I just watched a therapist on YouTube tell parents how to look for toilet training readiness signs. From her limited description, you would have a better chance of finding truffles in France!
The signs of readiness in special needs children can be subtle, so do not ignore moves such as going behind the couch before having a bowel movement (if they can anticipate it, they can do it in the potty, too) and jumping around a bit before urinating into a diaper. A lot of signs are not that hard to see. Low Tone and Toilet Training: The 4 Types of Training Readiness Other than the physiological ability to keep a diaper dry for 1.5-2 hours, which is reached around 18-24 months, most of the other types of readiness can be facilitated. Even in special needs kids. And I am not taking about forcing any child to use the toilet. Ever.
The good news is that you can create more readiness without force. You shift their awareness, give them vocabulary, engage them in elimination events, and through it all, you inspire them. Sounds simple, but it takes some thought and effort. It is totally worth it, from the savings on diapers to the decreased stress on you and your child when you do start training. Jamie Glowacki, the author of a terrific book “Oh Crap Potty Training” takes a risk and challenges the idea that children will naturally be ready. She thinks that there are children that will really never be “ready”, as in eager to train. You probably know if your kid is in this category. They weren’t ready for a sippy cup, or to let go of the pacifier, or switch from a crib to a toddler bed. They hate change and they enjoy controlling situations much more than they care about consequences or praise. Admit it: you know if this is your kid. They need your help to be ready. Give it to them.
Not every child needs your help to become ready for toilet training. I know plenty of parents who say that at least one of their children really self-trained. Sounds hard to believe, but a motivated and attentive toddler that has been watching an older sibling…well, they have been taking notes! They just need a little bit of encouragement, and off they go. “Go” as in go to the bathroom.
Creating more readiness in toddlers that aren’t self-starters isn’t hard. When you diaper them, you narrate and explain. It sounds silly at first to do so, but children are sponges and absorb more than you think. You are inviting them to attend, not encouraging them to watch the TV while you wipe them off and strap a diaper on them in standing. Have them participate by holding wipes or clean clothes, go get a clean diaper for you, and when they are ready, have them toss out a well-wrapped dirty diaper.
Let them see how it’s done. I wrote a post on this, Low Tone and Toilet Training: Kids Need To See How It’s Done so I am not going to go into the details here. Let’s just say that a picture is worth a thousand words. The less language a child has, the more your demo helps them to understand the process.
Read those potty books, watch those potty videos. Not just your child, but you too. If you are watching and reading with them, you are communicating that you value the idea of their participation. Speak about their eventual independence in terms that inspire. Not pressuring them, inspiring. We talk about how they will go to school one day, be a mommy or a daddy one day. This is something closer to the horizon, but if it is spoken about as a far-away event, well, it will be.
Help has arrived! My book, The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone, is available on my website, tranquil babies, and as a clothbound hard copy when you contact me through the site. Read The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone: Help Has Arrived! to learn why my innovative book design and detailed information on toilet training will help you make immediate progress, regardless of your child’s current abilities.