Though we're still in awe over it all, in a way it actually complicated things. Most of the time, he can't/doesn't tell us when he has to go, so there is a kind of constant vigilance on our part to watch his very subtle cues and pay attention to the time in relation to meals and water. And since he obviously can't get to the potty himself, it requires lifting his 35 pound self onto and off of the potty many times a day.
On the go, things get even tougher. We have to maneuver him onto and off of a potty seat either in the van or at someone else's house. Sometimes it isn't pretty. There have been many times - at events where we were away from the van and couldn't easily carry the potty seat - when I've wanted to just 'let' him go in his diaper (we still use pull-ups for the occasional accident). But I can't shake the feeling that it's actually making a kid who has an understanding of the concept go in his pants instead of in the potty, as he would prefer. I just can't bring myself to do it. I would rather skip an event or leave early.
We've explored other options, but were always thwarted by the fact that Collin refused to go on any potty other than his own.
Until this week.
I had an incident with my back this spring during which I realized that this life with Collin is a marathon versus a sprint not only mentally and emotionally, but also physically. I had to refrain from lifting him at all for over a week, which was tricky to orchestrate and involved lots of helpers. At that point, we got serious about trying to think through the daily physical demands of Collin's schedule and promptly ordered a new, more age appropriate potty seat.
So last week, I decided to use our fresh start in the new apartment as a chance to try Collin on his new potty. First, we just tried it in his room like he was used to. He thought about it for about 5 seconds and decided it was okay. The next day, I decided to run with it and moved the potty into the bathroom and then raised it and rolled it over the toilet. This eliminated an entire step of the process (the emptying and cleaning of the potty) and allowed me to sit on a stool instead of all the way down on the floor. It's a beautiful thing.
No picture of Collin on the potty, since he says once was enough and he's much too big for that sort of thing now, anyway. But here is a picture of his potty chair, which will eventually (when we have a fancy shower) also be his shower chair.
The most recent development came this week at PT when I tried Collin on the 'big boy potty', which was just a normal toilet that has an extra seat for little kids that you can fold down inside the bigger one. We used the stool from in front of the sink (it's a pediatric practice) and the whole thing went so smoothly I could hardly believe it.
He looked at me like, "What?"
So we're assembling a potty-on-the-go pack that includes a folding stool and a good potty seat that will fit most toilets.
It's tough to explain what a big deal this is for us. It not only saves my back and feels like a huge leap toward normalcy, but it opens new options for us in terms of where we can go and what we can do. That's a lot to be thankful for.