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Toilet Training Toddlers

Toilet Training Toddlers

It is generally taken for granted that self-control of toileting is a simple and virtually automatic process, mastered by everyone with little effort and some guidance from parents during early childhood. This attitude exists despite the fact that wetting, soiling and other toileting problems are common among both children and adults. Such a view is understandable when one considers how rarely bladder and bowel functions are discussed openly. They are topics which are avoided, ridiculed or treated with embarrassment and distaste. These feelings are reflected in the low priority in both research and treatment given to bladder and bowel processes and the problems which commonly arise.

Because of these attitudes any information available for parents about how children learn toileting skills is largely guesswork rather than being based on reliable factual research. There has certainly been no attempt to provide an outline of research findings on the development of bladder and bowel control for parents. Consequently, a brief outline of what is known about the development of toileting in children and some common problems makes up the first section of this booklet.

Some parents may wish to miss this section and go straight to the second section which outlines toilet-training methods (page 5). The toilet training section is complete in itself, and is based on methods which parents and others working with children have found effective.

Discussion of children with special needs has not been included in either section. Many of them can be toilet trained with the methods suggested here. Others have difficulty learning the self control of bladder and bowel because of the way in which their specific disabilities interfere in the learning process. The extra help these children need is dealt with in Toilet training for children with autism or intellectual disabilities, available on this web site or in Bettison, S. Toilet training to Independence for the Handicapped. A manual for trainers. Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas, 1982 (soon to be available on this web site).

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