Shy bladder or fear of the splash? Toilet training isn’t always a quick dash.

7 Top Toileting Tips for kids with Autism

Toilet training is a milestone majority of children complete from the ages of 18 months to 3 and 1/2 years. Children indicate readiness through taking an interest in the process, imitating others and holding on to get to the toilet. However these signs of willingness aren’t always apparent in children with autism spectrum disorder, with some children taking longer to learn these skills. 

There are other factors that may make it tricky for your little one with ASD to master toilet training, these include: 

  • Ability to recognise internal signs of needing to go to the toilet 
  • Trying something unfamiliar or new, out of their routine 
  • Sensory sensitivities around nappies, underpants, the toilet and bathroom, the feeling of going to the toilet
  • Anxiety about transitioning to the bathroom, toilet and different bathrooms or toilets
  • Issues around toileting such as constipation

Top Tips:

  1. Make sure it is the right time and season for both you and your toddler. Ensure you both are well and have addressed any medical issues e.g., constipation, and are committed.
  2. Prepare yourself! Buy/organise all the right equipment you need e.g., step stool, lots of underwear and replacement clothes, rewards, timers, toys, etc.
  3. Making visuals or prompts to help you and your child understand the process and sequence (or using videos, social stories or physical prompts).
  4. Support sensory sensitivities e.g., colour of walls, calming activity beforehand, toilet seat texture.
  5. Use a highly motivating reward immediately after a desired behaviour in the toileting sequence is completed (changing if need be and phasing out once achievement is met).
  6. Make toileting part of a routine – use toilet timing (set times when they are most likely to go, e.g., when they get up, before or after a meal).
  7. Accidents are expected and toddlers can help with changing and cleaning up, then start the process again!


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By Kim McGregor – Senior Psychologist

Kim McGregor is a registered Psychologist with a Master’s degree in Educational & Developmental Psychology. She has worked extensively with infants, children and their families in not for profit, early childhood, specialised school and government multidisciplinary settings providing assessment, diagnosis and treatment for their developmental, cognitive, social, emotional and learning needs.

Her goal is to always work from a person centred and family focused partnership with parents providing clear communication, empathy and support throughout the journey of understanding and helping their child.

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