Parts 1 & 2: Getting Started
Part 1. What to Consider Before Getting Started
Before you begin, it helps to gather information about the following areas:
- medical concerns
- toileting patterns using the Elimination Patterns and Daily Intake form
- communication skills sensory needs
- toileting skills your child may already have
- any supports your child will need
Assessing where your child is in these areas can help you find the best place to begin.
Read our Getting Started Assessment.
Part 2. When to Start Toilet Training
Deciding when to start toilet training can be challenging. Typically, toilet training occurs between eighteen months and four years of age. However, chronological age is not an exact indicator of toilet training readiness. Some children with autism have a developmental age that is different from their chronological age that needs to be taken into consideration when deciding when to beginning toilet training.
Generally, toilet training is most successful when both the child and the adults are ready.
Signs of a child’s readiness may include:
- He is interested in the bathroom and is curious about flushing the toilet, playing with the toilet paper, etc.
- He wants to observe others using the bathroom
- He reports that he has gone in his diaper and/or asks to wear underwear
- He gets upset when his diaper is soiled
- He is starting to have periods of dryness and can “hold it”
Some children may not show signs of readiness; others may appear disinterested or even resistant. In these instances, parents often decide the best time to begin toilet training. In any case, toilet training for children with autism involves the development of a specific routine, a schedule, and a reinforcement system.
Typically, the goal of toilet training is to teach the child to be aware of the need to eliminate and to independently access the toilet. If this is not realistic for your child, habit training may be a better toilet training technique. Through habit training, accessing the toilet becomes a learned behavior. The child creates a new habit of eliminating in the toilet versus in the diaper. By repeating the toileting routine over and over as part of a structured schedule, the goal is for the child to develop bladder and bowel control and more independent access of the toilet. Habit Training is described in Part 5.
Toilet Training Tool Kit
- Parts 1 & 2: Getting Started
- Part 3: Toilet Training Steps
- Part 4: Developing a Toileting Plan
- Part 5: Habit Training
- Part 6: Creating a Calm & Welcoming Bathroom Environment
- Part 7: Communicating with Your Child
- Part 8: Fear of New Situations
- Part 9: Using Rewards
- Part 10: Toilet Training Away From Home
- Part 11: Cooperation Between Home and School or Daycare
- Part 12: Dealing With Your Own Anxieties and Frustrations
- Parts 13 & 14: Interfering Factors
- Part 15: Diapers & Pull-Ups During Toilet Training
- Parts 16 & 17: Toilet Training Older Children
- Part 18: Success at Home But Not at School or Vice Versa
- Part 19: Use of Books, Videos & Other Visuals
- Part 20: Toilet Training at Night
- Part 21: Handling Accidents
- Part 22: Increasing Independence With Toileting
- Part 23: Using a Visual Schedule
- Parts 24 & 25: Regression & Troubleshooting
- Parts 26 & 27: References & Resources