Hesperian Health Guides

Using the toilet or latrine (toilet training)

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HealthWiki > Helping Children Who Are Blind > Chapter 8: Teaching Everyday Activities > Using the toilet or latrine (toilet training)

‘Toilet training’ means helping a child stay clean and dry. A child is toilet trained when:

  • she knows when she needs to use the toilet and has learned to wait so she does not dirty her clothing or the floor.
  • she goes to the toilet by herself, asks for help cleaning herself, dresses herself, and gets rid of the waste (if necessary).

The age when children become toilet trained varies from child to child. It also varies from place to place, depending on local customs. With help, many children can stay dry by age 2 or 2½. Blind children may take a little longer to become toilet trained than children who see. When your child can stay dry for about 2 hours, she can begin to recognize the feeling of needing to go to the toilet. This is the time to begin toilet training.

To prepare your child to learn toilet skills

a woman speaking as she changes a baby's diaper.
This diaper is wet. I’ll put on a dry one.

When changing her diaper (nappy), always use the same words to describe the difference between wet and dry diapers. Let her feel the diapers so she can tell the difference.

a woman standing with a child outside a latrine.
Use the same route to go to the latrine, so your child will learn the way.
Here’s the door
to the latrine,
Take your child to the toilet with you and describe what is happening. Use the same words each time. Make sure everyone in the family uses the same words.

To help your child learn to use the toilet on her own

an older girl speaking to a younger one.
Jeanne, let’s go to the toilet now. This is about the time you usually get wet. Can you say ‘pee’ when you have to go wet?

Notice when your child typically wets her diapers and take her to the toilet just before this time. Do this throughout the day, at the times she is most likely to be wet (for example, after eating, before sleeping, and before going to bed at night).

Teach your child to tell you when she needs to use the toilet. She can use a certain word or sign to tell you.

an older girl speaking to a younger one sitting on a toilet.
Good, Luisa! You used the toilet just like me!

Teach her how to sit or squat on the toilet and clean herself. Praise her when she does well.
an older girl speaking to a younger one using a latrine.
I’m here beside you, Lidia.

Stay with your child while she uses the toilet until she is not afraid to be alone. Show her how to hold onto the rail and put both feet on the ground, so she will not be afraid of falling in.

HCWB Ch8 Page 83-4.png

If your child wets herself before getting to the toilet, take her to the toilet and change her clothes there. This way she will learn to connect having dry clothes with sitting on the toilet.