Potty training a child, who has sensory issues, can leave you feeling defeated and alone. Watching your friends’ kids beam with pride as they successfully transition from diapers to big boy underwear can be disheartening. Though it may take additional time, and you may have to try some new ideas, you can do several things to help your sensory challenged child join his peers in the “I have to go potty” club.
Wait until he is ready. Children with sensory issues often take longer to reach childhood milestones than their peers without this problem. Your child should be physically and psychologically able to understand the concept of going in the commode before you begin training. An interest in the toilet or what peers are doing in the restroom are indicators of your child’s readiness to toilet train.
Spend three months in potty preparation. Sudden changes can upset a child with sensory issues. Taking time to introduce the concept is key to success. Take your child to the store to pick out a potty chair. Have your child decorate it with stickers and then leave the potty chair out in the open where the child can get used to its presence.
Show books and videos to your child detailing the steps in potty training. This will help your child process and conceptualize the concept of potty training. Fill a basket with rewards founded in your child’s sensory issues. Some soft wipes, aromatherapy spray and a CD with soft classical music turns the basket into a tool for success.
Empty his diaper into the toilet and have the child decide who will flush it. Children with sensory issues are often fearful of the urine or poop leaving their body. Emptying the diaper into the toilet shows them what is expected. Allowing them to decide who flushes gives them a measure of control over the process, thereby, reducing their stress about the process.
Try a schedule. A hallmark sign of sensory issues is the child’s inability to recognize she has to go potty. A schedule every two hours and 20 to 30 minutes after drinking something will let your child begin recognizing the feeling just before going. She will start connecting the feeling with getting to the potty in the future.