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Potty Training for Late Talkers

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Unfortunately, potty training takes a lot of time and even more patience. I’m a firm believer that children will use the potty consistently when they are ready, but having a speech delay MAY make it more difficult for your child.

Children learning to use the bathroom also learn the vocabulary associated with potty training. If your toddler has a speech delay, they may not be able to tell you when they have to go or if they’ve already had an accident. 

It’s important to realize that even though your child may not have the verbal means to tell you when they have to go to the bathroom, they may be giving you subtle non-verbal cues or gestures. It’s important to watch your child and see if they are doing anything consistent when they go to the bathroom. My daughter will do a “pee-pee” dance in a circle when she has to go (she still does this even though she’s been potty trained for 7 months). 

There are a couple tips that I’ll share with you to (hopefully) make potty training a little bit easier! These are more from a mother’s perspective, with some speech therapist tips thrown in!

7 Potty Training Tips for Late Talkers

1. Set a schedule

If you firmly believe your child is ready, then 45 minutes or so after they eat or drink, place them on the potty. Leave them there for 3 minutes and see if they go. If they do . . .

2. Praise them

Make a big deal out of the smallest trickle! Give high fives, tell them they are doing awesome, and show them what they did. Accidents do happen. Try not to be too hard on them. Tell them, calmly that they should go to the bathroom in the toilet, not in their pants. 

3. Rewards can go a long way

We used a sticker chart and skittles for my daughter. When she went to my mother-in-law’s house, she got M&Ms. It made her excited to know she was getting something different in each house.

4. Prepare yourself for the journey

Read some books on the subject and, if all else fails, GOOGLE. Make sure you have tons of underwear, a reward system in place, everyone in the house is on board, and be patient.

5. Make a little chart

If your child can’t tell you “pee” or “poo,” make a little chart. I’m talking one or two pictures; one of the toilet and one of the sink (wash hands). Make sure, when they go, you say “pee” or “poo” so they know what they did.

6. Take them with you, when you go

I know it might sound odd, but I always took Nora with me and, even though he’s a boy, Nicholas goes with me, too. I narrate EVERYTHING I do in the bathroom. I’ll say, Mommy went pee-pee, now mommy is wiping, mommy has to pull up her pants, etc. Don’t forget, it’s more than just the vocabulary words for potty that they need to know. How can you expect them to pull down their pants, if they don’t know what pants are?

7. Let them pick their underwear

Have your child pick out their own underwear. This makes them excited and signals that they are big kids now. 

As someone who just went through this process, it can be daunting. We tried to get our daughter on the toilet at two years old, but she had no idea when she had to go. We decided that she would let us know when she was ready and she totally did. I was only two months postpartum with my son when she suddenly said, “Mommy, I have to go to pee-pee.” I was like, “Well, I guess we are doing this.” 

Good luck and remember, none of us go to kindergarten in pull-ups! Your child will get it! 🙂 

In addition to these tips, you can download our Speechblubs app and work on some of our fantastic communication-centered activities.

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