When it comes to children with additional needs, toilet training can understandably get pushed down the priority list, but the earlier you can make a start, the easier it will be.
There are a range of different approaches to toilet training, and it may take some time to find the best way for you and your child. You might even find that a combination of methods works best. The article below details four of the most common approaches, and the pros and cons of each.
The scheduled sitting method refers to the process of visiting the toilet every 30-60 minutes and encouraging your child to sit. The theory behind this method is that it builds habits, assures that your child has frequent opportunities to use the toilet and increases the chance of catching them in the act.
Studies show that this approach offers effective results for those with learning difficulties. However, some people find it difficult to maintain motivation over a period of time, as it is very demanding and intensive for both parent and child.
This approach is based around visiting the toilet at times when your child is most likely to go, and is achieved by keeping a bladder and bowel health chart, as well as your own familiarity to identify times of day when your child regularly needs to go. Using the gastro-colic reflex which causes an urge about an hour after eating would be an example of predictive toileting but there are many ways. This is a less intensive approach than scheduled sitting, but is more reliant on the element of chance, and is therefore more likely to lead to some accidents, especially at the beginning of your journey.
The GottaGo is especially useful for this method of toilet training, as it encourages a consistent approach to toileting, and allows you to stick to your predictive toileting schedule no matter where you are. The GottaGo will also help to encourage bowel movements in this instance because of the squatting posture.
Reward Based Learning
Many people are familiar with the approach of reward-based learning, where you motivate your child to succeed by providing a reward when they use the toilet or indicate when they need to go. Introducing toileting signs early on can help build up the ways to communicate. Positive reinforcement such as a special basket of toileting toys is a common approach, and one of the advantages of this is that it helps children to feel motivated, and develops a positive association with using the toilet. However, on the other hand, if your child does not make enough progress, they may start to lose motivation.
The method of graduated guidance is achieved by continuously bringing attention to your child’s toileting needs. Ask your child “Do you need to use the potty” regularly, particularly at times when you think they will need to go. Over time, it is hoped that your child will start to develop an awareness of needing to go, and later start bringing attention to you when they realise they need to go. This approach places limited stress on child and parent, but may be hard to implement at the beginning of a toilet training journey. This approach may be better suited when a child’s understanding and sensory awareness skills are more developed.
The toilet training journey is different for every child, and as such, the approach you will take will be unique to you. As mentioned earlier in this blog, our GottaGo portable toilet seat can help to make a toileting journey easier and less stressful for everyone involved, not only by ensuring consistency whilst out and about, but also by encouraging that optimum posture for successful toileting. Click here to learn more about GottaGo.