Potty Training a Child with Special Needs


This subject is very important to all of us on the Tidy Tots Team. Dinah Vogel’s son Charlie is afflicted with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular disease characterized by degeneration of motor neurons, resulting in progressive muscular atrophy (wasting away) and weakness.  Dinah is President of The Cumberland Companies LLC, maker of Tidy Tots disposable potty chair liners.

So in an effort to help special needs parents getting ready to start potty training their child, we want to share this article we found on About.com. We hope this article can be helpful.

Before You Potty Train Your Child

By Terri Mauro, About.com Guide

Children with special needs can be notoriously difficult to toilet train, for a host of reasons ranging from medical conditions to developmental delays to sensory insensitivity to stubborn temperament. Before you decide to pick this particular fight, keep in mind the following factors that may make it a losing cause.

Medical factors

If your child seems unable to control his or her bladder, consider that there may be a medical reason. Talk to your pediatrician and rule out any physical causes before undertaking a toilet training regimen.

Developmental factors

If your child’s development is delayed in other areas, there’s no reason to expect it won’t be delayed here, too. Consider your child’s developmental age rather than his or her chronological age in deciding whether the time is right to train.

Sensory factors

Children with sensory integration problems or low muscle tone may legitimately be unable to sense when they need to go. They may not sense when their diaper is wet or be at all bothered by it. Motor planning issues may make it hard for them to figure out what needs to be done and do it in a timely fashion.

Temperamental factors

Children who find even small transitions and conflicts to be stressful may see the challenge of toilet training as overwhelming. This can bring about a cycle of tantruming and explosive behavior. It may not be worth bringing that on if there are other more important issues to be addressed.

Emotional factors

Some children may find toilets intimidating, and the loss of something that comes out of their bodies frightening. The intensity of their parents’ desire for them to achieve this milestone may also cause alarm.

Control factors

For the child who craves control, potty training is the ideal battleground, because although the parent may bribe or threaten, Mom or Dad can’t really reach into their bodies and control their bladders and bowels. An area where the child has the upper hand is probably not one you want to tackle if control is an issue.

Peer pressure factors

Not peer pressure on your child — peer pressure on YOU. The world is full of opinions on when children should be trained. If you are pushing the potty and your child is resisting, ask yourself if you’re doing this because you truly believe he or she is ready, or because your mother/mother-in-law/sibling/co-worker/daycare is nagging at you. Remember that age-old motherly question: If all those people were jumping off a bridge, would you jump, too? And take your child?

Link to article: http://specialchildren.about.com/od/earlyintervention/bb/potty.htm


The Cumberland Companies and Tidy Tots – helping the community

Tidy Tots disposable potty chair liners are packaged and warehoused at Sunshine Industries in Knoxville, TN.  Sunshine Industries provides long-term sheltered employment to individuals with developmental disabilities.  Employees are paid on a piece rate or hourly basis while they learn job skills and develop good work habits, with an emphasis placed on production and quality control. Individuals develop self -confidence, independence and a sense of accomplishment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s