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Tuesday 23 Jan 2018

Potty Talk

Boy washing hands

Article by Stephanie Ekis, MS, CCC-SLP

Whether you are just starting the potty training process or if your child has already mastered these skills, it is important that you give them the communication tools needed to participate in the bathroom environment.

You can actually increase your child’s independence in the bathroom by providing them with visual supports and communication messages, either in low-tech form (e.g., communication board) or on their voice output communication device (e.g., Maestro). These tools can include symbols of the objects that can be found in the bathroom and the common activities that occur in the bathroom.

If your child has a difficult time in the bathroom, you can use schedules and social stories to give them a run-down of the process and visually depict the expectations that have been set for them.

Communication might be different in different bathroom situations. For example, communication messages for the bathroom at home will be different for those needed for the school bathroom. As you gather vocabulary, keep in mind that communication is so much more than just requesting. Make sure to give your child access to communication functions like comments, questions and protests.

Home Bathroom

School Bathroom

Example Vocabulary:

  • Toilet vocabulary:
  • I have to go.

    Help please.

    I need paper.


  • Sink/Mirror vocabulary:
  • Wash hands.

    Look at me.

    My hair is messy.

    Brush teeth.

    In there.


  • Bathtub/shower vocabulary:
  • Do I have to take a bath?

    Too hot.

    Too cold.

    More water.

    Bath toys.

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