Helpful Tips on Potty Training

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The first thing you need to ask:  is my child really ready?

5 signs of development that your child might be ready:

  • Shows an interest in the potty- for ex., an interest in sitting on it, asking you about it
  • Can communicate when his/her diaper is wet or soiled- for example, shows you a messy diaper and wants it off right away OR tells an adults he/she needs to “go” or is touching his/her bottom indicating he/she might need/has already gone
  • Can get him/herself dressed/undressed with ease
  • Can stay dry for up to 2 hours at a time
  • Seems ready to want to try to use the potty

Note: do not attempt to start potty training if your child is at a resistant stage or seems deathly afraid of the potty as you will most likely not be very successful!

Different approaches for different families:

Just as routines, diet, sleep, and lifestyles differ from family to family, so do potty training programs. Pick the approach that feels most comfortable and will work best for your family.

When picking an approach consider the following questions:

  • Will other caregivers that work with my family and I both be able to do this CONSISTENTLY?
  • Will this program fit our family’s schedule?
  • Who will be carrying out most of the potty training? i.e.: mom, dad, caregiver, daycare
  • Is this a good fit for my child?

Potty training will be more successful with: consistency, routines, time, patience, comfort with “potty talk” and discussing how all of our bodies work, telling your child what signals mean your body is ready to use the bathroom. Sometimes being overly dramatic really helps- like madly hopping up and down!

Tips for families with children with children with developmental differences:

  • Start by pointing out during diaper changes when the diaper is wet and when it is dry
  • Develop a potty routine and find a quiet area at home where your child is comfortable using the toilet
  • Visual schedules in the bathroom can help remind a child of the routine
  •  Let your child wear clothing that is easy to pull up and down independently
  • Consider a rewards schedule- even for trying
  • If your child is in the public school system then potty training goals can be incorporated into the IEP
  • Book Resource: The Potty Journey: Guide to Toilet Training Children with Special Needs, Including Autism and Related Disorders by Judith Coucouvanis

To get more tips, resources, and ideas or to find out what to do when NOTHING seems to be working join me on January 28that Flourish Studios for NPN’s Parent University: Done and Done with Diapers! Potty Training for ALL kids! You can RSVP here.  To learn more about Chicago PLAY Project andDevelopmental Therapy visit: or join me on Facebook to get updated info on child development topics!

Posted on January 03, 2012 at 6:12 PM

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