Customer Reviews: Ready, Set, Potty!: Toilet Training for Children with Autism and Other Developmental Disorders
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VINE VOICEon September 13, 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
If you're trying to potty train an individual with developmental delays - in my case, a grandson with autism - read absolutely every book on the subject that you can, including this one. If you've been at it a while, you know as I do that it will be years before you can say, well that's over with. There will be setbacks aplenty during the course of the training. You need to arm yourself with every trick in existence. We have had many reversals in our journey toward independent pottying that were mostly the result of upheavals in routine (dad got a job that took him out of state for weeks at a time, mom got a job, and grandma took over a lot of care giving, went to a new school, etc.) Each time it was like starting all over again.

Ready, Set, Potty! has a lot of good things to try when you first set up your procedures. Suggestions for enticements: music, a favorite cartoon character, DVDs, reward tracking and gold stars - it's all good. And it will probably be necessary to go from one favorite thing to another as the training progresses, so it's nice to have a list of options to refer to. One I hadn't used that the author mentions is decorating the child's underwear as a reward. Some will work with your individual, some won't, of course.

There were two things about this otherwise good book on the subject of potty training that made me grind my teeth: One was that the author said on more than one occasion, "And 36 hours later...Success!" As though there is ever a case where a special needs child just suddenly "gets it" and that's that. Even the title suggests that this will all be over in a quick 1-2-3. You may have your first positive experiences relatively early in the training, but it ain't over til it's over, and that could be three years later.

The other thing I had to take issue with was the way the author persisted in generalizing. "If your child does this it's because of blahblah." For example ** warning to the weak of stomach, stop right here ** she says if your child engages in feces smearing he/she does so in order to hide the feces. No, no, and no. A child will usually spread his/her feces over the walls, furniture, face, arms, legs because he/she is stimulated by the smell, feel and sometimes the taste of the feces. Temple Grandin did this and commented she, too, did it for this reason. I was disappointed that the author was so emphatic (and emphatically wrong) about some of these issues.

So, yes, read the book. You will pick up on what's not going to work soon enough. And you may glean enough information valid to your child's situation to make it worthwhile. Just don't worry if you don't experience the miracles the author suggests you will.
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VINE VOICEon November 2, 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
My wife and I have a 4-year-old daughter on the Autism Spectrum. She is also developmentally delayed. Like many (most) kids with her condition, getting her potty trained has been something of a chore, to say the least. This book caught my eye, and I figured "Why not?". Although we've yet to try it out (just finished the book) this may be the ticket.

I think the book is very well written. Ideas are presented plainly, and in an easy-to-understand fashion. The author apparently has a lot of experience in helping special needs children get potty trained, so she's had a lot of experience explaining what needs to be done to a lot of parents, and it shows. She presents the various steps that need to be undertaken and explains why they need to be done, along with the various considerations. Each section also has several case studies, allowing the reader to see how the ideas presented in that section were used/adapted for children in different circumstances.

If I could think of one downside to the book it would be that it is unable to provide guidance should a person's circumstance be different from those described and addressed in the book. This isn't the author's fault, of course. It's just the nature of things: a book can't always address the special circumstances of every person. However, I think there's enough presented here that a parent can get something together that should work in many, if not most, cases. I suspect some creativity, and even trial-and-error, will be needed.

The author suggests a lot of things I hadn't thought of before, such as decorating the bathroom. Seems obvious, now that I think about it. Our daughter *loves* our Nintendo Wii (it's about the only thing she really loves), so some Nintendo decor may be coming our way soon!

Having finally finished the book I'm now ready to have my wife look it over, and then we'll give it a go. I'll try and report back as to how successful the potty training went. I'm optimistic.
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VINE VOICEon October 1, 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
When you think about challenges parents of special needs children face, potty training is not one of the first things that comes to mind, but it is one of the most significant. "Ready, Set, Potty!" addresses those unique challenges by presenting a system that draws on characteristics common to all children.

I started reading this book with an unhealthy dose of skepticism, spending most of the first two chapters rolling my eyes at what seemed to be an unwarranted degree of optimism. In order to cope, parents of special needs children have to come to accept that there are certain things your child will probably never be able to do, and I had begun to think potty training was one of those things for my daughter.

A few more chapters in, that skepticism was replaced with hope, and by the end, the hope was replaced with enthusiasm. This is not a one size fits all approach to potty training. The author explains the reasons underlying every step, in clear enough detail that any parent can see how to make it work for their own child, often presenting it in a way that makes it easy to relate as an adult. For example, did you ever think about why every home bathroom seems to have a stack of magazines, and what might be your child's equivalent? The book is full of case studies of ways the plan has been customized for individual children. Most of those children had challenges equal to or greater than those my daughter faces.

I'm not able to report on the results yet, as the program requires extensive planning, customization, and preparation, and recommends carefully choosing the date you begin. However, a plan is fully in the works and I will update this review when the time comes.

This book teaches general principles for teaching any child any skill, and I found myself thinking of ways to apply those principles to instilling dinnertime expectations in our neuro-typical 3 year-old, whose eating habits have been a challenge for us lately.

The one area I would like to have seen receive more attention is with physical disabilities. For example, my daughter can balance on the toilet just fine, but is physically unable to get herself on it. However, the general principles taught made it easy to see that this could be accomodated by adding a step of asking someone for help to her potty "story."

In summary, a very informative book. I am very much looking forward to the results.
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on April 12, 2012
Ready, Set, Potty! begins with an explanation of the importance of potty training--it means independence for those with developmental disorders. The key is to create an individualized program that will teach the necessary skills and achieve the desired outcome. The program needs to be well structured with order, predictability, and routine. These components are especially important for training children with autism and similar disorders. Order provides clarity of instruction. Predictability molds expectations and outcomes. Routine creates consistency in action, allowing the learner to walk through the same steps to achieve the desired outcome.

The heart of the book is the seventeen-step process to achieve potty success. None of the steps is complicated but the number is daunting. But the issue is also very important and very worth the effort. Several principles make this program successful. The motivators (to remain on the potty) and rewards (for success at being trained) are tailored to the individual child. The child is often referred to as "more like us adults than they are different," so the parent can realize that there isn't some mysterious method that will succeed. Children's communication is often non-verbal. Adapting the training method is accomplished by using picture books and simple charts or visual guides on what to do. Practical experience is emphasized throughout and many examples are used (including from what the author did for her son Alex).

Each chapter ends with tips for parents, teachers, and caregivers. The chapters also have some questions to help the reader personalize the information presented. Pages 118 to 122 have a handy checklist for all the steps of the program. With this in hand, the reader can know that they are fully prepared to start the Ready, Set, Potty! program.
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VINE VOICEon October 5, 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book really did have some great ideas we hadn't come across before to help potty train our three year old autistic daughter (who was being notoriously stubborn about cooperating)!

It clues you in to strategies like putting a sticker on the potty between your child's legs so they don't clench them shut, and wearing underpants with their favorite cartoon character so the pottier doesn't want to get them wet.

The technique that really did it for us was redecorating the bathroom so it was a fun place for our child to visit. We covered ours with colorful monkey and frog decorations and it worked like a charm! We ask our daughter, "Do you need to go potty" and she'll scream "Nooooooo!"; we then ask her "Do you want to go to the monkey bathroom" and she calms right down and says, "Okay"!

So basically what you really need to know about this book is that it works (at least for us)!

My wife thought the author inundated you with a bit too much information and rules at times, but there's plenty of useful tips for developing techniques that work for your child.

Since it has my daughter finally out of diapers, how could I not give this book five stars?
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VINE VOICEon November 25, 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'm currently toilet training a very low functioning 7 year-old, and I worked with a 4 year-old last year, with good success for both. I was very interested in the book and what it has to say, but I was a bit disappointed; the "rules" seem a bit rigid, and this system wouldn't work with the current child. He has highly runny poops 3 to 7 times a day, and we are extremely reluctant to remove the diaper back-up until we have a reasonable chance of success. One of the boys in our class insists on standing up, which doesn't fit with these rules either. However, we found some neat ideas in there, such as putting footprints on the floor, since the biggest problem with the current child is that he refuses to walk to the toilet. Another part we found useful describes finding and using motivators to get the child to sit; while none of the current potty-trainers in the class have a problem with that in relation to the toilet, the information seems sound and may, in fact, be useful in other circumstances too.

I was interested to talk to someone 2 days ago who toilet trained an autistic child last year using a self-devised regimen very similar to this one, so I feel that there's a good base here. I'm just not so sure that it's as wide-ranging as the book says.
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VINE VOICEon September 5, 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book came around when I really felt I needed it. My daughter is 6 and autistic, and not in any way, shape or form toilet-trained! I've tried over and over, her school has tried, and it just doesn't seem to take. So I was ready for some direction!

There's a lot I like about this book. I especially like that it doesn't assume your child is high-functioning, or young. There are examples given of training 20 year non-verbal people. The book shows much respect for people with autism as individuals, recognizing they have their own likes and dislikes. The advice is down to earth and practical.

However, I think the author is a little over-confidence. She doesn't seem to think that her program WON'T work for anyone. And maybe that is the case, but I don't think so. We started it recently, and one key component just doesn't seem to work for my daughter---part of her plan is decorating underpants with a picture of something the child really, really likes, so they won't want to get it wet with urine. Well, my daughter loves to get things she likes wet! She often puts her toys she likes best in water, just to make herself happy. So she has little invested in not getting underwear wet. She also has never really responded well to visual cues or plans, which are a big part of this plan. So I think I will be using it in bits and pieces, and that is NOT how it's supposed to be used---the author is pretty plain about that! But I think it work would for many kids, and I really like having a detailed plan to look at. I also love the examples here, and the obvious caring and love the author has for all children.
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on June 2, 2013
After many unsuccessful attempts to potty train our 3,5 years old daughter with ASD I found this book and decided to give it a try. We have prepared the toilet according to the directions (in fact many or even most of the steps described in the book are preparations that needs to be complete before the training start) and started the training. First successes came in the first week which was very motivating for us (both parents and daughter). Then we had better and worse weeks but we kept seeing the progress and after around 2 months the training was complete: we didn't have to stick to the directions (use decorations/motivators/prizes etc.) anymore.
The book is short and easy to read, the proposed program is quite simple and easy to follow. I know that what worked for one child may not work for the other but I think the Ready Set Potty is worth to try.
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on December 16, 2010
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Having read a few books and seeing many chapters in other children "how to potty train" books. I was hoping for some unusual or fringe methods to try and potty train in a new way ....

Unfortunately - like most books / chapters of this topic - the basic strategy is the same. Repetition and routine.

The book is a good read and offers tips and suggestions that you will not find in a "regular" potty training book. for that empathy and that perspective, it is worth purchasing. If you have a child that is delayed or has ASD, then this book can help with the same perspective and can reinforce the repetition and routine needed for toilet training.
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on March 15, 2014
it was very difficult to try and potty train my son. i only took bits and peices from the book that i felt would benefit him, within a week he was going on the potty like he has never had any problems at all. very happy with his success.
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