Anthony flushes his toileting fears

By Tessa Harding

Brand Engagement Manager

9-year-old Anthony has overcome his fear of toileting with support from his family and Therapy Focus’ specialist continence team.

Anthony has Autism Spectrum Disorder, hypo-plastic right heart syndrome, and has limited movement in his left side following a stroke when he was 2 years-old. When he was first referred to Therapy Focus’ specialist continence team, Anthony wore nappies and wasn’t toilet trained. He had an aversion to the bathroom and would avoid the toilet at all costs.

Following a bladder and bowel assessment that showed no underlying medical concerns, Anthony began working with Continence Therapy Assistant, Rebecca Guinan to address his toileting challenges.

Rebecca initially developed a timed toileting program for Anthony, which involved him being prompted to sit on the toilet intermittently to become more relaxed and desensitised to the bathroom.

We started by encouraging Anthony to go to the toilet every 2 hours and progressed to reminding him after meals,” Rebecca said.

“Over time he began to understand and acknowledge the sensation of needing to go to the toilet and didn’t need prompting or reminding. Anthony is now using the toilet independently and has the ability to recognise the sensation.”

“To help Anthony transition out of nappies, we started encouraging him to wear jocks for an hour or two in the mornings, rather than removing the nappies completely. We slowly increased the time he wore jocks throughout the day, and now he is wearing jocks full time and even staying dry at night.”

Anthony’s journey to independent toileting has spanned nearly 3 years, with Rebecca hosting sessions with Anthony and his family every 3-4 weeks. As they live over an hour away from their local office, sessions have been provided both in-person and via teletherapy to reduce travel costs in Anthony’s NDIS plan.

“It’s been a slow, steady and patient road to success. We took small steps and worked to ensure Anthony was not overwhelmed during any part of the process,” Rebecca said.

“It was important not to cause any extra stress in the toileting environment, to encourage Anthony, and ensure that he always felt he was in a positive space. This sometimes meant stepping back and introducing new strategies if Anthony or his family were finding certain parts of the process difficult.”

Anthony’s Mum, Lynne said that his family are very proud of his toileting achievements and that he continues to overcome hurdles.

“This journey has given Anthony much needed independence, and there’s an obvious difference in him.”

“It’s been a long road, but one worth travelling. Thankfully we had Rebecca with us along the way – it made a big difference having her guidance.”

Rebecca said that the hard work and dedication of Anthony’s family throughout the toilet training process was what led to success.

“Lynne gave 100% to her son’s toilet training and always took my suggestions on board. I feel it has been a real team effort and am very proud to have been a part of this huge milestone in Anthony’s life.”

Access specialist continence services

At Therapy Focus, our specialist continence team provide services and support for children and adults with disability who experience incontinence and toileting challenges.