Zeke Perez, 6, is a triplet, so his mom, Deborah Perez, knew potty training wasn’t going to be easy.
“We had small potty chairs and portable urinals. We did the seats inside the toilet, every game, every underwear type, whatever. He would try and try and try and just nothing,” Perez, from Elgin, said.
When Zeke was 5 and hadn’t caught on like his siblings, Deborah turned to Beth Kohler-Rausch for help.
“There are so many different factors, behavioral issues, sensory components going on, whether they’re not quite aware of that feeling in that body, that urge to urinate,” Kohler-Rausch said.
An occupational therapist with Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital, Kohler-Rausch helps not just with potty training, but incontinence issues as well.
“I see kids, the youngest has been 4, the oldest is 15, still dealing with these kinds of issues.”
When Lucas Birks, 7, started outgrowing the diapers that you can find in most stores, his mom, Allison Birks, knew they needed reinforcements.
“I had no idea that there was anything like this at all, and we were kind of stunned and in awe,” Birks, from Plainfield, said.
Kohler-Rausch said one of the keys is to work with each kid’s individual interest. For Zeke, it was coloring superhero pictures.
“The superheroes that he colored gave him the idea that he had power over his own body, and for him that changed the mentality of the whole thing,” Zeke’s mom, Deborah Perez, said.
Most parents know that potty training can be challenging, so the question is: when should parents seek professional help?
“Typically a kid should be trained for bladder by age 4, so if you’re starting to struggle then, I would bring it up to your pediatrician. They can help make judgement to see if therapy is needed,” Kohler-Rausch recommends.
From doing frog jumps to strengthen a child’s pelvic floor to playing potty games to normalize the conversation, occupational therapy could be a game changer.