Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Toilet Training Your Child

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Toilet Training Your Child

Article excerpt

Written by a team of experts associated with the Cerebral Palsy program at the Alfred I. duPont Institute in Wilmington, Delaware, Cerebral Palsy: A Complete Guide for Caregiving addresses the many complexities and uncertainties related to this diagnosis. At the same time, it provides the information parents, grandparents, caregivers and health professionals need--everything from medical educational and psychosocial implications to wheelchair maintenance and dental care. The book is available from Exceptional Parent Library (8001535-1910). The following is an excerpt.

The most important factor in successful toilet training is the attitude of the parent, who must be relaxed and positive about the process of toilet training and who must convey this attitude to the child.

Praising the child for success on the potty is crucial. But even before toilet training can begin, both the child and the parent must be ready. Your child may signal her readiness for toilet training in one of several ways. For example, while urinating or having a bowel movement (or just before), the child may become either fussy or quiet, wiggle and demonstrate the need to change position, suddenly lie or stand very still, go to the corner and squat, change facial expression or say that she is wet. The parent needs to pay attention to these behavioral changes and be ready to interpret these gestures to mean that the child needs to eliminate. Only when all these signals and good intentions come together can toilet training begin in earnest.

Establishing a pattern

One thing that will help establish a pattern of elimination is keeping regular mealtimes. In this way, the stomach, bowels and bladder will be empty and full at regular intervals. Not only that, but food tends to stimulate the bowel, and many people go to the bathroom after a meal--usually breakfast or dinner--so you may be able to predict your child's bowel habits based upon mealtimes. After you've determined the normal pattern of elimination, you'll know when to place your child on the toilet in order to achieve the best success.

Getting started

Choose a time when your child is rested and in a good mood to begin. You'll need a child-size potty chair or potty seat.

When your child has indicated (by one of the above gestures, or something similar) that she needs to urinate or have a bowel movement, take her to the bathroom and explain in simple language what is to be done. Use very specific common words to describe the act of elimination. Place the child on the seat and stay with her until the training session is completed. …

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