For children with either low muscle tone or spasticity, toilet training can be a real challenge. If it isn’t clothing management or making it to the potty on time, they can have a hard time perceiving that NOW is the time to start heading to the toilet.
Why? Often, their interoception isn’t terrific. What is interoception? Think of it like proprioception, but internal. It’s the ability to identify and interpret sensory information coming from organs and internal tissues. Among them, the pressure of a full bladder or a full colon. If you can’t feel and interpret sensation correctly, your only clue that you need the potty is when your pants are soiled. Uh-oh. A child with muscle tone issues is almost certainly going to have sensory issues. Tone will affect the amount and quality of sensory feedback from their body.
What can you do to help kids? The simplest, and the fastest solution I have found, is to tell them to stand up and see if they have changed their mind. Why? Because in a sitting position, the force of a full bladder or colon on the abdominal wall and the pelvic floor isn’t as intense. Gravity and intra-abdominal pressure increase those sensations in standing. More sensation can lead to more awareness.
So the next time your child tells you they don’t have to “go”, ask them to stand up and reconsider their opinion. Now, if they are trying to watch a show or play a game, you aren’t going to get very far. So make sure that they don’t have any competition for their attention!
Looking for more information on toilet training? Well, I wrote the (e) book! The Practical Guide To Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone gives you readiness checklists and ways to make readiness actually happen. It has strategies you can use today to start making progress, regardless of your child’s level of communication and mobility. Learn what occupational therapists know about how to teach this essential skill! It is available on my website tranquil babies, on Amazon and on a terrific site for therapists and parents Your Therapy Source. Read more about my unique book:The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone: Potty Training Help Has Arrived!