Top critical review
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Should be included in your reading
on September 13, 2010
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.