Topics in ABA: Toilet Training

Autism Jul 09, 2021

When parents are asked what goals are most important to increase their child’s independence, toilet training tends to be right at the top of the list. Many families report spending a lot of time working with their child on toilet training, but not achieving much success. This blog will provide you with some great tips to help create the most effective toilet training program for your child.

  • Create a Schedule: When beginning a toilet training program, an intensive schedule is typically implemented, with frequent trips to the bathroom at regular, planned intervals. These intervals usually start at 15-20 minutes, with the time between trips gradually increasing as your child has consistent success in the bathroom. An intensive schedule is important in order to create as many practice opportunities as possible. On the other hand, it’s also important to create a schedule that works for you and your family to consistently implement at home. For families with busier schedules, this could include dedicating just a few hours per day to focus on intensive toilet training with a schedule. Finding the right balance between frequency and consistency will be key to a successful toilet training plan.
  • Provide High-Preferred Reinforcers: Positive reinforcement is vital for teaching new skills. The goal should be to make using the toilet as rewarding as possible for your child. Think about your child’s most preferred items (toys, games, special snacks, etc.) that could be used as a reward for successful bathroom trips, and try to set some of those aside specifically for toilet training. That way, you know your child will be working for something they want, and will remain motivated for those items during toilet training.
  • Increase Fluid Intake: A common component in the early stages of a toilet training program is increasing the amount of fluids your child drinks. As stated earlier, the goal is to create as many practice opportunities as you can, so it can be beneficial to provide your child with more water, juice, or their preferred drink than usual when you first begin toilet training.
  • Communication Training: Another component of toilet training that is just as important as your child actually using the toilet is being able to request the bathroom. If your child struggles with communication, this is something you can focus on once there have been a few successful days with no accidents. Depending on your child’s ability, this could include prompting your child to request the bathroom before scheduled bathroom trips using a vocal request, picture exchange (PECS), an AAC device, sign language, or some other form of functional communication.

If your child is currently receiving services with us, and you would like to start working on toilet training, please reach out to us, and we would be happy to provide more information and help create an individualized plan to help your child achieve toilet training success and increase their independence. Be sure to follow us on social media to see what’s new at Golden State, and stay posted on our blog for more helpful tips and guides like this. Have a great day!