Toilet training

Toileting can be one of the most emotive and stressful phases of parenting. Try to be relaxed about it – as with all other areas of children’s development, there is a huge variation in the age at which children with Down syndrome achieve independent toileting and a similar range in the length of time, effort and energy that has to be put in by parents to achieve it. And there is no single fail-safe way in which to do this, although everyone has met people who know that their way is the definitive way! Try to ignore any pressure you may feel from others, focus on your child and his or her stage of development and progress. Gather all the information you can and use it to help you consider what may work for your child and your family. The resources listed below should provide you with a good basis from which to start and the links will help you access additional help if you feel you need this. Talk to parents of children of similar age or slightly older to compare notes about what has worked and what has not for other people. 

 Holroyd, Nancy Pressure to toilet train unnecessary 
Written by a parent who adopted a child-led ‘toilet awareness’ approach and recounts the progress of her three children, one of whom has Down syndrome. Lots of useful advice and strategies. 

 Uncle Bobs Child Development Centre Toilet training 
Summarised information from One Step at a Time with all the main information points, 4-step process and useful visuals. 

 Baker, Bruce L & Alan J Brightman (2004) ‘Toilet training’ ch 10 in Steps to independence. Teaching everyday skills to children with special needs (4th ed) pp75-101 
This chapter of this useful book gives a detailed and comprehensive overview of the whole toileting process as a systematic procedure. Lots of useful information. 

 Newman, Sarah (1999) Toilet training in Small steps forward ch 9 pp210-214 
Brief overview of some of the more important considerations involved in deciding to toilet train. 

 Dodd, Susan (1994) Toileting in Managing problem behaviours pp 109-112 (at home) and 153-155 (at pre-school) 

 Mary White and June Rogers (2002) We can do it: helping children who have learning disabilities with bowel and bladder management: a guide for parents 
'This is a very useful booklet for parents or carers who are looking for guidance in relation to toilet training their child who has a learning disability. It is informative and helps the parent tailor a program to suit the needs of their child.’

 Sue Bettison (2010) Toilet training for children with autism or intellectual disabilities. Developmental information and practical procedures.
Available online at

Tom’s toilet triumph DVD 
This animated DVD won an international award as an educational film and is recommended by countless parents who have used it. 

Are you ready?
A toilet training package for people with an intellectual disability that can be used by parents and carers to help children and young adults through the toileting process. The package is divided into four parts, firstly with an animated video called Tom's toilet triumph' DVD outlining the signs of wanting to go to the toilet and the toileting process. Available from Health Service SA

 Toilet time: a resource manual toilet training for young children with developmental delay
Emily (for girls), Tom (for boys) (2004) Intellectual Disability Services Council (SA) 

DSV's Toilet Training Playlist

The Continence Support Service

Talk about going to the toilet 

Toilet training made semi-easy

Raising Children Network
Good comprehensive information site which will answer many general questions about toilet training.

Continence Foundation Australia
Resources and children’s books to help
Toilet Training for children with a disability - video

Toilet training for youngsters

List of text resources and storybooks