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Let’s talk about potty training!
Only the mere thought of this task gave me chills! More so, because ever since my daughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, there are certain things that take longer to master, hence, potty training!
I am going to tell you, it was NOT an easy task. To this day, we still struggle with nighttime potty training, but for the moment we are managing the issue with some Goodnites overnight diapers.
Potty training girls and boys with diabetes can take a little bit longer versus a child who does not suffer from the disease.
Do not despair, be consistent with your child, and most importantly show them support. At times, accidents will happen, which could be caused by their blood sugars or another underlying medical issue.
Talk to your child’s pediatrician about any concerns you may have, especially on how to potty train a diabetic child. Pediatricians also provide valuable potty training tips.
Read more for some potty training tips for your child.
Potty Training Tips for Boys and Girls
1. Watch for Cues to Assess Readiness
When thinking about potty training your child with diabetes ask yourself the following questions:
- Can he/she walk to and sit on a toilet?
- Can he/she pull down his/her pants and pull them up again?
- Can he/she stay dry for up to two hours?
- Can he/she understand and follow basic directions?
- Can he/she communicate when he/she needs to go?
- Does he/she seem interested in using the toilet?
- Does he/she seem interested in underwear?
Another way for you to see your child’s readiness is by reading a story about potty training to him/her. See how he/she interacts with the book. Does he/she ask a lot of questions? Does he/she get excited when you read the book over to him/her?
2. Get Everything Ready for the Potty Training
As soon as I wanted to start potty training Amanda, I went straight to Amazon and get her the materials that I needed to get her ready.
One of the first things that I bought her was her potty.
3. Create a Potty Routine
Create a routine and let your toddler become comfortable with the big toilet.
One of our big issues with Amanda was that she did not want anything to do with the big toilet, hence why I got her the little potty.
I also got her a potty training chart reward system. The one below worked wonders for us!
It came with a manual for stressed parents, tips and ideas, and a story for you to read to the child. There is a story with a boy bear, and you flip it over, and there is another story with a girl bear.
The stars attach to the chart with Velcro (you have to assemble them).
We placed this on our refrigerator at Amanda’s eye level for her to see and interact with the chart easily.
Set time aside every day to work on potty training. On the potty training chart above, there is a space for you to place time.
Have reasonable and realistic expectations for your child. Do not expect that your child will get this in 24 hours or even 36 hours.
Some kids are able to do this, but some do take more time.
Do not compare your child to others, everyone is different and learn at their own pace.
Let your child be in charge of the potty training process, let them ask questions, and make their own decisions. This gives them a feeling of control, and it can help you be successful in the process.
You as a mom are there to guide him/her in their process.
4. Demonstrate How to Use the Potty
Show your child how to use the toilet.
If you have a girl teach her how to wipe themselves front to back after using the potty. This action prevents the chances of passing bacteria from the anus to the vaginal area, and cause a UTI.
Have the father of your child also assist you in the toilet training of boys.
Teach your toddler to always, wash their hands thoroughly after using the potty. This is the perfect time to talk about hygiene to your child.
5. Get Underwear of their Favorite Cartoons or Disney Character
Your child will become excited about the potty training if they use big boy/girl underwear.
Have her/him pick out them out in the store. This can create excitement and more compliance for the new event that is coming to his/her life.
Some people suggest ditching their diapers. I for one did not do this. I still use overnight diapers for Amanda. My guess is if she did not have her diabetes, she would have been able to hold her bodily fluids during the nighttime.
Frequently Asked Questions About Potty Training
1. What if My Child is not Ready?
It is ok to postpone potty training your child, especially if he/she does not show any interest or does not seem to get it. This happened to me with my daughter Amanda. When my husband and I wanted to start potty training her, I was just about to give birth to my son. Therefore, we decided to postpone a little bit before formally starting to potty train her.
In our case, this was the best thing we did, four months later, Amanda was potty trained.
2. What Do I Do when Accidents Happen?
When an accident happens, the most important thing is staying calm and being prepared. Amanda has had a couple of accidents, but I educate her on telling me what she is feeling when she has the need to go urinate.
I always carry extra pants and underwear. I am carrying her diabetes supplies around, might as well, add clothing to the bag.
3. Will There Be Regression and Setbacks?
Please be mindful that regression and setbacks can happen to your child while in the process of their potty training.
If there are recent stressful or traumatic family events, new family members incorporating into the family, a regression can happen during potty training time.
This is totally normal and it is part of the potty training process.
If your child suddenly becomes resistant to potty training, it is time to take a break.
Remember to be casual about it and do not push. Pushing a child when not ready can become a power struggle and it is not wise to put stress on the child and on yourself.
Save yourself the headache, and give your child time to assimilate into the training.
I have also noticed that sometimes her blood sugar levels do affect her nighttime potty training. By giving her less liquid at nighttime, her uring output is less during the mornings.
4. What Do I Do When going out during potty training?
As I just mentioned above, take extra clothes wherever you go, just in case of accidents.
I also HIGHLY recommend getting some toilet seat covers.
If you are like me, a huge germaphobe, you will appreciate these a LOT. I LOVED these from Amazon, they are extra-large, and it literally covers everything!
It comes in Floral, Sports, and Neutral. I have even used them myself when I go to public restrooms.
The quality is amazing, and you do not feel the cold of the toilet seat.
5. What Happens if My Child Refuses to Poop in the Toilet?
Give your toddler some time in order to poop in the toilet. This is some of the biggest issues with parents, I went through this as well.
Toddlers are capable of controlling their poop better than urine. It is a self-control issue that they need to overcome. Sadly, there is not much that you can do.
A suggestion that my Pediatrician gave me was to sit my daughter on the toilet every once in a while, and just let her there for a couple of minutes, no longer than 5 minutes at a time.
She would start feeling the sensation that she needed to poop, and sometimes she went, and other times she did not.
If your child suffers from constipation, or his/her poop his hard, give him/her some yogurt or talk to your child’s Pediatrician for a more medicated option. Sometimes its because it hurts them, and they opt for not pooping on the toilet.
6. What About Nighttime Potty Training?
As a mom of a child with type 1 diabetes, this has been the hardest thing yet.
At the moment that I am writing this post, my daughter is 4 years old, and she still has not mastered not peeing on herself during the night. We have tried to get her to go pee before bed, but she still wakes up soaked.
For the moment, we are using the overnight diapers and it has been well so far.
The GoodNites brand works amazing for her. I tried the other day a CVS brand, and do NOT get them, they do NOT hold anything (mom advice).
Mom Tips on Potty training
- Do not scold, shame, embarrass, threaten or punish your child during potty training, even if he/she had an accident. You want them to have a good experience with the training. Please do not do this under any circumstances. If you need a breather, just step out of the room, take a deep breath, and then clean the mess.
- Never tie your child to the potty or toilet. They should be able to get off it when they want and feel like it.
- Dress your child in clothes that are easy to get out of. Don’t cause unnecessary stress.
- Have your child sit on the potty for a maximum of 5 minutes. We want the potty experience to be pleasant.
- Try to use positive words like “great job” “that was a great effort going to the potty”.
- Every child is unique and develops differently, do not compare your child with other kids, especially other children. Follow your child’s lead.
- Finally, your child will take a bit longer to train, this will not occur overnight. As I just stated above, follow your child’s lead, and watch for cues to see if he/she really is ready.
Jump for Joy When Your Child Uses the Toilet
The most important thing is to praise, praise, praise, and I mean, a LOT of praise. Use the potty training chart to offer some incentives for when your child uses the toilet.
If they complete the whole week of the potty training chart then they can go to the park, or get a special treat. Get creative, you know your child best and know his/her biggest motivators.
When To Seek Help
Talk to your child’s Pediatrician about potty training your child. Sometimes, there could be an underlying medical condition, and you may need to be referred to a Urologist, a mental health provider or another specialist, in order to help your child succeed in potty training.
Do not give up on potty training your child with Diabetes. It might take you weeks and even months, but at the end of the day, he/she will get it, and then you can finally ditch those diapers!