Potty training a blind child brings with it special challenges. Fortunately, they can all be overcome with a little patience and persistence. As with all children the first step in potty training blind children is to determine when they are ready for potty training.
There are certain signs that you as a parent can look for to determine the readiness of your child to start the potty training process.
- First of all, has your child become aware of and developed a dislike to being either wet or dirty. If this is the case, then they may well be motivated to learn to use the potty.
- Second, has your child developed enough bladder and bowel control to remain dry and clean for at least two hour or more. If so, then they may have matured physically enough to begin the toilet training process.
- Third, is your child able to sense when they need to go.
If you see these three signs in your child, then yes, the time has come to begin toilet training.
Now that your child is ready for toilet training, there are a few things you need to get to begin the process.
The first and most obvious, is a child size potty or seat reducer. For a blind child it has been suggested that a musical potty, one that is activated when urine hits the bowl works best, a potty that provides an audio feedback since the child cannot receive visual feedback. In other words, something that makes a noise when the child goes.
Something else that you will need is a step stool. This stool is to help the child reach the bathroom sink so they can wash their hands after going potty. If instead of a potty you are using a seat reducer on a regular toilet, a second step stool may be needed to help the child reach the toilet.
How should you dress your child for potty training?
As with any child being potty trained, it is important that you dress them in clothing that can be quickly and easily removed. This means avoiding anything with buttons, zippers, ties, etc. It is generally recommended that clothing with elastic bands, clothing that can be quickly pulled down and back up is best. You may start by using pull-ups and graduating to underwear as the potty training progresses.
Be prepared to reward your child for success
One great motivator in the toilet training process is some kind for reward, a special treat perhaps, that the child receives for successfully going potty. You should be consistent with this reward, and it should be used exclusively for a successful potty, and nothing else.
But do not punish or scold your child for failure
It is inevitable that accidents will happen. Your child will not always succeed in going to the potty in time. When this happens, do not make a bid deal over it. Stay cool and calm and let the child know that you have confidence in them that they will succeed next time. If you scold or fret or punish you will only build up resentment about and resistance to potty training and may prolong the process.
Special considerations for blind children
A blind or visually disabled child is at a disadvantage because they cannot observe other family members using the toilet. They cannot see how it works, or how it is used, and as a result they cannot mimic behavior.
Consequently, the visual communication that normally takes place during potty training does not happen with the blind child. You and your child are therefore more dependent on language skills which must take the place of visual communications.
However, the lack of sight can delay the development of language skills in a blind child and so you may want to wait until the child is a little older to begin the toilet training process.
When you do begin potty training, let the child become familiar with the bathroom. Let him or her explore the bathroom, discover where and what things are. If you are using a seat reducer your child will need to know where the toilet is and how to get up on it, and how to sit on it.
Show the child how to flush the toilet, and let them do it a few times. Explain to them why the toilet is flushed and what is happening when the toilet is flushed.
If you will be using a training potty, show them where that potty is, explain to them what it is for and how they use it. Let them sit on it and explore it. Make sure that the potty is always in the same place throughout the entire potty training process. Do not move it around from one place to another.
Show them where the toilet paper is and let them pull some of it off the roll. Explain to them what it is used for.
Show them where the sink is and how they can get up to it and use it to wash their hands. All this will need to be done verbally and by touch.
Let your child become accustomed to the layout of the entire bathroom.
As the child becomes more independent, make sure the bathroom itself as well as the way to it is clear of obstacles. Make it as easy as possible for the child to navigate to and from the bathroom.
Teach your child the basics of proper hygiene
This includes teaching your child how to properly wipe themselves. With girls this means teaching the to wipe from front to back, which helps prevent the spread of germs that can cause urinary tract infections.
It also includes teaching your child how to properly wash their hands. You want to instill these habits early. If you do they will stay with your child their whole life and safeguard them from many illnesses’.
Praise your child, they are a big kid now
Encourage a sense of accomplishment, a sense of pride in your child. Let them know that they are a big kid now. Little things like this can go a long way to making the potty training process a lot more pleasant for you and your child.
And be patient
Potty training any child will be an exercise in patience, and especially so for a special needs’ child. And it is not just you the parent but also the child who will need patience, for the child can easily become frustrated and discouraged. Always remember, this is a team effort.