Namine sitting on a towel; we went to a movie, we joined my parents, sister, and grandparents at our church dinner, then we went to church. A little more than halfway through the day, just after the movie, Namine asked me if she could wear just the underwear under her pants. She had done so well, so I said yes.

By the end of the day, she only had one accident, in the evening. She was quite upset about it, but I made sure she knew that I wasn’t mad. On the contrary, I was amazed. That first day went much better than I could have predicted.

Yesterday, we tried again. And again, Namine nearly went the entire day without an accident. Even going to the grocery store and back home, she told us when she needed to go and she held it until she could sit on the toilet.

Some time ago, my aunt had given us a disability toilet aid – a rack with a toilet seat attached, basically, that sits over the toilet. It provides additional support for Namine to climb onto the toilet, but it’s always been too difficult for Namine to use. But with all of Namine’s practice in therapy with climbing into her wheelchair, we felt it was time to give it another go. She did pretty well for it being the first time, and she was excited at the prospect of being truly independent in going to the bathroom.

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In the evening, Jessica went out with one of her friends, giving me and Namine some Daddy-daughter time. We drove around, delivering homemade valentines to my parents, sister, and grandparents. Then we went to Taco Bell and shared a Nachos Bell Grande for dinner. Then we went home and relaxed.

One of the downloadable games I have for the PS3 is a remake of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game that originally came out for the Super Nintendo. Namine, having recently discovered a love for the TMNT show on Nickelodeon, wanted to play. What was that? Play co-op Ninja Turtles with my daughter? That’s a dream come true, right there.

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Unfortunately, Namine had an accident while we were playing. Despite my occasional asking “Do you need to use the bathroom?” I think she either forgot entirely or just didn’t want to stop playing. Either way, she was upset about it, especially after the same thing having happened yesterday. But you know what? Accidents happen, and I wasn’t about to get mad about it. I think, all things considered, that Namine did exceedingly well over the weekend. After only two days of excellent results, I am quite proud of her.

  • Michele

    Yay Namine!