Ten Effective Toilet Training Tips for Children with Autism in Toronto



It’s always a small miracle when your child is first able to go to the bathroom by themselves. Toilet training is a worthwhile—yet challenging—milestone for any boy or girl, but for children with autism Toronto, it often requires extra understanding, patience, and customized strategies. Every neurodivergent child is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. So flexibility is key. 


Here are a few evidence-based tips and techniques that can help the toilet training process for families with children with autism in Toronto.


  1. Introduce Toileting Concepts Gradually


Taking it step-by-step with a lot of patience is the way to go. Start by incrementally introducing basic toileting concepts such as sitting on the toilet fully clothed, flushing, and washing their hands. Work gradually towards removing layers of clothing, one item at a time, and then actually using the toilet.


  1. Establish A Predictable Routine


Try to go through the actions at the same time every day. Establishing a consistent schedule for bathroom time can help neurodivergent children anticipate and understand when it’s appropriate to use the toilet. Be sure to make use of visual schedules or timers to reinforce the routine.


  1. Make Use Of Visual Supports


A pictograph with step-by-step instructions can go a long way. Don’t shy away from utilizing visual aids such as social stories, picture schedules, or instructional guides.  These can help children with autism understand what is expected of them and grasp the complete toilet training process.


  1. Have The Right Equipment


Take a look at some of the toilet training equipment for children with autism that might be available close to you. Some neurodivergent children may be sensitive to certain sensations, shapes, or textures. Be sure to experiment with different types of wipes, toilet seats, and underwear to find what is most comfortable for your child.


  1. Always With The Positive Reinforcement 


Sometimes a big hug after a job well done (and cleaned up) is all that you’ll need to see a repeat performance. Like many areas of a neurodivergent child’s life, positive reinforcement is key to toilet training success. Use rewards such as high fives, hugs, stickers, screen time, small toys, and verbal praise to motivate your child. Whatever works. Just don’t forget to be consistent and immediately reward successful toileting behaviours.


  1. Demonstrate And Model


Toilet training is not the time to be shy. Neurodivergent children often learn best through imitation. You can keep your clothes on and (as much as possible) try modeling toileting behaviours yourself. Consider using videos to demonstrate the toilet training process to a child with autism in a clear and visual way.


  1. Be Cognizant Of Sensory Needs


There’s a good chance you’re going to need the three-ply toilet paper going forward. Many children with autism have sensory sensitivities that can affect their experience with toileting. Be aware of your child’s sensory preferences and help out as best you can by making little differences in the experience, such as: dimming lights, using noise-canceling headphones, or installing softer toilet seats.


  1. Make Use Of Descriptive Language


Sometimes you need to be blunt to get your point across. Clearly communicate toileting expectations using simple and concrete language. Do your best to avoid abstract concepts and be as specific as you can about what you want your child to do.


  1. Be Flexible And Patient


It’s not going to happen overnight. Toilet training can be a slow and gradual process for neurodivergent children. Take a deep breath. Be patient with setbacks and be prepared to adjust your approach as needed. Celebrate the little victories and remain as positive as you can throughout the journey.


  1. Look For Professional Support if Needed


If you’re struggling with toilet training your child with autism, Monarch House has access to counsellors, therapists, and occupational therapists that can help. Additionally, if your neurodivergent child is facing challenges such as severe behavioural difficulties or medical issues, we can help you connect with psychologists, pediatricians, and applied behavior analyst (ABA) therapists with experience in autism.


It’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. Toilet training a neurodivergent child takes creativity, patience, and a willingness to be flexible to your child’s unique needs. By establishing a consistent routine, and using positive feedback and visual supports, you can help your child with autism Toronto develop this important life skill with confidence. Remember to make celebrations for all degrees of progress, no matter how small, and look to professionals or support groups for help when needed. With time, persistence, and understanding, you and your child can successfully establish a mastery of the bathroom.