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Children of Stroke and Potty Training/
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Children of Stroke and Potty Training
By Jude Roberts, Staff Writer
Stroke is among the top ten causes
of death in children. The most common types of strokes
in children are prenatal stroke (before birth),
perinatal stroke (happening around the time of birth),
and childhood stroke. Stroke in kids can be caused by
cardiac disorders, clotting disorders (blood isnít
coagulating properly), or even some types of infection.
A child who has experienced a stroke may have
difficulties with speech, language, learning, and with
physical dexterity and coordination.
Also, stroke in
children is the most common cause of hemiplegia
(paralysis on the same side of the body). It is thought
that since a childís brain is still developing, that
perhaps another area of the brain will take over for the
damaged areas, enabling the child to be able to develop
normally, both physically as well as intellectually.
However, a child may still have some challenges ahead,
such as potty training, if they are still experiencing
any type of lingering paralysis.
Most parents look forward to the day when their children
will be able to go to the bathroom by themselves. Itís
not impossible for a child who has experienced a stroke
to be taught how to go potty, but it may require a
caregiver to be a little more creative and reflective.
Before you begin potty training, consider the lack of
sensation and muscle strength that your child may have.
He or she may have difficulty controlling the muscles of
the bladder and bowels, and also may not be able to
actually feel the urge of having to go. You should
patiently help the child become aware of what this
sensation may feel like, while realizing that this will
take time and practice, and that accidents are a part of
the training process.
When you sense that there are longer dry spells between
diaper changes, and bowel movements are happening on a
more consistent basis, these signs will let you know
that the childís muscles are beginning to strengthen.
While he or she is still wearing some sort of
protection, begin helping them to practice pulling their
pants up and down. The quicker they can take off their
undergarments, the less likely it is that they will have
an unexpected accident. Children can learn to do this
with one hand by alternating from one side of the pants
to the other. Try to stay away from pants that have
zippers, buttons, or snaps. Itís best to get your child
loose-fitting, elastic waist pants, jogging or sweat
pants, which will give them the ability to get their
pants up and down more easily by themselves.
Your child will have a lot to practice,
and while they are doing so, you can begin investigating
the different types of potty seats or chairs that are
available. If your child is fairly young, you may want
to invest in a potty chair that can rest on the floor,
then, as the child improves, parts of the potty chair
can be adapted to fit a regular-sized toilet, still
giving your child a sense of security while on the ďbigĒ
potty. Also, many potty seats and chairs come with rails
on both sides, providing added security and safety. Be
sure that toilet paper is placed in an easily accessible
area so that it can be reached with their unaffected
Another good idea that may help your child with
their concentration and thought process is to
continually use reminders or set a timer so that both of
you will remember that itís time to try and go to the
bathroom. Even if they donít actually go at that
specific moment, the fact of when they should go will
still be reinforced, as well as the idea of needing to
use the potty instead of going in their diaper.
The most important thing to remember is not to place a
lot of stress and/or expectations on yourself or on your
child. Things happen, and sometimes, even after a child
has been successfully potty trained, there will be times
when accidents or regression may happen, especially
after an illness or a change in the normal routine.
Through offering your child constant reassurance and
showing them how proud you are of them, youíll be
teaching them more than just how to go to the bathroom;
youíll be teaching them self-esteem and self-confidence
as well, and these two characteristics will definitely
last them a lifetime.