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Potty Training

This child is 3 years old and is not potty trained. She is a foster child. Do you have anything about potty training?

Editor's Note
You have not given me much information to go on, so your reply may be a bit general. Feel free to add to your question via the comments.

Comments for Potty Training

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Potty Training A Foster Child - Part One
by: Annie Desantis

In general, many parents start potty training around ages Two and Half - Three years, but many children do not get the hang of it until aged Four, and even later. There is actually a brain development that needs to happen for the child to recognize the urge to pee - pooping is usually easier as there is more of a build up!

A lot of early potty training, is actually the parents being potty trained not the child! Parents get to know when the child is more likely to pee and regularly take them to the toilet. Eventually the child starts to recognize on their own.

So long as this is done without pressure or punishment for accidents, this is a good way to build in a habit and start building good toilet habits - flushing, washing hands afterward etc.

An interesting factor that appears to be contributing to children potty training later, is the widespread use of disposable nappies. Because the moisture is wicked away from the skin, children who are busy playing are unaware they are wet, so it appears to be taking longer for the brain to develop the connections that fire off a message that the bladder is full, or has emptied.

Now in your case you are talking about a foster child, I am not sure if you are fostering the child, or are asking on behalf of someone. But a foster child is likely to have some delayed development. To have got the the stage of fostering, the child is likely to have been traumatized to some degree or another. Many older children revert to bed wetting when fostered, or when under a lot of stress.

If this child is in long term foster care, and has developed a level of trust with the foster parents, then some gentle, positive, fun potty training could begin. However, if the child is nervous, anxious, aggressive, or particularly if there has been any possible sexual abuse, then don't even bother, you will most likely be contributing to the child's trauma.

What they need in that case is lots of love, lots of positive attention, lots of positive adult - child interaction and play.

Part Two Follows . . .

Potty Training A Foster Child - Part Two
by: Annie Desantis

There are some good story books about potty training which start to introduce the idea and make it fun, some even come with toys and a toilet for the child to role-play, such as Potty Monkey

Using stories is a good introduction, and you can also then gauge the level of interest the child has in learning, or become aware if there has been negative experiences around the issue. The last thing you want to do is create guilt or shame around their body, they may well have been smacked for wetting, or pooping, or been left in dirty diapers for long periods of time.

You local library should have some Potty Training Stories, and here are some titles I would recomend:

My Very Own Potty is a Fisher Price story, they have a girls and a boys version. This has real photos of children, which I think is useful as the child can relate. The only thing with this story, is the bear also sits on the potty, which is probably not that hygienic! It is also pretty hard to wash Teddy's hands!

Big Girls Use the Potty is one I prefer, again it uses real photos and rhyming text. The book also comes with reward stickers if you want to use them.

Part Three Follows . . .

Potty Training A Foster Child - Part Three
by: Annie Desantis

A Potty for Me is a cute little book with lift up flaps. The lovely rhyming text deals with the accidents (Uh-Oh!) in a positive way, and builds in affirmations which are great - I'm so proud of Me!

Having a couple of choices is quite helpful as the child can relate to them differently. Most of them come in boy and girl versions which make sense.

Helping them to learn good habits, like teeth brushing and hand washing is more important at this stage than potty training. If the child shows an interest, then go with their energy and encourage them, but without making a big deal out of it.

Sometimes having other kids around, who are slightly older can help too, they start to see the other children using a potty, or going to the toilet, and if you have conversations about it so they understand more then they may want to copy the older child (we tend to keep toileting private and hidden).

My little grand daughter has fun flushing and saying bye bye poo poo after the potty is emptied. It is a natural body function, and you want the child to feel positive about their body, and it's waste!

Many families prefer to use a toilet insert instead of a potty, so you have to use what suits you.

Whatever stage the child is at, you are looking to give them heaps of positive reinforcement, potty training is not a discipline issue or something to be angry or cross with them if they make a mess. Foster children have often not had much good quality parenting, so they usually have a lot of catching up to do compared to a child from a stable home.

My thinking is with a three year old, just take it very slowly, read stories to introduce the idea if they are not traumatized physically, and follow their energy and developmental stage (not age). She will get the hang of it in time as she starts to trust in a more stable home life.

Please add to your query via the comments, if you want more help.

Good luck!

Potty training foster child
by: Anonymous

Didn't post the question, but sincerely appreciate the specific advice. Many Thanks!
New Foster Mom

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