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Potty Training CF Poop

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Oh poop!  How I do not like poop!  Especially CF poop.

"How is your child's poop?" - this is a common question CF parents get asked by their children's CF doctors.   What they are looking for are words such as "greasy" and "it floats," both symptoms of malabsorption (a common issue with Cystic Fibrosis).  So, I learned pretty quickly that if I wanted to move on in the conversation with my CF team, I simply needed to say, "his poop looks normal."

Normal for Bennett is greenish, very stinky and like diarrhea.  That child has never had a formed poop.  Part of it is malabsorption/Cystic Fibrosis.  Part of it is the feeding tube formula he is on (Elecare).  Another part may be his missing part of his bowel.

So, needless to say, I have dreaded potty training Bennett.  I dreaded it with Oliver but I dread it even more with Bennett.  It's not the training that's hard.  It's the mistakes that don't make it into the toilet that stink (no pun intended).

The other day, Bennett was in the bathtub when I heard him stop playing and say, "Momma, out.  Poop."

Evening baths and poop do not go together.  Poop must be scooped out.  Water must be drained.  Tub must be scrubbed.  Toys must be bleached.  So, when I heard "Poop" I went into panic-mode: get child out!

On my way to lifting him out of the tub, I asked, "do you want to try on the potty?" believing he wouldn't.  But to my surprise, he said "yes."

And there you have it!  His first poop on the potty!  It was great and I was delighted.  (I may or may not have squealed, kissed him and danced around chanting, "you poo-pooed in the pot-tee! you poo-pooed in the pot-tee!")

I was excited - my child took a big step towards independence and self control, all by himself!

But my excitement was as much about me, as it was about him.

For so long, I have dreaded potty training with Cystic Fibrosis, afraid the process would be long and hard and yuckier than normal.  And yet, Bennett demonstrated to me in that bathroom that, sometimes, fears can be worse that the thing itself.

He isn't fully potty trained by any means.  And I fully believe that before it's said and done, I am going to have one of those in-the-middle-of-Target-"Mommy-I-pooped-my-pants-now-its-running-down-my-leg" moments.

But I gained a little insight the other day when Bennett used the toilet all by himself without much assistance from me:

Cystic Fibrosis dictates much of my life.  But no one has yet told my kid he's supposed to let it dictate his.

I am humbled and reminded that children who face challenges are often given the ability to overcome those challenges in unique ways.

I had no idea Bennett was potty training himself without any help from me.
I just may have been too busy fearing the process.

One Response to “Potty Training CF Poop”

  1. love this...been following your blog and love your honesty. Our son with CF is only 6 months younger than your Bennett so I'm right behind you with this one and dreading the potty training myself. Thanks for the reminder that I shouldn't worry so much about everything!

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