Publication Date


Document Type

Student Project

First Advisor

Andzik, Natalie

Second Advisor

Perez, Brandon

Degree Name

B.S. (Bachelor of Science)


Department of Special and Early Education| School of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders


Within this project, we address the challenges faced by individuals, particularly those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), during toilet training, which often takes longer than neurotypical children. Practitioners who use traditional methods often overlook teaching children how to request bathroom use, especially among those who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. Drawing from literature and expert recommendations, we summarize the importance of teaching independence in bathroom use for children with complex communication needs by incorporating their AAC devices when teaching toilet training.

Inspired by Perez et al. (2020), who demonstrated positive responses from individuals with ASD to reinforcement-based procedures, we diverge from punitive toilet training methods. We employed a treatment package involving underwear use, differential reinforcement, and a 30- minute sit schedule to provide regular bathroom opportunities for the participants. Our methodology includes least-to-most prompting to gradually teach self-initiation, aiming to decrease intrusiveness and enhance functional living skills.

By simultaneously targeting urinary continence and self-initiation, we recognize the unique difficulties faced by children with ASD during toilet training. We sought to improve each participant's independence and overall quality of life and reduce caregiver costs and environmental impact by minimizing diaper usage. Through collaboration between practitioners, parents, and experts, we provided comprehensive support for individuals with ASD in developing essential life skills.