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Developmentally speaking, children become ready to be potty trained between the ages of 18-36 months. Remember, the body has five senses: vision, hearing, smell, touch and taste, and each sense is integrated into our bodies differently.
Is can be difficult to determine what is the most efficient way to help your potty training child with SPD. Prepare the bathroom for sensory sensitive children by provide soft lighting, soft toilet tissue, and making the bathroom as quiet as possible. Provide a padded toilet seat for your child to combat tactile sensitivities to cold temperatures as the seasons change.
As your child transitions from pull-ups to underwear, be conscious of seam placements and the material of the underwear.
Give your child a fun experience by allowing him to choose which underwear to buy– after all, clothes (even the ones that are not seen) should be fun! For a child who has difficulty in feeling the sensations of needing to “go”, encourage him to use the toilet on a schedule (start with every hour). If your child is anxious about the automatic flush in public restrooms, cover the sensor with a post-it note to eliminate scary surprises. As a parent, potty training can be one of the most frustrating times of your child’s development.
Monal PatelMonal Patel graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with her Master’s in Occupational Therapy.
North Shore Pediatric Therapy Opening in Lincolnwood and Evanston 6 Tips to Help Your Child with ADHD Get His Homework Done! Possible Challenge #1No signs of being ready to potty train nor aware of when they need to go or have gone. Sensory Explanation:The ability for the body to make the connection with the brain that it is time to go to the bathroom, requires a properly working connection between the interoceptors in the bladder and bowels and the brain.
Ideas to Help!Assess the bathroom environment and watch closely for your child's sensory signals.
Sensory Explanation:As you can see by the challenges listed on this page, there are MANY possible sensory factors involved with going to the bathroom and being able to go. Ideas to Help!Encourage deep breathing while in the bathroom, this can help calm the nervous system.Assess the bathroom environment and watch closely for your child's sensory signals. Sensory Explanation:Public restroom are one of the most over-stimulating and sensory unfriendly places, and they just keep getting worse. Sensory Explanation:Sleep challenges and difficulties go hand in hand with sensory kids, and this includes the very heavy sleepers. Ideas to Help!Please respect this as a true sensory challenge, do not get upset or angry with the child. For Parents For Teachers Rainbow Referral Do you know a family in need of a Home Away From Home?
As a company, we strongly believe it is important that our employees receive the support and training they need to be successful in their classrooms. When your child is exhibiting challenging behaviors, it is easy to become frustrated and let your emotions show. Power struggles are times when an adult and a child come into conflict, often occurring when a child does not do what the adult says immediately or if they respond to a request with “no”. Join the Team We seek unique individuals who are team players and dedicated to creating and maintaining a positive learning environment that is coupled with laughter and smiling faces. In Sensory Processing Disorder, the brain struggles to receive and respond to information that is received through the senses.
Around 40-85% of children who have neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism, ADD and ADHD also have SPD.
The cause of SPD is unclear, but it may be inherited or environmental, or in some cases, linked to complications during birth.
If you believe your child has SPD and they already have a diagnosis for ADHD, ADD, autism or dyspraxia, then it would be advisable to talk to their paediatrician or a member of their medical care team, such as their occupational therapist. If you child does not have a diagnosis of neurodevelopmental disability, then you may need to see a GP discuss the matter. Your child’s OT is likely to give the most practical support with SPD, and if your child does not have an OT then you will need to see your doctor. We found these five things helped us navigate the murky process of potty training an SPD kiddo. Potty training is a difficult process, and when it comes to our children with sensory processing disorder it can be truly daunting.
He is doing it all on his own time, sticker chart is working miracles this time around and he has been staying dry all night for a few months now, but now we are going all day in underwear dry (even in when not at home) and keeping his pull up dry at night!
My son Dylan is 3 years and 3 months, he is STILL being potty trained, he has sensory issues, will only eat certain foods and doesn’t like the feel of things, taking some of your advice on this! 30 Minutes to a Clean Home: How to Get Your Home Summer Party Ready!Summer is a notoriously busy time of year.
In addition to these questions, one of the most important to be asked when tackling this task is, “How can I create a ‘sensory-friendly’ environment for my child?” The mission here is for parents to gather detailed information regarding their child’s sensory likes and dislikes, what irritates them and what soothes them, what is likely to work for them and what isn’t, weeks before they begin the training process.
Learning a new skill can be a challenge for anyone and instructing someone to acquire a new skill can take even more effort, especially if they are diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Regardless of where your child lies on the spectrum and what issues he or she may have, a potty training triumph depends upon the creation of a “sensory-friendly” environment. So, how does one create a ‘sensory-friendly’ bathroom environment for a child on the Autism spectrum?

The sights, sounds, smells and even the clothing your child wears can be determining factors for success or failure when it comes to potty training. If you want more information for putting a sensory-friendly potty training plan in place for your child, click here for details about Connie’s upcoming class, From Bathroom Battles to Bathroom Bliss – Potty Training 101.
Often, Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) and difficulty in potty training go together like peanut-butter and jelly. In addition, the body has a sensation known at interoception, which refers to your “body centered” functions that require no conscious thought.
If your child enjoys deep brushing or hugs, provide these prior to sitting him on the toilet seat. Prior to graduate school she attended The Ohio State University where she earned her Bachelor’s in Psychology with a focus on child development along with a minor in human development and family science.
And there are a variety of sensory triggers, sensory explanations, developmental and psychological aspects, all which can play a part in success with potty training. Interoceptors are similar to proprioceptors and children who under-register proprioception and sensory input overall, tend to have difficulty with interoception as well. This will help the sensory systems overall and helping the body and brain make the connection.Give the child time. Sensory kids like sameness and predictability, and they have worn a diaper since day one, so simply the act of change and something new can be a big factor.
There are many sensory friendly options out there!Use a "potty chair" first, this is often less scary for the child.Have the child squat over the potty chair instead. Sometimes children feel like they are "losing a body part" when they have a BM on the toilet, as could be the reason for holding it as long as possible. From the extremely loud and unpredictable flushing automatic toilets and hand dryers, to the very strong air freshener smells. Share the Rainbow Difference with the Rainbow Referral program and receive one free week of tuition! Joel, Anita, Lucy, and Aaden have been given all encompassing personas, and starting in September they began interacting with our Pre-K Academy classrooms.
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Children feed into our emotions as caregivers and our attitude is often directly related to theirs. Some people with SPD may find they are especially sensitive, while for others, the opposite is true. SPD is also common in gifted children (many of whom also have ADHD or autism and can also have dyspraxia). An OT can be especially valuable as they will be able to help with strategies to deal with SPD to help make you child’s life easier.
In many areas, there are groups for parents who have children with SPD where you can openly chat about any difficulties your child may have, whilst learning more about the condition and which strategies can be used.
Slowly you can teach them to use these strategies themselves to make their life much easier. They generally do what they want, when they want and ain’t nobody going to convince them otherwise! I have a sneaking suspicion it will be considering that I bought two HUGE boxes of pull ups that Aiden unpacked every single pull up from (there for if this is a success there will be no returning them) we will be giving them away, and doing it joyfully because we won’t need them!
My son has SPD and is totally fine with #1 in the potty but can not figure out #2 for anything. C is a tube-fed 4-year-old boy with autism, SPD and gastroparesis, and Baby Jo is our 2-year-old daughter with autism. Between all the activities, home projects and summer gatherings, there isn’t much time when moving from one thing to the next. Gathering clues early on about your child’s relationship with the bathroom is like putting money in the bank.
Teaching a child with special needs to master the essential daily living skill of using the toilet can feel extremely daunting yet it doesn’t have to be that way. An atmosphere that is considerate of communication barriers, social challenges and sensory issues is very important when it comes to toilet training a child with Autism. Knowing what will work best for another individual, especially one who experiences the world entirely different from you, takes a lot of careful detective work, preparation and patience.
What toilet seat accommodations will work best to lessen any potential for “That seat is too cold, too rough, too high”? Are the important articles such as towels, towel racks, step stool, and soap accessible to them? Some decorations, fancy soaps, toys and windows can take a child’s concentration away from the task at hand. Paying attention to sensory details such as the lighting in the bathroom, the sound of the toilet flushing and the texture of the toilet paper may seem a bit extreme but being mindful about these details will really pay off in the long run.
As a parent educator and certified parent coach, she currently supports parents of young children recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. These are necessary life functions including heart rate, hunger, thirst and digestion, state of arousal, digestion and bowel movements.  Children with sensory processing disorder maybe over-responsive (sensory avoiding) or under-responsive (sensory seeking) to one of more these sensations, leading to different manifestations of difficulties with potty training. Allow your child to develop the skills to become physically and emotionally ready by providing positive reinforcement.
Books like Once Upon a Potty written by Alona Frankel provide humorous visuals for both boys and girls.
I will break it down in to the most common areas with a possible sensory explanation as well as some ideas to help.

Secondly, some children feel like they are "losing a body part" when they have a BM on the toilet, and when they go in a diaper instead, it does not have this same sensation.
Another reason could be that the child does not register the sensation and feeling of needing to go until the sensation is so strong and urgent that they must go. This can be triggered by the pressure placed on the child to succeed or other sensory components of using the bathroom. Some people find certain frequencies or noises unbearable, others may find certain textures unpleasant and some find bright lights to be a problem.
Your child’s OT will also be able to offer them practical solutions that may help them on a day-to-day basis. If you know that you will be visiting somewhere noisy or crowded then make sure you have a back-up plan in case your child is distressed.
As with every other aspect of our SPD kiddo’s life, we need to approach potty training with great patience. Every time C keeps his underwear dry, I give him loads of praise and offer him the sticker of his choice to put on his potty chart.
He had surgery just when we had started potty training and we almost had a step back but rewards kept us going. The insight you acquire and utilize will give you a great return on your investment in the long run. It is important to identify any barriers that might be in the way of success up front, such as doors, light switches, and water that is too hot. As silly as it sounds, consider mood music and lighting because a relaxing, calm and inviting atmosphere will go far in reducing any anxiety and producing the results you desire.
Connie offers parents a free weekly tip-style newsletter, The Spectrum, as well as a free e-course, Parenting a Child with autism – 3 Secrets to Thrive. Avoid punishing your child or criticizing them in their efforts to learn, no matter if your child is 2 or 6 years old. Sesame Street had made a video titled Elmo’s Potty Time that eases a child’s toileting anxiety with songs and rhymes.
This is also how my book Understanding Your Child's Sensory Signals is formatted and set up with 210 sensory signals and sensory challenges! Third, if there has been pressure placed on the child to be successful and not have accidents, at least in a diaper they will not be scolded for an accident on the couch or in their clothing.
Children with SPD may find it disrupts their school life and even issues such as brushing their teeth or drying their skin with a towel after a bath or shower, can become problematic.
It requires so much patience and such high levels of understanding, so be sure to take time out for yourself and talk openly with your partner or anyone else who is helping to raise your child.
He figured out he could control it, but turned it into a game of running away from us and leaving a stream of urine in his wake. Yes, he sometimes gets anxious about taking off his underwear and ends up going in his pants.
Even diaper changes were a challenge, because he hated having his pants taken off and put back on. He still struggles with rubbing his hands together to lather the soap (he doesn’t like things on his hands), but now hand washing is an enjoyable activity for him while we work on the mechanics. If you are on Facebook, there is a group called Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) Support that I have found to be very helpful. Will a stand-alone potty chair or a commode with adaptor help your child feel most safe, secure and comfortable? It may not look that great but the goal is to have everything feel good and be easy for your child to adjust – anything that takes time and increases frustration will only create a barrier. The bathroom itself may be a scary and unpredictable place, and then you add in the expectations and factors of actual toileting. Excellent results have also been seen with body brushing techniques and applying compressions, but you need to discuss these options first with an occupational therapist. Yes, he sometimes gets wrapped up in playing his cars and refuses to take a break to go to the bathroom. The same goes with changing from an overnight diaper to underwear in the morning or putting on a pull-up before a car ride. They’re less than $1 each and it is well worth the ear-to-ear smile of excitement and pride!
It is a closed group, so what you post or comment there is not seen by anyone except those in the group.
If the brain does not get this message, the child simply is unaware of the sensation and need to pass the BM.
They may not be able to differentiate between hot and cold or even to distinguish different tastes.
If your child is in an environment that is causing sensory overload, then they will need to be taken out of it and given space to feel safe and calm down. We tabled the whole thing for about six months, when he started requesting diaper cream for his butt. We warn him of the chance at least 10 minutes in advance and continue to remind him every few minutes. When it’s time to change, he gets to hold onto his favorite car and we talk about exciting plans for the day or sing his favorite song while we change him.

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