Most children with SEN do not have the motivation alone to start potty training or even have the understanding to follow their friends, this can be through not being able to fully communicate, understand or fully express their feelings.
This can affect them showing their signs of readiness or any at all. As a parent with a child with learning delays, you as a parent will have to take the lead and start to observe and diary the regular times they are filling their nappy.
We must implement a different approach, keeping everything consistent is crucial as routine is very important. A great way to step towards potty training is using flashcards with your toddler for a couple of weeks before as showing them a picture of what they will need to do and will help you communicate the message across.
Colour plays an important factor as I have found throughout my many years of training children with learning delays, that they have a clearer understanding if everything is the same. Sticking to the same colour for potty/toilet trainer seat, pants and reward stars is something I have tested over the last few years and have had great success. It makes them feel safe and is less confusing for them to process. Let your little one choose their potty and trainer seat or step stool in their favourite design or colour.
Things to be aware of and useful advice:
- From the beginning let them choose between a potty or toiler trainer seat as this can change day to day at the start of potty training and until they discover what they like.
- Make sure you pick soft cotton pants and cut the label out as this can be distracting and irritating.
- In the bathroom, refrain from using highly scented cleaning products
- No clapping or cheering as little ones can be sensitive to this. A big smile and a cuddle is just perfect.
- Use basic language like 'It's potty time' or 'It's toilet time' with a big smile.
- Try to avoid flushing the toilet if your child is sensitive to loud noises.
- Create a warm and inviting environment in the bathroom putting their name on the door and some flashcards around the bathroom, showing them what to do.
- Placing a piece of toilet paper down the toilet before they use it to avoid the splash of cold water on their little bottoms as this can startle them and put them off using the toilet.
- Children with non-verbal or speech delays introduce simple signs of a wee or a poo and you can teach them to hold it up when they need to go.
- Using a distraction to keep them sat on the potty/toilet that little bit longer, textured objects and stretchy toys have worked and just using these for potty/toilet time.
Generally children with SEN can take longer to potty train and you may experience a number of accidents. Pick up a flashcard relevant to what they have done to show them where the wee and poo goes. Ensure you communicate with your childcare setting as consistency is the biggest factor to succeed.
Together wee can do it!