Toilet Training: How to Start

  • Situation

    I teach students with a variety of disabilities including autism from ages 7 through 10. Some of my students are toilet trained and some are not, but I think a couple of the kids are ready to start training. How do I know if they are ready for a toilet training program?

  • Summary

    Complete an assessment and review the data about the student’s readiness for habit training or for independent toileting.

  • Definition

    How to Start Toilet Training is based on two items: a review of assessment data and answers to questions in regard to toilet training readiness.

  • Quick Facts

    • Child's Age: 3-5, 6-10, 11-13
    • Planning Effort: Moderate
    • Difficulty Level: Moderate
  • Pre-requisites

    data form; personnel and time to take student to the bathroom on a 30 minute time schedule to check for elimination

  • Process

    1. Print and post an elimination data sheet in the bathroom.


    2. Take the student to the bathroom every 30 minutes and record if the student is dry, urinated, had a bowel movement, or if urinated and had a bowel movement.


    3. After a two week period review the data for patterns to emerge.


    4. Consider the following questions:

    • Is the student dry for 1 to 2 hours at a time?
    • Is there a pattern to wetting/soiling?
    • Does the student show any signs that he/she is aware of being wet or soiled?
    • Does he pause while wetting or soiling?


    5. If the answer is no to all the questions the student may not be ready for a goal of independent toileting.


    6. If the answer is yes to any of the questions, consider implementing a toileting program.

  • Documents and Related Resources

    Toilet Training Schedules and Data Sheets


    Toilet-Training for Individuals with Autism and Related Disorders (link to book)


    If you have questions or concerns about the Watson Institute’s use of this information, please contact us.