Monday, 8 October 2012

Toilet Tip

It's been quite a slog trying to get the little boy I work with to be toilet trained.  We're all working hard, both home and school but we just can't seem to get there yet - it's very hit and miss...and that can be taken more ways than one!

After a disastrous week of wall to wall wee and poo (that's what it felt like at least!) I consulted our SENCO and asked if she had any ideas.  She suggested a little set of three cards on a velcro background, the first showing the sign for toilet, the second showing a successful wee or poo in the loo (I had to be very careful while searching the internet for that image - make sure you look under SEN Resources then you should get to where you need to be) and the third picture to be of a reward you KNOW the child really wants.  I have made up several reward cards but the only two I am using at the moment are either a toy car or yoghurt covered raisins.

When you take the child to the toilet, you show him the set of cards, explain that he is going to the toilet and if he achieves the number two card (I just can't escape double entendres in this post!) then he will get the reward.  You have to be very clear and use simple, plain language to explain this, backing it up with Makaton and pointing to the pictures.  If necessary, take the cards with you to the toilet and repeat the aim while the child is sitting on the loo.

If they perform, great celebrations and take them back to get their reward, showing them the card once again and saying 'wow, you went to the toilet, you did a wee/poo, so you get this!'

If, however, they do nothing, then I am afraid it is a sad face and no reward, again explaining clearly 'I'm sorry, you went to the toilet but you didn't do anything, so you don't get this'.  Obviously be sensible, you can't expect the poor child to poo on command but you can tell if maybe they are preparing something by the whiffy wafts and the fidgeting!  You know the child you are looking after well and should be aware of the times they are likely to need to relieve themselves.

Example:  Last week for some reason, my little lad was withholding wee - usually he goes hourly, sometimes more frequently but this was getting towards lunchtime and it was very unusual.  I used the card system to no avail, explaining each time what was happening.  However, after a fourth unsuccesful attempt, we returned to the desk and he started gesticulating towards his raisins and asking to 'eat'.  So out came the cards and I explained that as he hadn't done anything in the loo, he wasn't getting his reward.  Immediately, up he got and took himself off to the toilet for the first time ever, had a much needed wee and came back to great joy and all the raisins he could eat - result!

You have to be consistent with this - no good giving the reward item half an hour later for something else.  You also have to be prepared for tantrums when they don't get what they want.  But it does seem to work, and hopefully once the child has got the idea of when and where he should relieve himself, you can dispense with the cards once and for all.

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