Category Archives: Life Skills

He Said WHAT?????

Until I catch you all up on where Noah is in his communication skills, I can’t really post Noah News because it won’t make sense chronologically, but I’ve got a little secret I’ve just got to share!!!!

One of Noah’s current speech goals is to combine his signs to make two-word phrases.  He’s doing well on that, and guess what!!!!!  Last week he said, yes he SAID, his very first two-word phrase.  Hmmm.  What did he say, what did he say?  I’ll give you a hint.  What have we been talking about a lot lately?  Uh-huh, potty training.  No, he didn’t up and tell me he had to go potty, not quite there yet.  But he did say “BYE BYE PEE PEE.”  (We’ve been working a lot on Bs and Ps.).  At the end of the Bathroom Routine board (see post here:, I’ve been ad libbing “bye-bye pee pee.”  He thought it was funny.  He and I worked on saying it together, and then one day, on his own, he let it fly. Now, this might be no big deal to a mom of your ordinary child, but for me, I waited 4-1/2 years to hear Noah’s first word (Mama), and 5 years to hear his first two-word phrase.   Oh, I’m so proud of My Mr. Wonderful.  And I’ve got to tell you, there is something to this idea that scripted routines promote communication and speech.  Yay Noah!!!!

Potty Training – Bathroom Routine Board Printables (PDFs)

We have had much success using a Bathroom Routine Board for Noah.  It has changed potty time from a very whinny, uncooperative, “do what I say” time to a time when Noah has a high confidence level and takes full charge of the situation.  We stuck the board on the wall next to the toilet, so he always knows where to find it.

This is the board we use in a PDF, so you can print it instantly.

Bathroom Routine – Boys

And here’s one for the girls.

Bathroom Routine – Girls

When we first started using the board, I would take Noah into the bathroom, direct his attention to the board, point to, sign and say the word under the first picture; he would do the task, and I’d move on to the next picture.  Of course, if you don’t use sign language, you can skip that part.  Soon he was heading straight for the board, pointing to the picture cards (PECs) one by one, and cheerfully performing the step represented.   He seems to highly prefer following the board than following my verbal directions.  He points, and I read.  He’s the “teacher”, I’m the student, and yet he’s performing the task while at the same time receiving auditory and visual cueing and feedback.  Talk about combining learning styles!!!!!!  He’s in control, and he LOVES it!!!!    Now that it’s been in use for a couple of months, he has the routine down, and we use the board when he misses an important step or when he is being uncooperative.  I try to keep the attention off me and instead focus him back to the board.  I also do not insist that he perform every step or that he refers to the board every time.  Since he has demonstrated he can follow the board, picture by picture, now that we are two months down the road, I don’t stop him if he wants to run off without drying his hands; or if the seat is already up when we start, I don’t go through the step of putting it down so he can start at square one.  I am purposely not encouraging the tendency that some special needs learners have to need very rigid routines.  At least at this point in his life, Noah seems able to function well whether it’s a perfectly scripted routine or not.  I feel if a child needs rigid routine, then by all means give it to him; but I don’t want to train Noah to that end unneccessarily.  The truth is very little in life goes exactly according to the script, at least our script, if you know what I mean.  Well, if you’re here,  you probably do know EXACTLY what I mean.  (Hugs)

Potty Training Reminders ala Picture Cards

Do you ever remind your child not to potty in his diaper only to have him stare at you blankly like he has no idea what you are talking about?  Do you feel like you just might not be getting through to him?  Well times that by three and there I am.  I’ve had three littles in diapers for two years now.  As much as I love my babies, enough already!!!!!  How can I have three in diapers?  Well, first consider Noah has Down syndrome, and we were ready to give him a little extra time and space to reach the “I’m a big boy now” stage.  Never mind that he started using the potty earlier than our other children did because Daddy did such a good job in teaching him.  He’ll go just about every time we take him.  I just figured he would have moved on by now to the “I need to go pah-teeeeeeee” stage.  No such luck – a mere 4 years later.  Next, we have Bella, age 3.  Gasp, yes, she’s 3 and still not potty trained.  My “neurotypical” children (who aren’t so neurotypical now that I think about it) start reading at 3 but don’t potty train until close to 4.  Go figure.  And finally, pulling up the rear, no pun intended, we have Seth, almost 2, who is starting to show a little curiosity about toilet training.

So, what to do?  It would be nice to cut down diaper changing time around here to five minutes from the current 15 (and that’s  on a good day).  I’ve been thinking about sandwiching lately.  That’s that concept that first year marriage counselors teach you where you say something positive , then you say what you really mean, and then you say something positive again.  Except I’ve added a little twist, and a few picture cards of course.  Take a look here, for a  boy version, and for the girl version.  When you arrive at the site, click the preview button, then click continue, and it will take you straight to the file.  Remember, you can print this out (along with everything else you can imagine)  just for registering for a free trial subscription to  If you just want to look, when you arrive at the site, click on the preview button and it will take you to the file.

I’m going to try this with all three littles and see who responds.  I figure if I take them potty every hour and show them the picture board 30 minutes between potty breaks, we might be on to something.

Chime in if you try this at your house.  I’d also LOVE, yes LOVE to hear if you’ve stumbled onto something creative that works with your little (or not so little ones).

Note:  I hear a lot of people say, “Don’t worry, he’ll potty train when he is ready.”  Well, I met a young adult the other day with Down syndrome whose parents fell for that one, and they are STILL waiting!!!!  Hmmm.

More on potty training later.