Typically, the goal of toilet training is to teach your child to be aware of the need to eliminate and to independently access the toilet. For children who lack the awareness of the need to eliminate and the level of independence needed to go on their own, habit training is an alternative to the usual toilet training techniques. Habit training is an adult driven and highly routinized and scheduled program.
Habit training is appropriate when:
- Child has not been successful with other training techniques
- Child lacks awareness and/or aversion to being wet or soiled
- Child lacks awareness of the need to eliminate
- Child is resistant to toilet training
- Child is disinterested in toilet training
- Toileting patterns are difficult to determine
Habit Training Steps:
- Complete the Daily Intake and Elimination Record. Collect at least a week’s worth of data to get a good picture of your child’s patterns. Download a printable chart here.
- Set a toileting schedule based on the times of day your child is likely to eliminate. If he has no set pattern, plan for six toilet trips per day based on your usual routine and daily activities. Predictability is a key element of habit training. So, try to schedule toilet trips at times that work for your daily routine. Set up yourself and your child for success with a schedule that is realistic and that you can follow on a daily basis.
- Keep communication simple. Use words, manual signs, and/or pictures that your child understands. Coordinate the language you will be using with other caregivers and your child’s school so that you are all using the same terms for the toileting routine.
- Use pictures for each step of the toileting routine so that your child knows all the steps that will occur and when. Use pictures and words that your child understands. Here are examples of pictures you can use.