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Toilet Training Advice

"Feeling the need to go"

For many children independent toileting and feeling the need to go... happens around the age of 2 -3 years old.  For many others with additional needs and disabilities the age range can vary hugely.  There are many different reasons why this may be the case.

Our interoceptive senses –tells us when our bowel and bladder are full and when we feel hungry.  Some people may have Sensory Integration difficulties which can affect these messages to our brain and so do not recognise when our body is telling us to Toilet or to eat. When this happens, we need to help our child or young person to recognise the signs but first we need to set the scene and ensure that they have everything else they need in readiness to take their independence skills forward.

For some children and young people their physical needs, movement, muscle tone etc. may be a barrier to becoming fully toilet independent.

We must ensure that the person is getting the recommended daily fluid intake for their age and that they have a healthy diet to include fibre intake.  Healthy bowels and bladder are the key to good toileting habits.

There are simple steps we can teach our children in readiness – things like changing nappy in bathroom /toilet area – and making this a fun experience. Taking your child with you to the toilet and talking about it – using visual aids/gestures. The TomTag Self Care pack that uses symbols may help with this and now and next visuals. Helping your child to dress and undress in readiness -where elasticated waist clothing may be useful think about the actual toilet too – is it the correct height for your child?

To help your child tolerate sitting on the toilet for longer and staying on task  it is useful to have a small bag of fun (but not over stimulating)  items to hand – things like fidget toys can be useful – but be aware that these may be thrown down the toilet – so something needs to be big enough not to get stuck in the ‘U Bend!

Whilst working to recognise the interoceptive needs to use the toilet – Boys/Girls Incontinence pants – see fledglings website may be useful or if your child is in nappies or pull ups remember that from age 5 these (and sometimes earlier)  can be sourced FREE of charge via referral to Incontinence Nurse dept of your local NHS.

If you are out and about and need to access a Changing Places or Disabled access toilet – make sure you have a Radar Key 

For swimming activities we have a selection of male and female of various ages  incontinence swimsuits and swim shorts to add a level of extra discrete protection in the water.

Often children and young people are dry during the day a while before they are also dry during the nighttime hours.

Bed wetting (enuresis) can be quite common in many young people. Causes of this may be not waking to the bladder signals of needing to empty during the night, Constipation, Urinary Tract Infections, Anxieties and sometimes a sign of bullying. Constipation may be caused by a blockage of poo and the wee is by-passing that blockage at night.

Another cause may be lack of the Vasopressin hormone in the body. Vasopressin is continuously released within the body but peaks at night. If there is not enough, the kidneys continue to produce large amounts of urine which overloads the bladder. If you suspect this – a trip to the GP and a quick test will confirm and then often a course of Desmopressin can replace the missing Vasopressin.

Random fact – drinking Blackcurrant juice before bedtime can also make us wee more often – and sometime Orange Juice can have a similar affect too as it can agitate the gut! 

For incontinence products for sleep take a look at our bedding collection.

If a person can toilet independently, they are already able to undress, get onto and sit on the toilet, have a wee or poo, wipe themselves, get off the toilet, dress, flush the toilet and wash their hands.

There are lots of steps to being toilet trained and it is important to know that it is not the child’s fault.  Putting steps in place and being supportive makes all the difference on the road to independence.

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

Contact has produced a FREE downloadable PDF Toilet Training guide to help families with the challenges they face and with useful contact information for further help and support. 

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