Toilet Training + FREE Toilet Training Tracking Packet

Toileting.  It can be such a difficult skill to teach to little ones with special needs.  Learning to pee and poop in the toilet can be hard, then you add in language delays, sensory issues, and cognitive delays and it can make it seem impossible.  I’m here to tell you that it IS possible!  I’ve had so much success over the years.  It just takes some coordination between home and school, being prepared and proactive and some creativity.  I’m going to share my TOP 5 TIPS for putting together a successful toilet training plan for home and/or school!!

  1.  Data is your friend  

Take some “data”...AKA, write down when your child/student is wet and when they are dry.  Take a couple of days to write that information down so you can see if a pattern shows itself. For example, if your child is consistently dry at 8:30am, but their diaper is wet at 9:00am, you can practice sitting on the toilet between 8:30 and 9:00 to increase the odds of success!  Later, once the child is sitting on the toilet consistently, you can use the tracking sheets to keep track of when they pee in the potty and when they have accidents.  (If you subscribe to my email list, you will receive the FREE 6 page Toilet Training Tracking packet > Click HERE!)  


  1.  Start small

With students who are scared of sitting on the toilet (think loud flushing noise), or are aversive to sitting (they probably don’t understand why they are doing this), please start small.  It may feel like you are never going to get to the final goal, but starting small and building trust is so important for children who are anxious.  If you have a child/student who can already sit on the toilet for several minutes or while you read a book, then you can skip this step!  But, I usually have a handful of students each year who are scared, anxious and do NOT want to sit on the toilet AT ALL.  For these children, we start with sitting for a count of 3.  A FAST count of 3.  “1-2-3, all done!!”  Then praise and reward like crazy!  Eventually you can move to counting to 10, singing the ABC’s and then reading a book.  Don’t skip this step, because if the child is not willingly sitting on the toilet, the chances of them peeing in the toilet drops significantly.  In my Toilet Training Tracking Packet, there is a separate tracking sheet for “sitting on the toilet”.

  1.  Use visual supports 

Visual supports can help little ones understand what you are asking of them.  It could be a little story with pictures or a visual schedule that shows the steps of toileting (pants down, underwear/diaper down, sit on toilet, etc..). These help children structure and begin to understand what is going to happen.   For children who have limited verbal skills, it is nice to start having bathroom pictures in a communication book or in each room of the house.  When you bring them to the bathroom, take the picture, put it next to your mouth and say “bathroom” before walking to the bathroom.  Eventually, they may pick up the picture on their own and give it to you.  

I have a free visual sequence available at:

  1.  Use special interests

We all pay better attention to and are motivated by things we love.  Many years ago, I had twin boys in my class who were in 2nd grade and hadn’t been successful with toilet training yet.  Their mama and I tried many different techniques, but nothing seemed to “click”.  Then, I got an idea.  These boys LOVED country music and country singers.  I made them a story that said “country singers pee in the potty”.  Each page had a picture of a country singer from the waist up and a Boardmaker symbol of a boy peeing in the potty.  The story was simple.  “Willie Nelson pees in the potty”, “George Straight pees in the potty”, “Big and Rich pee in the potty”.  It was magic.  The boys peed in the potty THAT day.  Think creatively and see what you can come up with!

  1.  Use rewards

We all love rewards.   We work for the “reward” of a paycheck.  We often treat ourselves to something special after we accomplish something big or difficult.  Let’s incorporate this idea into toilet training.  It starts at the beginning when you are teaching children to sit on the toilet.  This is even true for the little one whose goal is to sit for the count of 3.  For my students, I use a “first-then” visual support for this.  I put a picture of a child sitting on the toilet on the “first” spot and a picture of something the child loves on the “then” spot.  Once a child learns “first-then” it can really help this process!  Be sure to find something that is truly motivating and will go a long way in helping reach your toilet training goal.


Here is a complete list of Toilet Training Resources from Autism Little Learners:

Book recommendation: The Potty Journey- Guide to Toilet Training Children with Special Needs, Including Autism and Related Disorders

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