Tag Archives: special needs toileting

Toilet Training For Preschool And Stuck in Neutral? Here’s Why…..

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Many of my clients are in a rush to get their kid trained in the next few weeks for school. They have been making some headway over the summer, but things can stall out half-way through.  Here are some common reasons (but probably not all of them) why kids hit a plateau:

  1. They lose that initial boost of excitement in achieving a “big kid” milestone.  Using the potty isn’t an accomplishment now, it is just a chore.
  2. Parents and caregivers aren’t able to keep up the emotional rewards they need.  It is hard to be as excited about the 10th poop in the potty as the first time.
  3. The rewards used aren’t rewarding anymore.  A sticker or a candy might not be enough to pull someone away from Paw Patrol.
  4. An episode of constipation or any other negative physical experience has them worried.  Even a little bit of difficulty can discourage a toddler.
  5. Too many accidents or not enough of a result when they are really trying can also discourage a child.
  6. Using the potty is now a power play.  Some kids need to feel in control, and foiling a parent’s goal of toileting gives them the feeling that they are the ones running the show.  “I won’t” feels so much better than “I did it” for these kids.
  7. Their clothes are a barrier.  When some families start training, it is in the buff or with just underwear.  Easy to make it to the potty in time.  With clothes on, especially with button-top pants or long shirts, it can be a race to get undressed before things “happen”.
  8. They haven’t been taught the whole process.  “Making” is so much more than eliminating.  Check out How To Teach Your Child To Wipe “Back There” and The Ten Most Common Mistakes Parents Make During Toilet Training for some ideas on how to teach the whole enchilada.

Should you pause training? The answer is not always to take a break.  I know it sounds appealing to both adults and kids, but saying that this isn’t important any longer has a serious downside.  If your child has had some success, you can keep going but change some of your approaches so that they don’t get discouraged or disinterested.  If your child really wasn’t physically or cognitively ready, those are good reasons to regroup.  But most typically-developing kids over 2 are neurologically OK for training.  They may need to develop some other skills to deal with the bumps in the road that come along for just about every child.

Sometimes addressing each one of these issues will move training to the next level quickly!  Take a look at this list and see if you can pick out a few that look like the biggest barriers, and hack away at them today!

For kids with low muscle tone, including kids with ASD and SPD, take a look at my e-book, The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone.  Read Why Low Muscle Tone Creates More Toilet Training Struggles for Toddlers (and Parents!) to understand why I wrote this book just for you!   

I give parents clear readiness guidelines and tips on everything from the best equipment, the best way to handle fading rewards, to using the potty outside of your home.  It also includes an entire chapter on overcoming these bumps in the road! To learn more about what my e-book can do for you, read The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone: Potty Training Help Has Arrived!

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The Ten Most Common Mistakes Parents Make During Toilet Training

  1. Ignoring their own readiness issues.  Parents who are unaware of their own lack of readiness will not be able to be the effective coach and teacher that their child needs.  Training requires extra laundry, cash outlays and can create lots of frustration for adults.  If you don’t know how you will handle all of these issues, your reactions could make potty training harder.  Even if you have trained older children, life situations change.  A parent with a more demanding job or simply more “irons in the fire” will have to figure out how to devote the necessary time and attention to toilet training this child.  Learn more about readiness by reading Low Tone and Toilet Training: The 4 Types of Training Readiness
  2. Assuming that defiant children will be LESS defiant in toilet training.  Older toddlers and preschool children that are still in diapers can be the most difficult to train.  Developmentally, they are at the stage in which they are learning about their ability to assert control over situations and people and handling the consequences.  Some children have temperaments that make toilet training harder any age.  The shy child can be overwhelmed by accidents and expectations, and the spirited child can balk at being told when to sit on the potty and resists following a routine.
  3. Using equipment that doesn’t fit the child.  The wide range of equipment available doesn’t mean that parents will pick the one that has the best chance of success.  Children with motor or sensory issues are especially vulnerable to failure when the equipment doesn’t meet their needs.  Typically-developing children can respond negatively to poor equipment as well.  A seat insert that is wiggly can seem frighteningly unsafe to them, and a potty on another floor can result in so many accidents that they insist on a diaper for security.
  4. Ignoring the sensory processing component of low muscle tone.  Many children have low muscle tone, including children with ASD, sensory processing issues, and syndromes such as Down and Prader-Willi.  Parents are aware of the balance and stability components of low tone, but don’t recognize any of the sensory components.  The one that derails training the most frequently is a lack of interoceptive awareness, which is limited perception of internal sensory experiences .
  5. Assuming that speech delays mean training delays.  Children can learn to use the toilet without any verbal abilities at all.  They do need some receptive language skills, but the level of comprehension to master a toileting schedule isn’t as high as parents think.  Creating a good plan is the challenge.
  6. Interpreting accidents as failures.  No one likes to have an accident or clean one up.  But accidents are signals that learning is happening and/or changes in the training plan are needed.  If you or your child react dramatically to accidents or interpret their meaning incorrectly, this can create training resistance or refusal.
  7. Not knowing how to anticipate bladder fullness or bowel routines.  What goes in must come out.  If a child wanders around with a sippy cup, it will be nearly impossible to anticipate when that bladder will be full, and when sitting on the potty will be a success.  Understanding how to make early training successful by guiding a child the the toilet at the right time is key.
  8. Minimizing the importance of clothing choice for independence.  Children have the cutest clothes, but during toilet training, cute styles can spell disaster.  “Dressing for success” means clothes that can be slid on and off easily, and don’t get in the way of seeing and feeling the call of nature.
  9. Ignoring fears and withholding behaviors until they derail training.  Some children are truly afraid of the sounds, feelings and even the smells of elimination.  They can even think that they will be flushed away!  Avoiding addressing  withholding issues can create behavioral but also medical problems.  Ignore them at your own peril.
  10. Waiting until the last minute to train.  After a few years of diapers, children can assume that this is how their parents want them to eliminate.  Not using pre-training strategies that inspire and prepare children, even children with special needs, makes training harder than it has to be.  Take a look at How Early Can You Start Toilet Training?  to understand more about training readiness at any age.

Good News!  My book, The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your child With Low Muscle Tone, is done!  The e-book is available on my website tranquil babies.  It is also available on Amazon.com and at yourtherapysource.com.

There is nothing out there that does as complete a job of helping parents succeed with toilet training children with low muscle tone.  I have provided readiness checklists and chapter summaries for quick answers to your questions.  Medical and therapy terms are fully explained so that you don’t have to run to Google to figure out what each term really means.  

My book provides parents with ideas they can use today to move forward with potty training!

 Help has arrived!

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Waiting for Toilet Training Readiness? Create It Instead!

 

 

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Fall has arrived in New York, and toddlers know the best way to enjoy it!

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.

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.