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Positive thinking about continence promotion for children and young people

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  • Date published:

  • Author: susieking

For Children with Learning Disabilities, developmental delays and other special educational needs, learning to become independent use the toilet can be more challenging. The CNCLD Team, often work with families and schools to support toileting plan to ensure that each child has the opportunity to achieve this goal. For all children referred to the team, we encourage school and families to follow the advice and watch the recommended videos. Being prepared, consistent and engaged supports the care pathway and increases positive outcomes for all.

In the UK one in 12 children and young people have suffered from a bladder or bowel problem (ERIC 2010), so you need not feel you are alone. This can sometimes be referred to as a continence or incontinence problem. It includes day and/or night-time wetting, as well as constipation and soiling.

Some things to try:

  • Try without using nappies/absorbent pants.
  • Look for any small signs of progress.
  • Expect progress and accidents.
  • Be realistic about your goals.
  • Patience, hard work and effort is required.
  • Praise/reward improvements.
  • Be consistent.
  • 10 minutes on the toilet as a maximum.
  • Use communication tools your child understands.
  • Involve your child in shopping for new pants etc.
  • If necessary, break the task down into small achievable steps.
  • Encourage your child to sit on the toilet, but do not force them.
  • If your child insists on using potty or nappy – encourage them to do so in the Toilet/bathroom.
  •  Involve your child in emptying their stool down the toilet and flushing it away.

For much more information please see Community Nursing for Children with Learning disabilities advice leaflet, and links below:


Talking about wee and poo – webinar, April 2023 – YouTube

Part 1 – Preparing for Potty Training – YouTube

Part 2 – preparing your child for potty training – YouTube

Part 3 – Getting started with potty training – YouTube

Part 4 – Trouble-shooting, regression and night-time dryness – YouTube