Applications of Operant-Based Behavioral Principles to Toilet Training

  • Hollie V. Wingate
  • Terry S. Falcomata
  • Raechal Ferguson
Part of the Autism and Child Psychopathology Series book series (ACPS)


In this chapter, we describe the application of principles and mechanisms derived from basic experimental analysis of behavior (EAB) and applied behavior analysis (ABA) to toilet training methods and procedures. Going back to the seminal studies published by Azrin and Foxx (Behavior Analysis, 4:89–99, 1971) and Foxx and Azrin (Behaviour Research and Therapy, 11:435–442, 1973), ABA has an effective and extensive record of success in terms of the application of operant-based behavioral principles and mechanisms in the area of toilet training. Specifically, reinforcement, punishment, and stimulus control-based procedures have served, historically, as the operant-based foundations for effective toilet training procedures. Within this chapter, we define operant-based behavioral principles and describe ABA-based procedures and examples of the application of various behavioral principles to toilet training. In this chapter we provide a brief review of the relationship between EAB and ABA, a review of the application of behavioral principles (i.e., reinforcement, punishment, stimulus control) within toilet training procedures, and we discuss additional toilet training behavioral techniques (i.e., prompting strategies, scheduled sitting procedures, increased fluid intake, urinary alarm systems). Each of the subsections pertaining to the application of operant-based behavioral principles begins with a definition of the principle followed by the description of several empirical-based studies illustrating their application within toilet training procedure.


Operant conditioning Toilet training Applied behavior analysis Reinforcement Punishment Stimulus control Antecedent-based procedures Prompting 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hollie V. Wingate
    • 1
  • Terry S. Falcomata
    • 2
  • Raechal Ferguson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Department of Special EducationUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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