Thursday, January 03, 2019

Potty Training Tips & Strategies for Kids with Hyperlexia

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Hyperlexia teaching strategies to help you potty train your hyperlexic child. These potty training tips for kids with hyperlexia are awesome!

Ugh...potty training..

If you are here and wondering how the heck to potty train your hyperlexic child, then I can almost guarantee that one of these thoughts have crossed your mind:

  • I don't understand how he's been reading for well over a year and knows his multiplication tables, but can't learn to go on the potty.
  • It's so frustrating hearing him do math, say words like quadrilateral, or speak the alphabet in four difficult languages, but struggle so much with using the potty.
  • What if he isn't potty trained by kindergarten?
  • He's 3 why isn't he potty trained?
  • We've tried so many things!
  • Are most kids with hyperlexia harder to potty train or am I just failing at this?
No, you are not failing at this. 

Potty training is hard!

Also, most potty training advice found on the internet just isn't tailored for our hyperlexic kids. So you've likely read some potty training articles that had what seemed like great advice, but flopped in practice.

You are not alone in your potty training struggles. I remember how challenging it was for us too (although I do try to block out memories of that stage to be honest...).

These potty training tips and strategies are tailored specifically to kids with hyperlexia. Although if your child is autistic without hyperlexia, then you may also find these tips and strategies helpful as well.

Hyperlexia teaching strategies for potty training and toileting

Hyperlexia Teaching Strategies for Potty Training

Please remember that potty training success really depends on whether your child is actually ready or not. Be sure your child shows signs of readiness when attempting potty training. It will make a huge difference and be less stressful for both the child and you if he or she shows signs of wanting to learn to use the toilet. Trust me, if you attempt potty training and he's just not into it or ready for it yet, then you are going to struggle. A lot.

But, when you are definitely ready to give potty training your hyperlexic child a go, even if you have unsuccessfully tried to toilet train them in the past, here are seven potty training strategies to keep in mind:

1. Use visual schedules and post them where they can be seen 

A visual schedule or routine chart that outlines each step of the potty training process is so important. Be specific as possible and don't skip simple steps! We used a visual script once that forgot the flush toilet step and guess what my son forgot to do? Yep, flush.

Detailed step-by-step visual routines will help your child be successful at potty training.

Be sure to keep the visual schedules where they can be seen. Hang the toileting visual schedule by the toilet. Hang a hand washing visual schedule by the sink. 

Need a free potty training visual schedule? You'll find lots to choose from!

2. Use social stories to teach various aspects of potty training

Social stories are a great way to teach social skills and life skills such as potty training. Hyperlexic children benefit greatly from direct social skills training through tools such as social stories.

You can write social stories about how to use the potty, when to use the potty, why we use the potty, how to wipe, how to wash hands, etc. You can also find lots of free potty training social stories here

3. Watch videos and read books about potty training

We loved using the Potty Time video and music to help my son learn the language and routines he needed to be successful at potty training. I think there is even an app to go with it. And remember to use your child's ability to read by picking up some books about potty training.

4. Encourage your child to get into a toileting routine

Making potty time part of your child's routine, such as peeing before bed (check out this free printable bedtime visual routine chart that includes potty time), peeing first thing in the morning, and/or peeing before leaving the house. Not only will this decrease accidents during the day or while out an about, but hyperlexic kids thrive on routines.

5. Show your child where the bathrooms are when out and about

When you are out and about running errands or visiting public spaces, be sure to point out to your child where all the bathrooms are, in case they need to go. This strategy was a must for us because my son likes to leave things to the last minute so when he needs to go, he needs to go like now! So knowing where the bathrooms are ahead of time will make it easier to get your child to the toilet in time.

6. Keep favorite books, magnetic letters, etc. near toilet to help your child stay seated

Once your child shows interest in potty training, it can be a whole other ballgame to keep him or her seated on the potty long enough to finish peeing or pooping. Keep a basket of your child's favorite books to read nearby or some magnetic letters or foam letters handy. Read through a book together while he or she sits on the toilet.

7. Buy some underwear that's motivating (like days of the week, covered with letters, or even write child's name)

Sometimes the hyperlexic child may be terrified of wearing underwear. They feel different and changes can be difficult for these kids. 

One thing you can do is supply them with underwear that is motivating to them. If they like planets, then buy some underwear with planets on them. Use days of the week underwear (although make sure you have multiple pairs for each day in case of accidents because I can guarantee your child won't want to wear Friday underwear on a Thursday).

Another idea is to buy plain colored underwear and write your child's name on them with fabric markers. Or decorate them with letters, numbers, or even the Russian alphabet...get creative!

8. Be aware of sensory preferences and be prepared for those challenges in public washrooms

Okay, this tip is like a must have for public washrooms. Washrooms that have automatic flushing toilets and the dreaded noisy hand dryers. Obviously you can avoid using the hand dryers and opt for using paper towel instead. That's easy enough!

But automatic flushing toilets?

Well, that's a different story.

Start carrying a pack of post-it notes in your purse or bag. Then you can simply cover the sensors with a post-it note so it doesn't flush automatically when your child stands up.

How's that for a potty training hack?

Need More Resources to Help with Potty Training?

Using visual supports and social stories is a great way to help prepare and support the hyperlexic or autistic child with potty training. This potty training visual schedule kit from my friend Katie of Preschool Inspirations is a great affordable resource that will help establish potty training habits and routines.

Potty training visual schedule kit

Other Hyperlexia Teaching Strategies You'll Love

Hyperlexia teaching strategies for potty training and toileting