Published on 8th July, 2023 by Abelle Wee
Toileting or Potty Training is an important milestone in every toddler’s journey to building independence in self-care skills. It is the process in which children develop their skills in bowel and urinary continence throughout the day and night – demonstrating awareness of bodily needs, toilet usage and hygiene. As children build their independence in toileting, they get to practice other types of self-care skills within the routine such as dressing and washing their hands.
Toileting encompasses a myriad of skills within all domains of a child’s development:
Gross motor skills:
Fine Motor skills:
Age is not a main indicator of readiness of toileting or potty training, but it can begin when the child shows some of the following skills:
|10 months – 1 year||Indicate discomfort when diaper is full|
|1.5 – 2 years||Show interest in toilet training|
|2.5 years||Begin to indicate need to go toilet although they will still need occasional reminders from adults to go|
|3 years||Goes to the toilet and sits on the toilet bowl Lesser accidents|
|3 – 4 years||May need help with fastening clothes after toileting|
|4 – 5 years||Independent in all toileting routines Able to stay dry during the day|
Multiple factors can impact a child’s ability to be independent in toileting – including his or her personal characteristics, the environment, or skills needed to complete the sequence of toileting steps. Some common toileting challenges include:
Achieving independence in toileting is important for building a healthy self-esteem, establishing school readiness skills, and reducing social isolation that can arise from bullying and social ridicule.
Tips for supporting children during toilet training:
Children who struggle with toileting may have underlying needs which require a greater level of support such as Occupational Therapy. An Occupational Therapist is equipped with the lens to assess and identify aspects of the child’s capacity and environmental factors, providing tailored interventions and caregiver support for toileting routines and toileting-related performance skills. More often than not addressing sensory processing, fine and gross motor skills that hinder progress in childhood activities of daily living beyond toileting.
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