Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Toilet Training

Toilet training isn't easy at the best of times - you have to persevere and it can be frustrating. Children with Down's Syndrome can take longer to become clean and dry but you must still make the effort at the toddler stage and keep at it.

I have taught three children with Down's through infant school with another one starting this year and all have begun schooling in nappies or been liable to have accidents. Whilst we teaching assistants are used to dealing with this, we'd obviously like for the accidents to be as few and far between as possible! I have found the trick is to initially take the child (don't ask, taken them) every hour or so to the toilet and have a go at using the loo. This shouldn't continue for long hopefully, then cut it down to taking them at the beginning of each break time and insisting (nicely of course!) that they at least have a try. Once they are in the routine of going to the toilet at every break, you can slowly withdraw your involvement until they are able to recognise when they need to go and ask to be excused. Make sure you know what sign or word they are using for 'toilet' - it took me a long time for the penny to drop with one little boy that when he was pointing at himself frantically in a 'me' gesture, he actually meant he needed to!

I found when toilet training my own daughter, she was stubbornly uncooperative when put on the potty. Nothing I did that had worked with her brother was of any use. Then I realised - she had only ever seen the rest of us use the 'real' toilet, so had absolutely no idea what the potty was for. I bought one of the little safety seats that fit over the large toilet seat, popped her on with a plastic step under her feet and within a very short time she had got the idea.

Being dry at night time may take longer - I think my daughter was about 6 when I realised that the pull-ups had been dry for weeks and were totally unnecessary. (It's been a long time for us, but at the time we were able to get free nappies through the health visitor - check if this is still available - perhaps someone can let me know what the system is now.)

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