Toilet Training in Angelman Syndrome

Toilet Training in Angelman Syndrome
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Children and adults with Angelman syndrome can experience incontinence. Despite cognitive and behavioral problems associated with the neurological disease, you can still toilet train your child, however.

Here is some information about incontinence and tips for helping you with toilet training your child.

About Angelman syndrome

Angelman is a rare genetic disorder that affects the nervous system and leads to intellectual and physical disabilities. It develops due to the malfunction or absence of the UBE3A gene, which is inherited from the mother. Most patients receive a diagnosis between ages 9 months and 6 years.

About incontinence in Angelman syndrome

Many adults with Angelman experience some form of incontinence — a lack of voluntary control over urination or defecation — throughout their lives. However, the rate of incontinence is higher among younger patients. Likely causes include a lower level of adaptive functioning, along with the seizures associated with Angelman, one study suggests.

In another study of 71 Angelman patients, those who were younger and had epilepsy or a lower level of adaptive functioning, or both, had higher levels of incontinence. Most primary caregivers reported severe intellectual disability as the main cause of urinary incontinence.

Among 90 children and 54 adults with Angelman involved in a 2017 study, 85.6% had at least one subtype of incontinence, including nighttime bedwetting, daytime urinary incontinence, and fecal incontinence. Epilepsy and the patient’s genetic makeup were likely causes, according to the study.

Tips for toilet training your child

Despite intellectual and behavioral challenges, children with Angelman syndrome can learn continence. Here are some tips that can help you successfully toilet train your child with Angelman.

  • Allow your child to view you and other family members using the toilet. Be open about the fact that everyone voids.
  • Starting early on, try to only perform incontinence pad changes in a bathroom. Tell your child in a way he or she can understand that the bathroom is where urinary and fecal voids happen. If your child is able, have him or her stand while you change pads.
  • Speak with your child’s physician or an occupational therapist about tools or equipment you’ll need for toilet training, especially if your son or daughter is too big for child potties. You may need to install a seat insert or a portable step to make sure your child can properly reach the toilet and sit on it safely. You also may wish to install handles on either side of the commode seat so that your child is comfortable using the toilet.
  • Before training is necessary, it’s helpful to read book portions to your child to help them understand and get used to the concept.
  • Take your child to the bathroom every 1.5-to-two hours and encourage him or her to sit on the toilet. It might be better to do this with children after they have had meals so that they are not hungry or thirsty.
  • Be generous with praise at all stages. Do so even if all that you accomplished has been getting your child to sit on the commode. Use any tangible rewards sparingly, and only for actual fecal or urinary production.

 

Last updated: Dec. 7, 2020

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Angelman Syndrome News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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Özge has a MSc. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Leicester and a PhD in Developmental Biology from Queen Mary University of London. She worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the University of Leicester for six years in the field of Behavioural Neurology before moving into science communication. She worked as the Research Communication Officer at a London based charity for almost two years.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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