Toilet Training and Continence difficulties for children with SEND

For some children with special educational needs and / or disabilities toilet training may require a little more time, while other children may never achieve complete independence. Whatever the case it is important to ensure every child is treated with dignity and respect.

Support for toilet training and continence

Your child may have difficulties with continence for a number of reasons. Sometimes these difficulties are short term but some children may need longer term support.

Toilet training and continence support is available through the Health Visiting service if your child is under 5. The support offered should be individualised for your family’s needs and focuses on the development of the skills necessary to toilet train.

Your child has a right to attend school regardless of any toileting difficulties. It is important to talk to the school about any support that your child will need. If the Health Visiting team identify your child as having a continence difficulty or a delay in gaining continence, then ideally, they will be transferred to, or identified to, the School Nursing service on school entry. The School Nurses will offer a continuation of the support offered by the Health Visiting team.

For school age children requests for support can be made to the school health nurses via a single point of entry referral form (SPE CCHP referral) or a parent can self-refer directly by telephone – contact details can be found here.

An assessment will be completed by the School Nursing team and individualised toileting/continence plans will be developed similar to that provided by the Health Visiting team.

Following a child’s assessment, if a toileting programme is felt to be inappropriate, the School Nurses would refer your child to the Specialist Children’s Continence Nurse for a prescription of continence containment products if your child is aged 5 years or above. 

All children are assessed for their potential to toilet train and support should be focused on your child’s ability, not lack of ability.

There are several resources available through the School Health Nursing team.

Those who are over the age of 19 and registered with a GP in South Gloucestershire can access support through the Continence Service. This service offers assessment, support and advice to those who have continence needs and is managed by Sirona Care and Health

Other support organisations

ERIC the UK’s Education and Resources for Improving Childhood Continence Charity, has lots of helpful resources and information available for toileting difficulties and toilet training. The website has sections for families, kids, teens and professionals.

ERIC have a helpline which is open Monday - Thursday, 10am to 2pm and is free to

call from land-line and mobile numbers. – 0808 1699 949.

Bladder and Bowel UK provide information and advice for all adults, children and young people with bladder and bowel issues and for their families and carers. They have a range of resources to help parents, carers, professionals and schools. The organisation has a national confidential helpline, staffed by a team of specialist nurses and a product information adviser. You can gain specialist advice on bladder and bowel health issues, options for managing incontinence, as well as receiving signposting to local services. You can contact them via email at or on telephone 0161 607 8219

Children’s Continence support - parent group on Facebook.

This Facebook page is aimed at offering support and help for families dealing with continence issues with their children. Members are welcome from anywhere. 

Family fund provides grants for low-income families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people in the UK. You may be eligible to receive a grant to purchase an item or service to improve your family’s quality of life. The charity provides grants for a wide range of items such as washing machines, tumble driers, clothing, computers, toys and family breaks.You may be eligible to apply for the WaterSure scheme if you have a water meter and your child’s health condition means you have to do a lot of laundry. It means you can apply to your water supply company to cap the cost of your water. Ofwat has more details of the scheme.

Turn2Us is a national charity helping people in financial hardship to gain access to welfare benefits, charitable grants and other financial support.

Contact are a charity for families with disabled children. They support families with guidance and information.

South Glos Parents and Carers are a supportive community of parents and carers who work to improve services and support for children, young people with additional needs and their families.

For general enquiries regarding SEND, including SEN Support Services, please contact Will Pritchard, Strategic Lead for inclusion and SEND: