Matching Activities

Matching can teach learning and focus and are great for young kids with autism and typical preschoolers as well! 

There are many websites with printables to make these matching activities.

Potty Training

baby on potty

Potty Training

If your child is ready for potty training... 
(To be ready the child should be able to notice they are eliminating/voiding, such as going off in the corner to "go", asking for diaper change right away, feeling uncomfortable with a full diaper, showing interest in the bathroom, able to request the bathroom- for verbal children). 
Usually children are around 2-3 years old. (Developmentally delayed children may be around 4-6 yrs old or older.) Occasionally a child is ready around 18 months old. 

-Start putting them in underwear (can put diaper over/under underwear if child makes alot of accidents and its not possible to allow them to wet themselves multiple times per day).
[Note: Some parents let children run naked in the backyard in the summer and when they see them start to go, they rush them to the toilet (like training a puppy). This works for Some kids.]
-Try putting them on the toilet (or baby potty) every 10-30 minutes all day (pick which amount of time works best for you and the child's preschool), routinely (may take days or weeks, especially with kids with special needs it may take months or years).
-Have them sit for about 7-10 minutes at a time on the toilet (use a child's toilet seat on the toilet so the child doesn't fall in!)
-Sing, read a book, watch a movie on a portable DVD player, do puzzles, color a picture, etc. Make it fun! Not a punishment! (If child gets up/won't sit, just hold them on the toilet gently for the count of 10, and let them off of it. Can also try keeping their clothes on at first to get comfortable with it, or try a small baby potty if they are scared of large toilet)
-If they eliminate/void on the toilet, they can immediately get up (don't have to wait the rest of the minutes). Don't forget to wipe! [**Girls should always wipe front to back to prevent infections!!]. Teach child how to wipe themselves. Use wet wipes, then fade out to toilet paper, if you want.
-Give alot of social praise : "Yay! Good job!" high five, hugs, etc "You went on the potty!" and also give a special treat if they "go" that they ONLY get at this time (cupcakes, Popsicle, candy, chocolate, etc).
-Have child flush the toilet, and pull up their underwear (or pull-up)- they may need help, but let them try on their own first, and show them where to put their hands (front and back works better than just the two sides).
- Wash hands!! Even if child didn't void on the toilet, or wipe self they should still learn the importance of washing hands, it gives an extra opportunity to clean hands throughout the day (best way to avoid germs!) plus an opportunity to teach children how to wash hands!

**Note: By about 4 or 5 years old (typical) kids should be able to wipe themselves (may not be super effective if they make a bowel movement, but they should be able to try by themselves first). It may be harder for kids with special needs, if they don't have the right dexterity or can't reach well. Try wet wipes and then move to regular toilet paper.

Additional ideas/information: 
-When beginning to introduce potty training, have child watch you (parents) use the toilet. You could even have child (clothed) sit on your lap when you go to the bathroom, so they see what happens.
-Another idea is to always change child's diaper in the bathroom, when you are starting this process.
-And/or have child sit on toilet or go in bathroom whenever they soil their diaper so they start connecting that when they go in their diaper, it should be in the bathroom.
-Have child flush toilet for parents, or when you put the poo from the diaper in there, for example to help them be more a part of the process and for child to see where poo should go!
- Reading potty training kids books like "Elmo uses the potty" or using potty training dolls can be helpful for some kids. Practicing putting dolly/elmo/bear/etc on the toilet is good idea.
-Potty training sticker charts may work for some kids instead of immediate food/candy rewards.
-Use a step stool/bench under child's feet so they don't dangle if child is scared, and also to push off of to make a bowel movement.
-Have child drink ALOT of water/juice during the day, and on the potty during training.
-Have child change their own clothes or clean up puddles if they have an accident- don't punish them, but stress that pee-pee belongs in the potty.
-If child is dry when its potty time and they had no accidents, praise them, and point out they are dry (specific praise) and emphasize pee goes in the potty.
-Teaching boys to "Aim" .. throw some Cheerios in there and have them try to "sink" the O's! (Don't do this if your child likes to put hands in the potty as he might try to reach in and eat them!)
-Boys need to "point"/Aim DOWN, make sure they hold/push themselves downward (if you know what I mean!) or parents can do it for them until they learn how; otherwise pee will go all over the room, and likely on the parents too! (this always happens at least once when potty training!!) :)
-Teach Boys to SIT first for both pee and poop, then teach them to stand up. (Dad can teach them how to use a urinal). Boys also need to learn how to pee without pulling down their pants all the way in public. This should be taught after they are fully potty trained with the sit-down method for the most part.
-For Girls- always wipe every time- front to back!! To avoid infections and UTIs!
-Boys (especially if uncircumcised) should really wipe even for pee as well to prevent infections too- if a little bit of pee is left on their skin and it gets inside, it can cause some infections/UTIs sometimes.

 Different kids learn different ways so don't be too discouraged if your child needs another method!
Ask your child's preschool teacher, other parents, therapists, and your child's doctor for more ideas or to come up with a unique specific plan for your child if needed! Remember if your child isn't ready, you can take a break and try again later. Also it may take longer than what your friends may tell you and don't feel discouraged- keep trying or try a different method if something doesn't work!

The ideas above come from various experiences and suggestions from teachers, therapists, parents, etc and different experiences I have had working with different professionals and parents with potty training children, especially special needs children.  I hope it helps!


Here's some potty training tips for 3day training- great ideas, though it likely won't work on special needs kids. 

"Put In" Activities - teach children focus and fine motor skills

These are easy to make from wipes and tissue containers, just use small items like craft sticks, erasers, poker chips, etc for your preschool to put in and out of the container. You can connect the items to the box like I did or just leave them loose. 

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The craft stick one is a challenge because you have t0 put it in a smaller hole- this teaches focus and fine motor finger skills. 

Sometimes instead of just buying erasers or small items to put in boxes I print out pictures of the child's favorite thing- like Sophia the First or the Ice Age characters and I laminate and turn it into a token! 

Cursing and Preschoolers

girl holding her mouth

So... I know its HILARIOUS when your toddler/preschooler says a bad word but ... the best response is really not to respond. I know its really hard! Believe me! Because its so funny! But if you laugh it will just encourage the use. Even if you follow the laugh with "Don't say that!" they still remember "I said this word and Mommy laughed! I should do it again!" Even if they weren't looking for attention they will often jump on this chance for attention and continue the behavior.
(BTW these apply to not just typical curse words, but also potty words like "poopy" that kids like to say, or even "hate" and "stupid" that maybe be a problem in your home too).
So here are my suggestions...

1) Ignore (especially if they only say it once in a while. Even if you've laughed before, ignore it the next time).
2) Watch your OWN language!! Kids repeat what they hear. That goes for Mom, Dad, Grandparents, TV, Older siblings, etc...
3) Tell them "that word means something else, and its not nice to say" or"We arent allowed to use that word at school/in this house" (Even if you heard Daddy use before).  (Also Note ... It's Not necessary to explain what the word means to the child, but suffice to say the child likely has no idea what the word actually means- even if they use it "correctly"- they just know the word has power- it makes people laugh, yell at them, etc).
4) Make them aware they are using the word if they aren't realizing it. "That's a Red word" (Red words are things that aren't okay to say), or "We're not using potty words"
5) Teach them a "replacement word" which is a "Green word". Something silly is great. Make sure the replacement word is acceptable at School (not just at Home!).
6)If they continue to use the bad word tell them "if you are going to use "potty words" you have to use them only in the bathroom". Then send them to the bathroom every time they use a potty/curse word. Eventually they get tired of being left out of the group and the behavior usually stops. The assumption is the child is doing this behavior for attention and being sent out of the room means they lose attention, so it works!

There's a Red words and Green words social story on this site: ""