Success on the Potty: Is Your Child Ready?
It is not uncommon for children with special needs to have difficulty with potty training. This may be because they are not able to recognize bodily sensations and link them to using the toilet or because they require more systematic teaching methods to be successful. Parents are often unsure of when and how to start toilet training; this uncertainty leads to starting and stopping and ongoing frustration. This article provides tips for determining readiness and successful toilet training.
Is your child ready?
Children show both physical and behavioral signs of readiness for toilet training. Your physician should always be consulted to assist in this determination, but your child may be ready if he or she can:
- Walk or run and sit upright without your assistance
- Stay dry and clean for extended periods (e.g., 45 minutes)
- Release a full bladder and have routine bowel movements
- Demonstrate awareness of bodily functions (e.g., grunting, squatting, grimacing)
- Stop or change activities when wetting or soiling in the diaper
- Imitate other people and demonstrate independence (by refusing help)
- Come to you or hide when he or she has a wet or soiled diaper
- Respond positively to praise and rewards
Are you ready?
Before you begin toilet training, it is important to make sure you can devote the necessary time and energy and make it a priority in your routine. If possible set aside a long weekend or several days when you know you can focus on toilet training. Stock up on food, supplies and clear your calendar so you can remain home as much as possible. Be prepared for accidents which commonly occur when children are learning which will require more laundry and clean up time. Engage other family members to help and arrange for them to entertain siblings and run errands. Being prepared and having support can give you the encouragement you need to keep at it and stay positive with your child.
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