My autistic child’s potty and personal hygiene training

Rose Mabiza • 4 mins read

13 November 2023


It's no secret that every child is different. The differences are even more pronounced when you have an autistic child. Introducing new things and other transitions are particularly challenging.

As a mother, dealing with stress and autism at home can be difficult. In this blog, I’m going to share with you the challenges we faced during potty and personal hygiene training. I hope other families can learn from our experiences and hopefully minimise the stress associated with this difficult period in a child’s development.

Challenges of potty training in Birmingham - Rose Mabiza - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

Challenges of potty training

Raising an autistic child with limited communication skills is not easy. My son could not express his needs verbally, and we struggled to get through to him. It was not easy at all.

The pressure was heightened when we decided to start potty training. My son did not show any signs of readiness at all. He would often be scared, crying and refusing to go to the bathroom. We used different strategies, including every skill and tip in the book and everything we thought could help to no avail.

Workshop on toilet training for autistic children in Manchester - Rose Mabiza - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

Workshop on toilet training for autistic children

I remember attending a workshop on toilet training for autistic children. As we kept trying everything and failing, he was also growing and yet continuing to use nappies. The nappies were increasingly getting more expensive, and we were unaware of any other sources of social support. Not having people to talk to about it or where to go was stressful and emotionally draining.

It also meant that we could not leave him with friends or family to babysit, as some people were uncomfortable and not used to monitoring and assisting a child his age with his toileting and personal hygiene. The school also tried to help with establishing and maintaining the routines, but he needed more time to be ready. It took a very long time for him to use the bathroom independently.

A milestone to celebrate in Liverpool - Rose Mabiza - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

A milestone to celebrate

We had given up when our son finally used the bathroom independently. I remember it was summertime, and I was at work. He was spending time with his dad and his older brother at home, so they decided he wouldn't wear a nappy. He just wore his underwear all day. Surprisingly, he went to the toilet alone when he needed the bathroom. Dad followed him, and there he was. He needed to pee, and that was it.

He started using the bathroom independently at 9 years old. Since then, he would refuse to sleep wearing nappies, and not even a single day that he had an accident. I guess he was mentally ready.

I remember celebrating that day even though I missed it. I had desperately waited for this moment and couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

My autistic child’s potty and personal hygiene training in Glasgow - Conclusion - Rose Mabiza - The Mandatory Training Group UK -


For me, potty training my autistic child was such a stressful experience more than anything else. I also learnt that every child is different and that not everything that works for one would work for another. What was worse was not having anyone to talk to or ask for help.

By sharing my story, I always hope to motivate and inspire others. I also hope that somebody going through similar struggles to what I went through can learn something or have peace of mind that things will be alright one day.

My autistic child’s potty and personal hygiene training in Nottingham - About The Mandatory Training Group UK -

About The Mandatory Training Group

The Mandatory Training Group is one of the leading UK providers of CPDUK-accredited statutory and mandatory training, continuing professional development (CPD) courses, eLearning software and workforce development solutions for all sectors.

By making things simple and designing interactive e-learning content, we can provide meaningful training programs at all levels and enhance the capacity and resilience of individuals and organisations.

Click here to see our wide range of accredited adult social care courses and training programmes.

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