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6 Easy Toilet Training IEP Goals

Introduction

Toilet training can be a challenging milestone for young learners, particularly those with autism or developmental disabilities. Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals play a crucial role in helping these learners acquire and generalize important skills related to toilet training. By identifying specific objectives and tracking progress, educators and professionals can develop effective strategies to promote independence and success in this essential self-care task. When it comes to toilet training, there is no “one size fits all.” In this blog post, we will explore six types of goal categories that can be incorporated into IEPs for toilet training depending on your learner’s unique needs. Check out this resource for further examples of pre-written IEP goals and data sheets!

1. Desensitization to the Bathroom or Toilet Goals

Desensitization goals focus on gradually exposing the learner to the bathroom environment and the toilet. This category aims to help learners become comfortable with these spaces, reducing anxiety and fear. Examples of desensitization goals include sitting on the toilet fully clothed, touching the toilet seat, or flushing the toilet with assistance.

An example of this type of formal IEP goal is:

“When presented with the verbal cue, “Let’s visit the bathroom, student will accompany staff member to stand in the nearest bathroom for 30 seconds with absence of disruptive behaviors (yelling, screaming, hitting, running away). He will complete this skill successfully with 80% accuracy over 3 consecutive days.”

When writing objectives for this type of toilet training goal, you could shape the amount of time required in the bathroom. For example, the first objective could target 5 seconds, the second objective could target 15 seconds and the final objective could target 30 seconds. Once this goal was achieved, and your learner was comfortable in the bathroom setting, you would most likely be ready to target a goal from one of the other categories listed below (please note that they are not presented in any sequential order!).

NEW TOILETING GOALS COVER 6 Easy Toilet Training IEP Goals
Click the photo to browse this resource of over 20 pre-written IEP goals with printable data sheets!

2. Increasing Time Schedule Goals

Time scheduling toilet training goals involve gradually increasing the duration between bathroom visits. The objective is to promote the learner’s ability to hold urine or bowel movements for longer periods independently. For instance, an initial goal might be to increase the time between bathroom visits from 15 minutes to 20 minutes, gradually extending it further.

An example of this type of formal IEP goal is:

“Student will maintain dry pants (no urine or bowel movement accidents) in school settings on a timed schedule of every 60 minutes with 100% success over 3 consecutive school days.”

If writing objectives for this type of IEP goal, you could scaffold the time interval across objectives, such as Objective 1: 20 minutes, Objective 2: 40 minutes, and Objective 3: 60 minutes. Specific time intervals should be developed based on the learner’s prior history and individual needs!

toilet training goals 6 Easy Toilet Training IEP Goals

3. Increased Rates of Success Goals

Increasing success goals aim to improve the learner’s overall success rate in independently using the toilet. These goals focus on achieving a higher percentage of successful attempts, without specifying the specific skill or behavior targeted. For example, the goal might be to achieve a 90% success rate in using the toilet for both urine and bowel movements.

An example of this type of formal IEP goal is:

“Student will not void unless sitting on the toilet in school settings with no more than 1 accident (urine or bowel movement in pants or anywhere other than toilet bowl) per day over 5 consecutive school days.”

The objectives underneath this toilet training goal could potentially scaffold this skill to 1 accident per week, 1 accident per month, etc. Remember to start where your learner currently is, and not where you want them to be! Your initial goal could very well state that the student should have less than 5 accidents per school day.

toilet training reward charts 6 Easy Toilet Training IEP Goals
Click to browse printable reward charts that can motivate learners toward increased success!

4. Faded Reinforcement Goals

Faded reinforcement toilet training goals are ideal for learners who initially require external motivators, such as prizes or tangible rewards, to engage in toileting behaviors. The objective is to gradually reduce the reliance on external reinforcement, enabling the learner to transition to internal motivation. Goals could involve decreasing the frequency or intensity of reinforcement over time while maintaining successful toileting behaviors.

An example of this type of formal IEP goal is:

“Student will remain dry (absence of urine or bowel movement accidents) while earning a reward (e.g., M&M) for “dry pants check” (no accidents) conducted every 60 minutes, for 3 consecutive school days.”

The objectives underneath this goal could shape the rewards (e.g., M&M every dry pants check, then every other, then every third check). Of course, an M&M is just one example, and all rewards should be based on preference assessment of your individual learners!

5. Requesting Independently Goals

These toilet training goals focus on teaching learners to recognize their bodily cues and communicate their need to use the bathroom. This category helps learners transition from a timed schedule to requesting the bathroom when necessary. Goals should incorporate each learner’s primary mode of communication, such as verbally asking for the bathroom, exchanging a picture symbol cue, or utilizing an augmentative communication device to request.

An example of this type of formal IEP goal is:

“Student will independently verbally request to use the bathroom (“I need the bathroom please”) with 80% success over 5 consecutive days. (Response will only be scored correct if the learner voids in the toilet following their request).”

Objectives underneath this goal could gradually increase the rate of success with requests, such as: Objective 1- 50%, Objective 2- 65%, and Objective 3- 80%. Collecting data can help you progress monitor your learner’s success over time with these or any toileting IEP goals! Click to browse printable toilet training data sheets and choose the one that best fits your learners’ needs.

toileting charts 6 Easy Toilet Training IEP Goals

6. Increasing Independence Goals

These goals aim to develop the learner’s ability to perform all necessary steps of toileting independently. These goals focus on voiding in the toilet, but also undressing, dressing, wiping, flushing, and washing and drying hands. The objective is to promote the learner’s overall independence in the entire toileting routine.

An example of this type of formal IEP goal is:

Upon student request or staff reminding, “Do you need the bathroom?” student will independently enter the bathroom and complete all steps: approach toilet, pull down pants and underwear, sit or stand to void (or attempt) on the toilet, use toilet paper, pull up underwear and pants, flush toilet, walk to sink, wash and dry hands, turn off the light, and leave the bathroom. He will complete this sequence with 90% independence over 10 consecutive opportunities.

potty training stories 6 Easy Toilet Training IEP Goals
Click to browse visual cues that you can post in your classroom bathroom!

Objectives underneath this toilet training goal could shape the percentage of independence, such as: Objective 1- 60%, Objective 2- 70%, and Objective 3- 90%. As mentioned above, all goals should be individualized per your learner so percentages may vary across student goals. Social narratives can provide a visual reminder of all steps (e.g., flush toilet, wash hands) for early learners.

Conclusion

Developing IEP goals for toilet training young learners with autism or developmental disabilities requires careful consideration of their individual abilities. Knowing that there is no “one size fits all” approach to toilet training, identifying the unique needs of your learners is vital to choosing the most appropriate goal. In utilizing these six types of goal categories, educators and support professionals can create a comprehensive and individualized plan to address specific skills and challenges related to toilet training. As with any IEP goal, it is important to regularly monitor progress, modify goals as needed, and collaborate with the learner’s support team to ensure a consistent and effective approach. With patience, understanding, and targeted goals, learners can achieve success and independence in this essential aspect of daily life.

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