TOILET TRAINING YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS CHILD

Updated: May 20



Parents often find that toilet training their child can be a frustrating process. Some children may train quickly and easily, but for many children, it can take time. And if a child has special needs, it can be even more difficult. Toilet training can often be stressful, even for children without special needs, but for every child, it’s an important milestone. Toilet training increases a child’s self-esteem and independence, especially as he or she enters school or daycare. The good news is that typically, children can achieve toilet training by two to three years of age, regardless of special needs. However, only you and your child can determine whether they are ready to learn.

Signs that your child is ready for toilet training


  • Your child can follow one-step instruction

  • Your child can communicate or show a sign a need to go

  • Your child can imitate others

  • Your child is willing to cooperate

  • Your child can get to and from the toilet independently

  • Your child is aware of wet or soiled diapers

  • Your child is able to pull pants down and maybe even up

  • Your child is able to sit on the potty for 5 minutes without help


However, some children do not show any of the above signs, but parents can create an opportunity for them to learn.

Tips for teaching toilet train




1. Use clear and simple pictures or visual prompts such as visual support

2. When your child does have an accident, minimize discussing, pleading, teasing or another fussing that can have the unintended result of reinforcing the accident behavior

3. Identify some activities, toys, or small treats that will motivate your child. Reserve these for rewarding your child’s toileting successes, and only for rewarding toileting success

4. Use rewards to communicate. Sometimes, rewards can help you communicate your expectations to your child

5. Empower your child to communicate. It’s especially important to help children with limited verbal abilities to signal their need to use the toilet. When you bring him to the bathroom, it’s time to teach him a simple way to tell you he needs “to go.”


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