Potty Training

How do I Toilet Train Children With Dyspraxia?

Look for signs that your child is ready to toilet train. The signs for dyspraxic children are harder to detect, as it is harder to tell if they have an awareness of their bowel movements. Instead, look for evidence of bladder control. Once your child can control his bladder, he is probably ready to begin potty training.

Read potty training books, such as "Everybody Poops" and talk to your child to increase her awareness of what is going to happen. Give her at least a week to consider the new concept, and if your child is verbal, encourage her to ask questions about the process.

Make some flash cards, featuring an image of your child on the potty. Give this to him while you change his diaper, so that he beings to associate his bowel movements with potty training. Then, begin giving him the card while you sit on the potty. This will provide a strong reference for your child, and help him to link the new routine with his existing one.

Set a new routine. Think about when your child fills his nappy, and how long after eating or drinking this typically occurs. For a few weeks, keep a chart or diary of nappy changes, and use this to make a routine. You may need to change his eating habits and create meal times for a routine to work successfully. Routine is important to dyspraxic children, and so it should be as accurate as possible.

Create a visual schedule of the child's new routine. Include everything from when she wakes up, to when she eats, uses the potty and goes to bed. Dyspraxic children are often reassured by a visual schedule, and will adapt much easier once the toilet is included in their routine. To begin with, you may need to allow time for nappy changes as well as potty time. If your child uses signs to communicate, teach her the signs, and sign them to her when you change her nappy. She will begin to associate them.

Children with dyspraxia may find it easier to adapt to using the potty when they are not wearing a diaper.
Children with dyspraxia may find it easier to adapt to using the potty when they are not wearing a diaper.

Take his nappy off. Once you have been using the potty for a week, whether successful or not, take away his nappy and put him in underwear. Take him to the toilet every half an hour, and increase his liquids. He will pee in the potty, and once he has done it a few times, he will start to recognise what to do. He may have a few accidents in the early days, but usually only a few days of training is needed before the child is confident with the potty.

Create a reward system for your child. While all children are motivated by rewards, and sticker charts are particularly effective, dyspraxic children will be more motivated by the visual record than the reward. Put emphasis on placing the sticker on the chart, or allowing the child to do it, rather than what reward the stickers could lead too.

Tip

Consider your child's mental age, rather than his chronological age. If his mental age is under 2 years old, he is probably too young to grasp toilet training, and could find the process stressful. While the child is potty training, dress her in clothes that are easy to change and wash. Consider using resources such as waterproof mattress covers to make your life easier and keep the child dry. Contact the Dyspraxia society or your child's doctor if he doesn't seem to be making any progress by 4 years old. Make sure that all the people who look after your child are aware of the routine and enforce it correctly, so that your child has the best chance of learning what to expect.

About Consistency in Potty Training

Consistent Daily Routine

Before you can apply consistency to potty training, it’s helpful to have a set daily routine. This consistency will help regulate your child’s daily rhythms to make it easier to predict and anticipate her typical body schedule. Make sleeping, waking and eating routines and your child will probably begin to have a consistent elimination schedule that you can anticipate. The benefit – when you know your child needs to move her bowels every morning after breakfast, you can build this potty time into the daily schedule.

Moving From Diapers

Once it’s time to take the step of potty training, move away from diapers completely during the day to start the process. Don't switch back and forth between diapers and training pants after you begin training or you risk confusing your child. The University of Chicago Department of Pediatrics advises that daytime potty training should occur first. After a child stays dry most of the time during the day and shows an interest in staying dry during naps and nighttime, it’s time to work on nighttime potty training. Some kids might not by physiologically ready for this until age 4 or even as old as age 7, according to the University of Pittsburgh.

Big Kid Undergarments

You have some options for undergarments to use during potty training. By using disposable training pants, you can avoid messes from potty training accidents – simply remove the disposable training pants and discard them. Some parents opt for reusable training pants that need washing just like any undergarments. Whichever you choose, stay consistent to ensure that you don’t confuse your child. Switching back and forth between diapers and big-kid pants for convenience will likely be hard for a young child to understand. If you must run errands with your child while potty training, always take him to the potty right before you leave. Plan your outing for a time when you anticipate that your child won’t need the restroom, keep him in big-kid pants and be ready to find a public restroom if necessary.

Caregiver Consistency

If the potty training child spends time with alternative caregivers or at preschool, consistency takes on a new importance. Communicate with teachers or caregivers about your potty training routine to ensure everyone who helps her provides the same consistent care. Keep your child in the same big-kid pants regardless of where she is so your child feels secure about the potty training process.

Advice on Potty Training Boys

Potty Training Readiness

Is your child ready to potty train? Look for signs such as pulling pants up and down, removing diapers, interest in underwear and interest in the bathroom. He also needs to have some control over his bowels and sphincter muscles, excreting on a regular basis and having dry periods. When he seems to be ready, make the commitment to work on potty training and put him into regular underwear. Schedule regular potty attempts. Keep lots of extra clothes on hand.

Dress Boys for Success

Potty training boys are going to be in a hurry. Dress them in pants with elastic waistbands for easy removal. Avoid pants with snaps, buttons and zippers, as well as belts, until the child is adept at manipulating them. Add to his success by eliminating distractions in the bathroom and allowing him some privacy.

Potty Training Positions

Boys have to learn to both sit and stand when going to the bathroom. Provide a stool for when he wants to stand, and show him how to lift up the seat. Provide a potty seat for him to use when he needs to sit.

Target Practice for Potty Training Boys

Sometimes it helps little boys to potty train if you provide some type of target in the toilet at which he can aim. Favorite targets can be round cereals, like Cheerios or Fruit Loops. Toss in a toilet paper square. Use anything that is flushable and floats.

Independence and Responsibility in Potty Training

Encourage your boy to do everything himself. When he has the inevitable accident, allow him to help in the clean-up process. This will help him develop more independence as he grows and matures. It can also teach him to be a little more careful when he is in the bathroom. Teach all caregivers your routine to ensure consistency.

How to Potty Train a Developmentally Delayed Child

Evaluate your child's signs of potty-training readiness. Your developmentally delayed child will likely show signs of readiness later than other children. Once your child is staying dry for at least two hours and recognizing the difference between being wet and being dry, he might be ready to potty train. Other signs of readiness include being able to dress and undress himself, communicate the need to go the bathroom and follow directions.

Talk to your child about the potty-training process. Communication is a crucial part of potty training for a developmentally delayed child. Talk her through using the potty. Show her how the toilet flushes and how to sit on it -- you can even demonstrate the process yourself. This visual, verbal demonstration allows your developmentally delayed child, who might be reticent to use the potty, to become more comfortable with the process.

Create simple steps that your child can follow. Developmentally delayed children thrive on focused, action-oriented tasks. Break the process down into easy-to-understand steps, starting with taking off clothes, followed by sitting on the toilet, using the bathroom, getting dressed, flushing and washing hands. Allow your child to succeed at each step individually before putting them together.

Devise a schedule for potty training. Regular elimination schedules reduce accidents in developmentally delayed children. Track when your child typically soils a diaper, and place him on the potty before it typically occurs. This scheduled training promotes success, which can improve your child's outlook on potty training. Make a schedule that you hang in a prominent place in your home; this chart will allow your child to understand the routine of visiting the potty.

Praise your child. Positive behavioral interventions are highly successful in developmentally delayed children. Even though not every trip to the potty will be a success, focusing on the individual successes encourages your child and pushes her to excel even more. Praise can even come in the form of small rewards, such as stickers or TV time, to celebrate successes. Praise should occur after every attempt on the potty, no matter the outcome.

Tip

Your pediatrician can provide helpful insight into the specific challenges of potty-training a developmentally delayed child. Schedule an appointment with a pediatrician to discuss how to best tackle potty training with your child's special needs in mind.

Understand that, under any circumstances, potty training takes time and patience. A developmentally delayed child might take longer than other children to potty train.

How to Get My Stubborn Boy Interested in Potty Training

Look for incentives that work for your son. No matter where you are in the potty training process, incentives can encourage your boy to sit on the potty and eventually use it successfully. Every child is different, and no one incentive works for all toddlers. Find a special treat that your toddler does not get often, such as a favorite snack, a small toy or a unique activity. A stubborn child can come around if you offer the right incentive.

Establish a consistent pattern of visiting the potty. The American Academy of Pediatrics reports that potty training for boys is often delayed due to their high level of physical activity. Set potty breaks in between this activity to get your little boy into a routine.

Express your pride. Although your toddler might be stubborn, he also wants to please you. By praising his efforts on the potty -- even if they are minor -- you show him that he can succeed in this challenge, which encourages him to use the potty successfully.

Give your child the responsibility. When other potty training efforts fail, transfer responsibility to your child, recommends the Children's Physician Network. Tell your little one that it is ultimately his decision whether he uses the potty or a diaper but that you want him to use the potty. Explain that he does not need your help going to the potty, and then stop talking about potty training. A stubborn child might start using the potty because he craves attention once you have stopped the process.

Require your little boy to help with cleanup. When accidents occur -- and they will -- get your child involved in the cleanup process, such as changing his training pants and clothing. Explain to him that big boys cannot walk around with wet or messy pants, so he needs to learn how to change them, with your help.

How To Make a Child Sit Still During Potty Training

Schedule potty breaks at regular intervals. Your active little one is probably too busy doing other things to remember to use the potty. By scheduling potty time into the day, it becomes a part of her routine and you'll eventually be met with less resistance.

Give your child a small book or toy to hold on the potty. It's hard to focus on the potty when there are so many other attractive options waiting in the toy room. Choose a few books or toys to become the "potty time toys" and only allow those toys when he's sitting on the potty. When he can focus on those toys and books, he has something to do besides "just sit."

Offer rewards and incentives to sit on the potty. Incentives like candy or stickers can be a great motivator. The rules for the incentives may be something like "sitting still on the potty," but they can also be something more basic, like "try using the potty," even if your child doesn't exactly sit still.

Focus on your child's successes rather than failures. If you're constantly getting frustrated and criticizing her wiggles, she's going to feel self-conscious and may resist potty training. However, when you lavish praise on her during the times when she sits nicely on the potty, she'll want to please you more.

Try again a bit later. If your child is simply too distracted to sit on the potty, it may not be the right time for your child to train. Children reach this stage at different times and you may have a late bloomer. A child who's not showing real interest in the potty may not be ready for potty training yet. Wait a couple weeks and try again.

How to Potty Train a Toddler While Working Full Time

Talk to your child-care provider about the procedures you'll use. It's best if your child uses the same potty-training techniques all the time. If Grandma's the one watching your child, you'll have more leeway in choosing a potty-training method that works for you. In a day care, the provider probably already has a plan in place that you'll have to follow at home.

Allow for extra time in the mornings. Though it's nice to enjoy your cup of coffee alone, you won't be able to rush a potty-training child out the door. Wake your child early so she has enough time to eat her breakfast, get dressed and use the potty. Remember: When your child is first learning to use the potty, she'll have a few accidents, and accidents require cleanup time.

Dress your child for success. Children should wear clothes they can put on and take off themselves. Pants with elastic waistbands and short dresses work better than jeans or overalls. This is especially important in day cares, where the worker might not have the time to undress every child.

Reinforce potty-training procedures at home. For example, if the day care provider has your child sit on the potty every 45 minutes regardless of whether she has to go, do the same at home.

Praise your child when she does well and brush over accidents. Check in about her successes and accidents when you pick her up at the end of your work day. This lets her know you're thinking about her even when you're not around.

Tip

Some parents have success by taking a block of time to focus on potty-training. If you have a free weekend or the means to take a week off of work, you can stay home and work on potty-training your child yourself.

How to Toilet Train a Girl

Look for signs of readiness. You don't want to push your daughter to toilet-training before she's ready. She should be able to stay dry for a few hours at a time, show an interest in the potty and seem to understand the need to go.

Ask for her input in choosing your toilet-training tools. You might want a child-size potty or a stool and potty seat for the big potty. You'll also have to decide between cotton training pants and disposable ones. Your little girl might feel more excited about the milestone if she has a potty in her favorite color or underwear featuring her favorite character.

Dress her appropriately for potty-training. When little ones have to go, they have to go. Pants with an elastic waistband or a dress will be easier on your child when she's doing the potty dance.

Encourage her to sit with her legs spread. Clenching the legs together might prevent her from fully eliminating her bladder, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Teach her the proper way to wipe. Girls should wipe from front to back to avoid bacteria from the anus entering the vagina. As you wipe her, talk about how you always "Wipe from the front and go to the back."

Reward her when she uses the potty. She might enjoy some girly stickers or small pieces of candy.

Warning

Girls are more susceptible to urinary tract infections, particularly during potty-training. If she's complaining that it hurts to pee, talk to her doctor.

Differences Between Potty Training a Boy Vs. a Girl

Readiness

One of the key factors to successful potty training is the child's readiness to start to use the potty. Though all children are different, girls in general may be ready to use the potty earlier than boys. Typically, this isn't necessarily due to a genetic difference with the sexes, but rather that caregivers are more often women, so little girls are more familiar with the mechanics of using the potty, according to AskDrSears.

Standing vs. Sitting

Standing while peeing is the biggest difference in potty training between the sexes. However, it's perfectly normal to start a little boy sitting down. As he gets older, he'll want to give standing up a try. Incorporate a post-pee clean-up as part of the routine. Girls can get jealous of the ability to pee standing up and you may need to let her try at least once to show her that she can't do it. When sitting, both genders should keep their legs slightly open. Boys need to do this to point their penises in the right direction, while girls need to make sure they eliminate all urine.

Wiping

Typically, men don't wipe after a pee, but it's essential for women. Teach a little girl to wipe from front to back to avoid infection. In the early months, a little boy's penis may not be big enough to get dry from a few shakes, so consider dabbing with some toilet paper. Check that it doesn't get stuck to his skin, though. Both sexes need to wipe after a bowel movement, but in the early years, this should be done by a parent.

Infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are more common in girls, and are especially more common during potty training, according to MedlinePlus. This occurs when bacteria enters the urinary tract, often from improper wiping. Signs of a UTI include foul-smelling urine, high fever, pain while urination and cloudy urine. Talk to your child's doctor if you suspect she has an infection.

Tools for Effective Potty Training

Pull-Up Diapers and Big Kid Underwear

While some parents prefer their children to go without pants during training, this method can get messy. It can also put unwarranted stress on the child if he's not ready -- and child readiness is key. If you are unsure that your child is ready to use the toilet, start using pull-up style diapers during the day. Your child can pull them down himself when he has to go, and back up when he's done. By performing these actions, he will be getting the point of training without the mess. When you feel he's showing readiness, ditch the diapers and let him feel wetness in his big-boy underwear if he makes a mistake, suggests MayoClinic.com. That will solidify the end goal in his mind.

Potty Seats

Whether you choose little chamber pots for your potty trainee or a cushy vinyl seat that sets above the toilet bowl, creating a comfortable space for your child to train is imperative, according to Dr. Sears. The small chairs should be simple. You don't need a musical potty with a million tiny parts. Choose one which cleans easily and doesn't entice your child to get off and look at it.

Activities

Stock your home with coloring books, easy readers and mobile games like flashcards, and put your child on the potty whenever you feed her or give her something to drink. Sit and read or play with her to distract her and pass the time, getting her used to the potty. Without the stress of having to think about the process, urination may come easier for her.

Praise and Affection

The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that word choice is incredibly important during potty training. Avoid words like "bad," "naughty" and "dirty." Don't berate or shame your child if he misses the potty. Use a matter-of-fact manner and vocabulary and act like it's no big deal, then clean up the mess. When he does make it to the potty, either with or without your help, heap praise upon him. Motivate him by telling him what a big boy he is and how proud you are of him.

Rewards

Rewards, in addition to praise, can help a child associate using the potty with positiveness. But you don't have to give out treats. Try giving her added responsibilities with the potty. Child n' Parent Magazine suggests she can flush her own waste, for example, or at least take some time to look at what she accomplished. Actions like flushing and wiping can stand in for physical rewards such as candies or stickers.

How to teach boys to retract the foreskin when urinating

Have a trusted male family member such as the father, older son, your brother, or your father take your son to the bathroom. Most children are visual learners, so in order for your boy to learn how to properly use his equipment, he needs to watch an older male use his.

Establish a routine when going to the potty. Make up a song or do the same thing every time your boy goes potty. A routine should include the following steps for an uncircumcised boy. You can add more if you like.

Step 1: Pull down pants.

Step 2: Pull down underwear.

Step 3: Pull back skin.

Step 4: Sit down and potty.

Step 5: Wipe if needed and pull up underwear.

Step 6: Pull up pants.

If your child forgets to perform one of the steps, take him back and remind him of the steps that were put in place. Model the steps if needed or help him with the steps.

Institute a reward system. For example, give your son one small prize like stickers or stick on tattoos for each step he remembers each time he goes to the potty correctly.

Show him how to properly clean himself in the bathtub and explain why he needs to keep the foreskin of his penis clean. Make moving the foreskin a normal practice during potty training and bath time.

Tip

Most male foreskins will balloon when they need to urinate and may not need to be pulled back each time your son uses the potty.

Warning

Never try to pull back foreskin that is still attached to the glans. This can cause severe pain, stretching of the skin, bleeding, and tearing. You will know the foreskin is detaching from the glans when it begins to balloon as your son urinates.

How Long Should Potty Training Take Once a Child Is Ready?

Quick Learners

Some children are simply quick learners, and if you've got a 3- or 4-year-old who's showing a strong interest in the potty and a desire to be a "big boy," you may have an easy time training him. In fact, some children learn to use the potty in as little as a day. Doing this takes intense focus on using the potty for the day (or two or three). Give your child lots of fluids and make several trips to the potty. When he goes, celebrate his success. If your child is definitely ready, this can work for you.

Average Children

Most children take longer than a few days to learn to use the potty. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that it takes most children who are developmentally ready around six weeks to complete the potty-training process. Even those children who are potty-trained during the day may still wet the bed at night for several years. Bed-wetting is normal in children up to 7 years old, but you can always talk to your child's doctor if you are concerned.

Speeding It Up

If you prefer the potty-training process to go as quickly as possible, it's important to wait until your child is really ready to do it herself. She should be able to stay dry for a few hours at a time and start showing interest in using the potty. Purchase a child-sized potty and underwear that she chooses to get her excited about this milestone, and offer rewards like stickers, candies or toys to encourage her to use the potty.

Slip-Ups and Regression

You can consider your child trained when he tells you he has to go to the potty and makes it there most of the time. Some children will still have the occasional accident, especially when they are engrossed in play or in an unfamiliar environment. It's also normal for your child to experience some potty-training regression -- accidents that occur after a big change, such as a move or a new sibling.

A Checklist of Potty Training Procedures for Toddlers

Readiness

Potty training a child before he is physically and emotionally ready will lead to frustration and take longer than necessary. There is no magic age at which kids are prepared to potty train. Some youngsters are ready by the time they turn 2, while others take significantly longer. Ideally, your child should show interest in the potty, be able to pull down her own clothes, follow simple directions and stay dry for at least two hours before you start to potty train, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Equipment

Get a potty chair. It's less intimidating than the toilet and your tyke can get on and off of it by herself. When your little one is ready to graduate to the “big people” toilet, use a toilet seat adapter so she won’t fall in. Also, let your child pick out some training pants with her favorite characters on them. She can start wearing her new "big kid" undies after she successfully uses the potty a few times.

Training

Schedule regular bathroom breaks during the day and shortly after your tot has had something to drink. Pay attention to your child's potty signals. If she squats, grunts or stops in the middle of an activity, act fast. She probably has to use the bathroom. Accidents will happen. When they do, simply reassure your toddler of how well she’s doing and help her clean herself up.

Stress Reduction

When your toddler is on the potty, reading a story, singing songs or letting him fiddle with a small toy can reduce anxiety and make the experience more pleasant. Never force your tyke to use the potty. If he seems frustrated or resistant, stop and try again later.

Rewards

Use a reward system such as a sticker chart. Every time your toddler uses the potty, let her place a sticker on her chart. When the chart is full of stickers, reward her with a coloring book, a small toy or an ice cream cone.

Stability

The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that major changes in the home can make potty training more difficult. Consider delaying the process if there is a crisis in the family such as a death, illness or divorce.

Developmental Milestones Necessary for Potty Training

Physical Development

Before they can potty-train, children need the ability to tell when they need to use the potty and hold it until they can get to the potty. This happens at different ages for different. Staying dry for at least two hours at a time is a sign that your child is ready for this step.

Motor Development

A child also needs to have a certain amount of gross- and fine-motor skills in order to use the potty. Those skills include the ability to get herself to the potty, which might include walking up stairs, standing on a stool or opening doors, depending on the setup in your home. She should also be able to pull her pants up and down by herself, though she might ask for help in emergencies. Young children should get some help with wiping for sanitary purposes, but your child might be able to give wiping herself a try.

Emotional Development

A child needs to have a certain desire to be independent in order to start potty-training. He might, for example, want to be seen as a "big boy" or actively seek out the praise of others. It's at this point that rewards such as stickers or the ability to go to preschool become effective. Some children prefer to be babied a bit longer and those children might not be ready to start potty-training.

Social Development

To be ready to potty-train, children should have the social awareness to see that others use a toilet rather than a diaper and understand that this is something they should be working toward. Seeing other children slightly older use the potty can help them realize that getting out of diapers is an important step.

What Age Is Normal for Potty Training?

Age Range

Children often show signs of readiness for potty-training between 18 months and 2 years old. However, don't be discouraged if your little one doesn't seem ready or resists potty-training for significantly longer; some children are nearly 3 years old before they start. If you're curious whether your child is on track developmentally, talk to his pediatrician about your concerns.

Girls Vs. Boys

According to the KidsHealth website, girls usually are ready for potty-training before boys. This is just a generalization and your son or daughter could be the exception.

Nighttime

Some children quickly master using the potty and staying dry during the day, but have significantly more trouble at night. This is normal because it's harder to have bladder or bowel control while sleeping. Don't worry whether this sounds like your child. Simply use training pants at night or use mattress protectors on your child's crib or bed to keep from ruining the mattress and reduce the chances of needing to be awake and changing bedding in the middle of the night.

Signs of Readiness

Your child might be ready to begin potty-training when she displays certain signs, according to the Family Doctor website. For example, if your child shows interest in the potty and expresses discomfort when wet or dirty, it might be time to start trying. If your toddler can follow simple directions and pull her pants up and down, she might be ready. Another good sign of potty-training readiness is if she sometimes wakes up from naps with a dry diaper because that means she's got at least a bit of bladder control.

Fast Methods for Potty Training

Readiness

Potty-training goes faster and smoother when a child is ready for the task. Most fast methods for potty-training, including child-led potty-training and techniques for potty-training in a day, work best when used with children that display signs of readiness. According to the Mayo Clinic, some signs your child is ready to being potty-training include the ability to understand and follow simple directions, showing interest in his potty chair or in wearing underwear instead of diapers, and complaining about wet or dirty diapers.

Child-led Potty-training

Pediatrician T. Berry Brazelton introduced the idea of child-led potty training in 1962. According to “Parenting Science,” half of all children potty-trained by this method complete the process in three months or less. The technique involves waiting until your child shows interest, then following a series of steps that include taking your child to pick out a potty chair, encouraging her to sit on the potty chair fully clothed, emptying her dirty diapers into the potty, helping her empty the potty into the toilet and allowing her to flush.

Potty-training in a Day

Potty-training a child in just one day might sound too good to be true, but according to “Parenting Science,” the technique often works if the child is ready for potty-training and if the parent follows the instructions properly. The concept of potty-training in just one day was first introduced by psychologists Nathan Azrin and Richard Foxx in 1974, though several other parenting experts have suggested similar methods since then. These techniques all involve setting aside a whole day for potty-training, giving your child plenty to drink so he needs to use the toilet often, and providing lots of positive reinforcement when he does use the toilet.

Elimination Communication

Elimination communication, sometimes referred to as infant potty-training, involves potty-training children while they are still very young, often under the age of 1. This method involves carefully watching your child to see when she seems about to urinate or move her bowels, then taking her to the toilet and holding her over it so that she eliminates there. According to the Mayo Clinic, children under the age of 18 months lack the muscle development to completely control their bladder or bowels, so this method might involve training parents more than children. Its success relies on parents accurately reading their children’s body language and then getting them to the toilet in time.