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Erin's Toileting Learning Story

Erin (4) was transitioning to her first year of primary school and the summer before staring her parents contacted Act to Connect for some toilet training support. While the school had not requested she be toilet trained before starting, her parents felt that they were all ready to give it a try. At the time Erin’s parents had started to take her into the bathroom with them, and she tended to go off by herself for bowel movements in her nappy. She was not showing any awareness or discomfort around having a wet nappy.

Her parents opted for the 1:1 focused model with toilet training as their focus. Their ATC consultant had an online assessment consult at the start to talk about Erin’s skills and challenges, the logistics around undertaking toilet training and the possible outcomes. After agreeing to an initial 6 weeks of consultation the process began. Her parents were committed to getting everything ready for Erin during the first 2 weeks of preparation, helping her enjoy spending time in the bathroom, preparing visuals and helping her learn to flush, wipe and wash her hands. By the end of the preparation stage Erin was asking to spend extra time in the bathroom – it was definitely a fun place to be!

During the toilet training stage Erin’s parents stayed in close contact with their consultant, passing on information each evening so changes could be made as needed for the next day. We used a variety of strategies including a clear toileting routine that adjusted to her needs, making special treats available and gradually fading our support. Her first success in the toilet was such a thrill for everyone involved, as was the first time she independently requested (using her visual communication system) and went to the toilet. For Erin and her family we were able to then move to using the toilet outside her home, e.g. in her grandparents’ house and at the local shopping centre. Her mum said “I would give a short summary each day and my consultant got back with new ideas and strategies for the next day, and of course lots of praise and encouragement…..knowing help and support was only a text away was very reassuring”

NOTE: As with all our 1:1 models, the progress that a child makes will depend on numerous factors. While we always make progress in achieving a level of independence and dignity around toileting, the level of progress will vary.

Whether you're a parent, caregiver, teacher, or healthcare professional, the Act to Connect Blog is here for you. Share your experiences, perspectives, and feedback in the comments, and let's support each other on this journey.

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