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Potty training can be difficult at best. I mean what parent actually looks forward to toilet training? Everyone I know cringes at the very thought. But when you throw in a special needs child, all the potty training tips in the world aren’t going to make it easier. But that doesn’t mean we give up hope. There is a light at the end of the very long tunnel! And there are toilet training tools to help us reach that marvelous end of having a confident child that is toilet trained, even if they have special needs!
Toilet Training, a long journey
Miss Jade has had special needs her entire life. She was slow to roll over, to crawl, talk and just about everything. So when it came to toilet training, I knew we would be behind schedule of other kids. Everyone told me that girls trained earlier than boys. So I didn’t even begin to approach the subject until she was over 3 years old. Her brother’s potty trained at 3.5 years (both of them) so I knew Miss Jade would be around that time too.
At first she really took to the idea. She wanted to be a big girl. But she just couldn’t make it work. For the last 3 years we have been struggling to teach Miss Jade how to toilet train. We would have a few days of success. But even though she was willing; she was unable to recognize the need to go potty. Her special needs and communication delays put a barrier between her and what she needed to understand or feel to actually toilet train successfully.
Then add in the extra pressure from school administrators, and “specialists” who kept emphasizing that I needed to potty train her.
“She can’t start kindergarten unless she is potty trained”
“A child her age should know how to use a toilet by now.”
“She shouldn’t still be wearing diapers. You should…”
Then hearing of friend’s children half the age of my daughter successfully potty training. And getting overwhelmed that my daughter was still in diapers because she couldn’t grasp the concept. It added frustration, stress and feelings of failure to both me and Miss Jade.
And then there was the mixed signals. We all know as parents you shouldn’t send mixed signals to your child. But when it comes to toilet training, there was a huge one that was staring us right in the face that I just didn’t know how to get around. I could put Miss Jade into big girl underwear in the day. And I’d deal with the accidents and mess. But at night, we’d revert right back to a safe option like a diaper/slip on type diaper to keep her from having an accident while she slept.
What Mom likes to get up and change the sheets 3 times a night due to bed wetting you know? So we would put Miss Jade back into something safe for nighttime. But it was really confusing her. Was she a big girl in big girl underwear? Then why did she have to wear a diaper at night?
The mixed signals were confusing. And it was making it difficult to solidify the idea in her head. She would regress and then stop trying all together and fight us on the potty training.
Well, here we are 3 years later. She is starting Kindergarten in a few weeks. She turns 6 a few weeks after she starts Kindergarten! We have a new baby girl due to arrive in our family at the same time. We HAVE to get some success on this toilet training, and now!
I bit the bullet. I grabbed a few more pairs of big girl underwear. I hid the diapers. And I said, “Jade, you are going to be a big girl now!”
I went to CVS and picked up a GoodNites TruFit Starter Pack. And I started on the best tips for toilet training a special needs child. And you know what? It is working!
Tips for Toilet Training a Special needs Child
1. Know their reward! The biggest tip for toilet training is knowing the “reward” that means the most to your child. For Miss Jade, she didn’t care much about potty treats. She wanted lots of praise and a sticker on her potty chart. That was it. So simple. So I set up the sticker chart and explained to her that she would get a sticker for each time she successfully used the toilet.
2. Set a toilet schedule. By having a set schedule, it is easy for a special needs child to get into a habit and realize what is expected of them.
It took me 3 years to realize she wasn’t like her brothers. Running her to the bathroom every 20 minutes was actually working against us. She has an iron bladder and didn’t need to go as often. And she’d grow weary of the constant bathroom breaks. So I spaced them out to according to when I noticed she needed a diaper change. And it has made all the difference!
- Morning, first thing when we get up.
- Before Lunch
- Early afternoon and before dinner time
- Before Bedtime
She has taken to this schedule and has created a routine for herself. Now if she happens to need to have a potty run between those scheduled times, she knows what to do and runs to the bathroom on her own! But I still have to enforce the scheduled times. But it is working.
3. Praise! The first day she went potty right away! And I did a happy Mommy dance – Like literally I danced for her! And cheered her on. I looked ridiculous! But you know what? It worked. She loved it! And she was excited that I was so proud of her. It built up her confidence.
She now looks forward to hearing our praise after every time she uses the bathroom like a big girl. She tells me right away if she successfully used the toilet. And then she has to run to her Daddy to tell him too. She loves to hear our praise for being such a big girl!
4. Give the reward. And we can’t forget the reward. Miss Jade learned that after each time she went potty she got a sticker and Mommy and Daddy would praise her. She loves collecting stickers! And she loves hearing Mommy and Daddy praise her!
5. Don’t send mixed signals. Finally we come to the big hurtle. What do you do with night time? The last thing mom wants is to clean up accidents in the bed all night long. But neither do we want to send mixed signals, confuse the child or embarrass them that they regress in their toilet training struggle.
That is where the GoodNites TruFit starter pack has completely saved the day! The GoodNites TruFit starter pack is actual fabric underwear! So your child can feel confident in themselves that they are a big girl or big boy.
But they also include removable absorbent inserts that stop an accident from wetting the bed! This saves mom’s sanity and prevents those 2 AM bed wetting disasters!
They can be machined washed with the rest of the underwear and our little girl is so thrilled to be wearing big girl underwear at night too! Nothing can boost a child’s confidence in toilet training than realizing they are a success and grown up.
The other great thing is that they come in designs for girls and boys! So anyone that needs a little extra help in the toilet training area can use these amazing GoodNight TruFits!
The result, we have had 2 full weeks of successful toilet training with Miss Jade. In 2 weeks we have dealt with only 4 accidents! Only 4 in 2 full weeks! What an amazing difference that has made versus the usual 4 accidents a day with no successes we were facing the last time we tried to toilet train her.
And Miss Jade couldn’t be happier that she is a big girl now! She feels more confident in herself. She is excited to use the toilet like a big girl. And she no longer fights us at night when it comes time to change into bedtime safe underwear. Because she loves her GoodNight TruFit underwear. She still feels like a big girl, and Mommy is happy because I know there won’t be wet underwear or sheets in the morning.
So if you want to help build confidence in your child as you pass through the toilet training struggle; reach for the GoodNites TruFit! With real fabric underwear, it won’t cause confusion. And it will help your child feel better about not having to revert back to “diapers” at night. It will eliminate the confusion and mixed messages the child receives.