Potty Training a Deaf Child
The challenge in toilet training a deaf child lies primarily in the realm of communication.
Since verbal communication is not an option, it is important that the child be able to understand nonverbal cues. Ideally your child should have a good grasp of sign language by the time they are ready for potty training.
The signs that a deaf child is ready for potty training are much the same of most other children. There are just a few basic indicators that you need to watch for,
Is the child uncomfortable with being wet or dirty? Do they clearly prefer to be dry and clean? If they have reached this level of awareness, then it may be about time to consider beginning potty training. This desire to stay dry and clean can be a great motivator to learn how to use the potty.
Also, is the child able to stay dry or clean for at least two hours or so. This indicates that the child has reached sufficient physical maturity to control their bladder and bowel functions. This is a necessity for potty training. If the child cannot control these bodily functions, then you may need to wait a little longer until they do have this control. And, is the child able to sense when he or she needs to go.
Thirdly, are you able to readily communicate with your child, and can your child communicate their needs to you? Communication is a big key to successful potty training.
If these three signs are present in your child, then you are well on your way to successfully potty training your child.
How should your child dress for potty training?
At this point, as you begin potty training, you might want to consider a wardrobe change for your child. Get them something quick and easy to pull down and back up again. Avoid clothing with zippers, button, ties, etc., that might slow the process. Often when a child needs to go, they need to go like right now. So, speed is of the essence. Pull-up is a good choice here.
As the toilet training progresses, at some point you will want to graduate your child from pull-ups to underwear. When you do, let them know that they are big boys or girls now.
The most basic necessity that you will need for toilet training is either a seat reducer for use on regular toilets or a training potty.
Second to that is one or two step-stools. The step-stools are for two purposes. If you are using a seat reducer on a regular toilet, the step-stool enables the child to reach the seat in order to go potty. Second, a step-stool may be necessary to enable the child to reach the bathroom sink for hand washing.
Thirdly, a lot of patience is recommended, both for your and for your child. You will both need it.
Have some kind of reward system ready
Rewards, especially if it is something the child desires, can help greatly to motivate your child to succeed in potty training. This can take many forms, from special sticker on a progress chart, to special treats for successfully going potty. But be sure the reward, whatever it is, is used exclusively for success at potty training. You do not want to teach your child that they can get that reward some other way.
Heap on the praise
Yes, every child wants to know they did good. Let them know, even when they fail, that you are proud of them. Proud if they succeed, and proud for trying if they fail. Be cool, be calm, no matter what. Never scold or berate them for failure. Never scold or berate them for having an accident. That will only create resentment and resistance, prolonging the training process.
Give them something to do while they are sitting on the potty
Children do not naturally sit still or prolonged periods of time. Give them something to occupy them while on the potty, a coloring book if they like to color, or read to them, or a toy they like. Do not let potty time be dull boring time.
Communicate with your child
Using sign language and other visual cues, explain to your child what you are expecting of them. Show them how the toilet works. Let them flush the toilet or pull some toilet-paper off the roll.
Also listen to your child. Is there something they do not understand? Answer all of their questions.
Also, watch and listen for signs that your child is telling you they need to go potty. Eventually they will become more independent, but initially you will have to take them to the potty when you sense they need to go. Start out with a regular schedule, say, once ever hour or so, 30 to 40 minutes after a meal. And as they grow more independent, become more aware of their own needs, allow the child to decide when they need to go to the potty.
Teach basic hygiene
This is very important and must not be neglected. Teach your child how to properly wipe themselves. With girls this means teaching them to wipe from front to back. This helps to prevent the spread of germs that may cause urinary tract infections.
Also, teach your child how to properly wash their hands. This is also very important and can prevent the spread of disease.
These are important habits that you want to impress on your child early on.
Finally, keep it simple and be consistent
Do not over complicate the potty training process and be consistent from day to day in your training. Your objective is to instill life long habits in the child. If you do this, you will do well.