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Ditching the Diapers!


Is your child ready to ditch the diapers and be potty trained? Here’s a quick checklist to run through before you start the actual process:

  • Physical abilities are important! Is your child able to walk or run to the restroom?

  • Is your child’s bowel movement relatively predictable?

  • A sign that your child has developed bladder muscles is if he has dry periods of at least two hours or during naps

  • Can your child pull his pants up and down?

  • Can your child stay seated for short periods of time (2-5 minutes)?

  • Does your child communicate to you (i.e., gestures, tells you, hides) that he is having a bowel movement?

  • Is your child able to follow simple directions such as “go to the bathroom?” or “sit down”?

  • Does your child have words for urinating or defecating (e.g., pee pee or poop)?

If your child exhibits most of the items in the checklist, he might be ready to be potty trained! Here are a few strategies as you begin to train your child to use the toilet.

  • Purchase proper equipment for this process. Buy a potty chair or an adaptive seat to place on top of the adult toilet seat.

  • Develop a routine. Place your child on his toilet seat the same time every day at least once a day (e.g., when he wakes up, before his nap, before bath time, etc.). Start with your child fully clothed and graduate to bare-bottomed. Increase the number of times he sits on the toilet once he gets into the habit of using the toilet.

  • If at any time your child is uncomfortable or is upset, do not force him. Start the routine again in a few weeks. You do not want your child to associate sitting on the toilet with a negative experience.

  • Model the potty training routine. Your child learns best by watching and imitating.

  • Explain the process. Watch videos, read books, or tell social stories about potty training. Take it a step further and take pictures of each step and create a visual for your child.

  • Regression can and might occur. It’s natural for setbacks or accidents to happen. Remember not to punish your child, but instead, during clean up, gently remind him that the next time he has the urge to go, he can let you know or he can sit on his toilet instead.


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