5 answers

Potty Training the Non Verbal Child

Ok moms! I REALLY need some help. My daughter is 3 and 3 months. She is basically non-verbal, although she does use some signs. She has finally learned the sign for potty so we have been working on potty training for quite awhile. I know that some of it is probably my fault, as I don't take her as much as I should. But, we are always running to therapy 3x a week and school 5x a week. The problem is that she will not tell me when she has to go. She will sit on the potty and go, and occasionally tells me beforehand (and we make a HUGE deal of it)but most of the time, she will just go in the pull up or tell me after the fact. I tried just putting her in underwear, but it was such a mess. Has anyone tried it with a potty doll or the Dr. Phil train in one day? How about the potty pants that aren't supposed to leak? Do they work? I am really in need of suggestions about how to get her to tell me ahead of time. I have a 1 year old and am done with changing pull ups for my 3 year old. HELP!!!! :) Thanks...you guys are the best! Ps! She will not go near the toilet when she has a bowl movement, but I can take one thing at a time.

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More Answers

Hi, I had to use a picture system with my son. His teacher puts the pictures of all the steps of potty training on a ring and we kept it handy and would go through the steps by the pictures. He is a visual learner and was also non-verbal. We also put a velcro potty picture near the door that he could pull down and give to me. Not sure that worked or not.

Have you tried setting a timer to go off every 2 hours? When you hear it ring, say "potty time" and take her to sit on it. Put her in her big girl underwear. Take her potty before you leave the house, and when you arrive at your destination. Then again before you leave and again when you get home. Keep a large ziploc bag with a full change of clothes in your purse or diaper bag. If she has an accident, just change her into the dry clothes and put the wet ones in the ziploc. Don't make a big deal out of accidents. Just say something like, "oh well, next time you'll remember." Consistency is key. It has also been my experience that pull ups do not help. If they are in a pull up, they will go in it.

It sounds to me like your child is not ready to train. You have done about all you can, and she isn't ready. As long as you have tried putting her in underwear for a week and she still has lots of accidents, then she isn't ready. Try putting some of the pressure off of her and wait a few months. Put her back in diapers, as pull ups really aren't meant to replace a diaper. They are meant to hold the occassional accident, and the absorbency in those things is very minimal (my husband works for Kimberly-Clark who makes those things). Don't talk about it at all for a few months and then try again by putting her in underwear for a week. I know it sucks having to change 2 sets of diapers, but she just isn't ready. When she is ready, you will train within a week and you should have very few accidents and the training will not be so stressful on anyone.

I would give her and YOURSELF a break and try again in a few weeks. Using a picture schedule of the potty steps might be helpful for her. As for her telling you she needs to go, you could try a picture of the potty for her to give to you or point to when she needs to go or a sign with the words "I need to go potty." on it for her to give you or point to.
Hang in there! I know it's frustrating, I have a 5 yr. old autistic son who isn't trained yet and I can't wait for the day when he is!!
D. L.

My son was still fairly non verbal at 3 yrs old, but we knew he was ready to be potty trained. I'm not sure if this will be frowned upon, but it could be worth a shot. What we did was leave him completely naked and stayed at the house for about a week with the potty chair in the middle of the living room floor. At the time we were living in a house with hardwood floors so if he didn't make it to the potty, no big deal to clean up. I watched him like a hawk, and if he looked like he was getting read to go, I would gently nudge him as close to the potty as I could. Eventually, he caught on, and he was completely potty trained within that week. He is now 4 and never has accidents. Now, if we had had carpeted floors, it may have been another story, but if you have wood or tile or a really great carpet cleaner, maybe give our method a try. Good luck! I know it's a nightmare in the beginning, but life gets so much easier once they get the hang of it.

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