How To Potty Train A Diabetic Child

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Let’s talk potty training! Only the mere thought of this phrase gave me chills! More so, because of my daughter’s condition of type 1 diabetes.

I am going to tell you, it was NOT an easy task. Until this day, we still struggle with nighttime potty training, but for the moment we are managing the issue with overnight diapers.

Potty training a child with type 1 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 diabetes or another underlying medical issue. Talk to your child’s Pediatrician about any concerns you may have.


Watch for cues to assess your child’s readiness

When thinking about potty training 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 underwears?

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?



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.

Get your everything ready for 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 the pottyI bought her this one because honestly, it was the cheapest one I saw at $6.28 on Amazon, when I got it in January 2017.

**DISCLAIMER: check the site for current prices**

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 me ask questions, and make their own decisions. This gives them a feeling of control, and it can help you be successful in the process.


Demonstrate for your child 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.

Grab underwear for your child

Your child will become excited with the potty training if they use big boy/girl underwears. 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.

What to do if 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 in 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.

Regression and setbacks can happen, especially if there are recent family events or new family members incorporating into the family. 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.

What to 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.


Some people get the seat to go with it, like this one:


Nighttime 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)

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.

Things to be mindful of

  • Do not scold, shame, embarrass, threaten or punish your child during potty training or if they have 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 strap your child to the potty or toilet. They should be able to get off it when they want and feel like.
  • Do not dress your toddler in clothes that cannot easily get out of. This can cause them unnecessary stress if they cannot undress in time, and then accidents happen.
  • Do not make your child sit on the potty for longer than 5 minutes. Forcing them to do so can make going to the potty an unpleasant experience for them.
  • Do not use words like “dirty” or “stinky.”
  • Do not compare your child with other kids. Every child develops differently. Some children get it in three days, others take longer. Follow your child’s lead. Be their biggest support.
  • Finally, do not expect your child to be trained overnight. As I just stated above, follow your child’s lead, and watch for cues to see if he/she really is ready.

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.


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