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How to Toilet Train a Special Needs Child

Learn how to toilet train a special needs child in this Howcast video featuring potty training specialist Ashley Hickey.


Let's talk about how to potty train your special needs child. Every child is different and all children can be potty trained. It really depends on the child as to how long it takes. Some kids can be trained within a matter of hours, other kids that can take a number of days. It really depends upon your child. But just because your child has special needs, doesn't mean he can't be potty trained. Your child can be potty trained. I had success training a 10-year-old boy with Autism who didn't have any language at all. But I was able to teach him how to use the potty by him, showing signs when he needed to go potty and also teaching him what he got when he did go pee in the potty.

So, every time he went pee in the potty, he got a new figure to play with. On the other hand, I was able to potty train a little 6-year-old girl who had a little bit of language. She was very social and love to watch Alvin and the Chipmunks movie, and she was successfully potty trained by giving squirt of frosting every time she peed in the potty. That's an example of two different children with two different special needs that were potty trained using the same method. I recommend that you use an accelerated or an intensive method to train your child with special needs. This entails full time training which encourages your child to hang out in the bathroom, drink lots of liquids, go to the potty every 5 to 10 minutes and have lots of opportunities to be successful.

The hardest part about teaching a special needs child about potty training is getting them to make the connection as to why they're getting the reward. So it's really important that you've got the rewards in the bathroom, ready and waiting for them, so as soon as your child has it success, you can give her the reward and you can praise her, "Wow, you had pee in the potty. Here's your sticker, here's your frosting." That's what's going to teach her the new behavior, and she needs to be able to do it over and over again, so that she learns a new behavior and that becomes her new behavior. So that's how you train a child with special needs.

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