Ready, Set, Potty Train!

When providing speech therapy for our tiny tykes the families often ask us for advice on potty training.  As speech therapists we see potty training not just as a daily life skill, but as an opportunity to encourage lots of language building!  Although it can be a stressful time for families, it’s amazing to see our kiddos develop independence and self-care skills!

Here are some language tips pre-potty training:

Body parts

  • Lable body parts during bath time or potty training (including parts needed for potty training)
  • Remind your child which parts you use to “pee” and “poo”
  • Use prepositions to show:  “pee” and “poo” go “in” a diaper, diaper “on”, diaper “off”, etc.
  • Be consistent with the words you use (pee/poo/poo-poo/wee-wee, etc.)
  • Indicate when the diaper is soiled/wet to show them the difference – make comments such as “uh oh it’s wet!” or sound effects as “peeeyooo”

Research shows that most children are ready to be potty trained at around two years old.  Do you feel your child is ready?  It’s all a process of baby steps…

Introduce the Potty

  • Practice sitting on the potty without a diaper
  • Provide a simple reward just for sitting (verbal praise, clapping) even if your child does not “pee”/“poo”
  • Whether you use a potty seat or insert, make sure to create a routine around this event

Ready, Set, Potty Trained!

  • Provide a visual schedule (eg – picture of pants off, followed by picture of sitting on the toilet, etc.)
  • Use a timer if necessary – go to the bathroom every 15 minutes, every 30 minutes, etc. as your child is able to exhibit better control. The bell of a timer can help your kids tinkle!
  • Be consistent to facilitate awareness of muscle control – this may also require meeting with your child’s nanny or preschool so that everyone is on the same page
  • Review temporal concepts such as: “pee is faster”, “poo is longer”, etc.
  • Reward for using the potty by reminding your child why you’re rewarding them – “Good job using the potty, here’s a ____!)
  • Make the rewards visual or tangible – you can have sticker chart, poop cars, iPad potty apps, etc. Sometimes using a potty app while seated will allow your child to sit for longer periods, increasing the odds of peeing or pooing in the toilet!
    Have them flush when finished – it allows your child to feel successful!

Vocabulary & Language Related to Potty Training

  • Be consistent with words for bowel movement and urinating – “Fast/slow”, “push”, “flush”, “sit” as well as questions such as “Do you have to go____?” especially if you happen to notice the “pee-pee” dance 
  • Use video modeling – show them educational or YouTube videos of other children being potty trained; feel free to video them; you yourself can also be the best model!
  • Create your own social story (as shown below) – copy and paste onto a Word Document and insert pictures of your child and personal items to make it meaningful!

My name is ________.

(insert picture of child)

I used to use diapers when I was little.

(insert picture of child as baby in diapers)

Now I’m a big boy/girl and I’m ready to go to the bathroom in the potty!

(insert picture of potty)

Sometimes I have to poop!  And sometimes I have to pee!

(insert picture of child on the potty)

When I feel it in my tummy I have to tell my parents so I can go to the bathroom!

(Insert picture of bathroom)

When I go poo or pee I have to wipe with a toilet paper!

(Insert picture of toilet paper)

Then I flush when I’m finished!

(Insert picture of child flushing)

When I’m done I have to wash my hands and dry them!  I’m so proud of myself! 

(Insert picture of child washing his/her hands)

Happy Potty Training!

Gift of Gab Resources 1-855-SPEAK-HELP are:

Debbie Shiwbalak, M.A., CCC-SLP [email protected]

Alpin Gundem, M.A., CCC-SLP [email protected]

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Debbie Shiwbalak, M.A., CCC-SLP, has a Baccalaureate of Arts in Speech Pathology and is a graduate of Long Island University-CW Post Campus, where she received a Master of Arts in Speech Pathology in 2001. She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC) from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and is licensed by the state of New York to practice speech-language pathology. Debbie has 13 years experience as a speech pathologist in the New York City area.

Alpin Rezvani, M.A., CCC-SLP, graduated from New York University with a Master’s degree in Speech-Language Pathology.  She holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech, Language, and Hearing Association (ASHA) and has New York licensure in Speech-Language Pathology.  She has 7 years of experience as a speech pathologist in the New York City area and was an adjunct instructor at New York University.  She co-authored two chapters of “Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism”.

The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their opinions are their own.

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