Potty Training + Speech-Delay=Impossible?

Updated on September 23, 2008
S.G. asks from Alameda, CA
7 answers

My 30 month-old son has been telling me when he has "poo-poo". This can mean a pee or poop diaper. However, he refuses to sit on the potty chair I have for him in the bathroom. Lately, he has been sitting on it more often on his own terms, but when I ask him to sit on it he adamantly refuses. I have no clue how to start the potty training process, especially since he is speech delayed. Sometimes I wonder what he actually understands versus what I say that he just ignores because he's 2. I know there has to be moms out there that have potty-trained their sons who have had speech delays. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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answers from San Francisco on

You can still potty train with a speech delay, as long as he is able to indicate to you that he has to go. Every child gets to this point at a different time and through many different manners. My oldest son has Down syndrome and was not fully potty trained until 5 years old. Your little guy will get there before then I'm sure.

Here are a few suggestions you can try: If you aren't too shy, you or your husband can sit on the big toilet while he sits on the little toilet. During that time, you can talk about going poo and what you are doing. Kids love to emulate their parents.

You can also try getting a seat that you can put on the big potty so he can sit on the big toilet. If he sees you sit there maybe he'll want to do the same.

Reward him when he sits on the potty and does something in it. My girlfriend used M&Ms for each successful potty experience. Only one per pee/poo!

If he's not ready though. Don't feel compelled to force him. He will get it eventually. The main things he must be able to do for potty training are:
1. Be able to pull down/up his pants
2. Sit for a period of time
3. Have an awareness of when he has to pee or poo
4. Some level of control (be able to hold it until you get to the potty)

Those are the major ones. His awareness and control levels may go up and down at this age. Keep the faith. He will get it and you will look back fondly at this time on what you had to go through to get him there.

Regarding your mommy guilt, it's a balancing act. And sometimes the scales don't tip in our favor. Be consistent in your love and your quality time with the kids. There is never enough time and it gets worse as they get older. Through it all, they will know you love them and will always be there for them. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

My 39 month old (grand)son is also speech delayed and not yet potty trained. He has shown very little interest in potty training and does not sit on a potty chair. I decided not to rush the potty training. It will come when he is ready. It may mean changing diapers a little bit longer but that is a lot less stressful for both of us than trying to potty train him when he is not ready. We watch various potty training DVD's and read the potty training books together, but he is just not ready.

I have found that with my child that is speech delayed he is also behind in other things then a child who is not speech delayed. Don't add the stress of potty training to your daily life. It will come when he is ready. Just be patient.

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answers from San Francisco on

You potty train them just like any other child, except may not be able to verbally communicate it to you. You should put him on the toilet about the times he usually goes or every 1 - 2 hrs. It helps to read a book to him about potty training while on the potty and be sure to give lots of praise and reward when he does go. My son loved to blow out a candle as his reward. my son also has a speech delay but he conquered it. He still can't really verbally tell he has to go, he'll just go or gesture if we're out. the best way is to put him in underwear and sweat pants and he'll begin to go and won't like it. everytime he goes, put him on the toilet. let him know if he doesn't like it, then he has to use the potty. Just keep in mind that all children learn in their own time, regardless of verbal communication. good luck



answers from Sacramento on

Thank you for posting this. I've been wondering the same thing about my 32 month old son. He doesn't say anything when he needs changed, but he will try to pull the diaper off and he's dry through the night. I'd love to start the potty training process, but I'm not sure how since he doesn't speak a lot of English yet. He talks all the time, I just don't know what he's saying. :-)



answers from San Francisco on

I can't entirely remember, it's been a few years, but it seems that limited speech at 30 months is not entirely abnormal.

For sure, a boy who does not want to be potty trained at 30 months is COMPLETELY normal, and if he takes until 4 it will not be too unusual. My personal take on potty training was that it was not worth the obsession/effort on my or my kids' parts, so I pretty much let them go potty when they were ready. Until then I spent the extra $ on diapers. My daughter did it at a young 2, and the boys took longer.

And they're all potty trained now as teens.



answers from San Francisco on

I would recommend using the real toilet with an insert. I bought my son a potty chair (for on the floor of the bathroom) and he NEVER wanted to use it. The big boy toilet however was much more exciting!



answers from San Francisco on

My son didn't talk until he was around 3 (we had speech delay assistance through the school district as an early intervention--if you haven't checked into this do so right away--it really helped!). He had big brothers around to copy, but what did it best for him was running around naked. I know it is getting colder now, but he loved "watering" the plants in the yard, and I kept a potty chair in the kitchen (just in case he needed to go right away), as well as the one in the bathroom. I kind of knew his cycle and we'd make a game of it, with a prize for going. I bought targets for the big toilet (or cherrios work just as well--tell him to aim for them). He didn't need to speak to tell me whether he needed to go. Luckily we never had an accident while naked (a couple while clothed). If he is in child care, they should hopefully be experienced in this and can assist you while he is there. Good luck.

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