Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


45th Annual Convention; Chicago, IL; 2019

Event Details

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Symposium #225
CE Offered: BACB
Toilet Training Across the Lifespan: Recent Advances and Recommendations
Sunday, May 26, 2019
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Hyatt Regency West, Lobby Level, Crystal Ballroom B
Area: DDA/DEV; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Joseph D. Dracobly (University of North Texas)
Discussant: Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas)
CE Instructor: Richard G. Smith, Ph.D.

Regardless of an individual's age, toilet training is a critical life skill. Seminal behavioral research on toilet training was conducted with adults (e.g., Adrian & Foxx, 1971). As early intervention for children with autism has expanded, more recent research on toilet training has focused on evaluations with you children (e.g., Greer, Neidert, & Dozier, 2016; Tarbox, Williams, & Friman, 2004). However, needs may vary based on an individual's age. For example, after learning to eliminate in a toilet, young children may have a limited history with using the bathroom independently. This may require specific training on approaching the bathroom for eliminations. Later in life, individuals may have a long history of problematic behavior that interferes with independent self-care skills. Therefore, the purpose of this symposium is to present recent research on issues unique to participants from distinct developmental periods: early childhood and mature adulthood. The authors will present two evaluations of procedures designed to address issues prevalent in each developmental period (self initiations for young children and problem behavior that interferes with toilet usage for an adult). Finally, our discussant will provide recommendations on identifying issues unique to individuals of differing ages and ideas for methods to address these issues.

Instruction Level: Intermediate
Keyword(s): Adults, Toilet Training, Young Children
Target Audience:

Researchers interested in the development of self-care skills; Practitioners who work with young children and older adults

Learning Objectives: 1. Describe toilet-training issues unique to individuals of different ages. 2. Describe an evaluation of teaching self-iniation skills to young children and an evaluation of reinforcement to reduce SIB that interferes with eliminations in a toilet and reinforcement to increase eliminations in a toilet 3. Describe other toilet-training issues that may be relevant to individuals of different agents and at least one method to address these issues

Establishing Appropriate Toileting Behavior in an Adult Female With Developmental Disabilities and Severe Self-Injurious Behavior

KATHLEEN ANN BAYLISS (University of North Texas), Richard G. Smith (University of North Texas)

Incontinence can adversely impact an individual’s quality of life, often increasing the likelihood of physical ailment, poor hygiene, stigmatization, disruption of schedule, and restriction of activities (Kroeger & Sorensen-Burnworth, 2009). Previous research suggests that multiple demographic factors may produce barriers to acquiring and maintaining continence. Such factors include: age, IQ, mobility, available resources and the prevalence of disturbing behavior patterns (Lohmann, Eyman & Lask, 1967; Eyman, Olmstead, Grossman & Call, 1993; Sadler & Merkert, 1977; Kahng, Iwata & Lewin, 2002). Our participant was a 51 year-old woman, diagnosed with a profound intellectual disability, who engaged in high rates of severe self-injurious behaviors (SIB) predominantly in the forms of head banging and head hitting. A changing criterion design and systematic generalization was implemented to enable appropriate toileting behavior in the natural environment. Treatment consisted of conjugate reinforcement for optimal toilet positioning with the absence of SIB, episodic positive reinforcement of eliminating in the toilet, and programed generalization across environments and staff. Results showed the maintenance of optimal toilet positioning, decreases in SIB (under 1 instance per min), and appropriate elimination in 96.3% of all available sessions. Direct support staff were trained to implement the program with 100% fidelity.

An Evaluation of Methods for Teaching Young Children to Self-Initiate Toileting
ALI MARKOWITZ VICKSTROM (University of Kansas), Stephanie M. Glaze (The University of Kansas), Pamela L. Neidert (The University of Kansas)
Abstract: Toileting is an essential developmental milestone for young children and a step toward independence. The majority of behavioral toilet-training research has relied on complex multicomponent training packages (Kroeger & Sorensen-Burnworth, 2009). Most of these training programs do not directly target self-initiations. To date, we have evaluated the effects of a treatment package with 6 young children within the context of a preschool classroom. Treatment consists of the use of underwear, response-dependent sit schedules, and differential reinforcement of three target behaviors: appropriate eliminations, accidents, and self-initiations. Results showed overall improvements in appropriate eliminations and accidents (4 of 6 children) and accuracy of self-initiated toileting (3 of 6 children). Results are discussed in terms of response-dependent versus arbitrary sit schedules, treatment efficiency, and potential requisite skills required for successful toilet training with young children.



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