Potty Training A Child With A Disability

Potty training a child with a disability can be even more of a challenge. Here are some great tips to help make this new skill easier for you and your child to master.

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While many parents often complain of experiencing difficulty when they are potty training their children, for most families, potty training is a fairly easy thing to do. Even when there are problems or children show signs of resistance to it, usually they will eventually become potty trained. However, this is not always the case when dealing with children that have developmental delays or disabilities, such as autism, Down syndrome, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, etc. Children with special needs can be more difficult to potty train.

Most children show signs that they are ready to begin using the toilet as toddlers, usually between 18 months and 3 years of age, however that is not the case with all children such as those who have the intellectual and/or psychological readiness to be potty trained at this age. It is more important to keep your child’s developmental level, and not his actual age in mind when you are considering starting potty training.

Let the child show you signs that he is ready first. The signs of intellectual and psychological readiness includes being able to follow simple instructions and being cooperative with your directions, being uncomfortable with dirty diapers and wanting them to be changed, recognizing when he has to go to the bathroom or needs to have a bowel movement, being able to tell you when he needs to urinate or have a bowel movement.

The signs that the child is physically ready to potty train can include your being able to tell when your child is about to urinate or have a bowel movement by the types of faces he makes, posture or by what he says, having the ability to stay dry for at least 2 hours at a time, and having regular bowel movements. These things are very important in your child’s success at the potty. If your child is not ready your efforts will be fruitless.

Things that you will have to avoid when toilet training your child, which will also help prevent resistance, are beginning during a stressful time or period of change in the family such as when you are moving, there is a new baby, etc., pushing your child too fast, and punishing the child for his mistakes instead of being positive will also cause problems. Be sure to go at your child’s pace and show strong encouragement and praise when he is successful because this simply works better.

Since an important sign that your child is ready and what can be used as a motivator to begin potty training involves being uncomfortable in a dirty diaper, if your child isn’t bothered by a soiled or wet diaper, then you may need to change him more often to get him used to being clean and dry. Other children can continue to wear a diaper or pull-ups which are also great for day training.

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Additional Resources:

The Potty Trainer
I can highly recommend the Potty Trainer Ebook. Johanne Cesar has done such a great job in putting a tremendous amount of hands on potty training information and advice in this ebook. You will get a step by step guide to potty training your child.

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