Potty/toilet training - Contact a Family

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Potty/toilet training Information for parents of disabled children in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Contents Introduction �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������3 What do we mean by toilet training ��������������������������������������������������������������������4 When should you start toilet training �������������������������������������������������������������������4 Before starting �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������5 Once you start ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������6 Bowel movement ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������8 Children who find it hard to communicate ������������������������������������������������������9 If your child takes longer to use the toilet ��������������������������������������������������������9 Useful contacts ��������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������10

Introduction All children learn to use the potty or toilet at a different stage in their life. Most children start to show an interest in moving on to a potty or toilet at about two years old. If your child has a physical or learning disability they may not be ready to start until they are older. They may need longer to learn to use the potty or toilet. It is important to speak to a doctor to check for physical problems if your child is having difficulty in learning to use the toilet.

Some children, particularly those with profound and multiple difficulties may not be able to use the toilet on their own, but will need to have a toileting programme which will ensure their needs are treated with respect. Ask your health visitor or community nurse for advice. All children are different and the way they learn to use the toilet may be linked with the specific condition they have. It is a good idea to get in touch with the relevant support groups to get advice from people who have more experience.

Potty/toilet training


What do we mean by ‘toilet training’? Toilet training helps children:

We are aiming for a child who is able to:

• recognise the need

• pull their underwear down • get onto the toilet • sit on the toilet • have a wee/poo • wipe themselves • get off the toilet • pull their underwear up • flush toilet • wash and dry hands.

to go to the toilet • control the need • communicate the need to go to the toilet • complete the toilet sequence as far as they are able.

When should you start toilet training? Look for signs that your child is ready to use the potty or toilet. These might include awareness of:

• passing urine or having a bowel movement

• showing discomfort when a nappy is wet or soiled

• waking from a daytime sleep with a dry nappy

• showing an interest in a potty or the toilet.


Potty/toilet training

What if your child does not show these signs? If your child’s condition means that s/he is not showing any of these signs you should discuss it with one of the professionals involved with your child’s needs. This could be the health visitor, community nurse, occupational therapist, paediatrician or, if they are in a nursery or school setting, the teacher, teaching assistant or school nurse. You will need support from the professionals who deal with your child on a day to day basis and it is important to work together on ways of addressing the issue.

Freephone helpline 0808 808 3555

Before starting Choose a time when you can spend a lot of time with your child, when your child seems happy and there are no major distractions or stressful events like starting nursery, moving house, mo