8 answers

How Do You Potty Train a Boy with Developmental Delays

I have a 3 year old boy with global developmental delays. He does not use a lot of verbal communication however; he is able to get his point across through much gesturing. He acts as though he is ready to be potty trained (e.g. he likes to put his potty seat on the toilet, he likes to sit on the other potty seats around the house, and he is irritated immediately after pooping in his diaper.) I tried for a couple of days to leave his diaper off but he doesn't seem to understand that he is about to pee. This morning he was bouncing on his trampoline and pee'ed on it and then whined and sat down on his potty chair. He did this all on his own with me saying or doing anything. Please let me know from you own experience how I can better help him. I don't know if I am doing this right considering his special needs.
Thank you,

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I would suggest the book "Toilet Training in Less than a Day" by Azrin. It's an older book (1970's) and the method was originally developed for adults and children with disabilities. I used it with my 3-yr old and it worked amazingly, although he does not have any special needs. At 3-1/2 he NEVER has accidents and is completely potty trained for naps and at night. It's all about consistency and reward. Good luck!

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Not sure what kind of delays he has, but I just read an article and sent it to another mom with an autistic daughter - but this helps especially with low communication - I really like the pictures idea on the wall. http://maxweber.hunter.cuny.edu/pub/eres/EDSPC715_MCINTYR...
I used to hang notes for my kids everywhere so they would know how to do things step by step and I wouldn't have to keep repeating myself - they don't have delays, but I am not the most patient person to repeat...and the signs actually worked! They felt much more independence....so the pictures could really be a starting point to independence for your little one....and the timer thing the other poster said is great for his timing - my son was very bad at recognizing that he had to go till it was too late - all the way up to 3rd grade! He had some emotional issues tied to his bio-mom, so I think the stress was a contributor - but he had scheduled meals and I would schedule his bathroom breaks and remind him every two hours to go. At school I could not remind him, so he had accidents often...so I started taking his privileges away because he was old enough to know better and go to the bathroom before recess, etc (I had told him to do this several times). This worked. Of course that may not apply to you yet because your DS is only 3 - but maybe for future reference. :)
Also - check out the case study towards the end of the link - it is interesting....hope this helps!

I would suggest the book "Toilet Training in Less than a Day" by Azrin. It's an older book (1970's) and the method was originally developed for adults and children with disabilities. I used it with my 3-yr old and it worked amazingly, although he does not have any special needs. At 3-1/2 he NEVER has accidents and is completely potty trained for naps and at night. It's all about consistency and reward. Good luck!

We are at the end (fingers crossed) of potty training my 3 yo son. He went without diapers for about 3 weeks to a month before it clicked (same thing for my friends' kids). One of the things that I think caused the problem was he wasn't drinking enough and I took him every 15 -30 minutes and he would only get drops out. One day he had a lot to drink and was circling looking for a diaper and I knew he had a lot stored up and I grabbed him to put him on the potty and he got a lot out. That is when he realized that "gotta go" signal. We also had to change the rewards every so often and give him a choice of rewards. We are still working on aim and #2 (catch him when he has to go and sit him on the potty and sit with him, make a big deal of how big it is). We also let him call his dad at work or his poppy to tell them that he went #1 or #2. If he went to the potty after going then he is starting to realize he has to go. A lot of it has to do with teaching muscle control. Dr Phil's method is based on another person's method that taught potty training to mentally retarded children. If you google Dr. Phil potty training, it gives some good techniques. I think using Pull ups have set us back at least a year on potty training. My brother had global developmental delays and was potty trained by 2 1/2, so don't believe the myths that it can't be done until they are "ready" or until age 3 1/2.

Visual cues tend to help those with speech delays. Create a potty chart, using a graphic you can find online. I think it's called a behavior chart. So, you get a picture of a potty, a child eating by himself, a child who puts his toys away, and a child who brushes his teeth and goes to bed, etc. As your child can accomplish each of these tasks, he earns a gold star. You can also try adding sign language to your program and see if that helps his communication skills. Of course, as you are signing, you are speaking so that he hears the sounds. Later, try to get him to move his mouth. With my second speech delayed child, we learned to get her talking by first making loud noises, then singing, and, of course, getting a speech therapist early into the program. Also, in the beginning stages, I had to be very in tune with the time factor until I could turn second child onto the timer. I was the timer in the early stages of training. It was hectic, but seemed to help. When he wakes, he goes potty. After breakfast, he goes potty. You point it out. Then, gradually start asking, "Do you need potty?" He should pause and be able to answer yes or no. Then, say, "well, why not try anyway." That seemed to work with my second child.

I think this is typical. My son did exactly the same thing your son is doing at 3. He was in daycare though so the staff and other children around him were all encouraging him throughout the day with potty time and cloth underwear. Although I was the one who kept regressing to pull-ups it just delayed the process of training. So just keep at it. I would say walk him to the bathroom and ask him if he has to use the potty even if he does nothing he'll start to get it. He's been peeing freely (smile) So try cloth all day pull ups at night. It took a minute but it worked.

My oldest is autistic, he wasn't completely potty trained until the summer before kindergarten. We used sign language and pictures. Check into your local CHild Find, or Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program, they can help you out with ALOT of things. Here is MDoE site for information and hopefully help: http://www.marylandpublicschools.org/MSDE/divisions/early...
My son started in this program at 28 months, after a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder- Pervasive Developmental Delays- Non Specific Origins. He is now 13,in the 8th grade at a regular school, and in Honors math with 2 high school credits already!

These are all great suggestions. I would like to add something. Have you tried using some simple sign language. I used it with my 3rd daughter when she was not talking like she should at 3 yrs old. Her two older sisters did all the talking for her so she did not see much need I guess. At any rate, when I introduced signs for cup, drink, milk, juice, potty, ect she was talking in full sentences in a month. I have heard of this many times from other moms. If you go online and look up baby signs you will find many sites that will show you what they are.

Hi D.,
Although I have not potty trained anyone with delays like your son, I do have a suggestion. When I was working in the potty training classes in day care, I used a timer. First observe your son and figure out how often he has to pee. Then set the timer for a few minutes before the next time he will need to go. Teach him that when the timer goes off it is time for him to sit on the potty. It might take some time for him to get the concept, but it does sound like he is ready to start working on it. Have something close by as a reward for him (I have used gummy bears(fat free and sugar free) and stickers on a chart for this). You will eventually be able to wean him off of the rewards, but to get him started it works.

Good Luck and keep us posted on him progress!

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