Potty Training 101

Being a parent to a precious toddle is so rewarding, exciting, and….. HARD, right?! There are so many choices to make on what to fee, how to feed, sleep training, and everyone’s favorite…potty training!

Potty training is a task that can be easy for some and next to impossible for others. It can be especially difficult for our children with anxiety, sensory disorders, cognitive difficulties, or motor planning difficulty.

Don’t fret, many of these difficulties can be managed and here are some tips to help:

  1. Create a Social Story

Social stories are a great way to introduce something new and help the child relate to the task. You can play potty training songs/videos and allow them to watch or listen as they go to the potty.

  • Set a Schedule

Using a visual schedule, plan visits to the potty that are consistent each day. This will help the child know when, what to expect, and help decrease anxiety.

  • Communicate

Using simple language that the child can understand, communicate when it is time to go potty. Avoid asking if the child wants to go; instead say “time to go potty.”

  • Be patient

When starting out, go slow and introduce the child to the potty without pressure. Allow them to sit down and stand up right away at first and then gradually increase time.

  • Use Visual Supports

Using a visual schedule, timers, and token boards can help transitions to and from the bathroom.

  • Equipment

Adapt the environment as needed to help the child with sensory needs be successful. Some examples: child toilet seat, easy on/off clothing. Help your child with each step and teach them one step at a time.


Most people don’t want to do something got nothing, right? Well, our kiddos work in the same manner! Making a reinforcement schedule can help motivate the child to engage in potty training and want to succeed. Start by reinforcing going into the bathroom and each time they complete a new step. This is where visual schedules come in handy! The know what they’ll get when they’re done!

Potty training can be tough and take a lot of time, be patient and take it one step at a time and your child will get there! Need a little extra help? Reach out, Galvin Therapy Center is here to help!

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