Toilet training – 6 ways to help people with limited language

Toilet training a toddler or a person with a disability can be a challenge, for the person themselves it can be an extremely confusing time.

Children/Adults with Autism and communication impairments are at most visual learners, pictures, photos, line drawings, words can help them understand what is being asked of them.  Sometimes just asking someone “do you want to go to the toilet?” Can mean nothing, instead showing a visual cue card of a toilet can mean the everything.

6 ways to help toilet train & wash hands


Social Story

In preparation, use a social story that explains each step of the sequence.  A social story can be a great tool to help the person familiarise themselves with a toilet and what it is used for.

toilet training social story

Break down each step

Look at what is involve with successfully understanding each step of the routine. Set yourself smaller goals rather than one big goal, initially you might aim for the person to understand

Show a picture of what you are asking

toilet training prompts non verbal children, people disability


Use keywords, say “toilet” or “I  want toilet”  and show a picture at the same time as saying the word or making the statement. This will help the person make a connection to the word and the actual thing.

Visual Prompts

Keep visual cue cards in your pocket, that way you can show the person what part of the sequence they are doing now and what comes after that.

toilet training visual sequence


Visual Schedule

Have a visual schedule that has a picture of each step of the routine in view for the person to look at whilst they are on the toilet.  You can point to each step.

Be patient, persistent and consistent

Remember, everyone is different and people will understand and learn when they are ready.  It is our job to stay patient and consistent with the routine, to build structure and develop understanding in a calm and relaxed environment.

More on Toilet Training Packs and their benefits

Till next time

Alison – Mother, Blogger, Founder See-n-Speak










Alison Mooney

I am a mother first, Blogger and Founder of See-n-Speak Communication Picture Exchange resources for people with a Disability. Sharing our resources and knowledge successfully using picture exchange as a form of communication with our child.

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