Toilet training of preschoolers with disabilities: The perspectives of teacher aides

Shira Shoshani, Naomi Schreuer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims: To examine toilet-training (TT) challenges among children with developmental disabilities (DD), as perceived by teacher aides working in special education preschools, the TT practices they adopt, and their perspectives on TT and parental cooperation. Methods: A qualitative phenomenological approach was adopted to analyze in-depth interviews conducted with 10 teacher aides, working in special education preschools. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed by three researchers according to 20 categories, organized into the themes that emerged from the data. Results: Three themes emerged from the data analysis: (1) The TT process is much more complex for children with DD than for typically developing children. (2) The central role played by teacher aides in the TT process and the TT approaches they adopt. (3) The degree to which the child's family is involved in and cooperates with the preschool staff in the context of TT. Conclusions: TT among children with DD requires a graded and child-specific mediation process, including the parents and the educational staff. Teacher aides are revealed as an excellent resource for information about the child under their care. From the rich interviews, we obtained: principles and practical guidance as to how to provide gradual tailor-made TT for children with DD; principles to enhance parents’ engagement in TT; and appropriate TT outcomes. The ecological theoretical frameworks used to shed light on the teacher aides’ and the context role as significant mediators in TT. The study lays the groundwork for further research on TT among children with DD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1640-1647
Number of pages8
JournalNeurourology and Urodynamics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


  • developmental disabilities
  • ecocultural theory
  • ecology of human performance
  • potty training
  • preschool
  • special education

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Urology


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