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>> Toilet issues & catheters<<
These tips have all been sent in by other parents, carers and professionals in the learning disability community. We hope they will give you plenty of ideas to try, but please remember Netbuddy is not responsible for the information provided or any of the activities suggested.
Protein isolate drink
John has had chronic runny bowels since birth. He has recently been found to have low plasma protein amino acids. A friend recommended a protein isolate drink, & we tried pea protein isolate. John's bowel motion was normal after one drink a day. I am one happy mum!
Big nappy bags
My son is 8 years old and in nappies. I found nappy bags just weren't big enough, so now I use pedal bin liners. Supermarkets own brand are really cheap & just the right size.
I'm caring for someone who is doubly incontinent, and I find Tena comfort Maxi pads the most absorbent
My son always sits down to have a wee. It is far less messy and stressful than standing at the urinal / toilet. As he's got older we've reassured him that its fine to do this
When toilet training my son, I put a pad over regular underpants so that he could feel the wetness but wouldn't be so messy. Also when he could still fit into regular nappies I bought really cheap basic pull ups that weren't so absorbent for the same purpose. He was being very lazy with it all so feeling uncomfortable / wet did motivate him to use the toilet
If you care for somebody with a catheter, its worth putting a washing up bowl under the night bag. It saves a lot of cleaning up if the tap gets left open or the bag leaks
Scared of the hole
Being scared of going to the toilet due to fear of the hole is common. We've had countless of people say that using a portable bidet (placed over the toilet hole) has helped the person they care for use the loo again.
A gentle approach
Remember to keep positive and offer praise. Even if that's not your gut reaction. Our son used to poo behind the sofa. Realising this meant he was not using his nappy and choosing somewhere private was actually a step in the right direction.
Help with toilet training
The Autism Helpline have an information sheet on toilet training and children with autism. It includes advice, resources, legal information, and organisations who can help. It is available to download at www.autism.org.uk/18375
Refusing to poo
Our son refused to poo in the toilet. Although he was dry he would only poo in his pad. We were advised to meet him half way - we would give him a pad but only to be used in the toilet. Gradually we got him to sit on the toilet wearing his pad until finally he was able to go without the pad altogther
Ready Set Potty
We've had real toilet training success using the book Ready, Set, Potty by Brenda Batts. Written by a mother of an autistic child, it outlines various techniques and strategies including decorating your bathroom, footsteps on the floor, keeping a log of elimination times and special pants. We are now 4 weeks in, and he's signing to us he needs to go the toilet. Result!
Ask your OT about the Clos-o-mat total hygiene shower toilet. It is great for people with physical disabilities and also those who struggle to manage hygiene issues independently. It has meant our son can go to the toilet all by himself - marvellous!
If you recieve free pads/ pull-ups from the Incontinence Service try contacting Waste Services at your local council to dispose of them. Our council collects ours as clinical waste. Not only are you saving room in your household waste bin but you know they aren't going to landfill.
We use Superundies Toilet training pants (pull-ups) for our 6 year old son for everyday wear at school and when out and about. They look like proper pants, but are far more absorbent than most trainer-style pants. We got them from BabyKind. They sell lots of reusable nappies etc too.
When we carry out intermittent catheterisation for someone, we use an old 1.5 ltr pop bottle to collect the urine in. You can see how much, note the colour, smell. A narrower opening is less likely to spill. Keep clean by soaking in regularly-changed milton water and change of bottle. Handy when travelling out and about as well as in emergency has a screw top lid.
In trying to encourage our son to become totally independent using the toilet, I taught him to use the toddler wipes (he is now 17) which come in a container and pull out one at a time. These sit next to the toilet and are used by the whole family so he doesn't feel any different.
If your son/daughter sometimes has accidents in public swimming pools, Fledglings do really good waterproof lined swimming trunks and swimsuits. www.fledglings.org.uk
Maia dry wipes
I buy Maia soft and absorbent dry wipes for bottom wiping. They are dry but I moisten them with warm water and use a bit of handwash or shower gel. You can get them from www.care-house.co.uk tel: 0208 2360060. They are cheaper than buying packets of wipes.
A product I have come across is called an easywipe. Its an extension for people with short arms/bad backs/overweight etc to help them wipe their own bottoms. http://www.buckinghamhealthcare.co.uk/compacteasywipe.php
The‘Happy Pee’, available from some mail order catalogues and Amazon online, has worked wonders for my son’s potty training. It’s a unisex canister (with a froggy lid designed to appeal to kids) and we keep it discreetly tucked away under the stairs. The cheapest I’ve found is at Essentials by post, which can be found at www.presentsformen.co.uk for £12.99.
Back to front
Ali likes to take off her pad to get to the contents, so we put the nappy on back to front as it is much harder to take it off but not that much harder to fit on that way.
Houdini pyjama suits
At night we put Jim’s pad on back to front with a popper style vest (larger sizes available via Fledglings) under his pyjamas which makes it harder to get to.
If having problems keeping hands out of nappies - put a ladies swimming costume on !
Boys boys boys........
When Colin was learning to use the toilet we put a table tennis ball in the toilet bowl for him to aim at - makes it all a bit of fun (you can roll up pellets of paper which works as well).
Put a few drops of assorted food colouring in the cistern. Guessing what colour the flush will be is a fun reward for using the toilet appropriately.
Make it stick
Use steri tape for a really firm stick on incontinence nappies that have lost their stickiness.
Sticky tabs alert
Make sure the sticky tabs are tucked in so they don't stick to the skin
We use a plant sprayer to wash Jesse’s bottom (with warm water !).
Evie can’t sit up very well. We cut up some non slip matting to fit the toilet seat which stops her bottom slipping down.
Save the embarrassment!
When Betty uses the toilet she often misses and makes a mess on the floor. We leave moist tissues in the bathroom so she can clean it up herself and doesn't have the embarrassment of asking for help.
Karen didn’t have enough stability and so was struggling to sit and “perform”. We gave her a footstool. It is so easy to forget that as an adult you have the floor for your feet to gain support.
Picture books are good
Potty training - Many autistic people are visual learners and the only way my daughter understood the idea was through a book. I used her princess obsession. I bought "I want my potty" by Tony Ross and it worked a miracle! The book is full of pictures and the phrase “I want my potty” is repeated continuously through the book. It also shows that accidents happen
Step by step in colour
Because Joey was scared of toilets we used a portable potty/toilet. You can get them from the chemist. It is a potty shaped two piece plastic frame to which you attach disposable plastic bags which are lined to absorb liquids. From then on it went slowly to the child size toilet, or child toilet seat with a step.
Inspiration came. A caravan portable toilet ! We picked up one for £20 and buy the chemicals to disinfect/neutralise the odours and it has been a God send!
Low seat, stable base and easy to store behind the door out of visitors sight.
Games in the toilet
At 5, we had tried almost everything to get Steve to use the toilet. We then put lots of fun activities in the toilet, bubbles, Velcro dart board , stickers etc and as he sat on the toilet we distracted him with lots of fun until he accidentally went himself in the toilet, he realised he can actually do it, his constipation has eased and he uses the toilet now every time on his own.
Who cares what they think.....
Toilet training seemed to be a long task but I found that once I relaxed and ignored the pressure I came under from peers and professionals (after all does it really matter when it takes a bit longer than usual?) it was so much easier.
Going at your own pace
I left underpants in Harry’s drawer so that he could help himself to them (mostly to put on his head as hats at first, but he knew what they were as they were the same as his older brothers!) and also seeing his brother use the loo helped. With no pressure from me; just a few hints left lying around he was able to decide himself that he wanted to wear big boy pants and threw his nappies away himself!! Not to say we have never had any accidents but so what - he was almost physically and definitely mentally ready and going at his pace was the way to go.
Free nappies for over 4s
If your child is 4 they are entitled to free nappies if needed. It is best to contact the school as most of the organisations that are supposed to know don’t!! I found this was the quickest way.
Protect the car seat
Buy a Wetec seat protector. (waterproof - washable mat).
Easy on - easy off
We use easy to remove clothing to make life simpler for us both.
Pete who has Down Syndrome was toilet trained with Terry’s nappies (poppers).
If you can't go cold turkey on the nappies try pull ups, huggies pull up nights for older children (the girls' version seemed more absorbent than the boys) or Libero who do a version. Try and start the process in April so you are doing it through the warmer months, and be prepared for it to take years; the rewards will make it worth it.
My son is a nappy wearer. I have always – since he was about 4 years old – put boxer shorts on top of his nappy. It not only keeps the nappy in place, but if there is a leak, it often gets the boxers before the trousers, so at least I don't have two things to change. It also helps if teaching children to use the toilet, because you can to still pull underwear down.
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