Potty Training a Child With a Speech Delay

I’ve finally reached the dreaded parenting hurdle that is potty training. Now don’t get me wrong, I absolutely want a potty trained toddler. In fact, I can’t wait! The only problem is, I would want it even more if I could blink my eyes and have it happen without my floors taking a hit from the accidents, or that feeling of a mini heart attack when you think its “go time” when in reality, their tiny bladders won’t be ready until exactly 5 seconds after you get them off of the toilet. Fun times, fun times. If potty training isn’t a huge hurdle within itself, I knew that potty training my little one with a speech delay might add an extra bit of complication.

I started doing some research, because I really plan to succeed. My daughter will be three in a few months so, no pressure, and I’m also not expecting a potty trained in 3 days sort of success story. However, what I plan to accomplish is for her to nail the concept that peeing in the potty: good, Peeing on the rug: bad. Even though we haven’t consistently attempted training yet, she does know to sit and stay on the potty. I’m just not so sure she understands why, and I’m absolutely positive that she doesn’t know to ask when it is time to go. All in all, my biggest issue I foresee in the process will be communicating. This will be where I get to be the innovative mommy that I am, and find out just what works for my little one.

She does a little bit better with receptive language, so getting her to understand. “Do you have to use the potty?” or “Do you have to use the bathroom?” and what that really means will be my easier communication task. After all, that’s normally where you start anyway. Constantly asking and playing the guessing game with timing, and then eventually they start to understand and come to you when they need to use the bathroom. The bigger task will be getting her to respond with appropriate answers (or answer me at all) and then eventually using her expressive language to come to me on her own to let me know that she needs to go.

How to Know They’re Ready

A big part of beginning the potty training process is knowing that your child is ready. If they aren’t ready, you won’t be getting far on the success train. You want your child to be willing and open to learning, and not trying to avoid the potty at all costs. No one wants a child with potty trauma, and toilet paper nightmares. If your child will at least sit there for prolonged periods of time, start there. Things will eventually progress from there, just remember to listen to your child and what they’re ready for.

A Few Easy Signs
• Pulling at a wet or dirty diaper
• Being noticeably uncomfortable in a soiled diaper
• Hiding to pee or poop
• Interest in others using the bathroom (Not to be confused with them stalking you in the bathroom)
• Telling you when they have to go, or have already gone to the bathroom
• Asking to be changed

My Potty Training Game Plan

My daughter shows a few clear physical signs that she might be ready to officially start potty training, but again, I’m not looking for a potty trained in 3 day success story. Who knows, she might surprise me! At the very least, I know that she’s more than capable of working towards our end goal. She has no problem sitting on the potty for prolonged periods of time. This is something that we’ve done with her off and on for a few months now, just not consistently. She physically just wasn’t completely ready.

Now that we’ve made it to that point, I want to start to remove her attachment to diapers in the daytime. We have to teach her to slowly become aware of her body’s elimination signals first, and then we will move on to teaching her how to respond appropriately to those elimination signals by either coming to one of us to communicate, or going straight to her potty. If you’ve been tuned in to my blog for a while now, you’ll know that I’m a cloth diaper mama, so we’re opting to try out cloth training pants for this portion of our potty training journey. This also works just fine with throwing on regular underwear, or just cutting down on dirty underwear laundry all together, and just letting them run commando. Unfortunately, we have carpet and we currently rent, sooo no thank you!

*Mom Tip!* If you’re choosing the commando route (and even if you aren’t) keep a bottle of cleaner handy for accidents .. you’ll more than likely need it.

What You Need To Start
• Potty or Potty Seat
• Underwear or Cloth Training Pants
• Step Stool (Optional)
• Potty Visuals
• Positive Reinforcement (The Potty Box of Rewards)

I have both a potty seat for the toilet, and a regular mobile potty for my daughter to use. I prefer the toilet seat, because I find it easier for her to make the recognition that this is where using the bathroom happens for everyone, and she also really likes to flush the big toilet by herself. I’m going to be placing her on the potty between 15 and 20 minute intervals, and I plan to keep my schedule flexible, but as consistent as possible. She’s also in part time preschool so I’ll also be working around her school schedule a bit as far as time of day goes, but our rough time frame schedule will always be first thing in the morning, 10 minutes after eating and drinking, and immediately before and after naptime and bedtime.

I want to start my daughter out using potty visuals. She uses visuals a lot in preschool to communicate with her teacher, so I want to incorporate that into our potty routine. I created a 123 step poster to show Step 1: Got to Go, Step 2: Potty Time, and Step 3: All Done. I will also be incorporating some sign language, so that she can sign things like “Potty” and “All done” to better communicate when she is ready to go on her own.

Last but certainly not least, I plan to create a fun box of rewards for her to utilize positive reinforcement, which she loves. Along with lots of claps and praise for going successfully, I bought some fun items like stickers, and tiny toys from the dollar store, and food is always a great motivation for her, so sometimes I plan to offer her small snacks like gold fish crackers when she uses the potty successfully. Eventually she will realize that using the bathroom in the potty is a good thing, and she will be more compelled to continue to use it when good things happen and she’s rewarded for it.

*Mom Tip!* A good must have if you’re planning on frequent outings, and potty training on the go is a travel potty.

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