Toilet training kids with Down syndrome is a real challenge. I'd say for a new parent of a kid with DS, give your child at least a year to get the basics down. Obviously there are exceptions to this, but from my experience, no matter how hard and consistent you work at it, it just takes a long time for little buddies to understand the concept. For a kid with cognitive delay's it takes consistent repetition and strict scheduling. Stick with it and I promise they'll catch on eventually.
As a teacher of students with DS only half of my students are completely toilet trained. Instead of letting us know they need to go, sometimes they'll just lay on the ground and kick back, all stoked to get cleaned up. I suppose if someone was willing to "baby wipe" me after a pants dump, I'd be hesitant to go on my own too!
So with Judah, my wife and I knew early on that we wanted him to be mainstreamed as much as possible. With that mindset our biggest goal/obstacle was to make sure he was out of diapers and totally toilet trained before he started kindergarten. We began the process a few months before he turned four. It was at that age we knew he was ready. There comes a point in every child's life when you as the parent will figure out exactly when your kid is ready to start going on their own. Honestly much of parenting just takes a bit of common sense, it's really not much different parenting a kid with Down syndrome... just more challenging and requires more patience.
It was a slow, arduous process with Judah and when he started kindergarten back in August he was about 90% trained. In other words, he was no longer in diapers. He was capable of peeing and pooping on his own. He just needed to be reminded when to go and required assistance with wiping. He'd just hold it until someone told him to go to the restroom.
Now that we're two months into his kindergarten year he goes on his own and will let someone know when it's time...
EXCEPT when he has diarrhea...
he... just.. can't... quite... hold... it...
Especially after eating some of the school lunches he has to put down! "Tostada boats"?
So he's had two accidents in his mainstream class. Both times were full on blowouts and both were after lunch towards the end of the day. The first stayed fairly well concealed in his britches. My class is next to his so I was able to intercept him and basically give him a bath in the restroom sink. The crazy thing is that three of my students with DS also had similar explosions around the same time, all within 15-30 minutes of each other.
The second accident was yesterday... on his 6th birthday and just before mom arrived in the afternoon with homemade cupcakes for his class party! This second time it did not stay well concealed. His classmates got to enjoy it all over their nice "circle time" rug and he left a trail of wrecked "tostada boat" from his class to mine!
So just when we thought we were in the clear on toilet training Judah, he throws us a curve ball. Such is life with many kids, but especially those with DS. The moral of this story is = Refried beans may taste awesome, especially when cradled within a crunchy taco shell that resembles an old timey river raft, but unless you want your kid floating in class, skip the school lunch that day.