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How do you get your six-year-old to use the toilet?


Encourage your child to sit on the toilet playing with fiddle toys or playing electronic games.
Make the toilet a friendly place by placing happy pictures of your child in there. They could also have a small picture of themselves doing a favourite activity which they can look at.
Keep a diary of when your child passes a motion to see if there is a pattern to this. If there is, predict when your child will next need to defecate and encourage them to be sat on the toilet at the appropriate time.
Establish whether your child has any sensory needs or anxieties about using the toilet. E.g. the noise of the flush; a fear of losing something down the toilet; the smells; the seat feeling cold or hard.
Get your child to draw a picture of their perfect toilet/bathroom. Encourage them to talk about the features they have put in and use questioning to establish the reasons for their choices.
Use reward chart to encourage use of toilet.
Give your child more responsibility for cleaning themselves after using nappy.
Avoid creating anxieties over touching faeces. Encourage hand washing after passing motions but try not to worry about accidental or purposeful contamination during cleaning process. Discuss each poo matter-of-factly.
Use of a portable toilet or potty may be an easier step for the child to accept in their transition from nappy.

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You may be interested in the following pages:

Anxiety Management

Anxious Breathing

Emotional Regulation

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