Toilet Training

Toilet training is an important milestone, but can be a challenge for any child, teen or adult. Every person is unique, but noticing signs that your loved one is ready and/or willing is helpful. There is no guaranteed method of success, but tips from various programs will assist in your toileting journey.

Toilet Training Program for Individuals with Special Needs, Adapted from the Foxx and Azrin Program

Some children and adults need extra support when learning a new skill, such as toilet training. For some, separating the skill into steps can make the process more relatable. Visual sequencing allows your loved one to view the steps of ‘using the restroom’ in order.

Using the Toilet Visual Sequence

Wiping Sequence 


It's Potty Time! by Jennifer Seiler, MS

On​ ​the​ ​surface​ ​it​ ​seems​ ​so​ ​easy​ ​since​ ​this​ ​is​ ​a​ ​task​ ​everyone​ ​does​ ​throughout​ ​the​ ​day,​ ​every day;​ ​right?​ ​Not​ ​always,​ ​and​ ​especially​ ​not​ ​if​ ​your​ ​child​ ​learns​ ​in​ ​more​ ​non-traditional​ ​ways.​ ​Many families​ ​struggle​ ​with​ ​teaching​ ​their​ ​child​ ​to​ ​use​ ​the​ ​bathroom,​ ​and​ ​it​ ​can​ ​keep​ ​children​ ​and families​ ​from​ ​being​ ​able​ ​to​ ​participate​ ​in​ ​activities​ ​and​ ​programs​ ​that​ ​require​ ​children​ ​to​ ​be​ ​potty trained. However,​ ​there​ ​are​ ​some​ ​things​ ​you​ ​can​ ​do​ ​that​ ​will​ ​help​ ​make​ ​this​ ​experience​ ​a​ ​little​ ​more pleasant​ ​for​ ​everyone.

 Here​ ​are​ ​some​ ​steps​ ​for​ ​success:

  • Make​ ​going​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bathroom​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​daily​ ​routine​ ​for​ ​your​ ​child… Just​ ​like​ ​it​ ​is​ ​for​ ​you.
     
  • Do​ ​your​ ​best​ ​to​ ​make​ ​the​ ​bathroom​ ​experience​ ​calm​ ​and​ ​pleasant.  Some​ ​children​ ​will​ ​be​ ​more​ ​comfortable​ ​initially​ ​sitting​ ​on​ ​the​ ​toilet​ ​in​ ​a​ ​diaper/pull-up/underwear or​ ​first​ ​sitting​ ​with​ ​the​ ​lid​ ​down​ ​on​ ​the​ ​seat​ ​and​ ​then​ ​gradually​ ​being​ ​introduced​ ​to​ ​sitting regularly.​ ​Toilet​ ​inserts​ ​are​ ​also​ ​great​ ​for​ ​younger/smaller​ ​children​ ​so​ ​they​ ​are​ ​comfortable​ ​on the​ ​seat.​ ​Small​ ​footstools​ ​are​ ​helpful​ ​with​ ​providing​ ​additional​ ​support​ ​for​ ​children​ ​whose​ ​feet​ ​do not​ ​touch​ ​the​ ​floor. 
     
  • Allow​ ​your​ ​child​ ​to​ ​see​ ​other’s​ ​success. Preferably​ ​a​ ​family​ ​member,​ ​but​ ​dolls,​ ​stuffed​ ​animals,​ ​and​ ​action​ ​figures​ ​are​ ​good​ ​too​ ​if​ ​that​ ​is your​ ​child’s​ ​interest.​ ​Praise​ ​all​ ​successes​ ​and​ ​attempts​ ​by​ ​your​ ​child​ ​to​ ​sit​ ​on​ ​the​ ​toilet,​ ​as​ ​well as​ ​the​ ​successes​ ​of​ ​others.
     
  • Try​ ​not​ ​to​ ​get​ ​upset​ ​when​ ​there​ ​is​ ​not​ ​success​ ​or​ ​when​ ​there​ ​are​ ​accidents.  Speak​ ​in​ ​a​ ​calm,​ ​matter​ ​of​ ​fact​ ​tone​ ​to​ ​your​ ​child​ ​explaining​ ​that​ ​pee/poop​ ​goes​ ​in​ ​the​ ​toilet​ ​or potty​ ​and​ ​that​ ​they​ ​have​ ​to​ ​keep​ ​their​ ​underwear​ ​clean​ ​and​ ​dry,​ ​and​ ​have​ ​them​ ​help​ ​with​ ​clean up.
     
  • Read​ ​books/watch​ ​short​ ​videos/DVDs​ ​with​ ​your​ ​child​ ​about​ ​going​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bathroom.  It​ ​is​ ​great​ ​to​ ​watch​ ​or​ ​read​ ​together​ ​and​ ​then​ ​take​ ​a​ ​trip​ ​to​ ​the​ ​bathroom​ ​to​ ​try​ ​for​ ​success.​ ​You can​ ​also​ ​read​ ​books​ ​in​ ​the​ ​bathroom​ ​together​ ​while​ ​your​ ​child​ ​sits​ ​on​ ​the​ ​toilet.
     
  • Pay​ ​attention​ ​to​ ​your​ ​child’s​ ​signs​ ​that​ ​they​ ​are​ ​ready​ ​for​ ​toilet​ ​training... Such​ ​as​ ​showing​ ​discomfort​ ​when​ ​wet/soiled.​ ​“Hiding”​ ​to​ ​have​ ​bowel​ ​movements​ ​is​ ​another sign​ ​of​ ​awareness.​ ​Taking​ ​off​ ​their​ ​diaper/pull-up​ ​independently​ ​and/or​ ​being​ ​able​ ​to​ ​take​ ​off some​ ​items​ ​of​ ​clothing​ ​are​ ​even​ ​more​ ​signs​ ​of​ ​readiness.​ ​
     
  • Being​ ​able​ ​to​ ​hold​ ​their​ ​urine​ ​for longer​ ​periods​ ​of​ ​time,​ ​as​ ​well​ ​as​ ​having​ ​routine​ ​bowel​ ​movements​ ​contributes​ ​to​ ​success​ ​with toilet​ ​training.​ ​While​ ​not​ ​all​ ​signs​ ​need​ ​be​ ​present,​ ​it​ ​will​ ​make​ ​for​ ​better​ ​outcomes​ ​if​ ​some​ ​of​ ​the  signs are​ ​there. 
     
  • Try​ ​different​ ​ways​ ​of​ ​communicating. Many​ ​children​ ​with​ ​non-traditional​ ​learning​ ​styles​ ​or​ ​modes​ ​of​ ​communication​ ​benefit​ ​from​ ​the use​ ​of​ ​visuals​ ​to​ ​explain​ ​what​ ​has​ ​to​ ​be​ ​done​ ​as​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​toileting​ ​routine.​ ​These​ ​can​ ​include pictures​ ​and​ ​words​ ​explaining​ ​the​ ​steps​ ​of​ ​the​ ​process.
     
  • Reinforcement​ ​never​ ​hurts!  We​ ​all​ ​do​ ​things​ ​better​ ​and​ ​more​ ​often​ ​when​ ​we​ ​are​ ​motivated​ ​to​ ​do​ ​them.​ ​Identify​ ​something that​ ​your​ ​child​ ​really​ ​enjoys​ ​and​ ​provide​ ​it​ ​to​ ​them​ ​along​ ​with​ ​your​ ​verbal​ ​praise​ ​and encouragement​ ​each​ ​time​ ​they​ ​successfully​ ​use​ ​the​ ​toilet.​ ​Over​ ​time​ ​they​ ​will​ ​not​ ​need​ ​the​ ​item anymore​ ​and​ ​just​ ​your​ ​praise​ ​and​ ​their​ ​pride​ ​in​ ​their​ ​accomplishment​ ​will​ ​be​ ​sufficient.
     
  • Through​ ​all​ ​of​ ​this,​ ​remember​ ​that​ ​every​ ​child​ ​is​ ​different​ ​and​ ​your​ ​child​ ​will​ ​develop​ ​the​ ​skills when​ ​they​ ​are​ ​ready.​ ​Some​ ​children​ ​will​ ​need​ ​more​ ​assistance​ ​and​ ​guidance​ ​than​ ​others​ ​as​ ​is true​ ​with​ ​many​ ​skills.​ ​If​ ​you​ ​are​ ​patient​ ​and​ ​diligent​ ​you​ ​can​ ​help​ ​your​ ​child​ ​make​ ​progress.​ ​You can​ ​do​ ​it!

21 Series - Toilet Training presented by Cindy Bruner, M.Ed