October 3, 2007

Special needs and potty training

I really need some help...or something. As anyone who has read my blog knows, my oldest daughter has special needs. She was born with Trisomy 9 Mosaic and we didn't really even know it until recently. Anyways, her major delays are speech and potty training. I mean, if you don't have words or a way to really communicate, how can you learn to use the potty?

I've been kind of waiting around to see how she would mature before really tackling it. Plus, her being at school, they do take her to the potty regularly, and she has gone a few times here at home. She will be five in January and I would really, really like to have her trained or at least in the process of it by then. Every morning almost, she leaks out of the pull ups. I bought diapers for awhile, but she needs pull ups for school, so rather than buy both I just get pull ups. They just don't hold, and she almost always has a poo first thing. So I changed the sheets and wash her gowns everyday. Not to mention it takes half the day for the urine/poop smell to go away.

I thought about buying cloth diapers again for her size, but I just didn't think I could commit to doing that with everything else that's going on not to mention it is costly at first. I do use cloth diapers for Sarah, but lately I've been using a lot of disposables. Will life ever get boring???

So, I'm just not sure what to do. I can't seem to find any good resources on the subject. The only thing I found is the book about training in less than a day, which was supposedly created for handicapped/special needs people. It sure seems like a lot of work to me. She really does understand the concept, it's just training her to respond to the potty and learning to hold it. I found the ASL sign for potty and have been trying to teach it to her, not consistently though. It's just one of those things I'm procrastinating about.



Rachel said...

Very smart to start teaching her the sign for potty! I watched Signing Time on the web and thought it was an amazing way to communicate when the language skills are not in place.

Training to hold just takes time. Have you tried putting a cloth diaper insert into her pullups? Just a thought.

Is her mattress wrapped in plastic? Put a towel betweeen the sheet and the plastic?

I'd say cut back on liquids before bedtime, but if her urine is that strong it may be concentrated and she may need more water.


blessedmomma said...

Well I don't have a special needs child but here is what has worked for me: I finally had to take our little boy out of pull ups and put him in underwear. He just did not understand or feel wet with the pull ups. I bought a bunch of underwear and put the soiled ones in a bucket.

We stayed at home for 3 days and that is all we focused on. YES...it was a loooooooong three days but we had it down by halfway through the 2nd day and we have never looked back except for the occasional accident. I did not believe he could master this but went on faith and mind over matter. All other moms around me were telling me that it would take over a year to toilet train. He is 3 now and completely trained and dry. I could not believe it when he got it after 3 days.

I also set a timer on the kitchen stove for about every 20-30 minutes and took him to the potty. I did this because I kept forgetting to take him to the potty and he would have an accident or I would get into my busy routine and forget.

When he was successful we made a HUGE deal out of it - I just got really excited and we clapped and jumped up and down and sang songs about how great it was. No bribes, no candy, just heaps of praise.

We also read tons of books about going to the potty - this I think would work great. Don't undersestimate your daughter's ability to take in what you read to her. I'd go the local library and find some potty training books and read them to her.

Did you know that most kids in the 50s were toilet trained by 18 months? I couldn't believe it!!!! We now have a population that has been dumbed down to think that toilet training is a difficult task - that there is a billion dollar disposable diaper industry now I believe has something to do with it.

I think that she is already going some on her own is HUGE. You just need to gently nudge her to the next level. REally....as a mom I think the hardest part for me about toilet training was the mental block that it could be done quickly. IT CAN!!!! I believe your little girl is so much smarter than we are all giving her credit for.

Good luck and I hope this helps! Just believe you can do it and she will!!!!


Anneatheart said...

Thanks for the ideas and encouragement. I know the biggest obstacle is my dread of it all!

We may just have to stay home one weekend and work on it...

Anonymous said...

My daughter has aspergers so we were very leery that we would be able to get her to become successfully potty trained. What really worked for us was similar to what blessedmama did. We completely got rid of the pull ups and used regular panties with a rubber cover up over it. We also spent three days just fully focusing on it and asked every 15 minutes if she needed to use the potty. The biggest help though was that we let her go to the store beforehand and pick out any treat she wanted. That treat was only given to her though when she used the potty.

howiesgal said...

Hi Anne~ Thanks for your comment on my blog (Howard Happenings). My daughter is 9 and has Cerbral Palsy, moderate mental retardation, severe sensory processing disorder and mild epilepsy. I tried for years to potty train her. We were finally successful when she was 7 1/2. I realize that might seem frustrating to you but I really want you to know that it can be done you just have to be patient :o) I would really love to chat more with you on different approaches to potty training and on what else there might be out there for you and for your daughter. Please feel free to e-mail me so we can talk some more.
~howiesgal (Caroline)