Special Needs

Potty Training an ASD child

Ds is three and half and still not PT.  We have tried, giving him stickers, treats, and praising him for sitting on the potty seat.   He knows to tell us when he has to go, and will even run to the bathroom, but he will not go.  He just tries to get up after sitting there for a few mintues.  At daycare, he will sit there for 15 minutues, but the second he has his clothes back on, he will go.

We just don't know what to do.  He has peed in the potty, like twice, but I think he wasn't paying attention when he did, and once he realized he was going, he started crying.  We have tried putting him in underwear, but that doesn't seem to work. 

Are there books out there for ASD kids and potty training?  We're willing to try anything.  Luckily, his preschool is at the elementary school and there are no rules that he has to be PT to attend. 

We're just baffled as to how to proceed.  Any advice would be helpful.

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Re: Potty Training an ASD child

  • We're going through something similar. DS is 3 and has stalled out. He asks to go potty about 1/2 the time but that's usually when he is trying to stall bedtime or eatin dinner or something. He does go when he says he has to, so that's good. To get him to pee on the potty, we used warm water, always right before bath because we knew he'd pee in the bathtub anyway and we didn't want to create a habit of having to dump warm water on him to help him pee. Anyway, we would sit him on the potty, naked before his bath, and slowly dumped a large cup of warm water on his belly. It fell right ink the toilet, and it always made him pee. He doesn't need the water anymore, and now he realizes that's what the potty is for. Before that he just thought it was a place to sit or dip his butt in water, haha.
  • Anyway, that's where we are. He knows how and what the potty is for. But he will do the same thing go sit on the potty, climb down after 2 seconds, say, "no? No have to go potty?" then wet his underwear or pull up 2 minutes later. Arg!
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  • DD will be 4 in April. She is not even close to being potty trained. She is very rigid with regards to routine, including that lol! She held her urine for 30 hours when we tried last time so we decided to let her lead the way. When she is ready I am hoping she will give us a sign. She has started to script about putting the poop in the potty, ie, she will say "Olivia go poop. Mommy put poop in the potty. Say goodbye to poop. Put diaper in garbage". So she is noticing it. Ugh, it's so hard! Sorry, no advice for you!
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  • My ds will be 4 in Feb and is not PT yet and is not quite yet ready. In the past few weeks he just finally started telling us regularly when he needs his diaper changed and tells us pretty much as soon as he goes. I'm hoping that he will soon learn to communicate to us that he needs to use the potty so he will be PT before the start of the next school year
  • Hello!

    I am a behavior analyst at a school for children on the Autism spectrum. I wanted to pass along that toilet training can be one of the most challenging and frustrating aspects of Autism! I speak with so many parents in your boat.

    In my experience, each child is so different and unique (and special), and there is no one quick fix to toilet train (as much as we would like there to be!)

     If your child's school has a BCBA (board certified behavior analyst), talk to him/her. Also, though OT/PT may have a very different approach to it, they can be important to talk to as well as others have mentioned (in case your child has anything physical that may impact toilet training i.e. low tone or core strength).

    When a child on the spectrum is having a tough time toilet training, it can be related to anything from not recognizing the need to go (doesn't sound like you're having this problem), enjoying the attention for accidents (negative attention is attention too, and as odd as it can seem it reinforces behaviors), or just not being motivated enough to go on the toilet.

     If you can, isolate something your child LOVES just for going to the bathroom on the toilet (don't give it, he can't get it for anything else). And then, even for just a few drops, let him have that item. And then later, that item is only for peeing on the potty again. This is where we have most parents start.

    Again though, your child is so unique, the best place to start will be with a behaviorist who knows him.

    Good luck! And keep your head up, you'll get there, even if it takes some time!Yes

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