Toilet Training With Autism

Before I had children I was positive that when my children started school they would be toilet trained, to name just a few things. Then we entered the world of Autism and I realised our goals would have to be adjusted.

Not being toilet trained has been a tough pill to swallow. I never dreamed I would have to rely on someone to make sure my child is clean at school. The cold hard truth is that our child may never be toilet trained but we have to at least try to implement steps that could trigger the toilet training process.

Turning four was the first milestone in the toilet training process. At this age we can receive four free nappies a day from the NHS, to qualify for this you have to be registered with the continence nurse and you have to be taking steps towards toilet training.

So in the new year we had our first appointment with the continence nurse. She advised us what steps we had to put in place to start our toilet training journey.

We had to

  • Learn how to change Ethan’s nappy whilst standing up. This sounded very strange to us as it’s second nature to lay a baby down when changing them, but if you’re having to change a seven/eight year old, or even an adult, you will not be able to use the changing units whilst out and about.       
  • Change Ethan near the toilet. This is so that he associates the toilet/bathroom with changing his nappy.
  • If possible place Ethan on the toilet. This also associates this action when changing his nappy. We also know that Ethan has a very logical brain so we would be skipping the potty as he doesn’t see anyone in the house use a potty. We also purchased a new toilet seat that also has a toddler seat attached to make the toilet feel as safe as possible for him. 
  • And lastly Ethan has to see us use the toilet as much as possible so that he knows what the toilet if for. 

Because Ethan is very visual I also used our twinkl subscription to create visuals in the bathroom that can help direct him. A visual guide to using the toilet. 

Twinkl Toilet Training Visual Guide

Twinkl have some fantastic SEN (Special Educational Needs) resources. I was able to easily download the images that I needed for toilet training. They have pictures for both boys and girls which I think is a really nice touch. 

The only thing I would say is that the use of the word toilet isn’t consistent on the icons. The icons say ‘use the toilet’ but then thay say ‘flush the loo’. I feel the use of different words could be confusing for Ethan and it won’t be helpful if Ethan learns how to sight read.  

So how are we getting on with our toilet training process?

Being pregnant and uncomfortable made it hard for me to take Ethan up to the bathroom every time, so we did get a little lax the bigger I got. He also didn’t want to sit on the toilet every time and would scream at me. Since Little E’s arrival we have made sure that every nappy change is done in the bathroom. Ethan also sits on the toilet every time. 
He also does the same process at nursery and we have even been getting him to vocalise the word hands. 
Toilet training Ethan is going to be a long and slow process and our next steps are to see if we can make him realise he is wet or dirty. We have started the process which is positive, we just need to make sure we don’t give up. 


2 thoughts on “Toilet Training With Autism”

  1. Aww well done on these important first steps. Amy’s cousin is autistic and 5 now and he doesn’t do any of these yet, so you can be proud of yourself for having got as far as an actual toilet routine of getting Ethan in the bathroom, changing him there and getting him to sit on the toilet. That’s fantastic x

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