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General Guidelines for Toilet Learning for Boys


Use simple terms when talking to your son about urinating and bowel movements. Explain that there are things we do to keep us clean and healthy every time we use the bathroom. Teach your son:

  • Everyone uses the bathroom to urinate and to have bowel movements.
  • Urine and stool have bacteria that you cannot see but sometimes smell bad and can make us sick if we don’t practice good hygiene.
  • Boys stand up to urinate. (Sitting to urinate can cause teasing and bullying later.)
  • Your son can shake his penis after urinating to remove any drips of urine.
  • After a bowel movement count out squares of toilet paper (around 6-8), fold the paper, and wipe away the remaining stool. Tell your son that he may need to wipe with more toilet paper 3 or 4 times to be clean. (Flushable wipes are available to make this more efficient. Limit 2 wipes per flush.)
  • Your son should have a bowel movement regularly, generally between once a day and every few days. If he hasn’t had a bowel movement in a few days, he should let a parent know. One way to do this is to keep a tally sheet in the bathroom.
  • Always wash his hands with soap and water (15 seconds) after using/touching the toilet.

A Social Story™ about bathroom hygiene may be very effective. It can be titled: “Things we do to keep us clean and healthy every time we use the bathroom.”

The Center for Autism Research and The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia do not endorse or recommend any specific person or organization or form of treatment. The information included within the CAR Autism Roadmap™ and CAR Resource Directory™ should not be considered medical advice and should serve only as a guide to resources publicly and privately available. Choosing a treatment, course of action, and/or a resource is a personal decision, which should take into account each individual's and family's particular circumstances.