The same training methods apply to a child with special needs as to other children. More record keeping may be necessary to find patterns such as in the time between eating and drinking and need to eliminate.
Potty Training a Child With Special Needs
If advised by consulting physicians and specialists to toilet train the child, a great deal of patience and a longer time frame may be necessary. Many other skills accompany even simple routines for children with physical or mental impairments.
As a parent, you are the only one who knows your child’s abilities. You can gauge whether or not they are even near being able to grasp the thought or tasks involved in potty training.
Just like with all other children, you need to be sure that your child is fully able to understand his or her’s bodily functions and what to do with those feelings when they arise. You have to let your child dictate to you when the time is right.
Once you reach that point, use the same techniques I’ve outlined. Just because your child has special needs doesn’t make them all that different from every other child. As you are well aware, potty training special needs children just requires a little adaptation.
You need to do a clear task analysis of each process that trainers and parents often take for granted. This may involve actually writing down every step taken in order to go to the toilet. The tasks might include some of the following:
- Recognizing when she/he has to go to the bathroom
- Waiting to eliminate
- Entering the bathroom
- Manipulating clothing closures
- Pulling pants down
- Sitting on the toilet
- Eliminating in the toilet
- Using paper correctly
- Pulling pants up
- Flushing toilet
- Washing hands
- Drying hands
You may notice that many of the signs outlined above are the same as any other child who is ready to begin training. Your special needs child is no different. You need to be aware of what to look for before taking on this difficult task and then start with the right attitude for both you and your child.
To see if your child is ready to learn toilet training, answer the following additional questions.
- Can the child follow simple directions? (“Come here.”)
- Can the child sit in a chair for five minutes?
- Can the child wait at least 1-1/2 hours between elimination times?
Recognizing the signs that your child is ready for the potty is the best way to know when it’s time to begin. You are no different than any other parent at this point in your child’s development. Sure they might a little older, but you still have to help your child travel this road with as little disruption and distraction as possible.
When you are focused on the job, they’ll be focused on the job too. That will make the job easier on both of you!