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How should I potty train my mentally delayed preschooler?
Q: How do you attempt to potty train a child who is mentally delayed? My soon to be 4-year-old was diagnosed with brain damage. I have had him in therapy since he was 9 months old and early intervention school since he was 14 months. He does not talk. He gets occupational, physical and speech therapy. He does not care if he is dirty in his nappy. He understands some things. I also have a 1½-year-old boy who is fine, and I have tried to start him.
A: Toilet training is a big problem with brain-damaged children, and your task won’t be easy. However, since he is in an early intervention program, you have access to a set of allies whose collaboration should be a big help.

First I would schedule an appointment with the director or lead teacher in his program and get the details of his daily toileting experiences when he is at school. How many nappys a day does he use? Is there any daily regularity? Does he have bowel movements at school or only urination? Have they tried any training? If so, what have they done, and what results have they had? Then tell her that you want to begin a training regimen at home and suggest that the two of you work together. Make sure you both use the same words and gestures. Talk about the kinds of reward you might use. Make sure there is no punishment on either side, as that will only slow down the process. And, don’t expect instant success.

Finally, let me say that I am glad your toddler is developing nicely. Sometimes, after the birth of a disabled child, parents are afraid to try again. I am happy for you that you didn’t let your natural anxiety prevent your having this experience.