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Toileting and students with an ABI fact sheet

Toileting and students with an acquired brain injury

Following a brain injury, students may require assistance with toileting due to problems with balance, decreased fine motor control or altered awareness/sensation. The student may have poor awareness of when they need to use the toilet, may need to use the toilet very frequently or may not be able to give very much warning time.

What can I do to help my student overcome difficulties with toileting?


  • Access to the toilet is important. This also includes quick access or close proximity to the classroom especially when the child can not give much warning time.
  • Determine the need for rails, placement of rails or other modifications to the toilet area (such as foot blocks) to allow the child to feel comfortable and safe when on the toilet.
  • The child may initially require supervision from a safety point of view when going to the toilet.


  • In the initial stages after returning to school, the child may need to go to the toilet more often as a result of the brain injury and behaviour or anxiety about returning to school.
  • It is important to heed these requests in the early stages following an injury. However, if this problem persists, please discuss with the child’s occupational therapist.


  • Some students may no longer be able to go to the toilet and manage on their own. Some students may need increased assistance to attend to personal hygiene and adjusting their clothes. This may improve over time resulting in increased participation by the child. Occupational therapists can assist with toileting programs and offer suggestions on how much help the child requires.
  • Ongoing review of the child’s toileting abilities may be necessary as they improve over time. Initially, the child may need teacher aide support for safety, and this will need ongoing review in consultation with the parents and rehabilitation team.


Contact us

Queensland Paediatric Rehabilitation Service
Queensland Children’s Hospital
Level 6, 501 Stanley Street, South Brisbane 4101
t: 07 3068 2950
t: 07 3068 1111 (general enquiries)
f: 07 3068 3909

In an emergency, always call 000.

If it’s not an emergency but you have any concerns, contact 13 Health (13 43 2584). Qualified staff will give you advice on who to talk to and how quickly you should do it. You can phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Developed by the Queensland Paediatric Rehabilitation Service, Children’s Health Queensland. Updated: October 2017. All information contained in this sheet has been supplied by qualified professionals as a guideline for care only. Seek medical advice, as appropriate, for concerns regarding your child’s health.