Potty Time for Kids with Down Syndrome:
Lose the Diapers, Not Your Patience


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Written by Terry Katz, Ph.D., and Lina Patel, Psy.D.
isbn 978-1-60613-295-1 / 2020 / Paperback / 6″ x 9″ / 164 pages / Planning and Data Tracking Forms



Whether you’re just getting started potty training your child with Down syndrome or have been at it for months or years, Potty Time for Kids with Down Syndrome: Lose the Diapers, Not Your Patience offers the specialized guidance needed for you and your child to be successful!

Drawing on their years of experience working with and toilet training children with Down syndrome, authors Terry Katz and Lina Patel have created a customizable developmental-behavioral model based on a thorough understanding of how the behaviors of children with Down syndrome are affected by their neurodevelopment. For instance, the low muscle tone common in children with Down syndrome can affect bladder and bowel control. Or a child may be motivated to continue using a diaper because he enjoys the interaction while being changed. The book’s empathetic and encouraging tone coupled with its positive behavior-based strategies geared specifically to children with Down syndrome will help parents avoid typical challenges. It covers:

  • medical & physical issues (constipation, celiac disease, UTI
  • behavioral & cognitive challenges (willfulness, sensory issues, etc.)
  • collecting data to help you individualize your training plan
  • behavioral principles (ignoring undesired behavior, reinforcement, etc.)
  • getting your bathroom ready
  • trip/schedule training
  • when to switch from diapers to underwear
  • proactive strategies to increase success
  • helpful supports (visual schedules, personalized stories, etc.)
  • handling accidents and bedwetting
  • working with the school team
  • desensitization for children who are anxious
  • using public toilets
  • teaching bathroom skills (pulling pants up and down, wiping, handwashing)
  • considerations for children who also have an autism spectrum disorder
  • special challenges (playing in the toilet, obsessively flushing)

Plenty of appendices offer forms and logs to help parents plan and track their children’s progress at home and school, and examples of visual supports to use during training. A very useful resources section lists dozens of training products such as books and videos, diapers and specialized clothing, visual timers, and potty stools. With this book, parents and other caregivers in daycare and school settings will find the effective strategies and support they need to help children achieve this important milestone toward greater independence.

Written by Terry Katz, Ph.D., and Lina Patel, Psy.D.
Terry Katz is a licensed psychologist and Senior Instructor with Distinction who has been privileged to work with children with developmental disabilities and their families for over 30 years. She co-founded a sleep behavior clinic in 2009 and a toileting clinic in 2011 for children with special needs at Children’s Hospital Colorado and has worked in both clinics since they were established. She has worked with the Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network to help develop several toolkits that address common issues affecting children with special needs and their families including sleep, toileting, dental procedures, and completing an EEG. Her research interests include helping families with day-to-day issues that affect their children’s lives.

Also by Terry Katz:
Solving Sleep Problems in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and When Down Syndrome and Autism Intersect (a chapter on sleep).

Lina Patel is a licensed psychologist and the Director of Psychology for the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at Children’s Hospital Colorado. She provides consultation with schools, parent training regarding the management of challenging or unsafe behaviors, evaluation for dual diagnoses (Down syndrome and autism), toilet training, and desensitization to medical devices (such as hearing aids and CPAP) and procedure-related distress. She has worked with hundreds of children, adolescents, and young adults with Down syndrome. Outside of her clinical work, she has presented to numerous organizations across the country and internationally. She also conducts research on clinical issues impacting those with Down syndrome.