Potty Training Tips for Busy Parents

Trying to tackle toilet training can feel overwhelming, especially if your child has autism or another behavioral or developmental disorder. While this process can take a little longer for children with these conditions, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. Plus, there are steps you can take to make it easier.

Our team at Scottsdale Pediatric Behavioral Services specializes in helping children and their parents navigate the unique challenges that come with behavioral and developmental disorders. When it comes to potty training, having a plan can help simplify the process — especially in the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Know when to start

The first tip is recognizing when your child is ready for toilet training. These signs usually include being:

  • Aware of soiled pants
  • Able to pull their pants up and down
  • Comfortable sitting on a toilet

As soon as you start seeing these signs, don’t be afraid to have your child start wearing underwear during the day. Using diapers and pull-ups makes cleanup easier, but their high absorption can also make it more difficult for a child to feel the discomfort of an accident.

Set a goal

Plan on having your child sit on a toilet approximately six times a day. To start, focus on five seconds per trip with a longer visit once a day to focus on bowel movements. With time, you can gradually lengthen these sessions up to 10 minutes.

Use a timer during these visits so your child knows when the practice session ends, and end the session immediately if they urinate or have a bowel movement.

Use rewards

Turn toileting sessions into potty parties! To start, make sure the toilet is comfortable for your child. That could mean adding cushioning to the seat or handles they can hold for more security. Then, give them special treats when they successfully urinate or defecate in the toilet. And, if they use the toilet, don’t be shy — celebrate! Shower them with praise, toot their horn, and reward them.

And, if they have an accident, don’t fuss. Simply give them a clear and brief reminder about using the toilet the next time, and clean them up with as little fanfare as possible. Save all of the attention for when your child tries or successfully uses the toilet.

It’s all about routine

We’re all creatures of habit, so why not apply that logic to toilet training? Set a schedule to make toilet visits part of your daily routine. Plan these pit stops around the same schedule and activities so they’re easy to follow.

Before you begin potty training them, document three “typical” days in your child’s routine and keep track of how long it takes between drinking fluids or eating and becoming wet or having a bowel movement. Understanding this frequency can help you create a perfect schedule for toileting trips.

Once you have a schedule in place, stick to it. It can take three weeks for a new routine to become a habit, so keep working on it until it feels like second nature.

Tell — and show

When it comes to toilet training, it’s all about clear and simple communication. First, don’t wait for your child to ask to use the bathroom. Instead, provide direct instruction like, “Time for potty.” You may also get more effective results by taking pictures of items in your bathroom — such as the toilet seat, toilet paper, toilet handle, and sink — and attaching them to a piece of paper in order and explaining which one to use first, second, and so on.

Ask for help

We know this process isn’t always easy, especially for working parents. So don’t hesitate to reach out to our expert team for a fresh perspective and personalized recommendations.

At Scottsdale Pediatric Behavioral Services, we only use evidence-based training procedures in our state-of-the-art training facility. With our help, you can gain the tools and confidence you need as parents and caregivers to help your child gain the skills they need to lead a rich and fulfilling life.

For more information on potty training or working with behavioral health challenges, book an appointment online or over the phone with Scottsdale Pediatric Behavioral Services today.