Child Therapy: Potty Training with Speech Problems

Potty training can be a frustrating process for any parent regardless of their child’s development. Speech or communication impairments might add extra stress to the process. Tanya Noronha, one of Step by Step’s speech therapists in Chicago, offers child therapy strategies for children with speech problems undergoing potty training.
J Aaron Farr
Difficulties of Potty Training
Tanya has worked with children that have difficulty with verbal expression due to language delay, cognitive impairment, and/or reduced muscle tone. Many of these children have difficulty using verbal speech to communicate when they have to go to the bathroom.
Strategies from Therapists in Chicago
Tanya recommends using pictures and baby sign language to help the child communicate basic needs, such as using the bathroom. Introduce the pictures and baby sign a couple months before potty training so that the child is familiar with the pictures and signs. For example, label everything in the bathroom with pictures so the child is familiar with the words: potty, water, toilet paper, wet and dry. Familiarize your child and yourself with baby sign language for wet, dry, pee, poo, diaper, and potty from Baby Sign Language. Sign the words wet and dry when bathing so the child can recognize what feels wet and dry. The first goal is for the child to be able to sign if their diaper feels wet or dry.
Child Therapy Tips for Parents
Tanya recommends modeling functional communication throughout the day for your child. Also, be consistent about the type of communication you are using with your child. For example, if you use a picture to communicate when he/she needs to use the bathroom, make sure the child has access to this picture throughout the day at school or at home. If you use a gesture with the child, make sure that other people that he/she interacts with throughout the day are aware of the meaning of the gesture.

Read here for more tips and strategies for potty training! If you have further questions for our speech therapists or would like to schedule a consultation, feel free to contact Step by Step Care Group today!