Toilet Training A Child with Special Needs

Make the most of curiosity 

Some children may display a curiosity in toileting. This may display as an interest in the bathroom or sensory stimulation around the toilet. Observing this curiosity and choosing to train your child around this time can be beneficial. Children with sensory processing needs may enjoy the feeling of wetting themselves. Slowly introducing your child to the bathroom and reinforcing desired behaviour through rewards can help to overcome this. 


Introduce Communication methods for your child 

Many children with special needs find it challenging to communicate their needs. Teaching your child communication strategies for using the toilet can encourage this process. This may be through the use of physical objects, symbols or sign language. Using communication aids such as a now and next board can be very beneficial. It’s important to maintain consistency and move at your child’s pace. 


Remember that setbacks are common

When toilet training your child, it is important to recognise that setbacks are common. You may observe some progress followed by a few steps backwards. Maintain faith during these periods.

Toileting autism

Work together with your child’s school

Speaking to your child’s school to identify what process they are following can help to maintain consistency. Many children benefit from a routine. Maintaining a routine between home and school can encourage progress.

Make use of visuals

Preparing your child for what is coming can ease their anxieties about toileting. This can be in the form of visuals, a story or a video. Research by Karen & Monica  (2007) found that an animated toileting video could help toileting for children with special needs. 


Reward Desired Behaviour

Some children with special needs benefit from knowing that their actions will receive a reward after. Teaching your child that a reward will follow toileting, can greatly help them to make progress.


When you are toilet training your child:

  •     Try incontinence swimwear
  •     Maintain hope and patience
  •     Look into any medications your child is on

·      Make a note of their diet

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**The information provided in this article is accumulated by the community not by professionals. It is important to seek appropriate medical or professional advice where necessary. 

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