Sharon’s Tips For Using Sign Language for Potty Training Your Kid

baby sign language for potty training

Untrained potty habits can make you lose your mind sometimes if your toddler lets it go at odd times. Here, sign language could be the perfect solution.  When my kids were little, I wish I had more knowledge on this topic, as it could have saved me a few months of messy frustration.

Sign language for potty is a useful technique to educate your children on calling for your attention when they need to release their bowels. Parents use various sign languages for poop, pee, or diaper change. 

However, these potty sign languages are very easy, fun, and effective. And if you haven’t potty-trained your kid yet or taught them the sign languages for it, read our article. 

We’ll cover the importance, ways, and tips of potty sign language along with some useful potty signs for kids in American and British sign languages. 

Table of Contents

How Sign Language Plays an Important Role When Potty Training Your Kid

You can potty train your kid even without sign language. 

But kids aged 9-12 months often miss out on learning and using proper words to communicate while feeling the urge of pooping, peeing, or change wet diapers. Besides, some parents are concerned about their kids with special needs in this regard. 

And there comes the role of potty sign language. 

The whole point of potty sign language is to give your small kids a tool to communicate with you about their urge to go to the toilet or change diapers even without knowing the proper words for it.  

No doubt, kids above 12 months are more willing to learn sign language and be able to use them correctly. Nonetheless, most parents and caregivers these days desire this in effect in the pre-verbal age of the kids. 

This way, kids start potty training very early, and by the time they’re 18-24 months, parents don’t need to worry about this issue that much. 

One of the significant aspects of parents willing to get their kids equipped with these techniques is their ever-increasing workload. They want other stuff apart from their work disciplined, including their small kiddos. 

No mom likes to have her online meetings disturbed by the cries and urges of her toddler, needing to clean up the mess at once. Besides, it teaches your kids good manners by pooping in the toilet instead of messing it up on the floor. It’s cleaner and more hygienic this way.  

Hence, it goes without saying that sign language plays a vital role in potty training your kid. 

What’s the Best Time to Teach Your Kids About Potty Training?

The earlier the better. As we’ve discussed above, potty training is something all parents want their kids to learn even before they learn to speak or walk.

Most parents about fifty years ago realized the urge to potty train their kids as early as 12 months. It’s because disposable diapers weren’t available during that time. Moms slogged about cleaning the messy and dirty cloth diapers. And to reduce that hard work, early potty training was necessary. 

But with the commercial disposable diapers available on the market, parents became less concerned with potty training. Hence, the potty training age was raised to 24 to 36 months. 

However, that didn’t last long since the monthly cost of disposable diapers became a bigger concern for parents. That’s why parents these days aren’t hindering potty training anymore, beginning around 8-12 months of their kids. 

But in special cases, parents with autistic kids may need to wait longer to potty train them, sometimes until they’re 4-6 years old. There are autistic kids who can comparatively potty train even faster than other kids, but mostly it’s challenging for the parents.

So don’t bother about when your little one will learn the potty sign language. Just keep communicating with them with the signs, so they gradually get it. 

Sign Language for ‘Potty’ in ASL (American Sign Language)

The American sign language for saying ‘potty’ is a fun and easy technique for kids. Here’s how to do it:

  • First, make a fist keeping your thumb outside.
  • Then put your thumb through the index and middle finger. 
  • Now shake your twisted fist sideways a few times. 

Your little one initially might get confused about the proper fingers, but that’s okay as long as they can communicate with you about their potty urge. 

Sign Language for Potty in BSL (British Sign Language)

Sign language for potty in Britain is a little different from the American one. Basically, it requires your kid to use both hands to make the British potty sign. 

  • First, make a regular fist with one hand.
  • Then, draw a clockwise or counterclockwise circle in the air with the other hand. 
  • Keep both hands a little close to each other while showing the sign. 

Since it’s not complicated, your kid will learn to use both hands to make a potty sign like this quicker. 

Sign Language for Poop in ASL

There’s an American sign language for ‘poop.’ And it goes like this:

  • First, make a regular fist with one hand. 
  • Then insert the other hand’s thumb through the fist’s bottom. 
  • Now, keep pulling the thumb down and then insert it back through the fist. You have to repeat the action a few times to grab attention. 

This sign will help your kid to learn perfect hand motion coordination while doing so. 

Sign Language for ‘Poop’ in BSL

The British version of ‘poop’ sign language is probably the easiest:

  • Just do a wipe motion with a flat hand right across your mouth. There will be no touching between the palm and the face. 

It looks a bit weird how that sign works for a poop motion; however, it is the way it is, and your kids will be happy to learn it so easy-peasy. 

Ways to Teach Your Toddler the Potty Sign

The bigger concern of parents should be how to teach their babies these amazing potty signs. 

Well, the first attempt you can take is right after your toddler has pooped in his diaper or cloth. As you’re about to clean your little boy or girl, try the following:

  • Make one of the signs we’ve shared above and show it to your kid. 
  • You can utter a word or two aloud, so your child can relate that with your sign language. 
  • Repeat the sign and verbal action a few times to inspire your child to follow. 

Another way to associate the potty signs with your kid is by doing the sign and verbal action whenever you’re taking him or her to the toilet. Be patient if your child isn’t following your actions. It may take time depending on age and level of comprehensiveness. 

Tips on Teaching Your Kid the Potty Sign

Teaching your kid the potty signs could be hectic sometimes. It’s because not all kids possess the same level of understanding of hand and eye motions. Besides, their emotional and physical maturity aren’t the same. 

That’s why you must follow some tips that can help you instill the habit in your kid. 

Let’s try the following tips to work the potty signs with your kids:

  • Start teaching those potty signs to your kid when you notice in them the enthusiasm for speaking up new words. 
  • Utilize their growing motor skills like hand motions, walking, etc. It’s the best time for them to learn various signs. 
  • A fun way to teach potty signs is that you show the signs to your kid when you’re going to the toilet. Kids learn more by actions rather than instructions. 
  • Sometimes, you need to pick signs to teach signs. For instance, if your child is acting or gesturing oddly due to motion, ask if he or she needs to go to the toilet while showing it the potty or poop sign.
  • You can engage in their regular playtime while slipping in some potty signs relevantly as a part of other necessary education. It’s not like they always have to learn it when they’re actually pooping. 
  • Teach your child to go to the toilet when feeling the urge to poop apart from showing signs. 
  • Use motivational words like ‘good boy,’ ‘that’s it,’ or ‘good job’ even if they show signs on rare occasions. 
  • If your kid fails to show signs in time, don’t show any frustration. Just clean it up and move on. Pat on its back at least for trying. 

So go on and apply these tips to teach your child the necessary potty signs. Remember, potty training along with sign language can take days, weeks, or months. So stick to the good practice without going off-course. 

Can You Teach Potty Sign Language to a Kid with Autism?

Kids with autism sometimes are smarter than other kids in many fields. But still, they may take time in learning sign language for potty. Many parents struggle to teach them these signs while others get this over with quite nicely. 

Kids diagnosed with autism may show an inability in cognitive abilities, communication, and fine and gross motor skills. These skills are responsible for verbal and physical functions which directly relate to learning signs, gestures, etc. 

Many parents get frustrated with the responsibility of teaching their autistic children the potty signs along with other daily activities. But that’s no way going to help them learn any faster.  Sometimes kids will be kids!

There’s a three-day potty training that involves a focused and parent-led method to get the kids equipped with the necessary toilet skills. For autistic kids, it may take a bit longer, but it’s worth the try. 

Sharon’s Summary

The most important thing to remember for you is not to force your kid into learning these potty signs. It’s not a matter of life and death, after all.  My kids took a while, but not awful, so just be patient and this too will pass.

Some kids learn fast while others are a bit late at grasping stuff. But the whole point of potty sign language is to get them associated with their lives as they grow. 

If you think our article has been a nice piece of parental skill guide on potty signs for kids, apply what you’ve learned and see how they work for your little one.