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Potty Training and Developmental Delays

Tammy - posted on 01/01/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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Joaquin is 5 now. He has low muscle tone, which I think is the main reason for his delayed potty training. He is now 100% trained, will go to the potty independently, for #2 only. How long before he is pee trained? I've tried sticker charts, M&Ms, motor muscle training, Cheerios in the toilet, wearing only big boy underpants, and a sensor that plays music as soon as he starts going. I also think his sensory issues come into play... he's an sensory avoider and will not touch his penis to direct the flow (so he only sits) and he prefers what he's used to (Pull Ups) against his skin. Although, he could care less if his pull-up is hanging to his knees. Any advice??? I'd love to finally be done with diapers. (His little sis was day and night trained by 2.5.)
TIA
Tammy

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Amanda - posted on 02/02/2011

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i need help. my son is four and unless i tell to go he will just go on himself he has speech delays. m starting to get the feeling that he will never be potty trained nd i have tried every reward system on him. i get no help fromhis father or stepfather. i know he has a learning disability but i can only take so much any suggestions/

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I am the mother of a 17 year old son with dual developmental disabilties. The bad news is, he wasn't potty trained completely until last year! The good news is, now that I had the help of a behavioral specialist I have learned a few tricks that likely would have made us more successful much much earlier on!



First, keep in mind that in general boys are more resistant to potty training than girls so give up on the brother/sister comparison!). Next, you mention the low muscle tone, so clearly doctors or specialists are cluing you in to the fact that is an additional issue for your son. Finally, every child is unique when it comes to potty training whether they are "typical" or "special needs" so don't give up, just keep trying until you find what works for you and more importantly for him!



Here are my helpful hints for your consideration:

You did the right thing working on bowel movements first. They are easier to control, likely less frequent and involve more physical sensations that your son can feel and relate too. Use this as a stepping stone in talking with him. Continue the positive reinforcement when he has a BM in the toilet. Then when working on urinating in the toilet tell him "You are doing so good at pooping in the potty, I know you can pee in the toilet too" or something like that.



The specialist (who is a man) asked me why I was hung up on trying to get him to urinate standing up? He doesn't know who "decided" that is what men should do, but who says so anyway?! But it is easier, it is faster, it is more sanitary... I made all of my female guesses... He replied that I already know that many things my son will do will not be the "easier" way and in fact if he faces challenges with eye/hand coordination, balance and so on how would standing, holding and pointing at a toilet be "easier"?. Point taken. He said I usually don't "hurry" my son when working in other areas so why here? Point taken. He said that no matter how dirty I think that men's restrooms may be - they really aren't all that bad, it is likely that I will pick/choose restrooms that aren't questionable when letting my son go to them, and most of the "germs" theories we have about toilets are urban legends anyway. It is really more about learning to wash your hands after urinating at all and has nothing to do with sitting on a toilet. Of course none of these things are issues in our own home - and in fact sitting on the toilet with the penis pointing down into the toilet saves we mom on cleaning the floor - hurray! We should ask our other men to do it too! haha



Sidenote: My son has sensory issues too - be glad if he doesn't prefer to touch his penis now - years from now you will posting a comment working on the opposite problem - all boys do it, but how do you get a special needs child to stop doing it so much/in public and so on and so on! ugh



Pull Ups - they make them great and so there is little to no discomfort because they pull all of the wetness away from the skin. While at home, you may have to work on putting him in regular underwear and letting him get wet, assuming he won't like it. If he doesn't NOT like the sensation of being wet, then you can use those intervals to work on positive reinforcement for keeping his pants dry. That didn't work for my son because he doesn't seem to feel "being wet". It might work for you though. If it does, you can also start out using "boring underwear" but let him go shopping with you and pick out some "special underwear" in a color or theme he likes and he works to earn the right to wear them when he is successful.



Another important piece if you go this route, is to take it in small steps. Just try the real underwear a few hours a day, then all day but not at night and save night time for after he has mastered success throughout the day. The other VERY helpful thing to know is that you don't have to go "cold turkey" at night. You can start out with pull ups while sleeping and then move to the "mens guards" that are made by Depends. They may be too big for his age, to which I say what's to stop you from simply using maxi pads in the same manner at night but placing them in his underwear appropriately... take a look.



Now here are the BIGGEST CLUES the specialist taught me. It is ALL about learning your son's body rhythm. Your own doctors and specialists can help with this too. How soon after he eats/drinks does he tend to urinate? How many times a day does he urinate? What activities tend to cause him to think about urinating? This means keep a log for awhile to figure out his patterns. Then work with that. Set up a potty schedule. No matter what you are doing or where you are, you need to stop and try to get potty at those times. Once you develop this routine, and he starts to have success because your are proactively putting him in a position where he is ready to pee and can do so, he will earn his rewards or his positive feedback from you and he will want to do that more. Don't expect him to have the logic process to know he feels like he needs to urinate and then to go to the potty in advance... that will likely not be the case. It is more likely that he will be better able to learn "a routine" for himself and as the years go by even if his routine is disrupted he will have learned he shouldn't potty at other times...



Next, talk with doctors or do research about what causes urination. My specialist/doctor told me that based on our schedule we should never give our son drinks past a certain time at night so that he will do his last urination before bed time. It proved to be true. We also figured out what types of drinks make him urinate mroe than others (you may be surprised - milk causes us more frequent urination than soda pop?!) Different juices have different impact and so on. We have also learned not to let him simply gulp down as much as he wants. We put his drinks in smaller cups so that when he gulps one down and wants more, he can have more but it is less total content.



Once you have this data, you have an idea of his natural schedule, you know his triggers and have his liquid intake under control... now you spend time working on it. We were taught that when it is time to go potty, he must stop and go in and try. I stay with him for 5 minutes and we don't play games, and this isn't fun time with mommy but he simply can't go away and do something fun until he pees. If he doesn't go we don't get mad, we just say matter of factly "Okay you didn't pee, we have to try again in 10 minute" and we keep a timer in the area and set it for 10 minutes. Back I come in time minutes and interupt what he is doing again and in we go and try... What our sons learn is that this is business to simply be taken care of and move on. At first it can seem like a way to get our attention, but it quickly loses appeal and becomes boring for them and they want to pee and get rid of us :)



Finally, with our older son to become independent, we have devloped a toileting schedule around his routine. He knows he ALWAYS has to pee before he can go in the car. He knows he ALWAYS has to pee before he eats a meal. He ALWAYS has to pee and poop before he can get in the bathtup or hot tub... and so on. He also has watch he wears now with a timer that goes off at scheduled times and when it beeps it reminds him to get up and pee without having to "think it through".



Good luck - don't give up. Our specialist has been doing this for many many years and has worked with very severly disabled and challenged children and he has never found a child who can't eventually figure out the triggers, the schedules and the ability to be successful. Your time WILL come!



Ronelle

Chrissy - posted on 02/18/2010

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I need help! I am trying to potty train my 4yr old son who has a speech delay as well as muscle developement delay. I keep getting comments from family members about his lack of training and how it must be something I'm doing wrong! On top of everything else, he is very stubborn!!! He also has food allergies so food rewards will not work. Does anyone have any suggestions at all?! I know he won't go to kindergarten in diapers (i hope!) but I am having a really hard time coming up with a way to get him motivated. I am also worried that If I push him before he's ready, I could cause more harm than good. What can I do?

Corinne - posted on 09/26/2011

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My son is 3.5 yrs old and was diagnosed with low muscle tone and although he is 98%toilet trained for wees during the day.. he still wees in the night. He has issues with #2s is that he will deposit a little in his underpants and will never go once... he will probably do this 6 times a day.. very frustrating as it takes more time in the day as you feel like you have to change him all the time. so going on an outing can prove difficult.
He has been doing this for almost 4 weeks now and I am not sure what to do... It is very hard and I feel like i have tried everything.

Corinne

Shannon - posted on 01/04/2010

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Okay just a few questions. Does your child attend a child care facility? If so does the teacher knowhow to work with children with delays. I am a preschool teacher and the mother of 4. My son and twin daughters had speech delay. i have worked with several children with delays. Patience is the best thing. I had a 5 year old in my classroom who had several disorders and we just worked with him on his level. We were patient, and made frequent visits. To get out of the pull ups use training underwear. They are thicker and similar to pull ups but washable. Be patient and don't get discouraged.

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Mindy - posted on 01/18/2010

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My son was the same way and the only way I could make it fun for him was to let him get up on the toilet on all fours and pretend he was a dog. He thought that was so funny. I showed him that one night before we went to bed he did go that night with my encouragement. The very next morning he sprung out of bed his pull-up was dry and he said I have to go pee pee jumped on the toilet like a dog and went. Smooth sailing after that!! Try it it may work for you too.

Shannon - posted on 01/12/2010

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My sons almost 4 and he wears big boy undies even though he tells me he has to potty after he goes and is wet. He wont sit on it for #2 I have to force him in there. He usually will only go if I tell him to go or if he goes with me.

Jennifer - posted on 01/10/2010

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Since he has sensory issues, you may want to work with that. Slowly work him into big boy undies so that he is more familiar with the feeling. Maybe the issue was that the big boy undies were strange to him. There is nothing wrong with sitting for a boy. If that is his preference, then so be it. Just keep trying, and keep encouraging him to go. My daughter was 6 before she was day trained and almost 8 before she was night trained. One of my very best friends has a 10 year old that is still not trained. To each their own, especially when it comes to potty training.

Best of luck to you, and keep your head up. I know how hard the potty battles can be.

Jessica - posted on 01/10/2010

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My son went to a neurologist for his sensory issues, my son could not feel extreme hot/cold, ...etc.. Talk to your sons doctor and STRESS the issues at hand

Don't forget that boys potty train longer than girls so compairing him to his sister is wrong as they develop differently in all areas.

Heather - posted on 01/06/2010

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My son is 5 & has CP, and we are just beginning the potty-training process. His teacher told me to try only using the cloth training pants at home & school (with lots of extra clothing changes), & only use pullups or diapers when we go out or for bedtime so he can feel when he's wet. Good luck to you!

Lorena - posted on 01/05/2010

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I agree with Tammy, patience is the key, my son has aides at his school that are potty training him and I do the same at home. Just to sit on the toilet was an accomplishment, now all he has to do is go on cue, at times he does and then he just gets upset. Good luck to all who are trying.

Tammy - posted on 01/04/2010

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Joaquin attends the developmental preschool, so he has highly qualified people working with him. A friend of mine watches my kids and just a couple others, and she's remarkably patient! I think patience is the key... I'm just running out of it, especially as he's getting older and he's getting smellier!

Christina - posted on 01/02/2010

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Hey Tammy, I would like to share my potty story with you. It might sound odd but it really worked. My son has MDS (devel. delayed) and I could not potty train him. I was frustrated because I tried everything and nothing work but every time he stepped into the shower he would automatically peed, go figure. Every day I would but him on the potty, shower running so he could go before he got in, but nothing, stepped in the shower and --- peeing! One day my husband suggested that while he sat on the potty, pour some water on the ------ and sure enough wouldn't you know it, he peed! So that is what we did every time he went potty and after about 2 weeks he had learnt the sensation and went on his own. Amen! Well, I told you it was a little odd, but it really worked. Good luck.

Diana - posted on 01/02/2010

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My youngest has some delays. She took along time to potty train. Nothing really work it had to click in her head and boom it did one day and ever since that day has been great. Just don't get discouraged and keep working with him it will click I promise.

Tammy - posted on 01/01/2010

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Thanks, Nicole! I'll give it a shot. I am a single mom. His dad is very involved in his life and has done the "modeling" of the male how-to, but it just makes our son laugh (disconcerting for the ex, but oh, well). ; ) I've been at this potty training thing with this kiddo for well over two years. He also has to deal with my house, dad's house, Grandma day, preschool, and the babysitter's house. Having five places all being consistent is a trick. Someday...

Nicole - posted on 01/01/2010

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I don't know if you are a single parent home or not, I am but my son is a sensory seeker and has several developmental delays, but what helps him to try now, is he will only go potty if when I go with him so he has his little potty and mommy's big potty and we go together, he does the same at my ex-husbands house( his sisters dad) maybe you could try that. it might help him....I've tried everything with Kyle and that is the only thing that will even help him try the potty before he would just say NO! kyle is only 3 so we have a little bit of a head start. I'm so thankful to see that I'm not the only person who has problems getting their child to potty train.

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