Toilet training was one of my least favorite tasks as a mom—maybe because I had three boys. Bottom line is there is a time to toss the diapers and start using the potty. What is a challenging task with typically developing children can be even more daunting with a child who is delayed in language development. They are already behind the curve in communicating and potty training requires fine-tuned communication. Here are some tips:
· Understand that it might take longer and your child may be a little older when he is able to understand and regulate his system as well as let you know. I know there is some pressure to train your child by a certain age if he is going to a typical preschool since there are some schools that require your child to be toilet trained to be enrolled. (There is some “cramming” going on right now among some of my parents as school entry is right around the corner)
· Start to narrate the steps to going to the potty using words, gestures or pictures to accompany your description that are at your child’s language level. (a sign, single sound, word approximation etc.)
· Introduce simple books on the subject consistently using the signs, sounds or words that your child can use. In the August “Parents Magazine,” they shared the following books to help parents and kids: Stress Free Potty Training by Peter Stavinoha, Ph.D., and American Academy of Pediatrics Guide to Toilet Training by Wailrich
· Help your child communicate through gestures, pictures or words to let you know when he has to go. The sign for potty or toilet is shaking the fist with the “t” sign. Try to link the word “pee” or “go” or whatever approximation your child can use consistently to let you know.
As parents of children with special needs, what tips have you found helpful that you can share with other parents attempting to toilet train their child? Please share in the comments below.