Monday, January 3, 2011
Potty Training a Child with Down Syndrome
By Ellen Stumbo
It is suggested to begin potty training children with Down syndrome at age 3. Why wait until then? Well, there are a couple of reasons.
First, kids with Down syndrome have hypotonia (low muscle tone) and bladder control means using muscles that are going to be weaker and will need some training.
Second, potty training is dependent on the child's individual self awareness as they develop and mature. Typical children tend to do this quicker, while kids with Down syndrome might take a little bit longer (again, it all depends on the individual child). While Ellie was fully potty trained by age 3, Nichole is just now getting to the point where we can begin the process, she is just getting to the point where she understands. (I do not agree with the IQ talk as it is extremely difficult to determine any child's IQ, you know your child, you know when they are ready)
The NDSS has a PowerPoint presentation that has a wealth of information on how to toilet train your children with Down syndrome. You want it? Shoot me an e-mail and I can send that to you. (I highly prefer their presentation and information over the previous link on this post)
Their basic recommendations are to begin at age 3, determine patterns for 2 weeks, and dedicate time to focus!
Is your child with Down syndrome ready? Here is a checklist (from NDSS)
Ability to walk to toilet by him/herself
Sense of sitting on toilet with good balance
Understanding and following 1-2 step instructions
Telling when the child needs to use the potty
Positive relationship with parents/ caregivers
Desire for child to be independent
So now, once you know if your child is ready, you can embark on the great toilet training adventure! Nichole is ready, and so am I! Now on to work on the next steps and I will follow up with more information on potty training in the next few days.