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It is commonly assumed that many children with special needs can’t potty train, and won’t potty train. Or perhaps they will, but it will take much longer and be a slower or more difficult process although that can be true in certain circumstances, it is not true across-the-board
Daytime incontinence can be troublesome for many families whether their child has special needs or not, but it’s a particularly ongoing issue for many families with children who have special needs. There are certain cases of children who have ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and also it’s researched and found that children with down syndrome, more often have daytime incontinence, even after they’ve been potty trained for a certain time.
The options for daytime and incontinence range from special clothing, daytime diapers or there is a product called Sposies, which is a diaper or underwear booster pad for absorbency.
Traditionally, we would rather see children be fully potty trained. However, we understand that with special needs, it’s not a one size fits all situation. It’s not as though day one necessarily looks like day 26 or day 375.
Ups and downs of traditional potty training can just be that much more extreme for families who have children with special needs. Other things can come up like dietary issues, challenges with social interactions, speech and language development, or delays and neurological deficits. These can all affect special needs children's ability to potty train; including, how fast, and how much that information and ability sticks in the future.
As mentioned before there are options to help a child get through a period of incontinence. If they experience incontinence you can use Sposies, absorbent clothing, special underwear or diapers can all help, but you might need to run your option by your school or daycare facility so they understand the purpose. This product can potentially help your child through the day without needing to be changed as many times or extending the amount of time between changes.
The reason this makes more sense for children with special needs is because they are often older and have larger bladders and regular disposable diapers aren’t meant to hold excessive amounts of urine that aren’t being stopped and ‘held in’, but being fully released all at one time.
Ultimately, remember this: There is no shame in using incontinence aids. Tools like Sposies, adaptive clothing, and diapers are not setbacks, but stepping stones that allow children to participate fully in daily life. Open communication is key: Schools, daycare centers, and caregivers all play a crucial role in understanding and supporting a child's individual needs for managing incontinence. Focus on progress, not perfection. Celebrate every step forward, whether it's increased awareness, longer intervals between accidents, or simply a willingness to try.
Potty training, for children with special needs and without, is a journey, not a destination. Let's replace unrealistic expectations with acceptance, support, and a healthy dose of patience. By embracing individual differences and celebrating unique progress, we can create a more inclusive and supportive environment for all children to thrive and remember, every child deserves the chance to shine, regardless of their potty training timeline!
P.S We think Sposies are a game-changer for managing daytime incontinence in special needs children.