Toilet Training Tips from the SNR Collaborative

Your guide to Toilet Training

Toilet training is a significant milestone in a child’s development. However, knowing the right time to start can be challenging. Recognizing the signs that a child is ready can make the process smoother for everyone. Here are some essential questions to consider:

Signs a Child May Be Ready for Toilet Training

  1. Dry Periods: Does the child stay dry for several hours during the day? This indicates they have developed better bladder control.
  2. Independence with Clothing: Is the child able to pull up and down their own bottoms? This skill is crucial for toilet training independence.
  3. Communication: Does the child tell you or indicate when they need to be changed? Recognizing the need to go is a key readiness sign.
  4. Potty Sitting: Can the child sit on the potty or toilet? Comfort with the potty is essential for training success.
  5. Interest: Does the child show interest in using the potty? Curiosity and willingness to try are positive indicators.


Getting Started with Toilet Training

Before diving into toilet training, consider the timing and your ability to dedicate time to this process. Here are some tips to get started:

  1. Choose the Right Time: Avoid starting during major changes, like moving or the arrival of a new sibling. Warmer months can be easier as less clothing simplifies the process.
  2. Consistent Caregiver Approach: Ensure all caregivers are on the same page and ready to implement the plan consistently.
  3. Introduce the Concept: Read stories about using the potty, discuss the process, and let the child practice sitting on the potty during routine diaper changes.
  4. Prepare the Environment: Equip the bathroom with a step stool, a potty seat, or a ring reducer to make it child-friendly and accessible.


When You Begin

  1. Dress for Success: Use loose-fitting clothing that’s easy for the child to remove independently. Have extra clothes on hand for accidents.
  2. Consistent Routine: Take the child to the potty regularly and include bathroom breaks in natural transitions, like after waking up, before meals, and before bedtime.
  3. Positive Reinforcement: Celebrate each attempt with praise or a small reward to encourage the child’s efforts.


Handling Setbacks

Toilet training can take several months, and nighttime control may take even longer. Be patient and encouraging. If the child resists after multiple attempts, they might not be ready. The best thing to do when that happens is wait a few months and try again later.


How We Can Help

If you are an educator looking to support a family with toilet training or if you are a family member/caring adult who is seeking additional tips and ticks, reach out to your SNR team. Resource Consultants can provide visual supports, stories and other practical strategies that may help to support the toileting process. Occupational Therapists may also be able to play a role in addressing the environment, physical aspects and sensory strategies that can impact the success of toilet training. 

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