There’s no such thing as an “ideal” time to toilet train your child. Every child develops at a different pace and this should be taken account when toilet training. It’s important to be aware that introducing toilet training before a child is ready can cause anxiety. Some signs that your child is developmentally ready for toilet training are:
Some children may display a curiosity in toileting. This may display as an interest in the bathroom or sensory stimulation around the toilet. Observing this curiosity and choosing to train your child around this time can be beneficial. Children with sensory processing needs may enjoy the feeling of wetting themselves. Slowly introducing your child to the bathroom and reinforcing desired behaviour through rewards can help to overcome this.
Many children with special needs find it challenging to communicate their needs. Teaching your child communication strategies for using the toilet can encourage this process. This may be through the use of physical objects, symbols or sign language. Using communication aids such as a now and next board can be very beneficial. It’s important to maintain consistency and move at your child’s pace.
When toilet training your child, it is important to recognise that setbacks are common. You may observe some progress followed by a few steps backwards. Maintain faith during these periods.
Speaking to your child’s school to identify what process they are following can help to maintain consistency. Many children benefit from a routine. Maintaining a routine between home and school can encourage progress.
Preparing your child for what is coming can ease their anxieties about toileting. This can be in the form of visuals, a story or a video. Research by Karen & Monica (2007) found that an animated toileting video could help toileting for children with special needs.
Some children with special needs benefit from knowing that their actions will receive a reward after. Teaching your child that a reward will follow toileting, can greatly help them to make progress.
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