Potty Training A Deaf Child

When it comes to potty training, some parents find this a tough skill to teach. Parents of deaf children may feel like the task is impossible and not really confident on how to approach the challenge. My husband and I found this out first hand when we tried to potty train our deaf son. We had to forget about everything we had done with our oldest son and try to figure out a different way to teach this life skill to our youngest, using sign language and not words.

We didn't push the issue. We waited for signs that he was ready and interested in using the toilet. When he started going off on his own to do his business and when he was able to let us know that he had done something in his pull-up, that is when we really began to introduce him to the bathroom processes.

Our son is very visual and learns most of when he knows by watching others. Because of this, we had him go into the bathroom when Daddy did so that he could see what was supposed to happen in there. This technique seemed to help a little because he began to show an interest in the bathroom. He would want to sit on the toilet or try to stand up to pee. He would even do the little shake that guys do when they are done peeing. He didn't do anything in there at first, but at least it was a start.

We also switched him from pull-ups to underwear. He did not like this at first. He would cry and become upset when we would get the underwear out instead of the pull-ups but slowly, he adjusted. It also helped that his preschool was doing the same things that we were so that everyone was on the same page when it came to his potty-training. I think that consistency is one of the key elements to any aspect of child raising, and potty training is no different.

We knew that we would have to do a little bit more persuading if we were going to get him to use the toilet on a regular basis, so this is when we brought in the reward system. Some may disagree with our tactics, but it worked for us, and I think that is all that matters. Our son loves Legos so in sign-language we made a deal with him. If he would use the toilet, he would be able to play with ALL of the Legos.

This worked because soon, he was letting us know when he had to use the bathroom and then to actually peeing on the potty. He was so excited the first time that he peed that is brought a tear to my eye! Popping on the toilet took a little longer. I think a lot of the learning process is recognizing the feeling that you have to go. It seemed to take him a little longer to recognize the feeling that he had to go to the bathroom, but once he did, there was no stopping him.

He still has accidents, again I think it has to do with recognizing the signals that his body has got to go. However, he is well on his way to being able to do it all on his own and for a child with disabilities, this is all that anyone can ask. I think what helped us is that we waited until he was ready to start. We didn't push him to do it and let him decide when the time was right. We rewarded him when he did a good job and let him know that accidents are okay. We just get cleaned up and try again.

Potty Training Question

Did or do you use rewards to teach your child how to use the toilet?

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Comments 3 comments

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

It sounds like you handled things just right. Very good information.


ChristinaScibona profile image

ChristinaScibona 6 years ago from The Heart of the Finger Lakes Author

Thanks Pamela. We are still in the process of getting him all of the way there but we have the most difficult challenges out of the way!


jc 2 years ago

Try the towel potty training method

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