Ghana's older population is projected to increase in coming decades and as a result will see increasing care needs. Understanding the functional difficulties older adults experience, and the associated factors, will help identify relevant intervention to assist older adults in meeting their care needs. This study aimed to analyse the prevalence of functional difficulties among older adults in Ghana, and examine how the World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (WHO-ICF) conceptual framework can relate to toileting difficulty to understand the factors that increase older adults’ care needs. Data were for 5,096 adults aged ⩾50 years from the WHO Study on global AGEing and adult health (SAGE) Ghana Wave 1. Difficulties were assessed using self-reported difficulty on 22 functional items, including toileting. Multivariate logistic regression tested associations between toileting and other factors as related to the WHO-ICF conceptual framework. Older adults reported climbing one flight of stairs without resting as a common functional difficulty. Difficulty eating was the item least identified. Toileting difficulty was ranked second among five total activities of daily living difficulties. Age, marital status, self-reported health, memory, bodily pain, short- and far-distance vision, obesity, stroke, chronic lung disease, trust at individual and neighbourhood level, toilet facility type, socialising with co-workers, and public and religious meeting attendance were statistically significantly associated with toileting difficulty in the final parsimonious model. Post-hoc analysis testing interaction revealed that interaction existed between female sex and never married marital status (p = 0.04), and obesity and widowed marital status (p = 0.01), with toileting as the outcome. A significant level of functional difficulty existed among Ghanaian older adults in this sample. Toileting difficulty was associated with factors across different components in the WHO-ICF, emphasising functional, social and environmental factors related to this fundamental human activity.