It’s Time to Sit on the Potty! Toilet Training a Child Who Is Blind or Low Vision

Are you wondering when it will be time to toilet train your child? Many experts will tell you that these are some of the indicators that your child is ready: your child can distinguish between a wet and dry diaper, can go for one to two hours without a soiled diaper, and is showing some interest in the toilet.

Although training will, in general, be easier if your child has some awareness of when there is soiling their diaper, you might want to give potty training a try during your child’s second or third year. If you try for a few weeks and are not making progress, take a break for a few weeks or months and then try again. Remember that children can vary widely in when they are ready to learn to use the bathroom independently and how quickly they learn.

Here are a few suggestions to consider when approaching toilet training with your blind or visually impaired child:

  • Show your child the potty and its location before you start asking them to sit on it. Let your child explore it with their hands and get familiar with it. Explain to your child what the potty is for, and start to talk about using the toilet, if you haven’t already.
  • Before you begin formal training, keep track of when your child urinates and has a bowel movement. After about two weeks, you should start to see patterns. For example, your child may urinate about 30 minutes after drinking. When you’re ready to begin actual toilet training, use the pattern you’ve noticed to predict when they may need to use the toilet. For example, plan to put your child on the potty about 25 minutes after they have a drink. That way, there is a good chance that your child will urinate in the potty, even if your child doesn’t yet realize why.
  • Only have your child use the potty in the bathroom. Though it may be tempting to put it in your child’s bedroom, it is important to learn that the bathroom is where the toilet is used.
  • Assist your child, using hand-under-hand to pull their pants and underwear up and down. Think about buying clothing that is loose fitting and doesn’t have a lot of snaps or buttons.
  • While your child is sitting on the potty, reading is a good way to keep them occupied. This is a good time to pull out those toilet-training picture books.
  • If your child is afraid of the sound the toilet makes when it is flushed, provide some opportunities to flush it when they are not using it.
  • Teach your child to wash their hands after each use of the toilet. If your child has low vision, use a soap dish or container that contrasts with the sink or countertop so that it can easily be seen. Keep the soap and towel in the same place all the time so your child can locate them easily.

Perhaps, most important, don’t become anxious and stressed over toilet training! Your attitude can affect your child’s feelings, and your anxiety can lead to a power struggle. Potty training doesn’t happen overnight for any child and always requires patience. Your child may need more practice than some other children his age, but they can learn to be independent in the bathroom with your support and encouragement.

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