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Potty Training Tips – Mrs. D’s Corner

Potty training can be a challenge for special education teachers and their older students. But with the right tools, tips, and strategies, it doesn’t have to be too difficult. 

Potty Training Tips

When pottying becomes less stressful, it is a lot easier for students to have greater success with it. The key is to find ways to make the process less stressful and more predictable for students and staff. Here are five potty training tips for older special ed students that can make the transition easier for both the teacher and the student. They are a great place to start if your students are struggling with pottying.

Tips to Help Students Learn to Use the Toilet

1. Establish a Predictable Routine

Older students with disabilities may need more structure when it comes to using the restroom, so having a regular potty schedule can help them get into the habit of going at the same times each day. Be sure to stay consistent with the routine so that they can anticipate when their next opportunity to use the bathroom will be.

2. Offer Positive Reinforcement

Encourage your student to use their potty by praising and rewarding them for small successes like successfully following through with the routine or staying dry for longer periods of time. The rewards should be determined by the student’s age and interests, as well as the classroom budget! Sometimes the most meaningful rewards are the most inexpensive or free!

3. Be Consistent in Expectations and Rules

Make sure that all staff members are aware of the expectations, rules, and procedures established regarding potty training and that they are consistently enforced throughout the day. When everyone is on the same page, it takes away some of the anxiety that students may be experiencing about using the bathroom.

4. Give Clear Instructions and Visual Cues

Show your students how to use the toilet step-by-step and use visual pictures or cues to help them remember the process. You may want to have a laminated visual aid that you hang next to the toilet or on the back of the bathroom stall door for students to see. 

5. Provide Support and Guidance

Be available to help your students during potty time and encourage them when they need extra motivation. If necessary, find a caregiver or family member who can be present to provide additional assistance throughout the day if there is no support staff available.

What to Do When Special Ed Students Struggle with Potty Training

It’s important to be patient and supportive if your student is having a hard time with potty training. Try to identify any triggers that may be making the process more difficult, such as fear or anxiety. 

Sometimes things like the bathroom lighting or the toilet flushing can cause anxiety in students and make it challenging for them to use the bathroom. Ask your students what bothers them in the bathroom if there is fear about entering the room.

You could also provide extra support and guidance by using a toileting chart or log book to keep track of successes, rewards, and setbacks.

Additionally, offer sensory breaks where your students can take a break from the toilet before trying again. 

Finally, don’t forget to ask for help if you need it; speaking with an occupational therapist or other specialists who have experience in this area can give you valuable insight and advice on how best to approach the situation. You want the experience to be a positive one for the student, so that means seeking out help wherever it can be found.

Fun Reward Ideas for Successful Pottying for Older Special Ed Students

When your student has a successful potty session, reward them with something fun! Here are a few reward ideas to consider:

• Stickers, books, or other small toys

• A special snack or treat

• A certificate of recognition

• Quality time with the teacher (e.g., reading stories together)

These rewards can help motivate your students to stay on track with potty training and give them something fun to look forward to when they use the toilet correctly. 

It’s important to remember that consistency is key; by rewarding successes consistently, you’ll be more likely to see long-term progress in the student’s potty-training journey.

These tips can help make the transition to potty training smoother and easier for both your special education students and you as their teacher. With a little patience and practice, every student will eventually become successful in this important milestone. 


Rizwan Ahmed
Rizwan Ahmed, founded by Rizwan Ahmed, is an educational platform dedicated to empowering students and professionals in the all fields of life. Discover comprehensive resources and expert guidance to excel in the dynamic education industry.


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