Potty training a child with a developmental delay

The most important thing to remember when potty training a child with a developmental delay is that potty training may not be until your child is much older than their peers. As a parent, you may want him to potty-learn sooner, but like any child potty-learner, he won’t learn it until he’s ready. You can start potty training your developmentally delayed child when he’s ready. Your little one may get stuck in the pre-potty training step for a long time before they see potty training success, but be patient. It will eventually figure it out.

Here are some potty training ideas you can do with your child with a developmental delay before going to the bathroom.

-Teach him the words for urine and feces. You can use whatever words you want for this. During diaper changes, talk to him and be sure to tell him about “pee” and “poo poo.” If you’re not speaking yet, don’t worry, your receptive language (what you understand) may develop before your expressive language (what you can say).

-If he’s walking, take him to the bathroom when you go to the bathroom. Let him flush the toilet or sit on the toilet. If you don’t want to sit on the toilet or if you freak out, back off and have fun. Having him sit on the toilet when he’s not ready will only make potty training more difficult.

-Give him a potty or potty. Don’t worry if you don’t use your potty soon. Let him sit when he wants. You may not actually pee on the potty, but it does allow you to enjoy your potty and being a big kid.

Signs that your child is ready to start potty training.

– You can walk alone to the bathroom.

-He can take his pants off and on by himself.

-Can understand simple instructions

-He has regular bowel movements

-He is able to communicate his needs to you

-Is interested in wearing underwear

-He is not afraid of the bathroom

Alerts you when your diaper is wet or dirty or you remove diapers

Once you start to show signs that you are ready to begin potty training, take it easy and be patient. Take him to the potty and let him sit on the toilet or potty. He may not actually go to the potty, but while he’s happy let him sit on the potty for a while. He may like to sit on the potty like a big kid, but not understand what he’s supposed to do. Do not worry. It will get there eventually. Let him practice sitting on the potty once or twice a day. First thing in the morning and right after nap are good times to let him try to sit on the potty. If he gets frustrated or you get frustrated, take some time off.

It may take months to be successful, but one day you will be pleasantly surprised when your developmentally delayed child finally urinates on the potty. The first success is always the most exciting, but don’t be surprised if the first success is not followed by another. When my developmentally delayed son started potty training and finally succeeded, I thought “eureka, he finally succeeded.” Only to be disappointed when he didn’t do it again for another two to three months. Keep connecting and let her practice sitting on the potty. Over time, your success stories will become more frequent, and eventually, you will be fully potty trained.

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