Toilet training is not really something that any parent looks forward to. It becomes even more complicated when a child is blind. Finding the toilet is a challenge; pointing to the toilet or self to indicate the need to go is not a possibility; language is often delayed so that makes communication around the toilet more challenged; motor skills can be delayed making pulling pants down more difficult; potty books and sticker rewards don’t work very well either!
We, quite fortuitously, have avoided the majority of these difficulties through using a technique called Elimination Communication. At a Birth Yoga workshop, I wondered out loud how people in low-income countries managed without expensive nappies. I was immediately pointed towards elimination communication.
Elimination communication encourages caregivers to become attuned to their baby’s natural signals and help them eliminate in a hygienic manner. The various positions that can be used help align the body for ease of elimination. It is often likened to breastfeeding, both a practical mechanism as well as an opportunity to bond with a baby.
We started ECing Ronan at the age of 3 months and by the age of 5 months had all poos in the loo. When Ronan was 16 months we moved him into training pants and finally said goodbye to nappies (except for sleeping). While Ronan went from being dry at 17 months to becoming too busy playing to go to the loo, poos are still in the loo!
I can see that toilet training is going to be no simple task. I am eternally grateful that the extra bit of effort when I was on maternity leave has got us 90% of the way to toilet training. While it can be a bit of a pain in the beginning, it gets past many of the major barriers that a blind child can have with toilet training. Worth a try with a small blind baby.