As an ABA therapist I work with children with ASD and toilet training can be a challenging and emotional process. To avoid it being an overly stressful experience I have put together some tips that parents have found useful.
On average children are ready for toilet training by the time they are 2 or 2 and a half years old but it all depends on a child’s development and as we all know every child is different.
Before you start training keep an eye on your child’s nappy for a week, it may help to keep a diary so you can tell when a child empties their bladder. See if the wees are big or small. When a child is able to empty their bladder in one go most of the time it indicates their readiness for toilet training. It may make it easier if the child wears a pair of pants with a nappy on the top for a few days. Check every 30 minutes or so to see if the child has bladder control. If the pants are regularly a little bit wet from a few drops of wee then there is no bladder control. If that’s the case then try again in a few weeks. However if the pants are really wet then the bladder has been completely emptied, and it may be time to try toilet training.
Here are my top 10 tips:
Get your child involved in the process by shopping together for a colourful potty or a toilet seat and a climbing step.
Remember toilet training is a good opportunity for introducing self-help skills e. g pulling pants up or washing hands.
Try to stick to a schedule e.g. place your child on a toilet every 15-20 minutes and make a note of every wee, no wee or accident that happens.
DO NOT make a fuss if your child accidentally wets themselves, otherwise a child may get anxious and worried about the whole experience.
It is very important to reward a child after each successful visit to the toilet. For example, give your child a sticker or a favourite sweet. The reward should be special and kept only for this occasion. This prize could also vary in size eg a big piece of chocolate for a big wee! Give a bigger reward for a poo than for a wee.
Toilet training can be supported with stories about potty training and imaginary play e.g. let your child play with teddies or dolls and pretend to make the teddy wee on an imaginary toilet.
If your child has a regular bowel movement then it is a good time to encourage them to use a toilet for a poo.
Often you can tell a child is about to do a poo as they may look for privacy or will squat, and they may report back when their nappy is dirty.
Some parents prefer to go straight to toilet training and skip potty training which means training is shorter and there is no transition between potty and toilet. Do what you feel is right for you and your child.
And whatever you do, be consistent!