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Toileting in children with additional needs

Toilet training should start at the same age for all children. For children with additional needs, toilet training is likely to take longer and need more practice, but the majority of children should be able to achieve some degree of toileting with time.

Some children won’t ever show signs of readiness but that doesn’t mean that they won’t ever be able to use a toilet. Many children with autism and developmental delays will not show the usual signs, but are able to toilet train with a calm, consistent and sustained approach.

What you can do to help
  • Your child should drink 6-8 glasses of water per day (this can be flavoured but choose sugar-free options). This will help their bladder and bowel stay healthy.
  • Eating a Balanced diet with fruit and vegetables will help your child get the fibre they need to form healthy poos.
  • Keep your child active. This will help keep the bowels active.
  • For information on constipation please click here.
  • If you don't already, start by changing your child in the bathroom standing up, this can be the first link for them that weeing and pooing is managed in the bathroom.
  • Communicate with your child about wees and poos and the toilet in a way they will understand, using picture cards, books or animations.
  • Encourage your child to help with un dressing, wiping, and flushing, washing and drying hands. Do this as part of their daily routine.
  • When accidents happen, try not to make a big fuss. Praise even the smallest of achievements.
  • The workshop below has lots of useful information and resources to help you with starting to toilet train your child.
Please see the Continence Management Workshop below:
How we can help
  • We can help you with Bladder and Bowel assessments if required, please Click here for bladder and bowel assessment form. This will give us the information we need to put a toileting plan together for you and identify any issues that need addressing.
  • We can refer on to other specialities such as Occupational therapist.
  • We can give telephone advice.
  • We can Signpost you to support websites and information.
  • For some children toilet training is unlikely to be possible and in this case it’s our priority to then find the right product that will keep the child most comfortable. We will then provide a product assessment and referral to the continence product service.
Who can help

There are many health professional that are here to help and support you if you are struggling with Toilet training.

If your child has additional needs and attends a Special Needs School you can contact:

Special Needs School Nursing team:  01223 218061


Alternatively if you child is pre-school age or attends a mainstream school you can call 0300 029 50 50 or text 07520 649887

Need more information?

Bladder and bowel UK and ERIC are fantastic Charities that have websites that as professionals we use to help guide and support us in our knowledge and advice. But the information is there for you as families also so if you need further information please visit these websites:

Fledglings are a non-profit shop that helps families with disabled children by supplying products and equipment that help with everyday challenges. They have lots of toileting aids and equipment

For advice around finding the right product for your child please visit:

Additional information that may be of interest:

Sleep for children with additional needs

Being healthy and active

Delivering excellence in Children and Young People’s Services: 
a partnership between Cambridgeshire Community Services NHS Trust 
and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust 

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