We met with our behavioural specialist yesterday to talk about Alex's progress (or lack of) with toileting. She told us that she's got some real concerns about the program, though she's not out of tricks yet.
Alex has picked up everything else in the behaviour program with relative ease. The aggression is down and compliance is up. He's learned to tie his shoes and is working on brushing his own hair. As the specialist put it, he works very well within the program. Figure out a reinforcer, apply it consistently and he learns quickly.
The fact that this is not happening within the toileting program tells her that either he does not understand what we are asking or he is not capable of it. She's going to focus on ways to help him to understand what is required.
We've created a stop-motion movie showing a BM dropping out of the body and into the toilet. She's also found a toy which "poops" candy. She's going to think about some other techniques to work with as well.
We're not giving up but we are starting to think more seriously about Plan B, where we will teach Alex to clean up after himself. We'll also have to do some thinking about what we want because he is almost completely toilet trained for peeing and if we go back to a diaper, that will disappear. Maybe we can train him to go get a diaper if he needs to go poop and then clean himself up and go about his business.
She also had some insight into our challenges with Nathan. He does quite well for awhile, a month or two, then starts to backslide. The problem is that we're not varying the reinforcers. After he's had two weeks of success, we need to start switching things up and making the reinforcers more random. For some kids, it needs to be completely random and unpredictable. For others, just varying the reward or timing is enough.