The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone: Potty Training Help Has Arrived!



My most popular post,  Why Low Muscle Tone Creates More Toilet Training Struggles for Toddlers (and Parents!) inspired me to write a manual to help parents with potty training.  There was nothing in books or online that really helped families, just a few lines about being patient and not pushing children….which is no help at all! Families deserve good strategies and an explanation for all the frustration they experience.

What makes this book so unique?  Media specialists say that you have to be able to explain your product in the time it takes for the average elevator ride.  OK, here is my elevator speech on The Practical Guide to Toilet Training Your Child With Low Muscle Tone:

“My book provides a complete explanation of the motor, sensory, and social/emotional effects that low muscle tone has on toilet training.  It does so without being preachy or clinical.  Parents understand whether their child is ready to train, and how to start creating readiness immediately.  They learn how to pick the right potty seat, the right clothes, and how to decide between the “boot camp” or gradual method of training.  A child’s speech delays, defiance or disinterest in potty training are addressed in ways that support families instead of criticizing them.”

  • Each readiness quiz helps parents figure out what issues need to be addressed for successful training and reminds them of their child’s strengths.
  • The second edition adds an entirely new section on targeted pre-training.  Even if your child is months or years away from being ready for formal training, you can start pre-training TODAY!  you build skills, and so do they.  The most developmentally delayed child can build skills they will need and you will learn where their strengths and needs lie, making you a more effective trainer when the time comes.
  • Chapter summaries give a quick review of each section.  Parents decide which chapter they need to read next to get more information.
  • Clinical information is explained in layman’s terminology, so parents don’t have to Google “interoception” to understand the neurology that causes a child not to recognize that they have a full bladder.

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Here’s what parents are saying about The Practical Guide”:

The Practical Guide has truly been heaven sent!  Although my globally delayed 5-year old daughter understood the idea of toileting, this skill was certainly not mastered.  Our consultations with Cathy and her guide on how to toilet train have given me the knowledge I’ve needed to understand low tone as a symptom that can be tackled.  Morgan has made visible advances, and I am so encouraged and empowered because I know what piece we need to work on next.  Thank you, Cathy, for writing this book!”      Trish C, mother of Morgan, 5 years old

“I would often say to myself “Cathy has to put all of her accumulated wisdom down into a book”.  I am happy to say-here it is!  You will find no one with more creative and practical  solutions.  Her insights and ideas get the job done!”     Laura D. H., mother of M., 4 years old 

Cathy has been a “go-to’ in every area imaginable, from professional referrals to toilet training.  I can’t say enough positive things about her.  She has been so insightful and helpful on this journey.”  Colleen S. mother of two special needs children


Want a bit of a preview?  Here is a small section from Chapter One: Are You Ready For Toilet Training?  Is Your Child?

Parents decide to start toilet training for three primary reasons.  Some families train in anticipation of an outside event, such as enrolling their toddler in a preschool that doesn’t change diapers.  Another example would be the impeding birth of a sibling  Parents who want to train their older child hope that they can avoid having two children in diapers, They do not expect to have the time and attention for training after their new baby arrives.

The second common reason to begin training is when their child achieves a skill that parents believe to be a precursor to successful toileting.  For example, when children learn a word or a sign for urination, adults may thing that they may finally be able to train them.  The final reason is when school staff or their pediatrician recommends that they start training.  whatever your reason, you are reading this book because you are wondering if you and/or your child could be ready for toilet training.

These are the eight types of toileting readiness: 

  1. Financial
  2. Physiological
  3. Communication 
  4. Cognitive 
  5. Social/emotional 
  6. Clothing Management
  7. Time and Attention
  8. Appropriate Equipment

How can you find my book?

Two ways:  For e-books, visit  Your Therapy Source, a wonderful site for parents and therapists.  I also have handout packs on toilet training on sale there too.  They are amazing for sharing with professionals and caregivers.

 It is available as a paperback as well as an e-book on Amazon!  You know you will want to underline, write in the margins, print the checklists for your babysitter or therapist, or highlight the sections you need!

Need toilet training strategies for a child on the spectrum?

Here you go!


While many kids with autism have low muscle tone, the things that derail potty training tend to be their issues with communication, sensory processing, and response to teaching strategies.  These kids deserved their own book, so wrote one!

The Practical Guide to Toilet Training the Autistic Child:  Sensory-Motor Secrets for Success is my newest book, filled with the kinds of useful strategies that make a difference in training.  Here are some of the features that will make this the only book parents and professionals will need:

  • A comprehensive readiness checklist makes it clear what really matters for readiness.  It is both less than you thought, and more specific than most people realize.
  • A resource list helps you find the equipment that can make kids safer and learn faster with less frustration.
  • The concepts of Targeted Pre-Training and Collaborative Diapering mean that ASD kids of every age and developmental level can start making progress today!
  • Those behaviors that derail training, such as smearing and playing with poop, defiance, withholding, and digestive issues?  These are dealt with, not ignored.
  • Kids aren’t fully trained until they can handle using the public toilets.  There is an entire chapter devoted to bringing kids into full independence!

Where can you find this unique paperback book?

Where else? on Amazon!

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By Cathy Collyer

I am a licensed occupational therapist, licensed massage therapist, and certified CBT-i sleep coach in private practice in the NYC area. I have over 25 years of professional experience in adult and pediatric treatment. It has been a joy to help people of all ages improve their ability to grow and thrive! Occupational therapists are focused on enhancing a client's functioning in everyday life. We are practical healthcare providers, interested in teaching, adapting actions and environments, and building a client's useful skills for living their best life, regardless of their challenges. I am the author of five books, including "Staying In The Room: Managing Medical And Dental Care When You Have DID" and "The Practical Guide To Toilet Training the Autistic Child". I lecture on many subjects, including sleep, trauma, and development. Contact me to learn more about how I can help you achieve YOUR goals!


  1. I landed on your blog as the result of my search for where to start with toilet training my 11 year old son. He has low muscle tone, but is now ready to learn how to use the toilet. Does your method apply to a child of that age/size?

    1. Absolutely! He will be using the adult toilet, and may need grab bars or at least a plan for hand and foot placement. Things may actually be easier in some ways, as he may have many of the pre-training skills already. Good luck!

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