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How do I motivate my three and a half year old son to start going to the potty?

Background: He was diagnosed with mild Autism (PDD-NOS) in October of 2008, he is a smart kid but he just refuses to sit on the potty. I have talked to him about going potty and he acts so excited to try it but when he gets in the bathroom he freaks and refuses to sit on the potty. he will tell me when he is peeing or pooping and go into the bathroom but he won't sit on the potty long enough to go. He starts to get real anxious and then starts crying and runs off screaming. My MIL is on my back about him not being potty trained she says that I just need to start forcing him to sit on the potty every two hours until he goes wether he wants to or not or I need to start whopping him for peeing or pooping himself until he gets in that he souldn't do that anymore but I just can't bring myself to do that to him. What can I do?

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Asked by dylansmom08 at 9:47 PM on May. 21, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 3 (18 Credits)
Answers (13)
  • He has Mild Autism (PDD-NOS), don't force him. It takes time.

    Answer by itsallabtthem84 at 10:04 PM on May. 21, 2010

  • My son does not have autism but I started a sticker chart and I can not believe how well it has worked. He puts a sticker up every time he goes and if he has stickers on every day, he gets to go shopping for a new matchbox car they are only 97 cents! It is working so far!

    Answer by khedy at 10:28 PM on May. 21, 2010

  • Leave him alone.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:51 PM on May. 21, 2010

  • Do NOT punish him for going in his diaper. that will just make things worse. Just keep encouraging him to go on the potty. Try the bare bottom method while at home. Keep him naked from the waistdown and when he starts to pee get him on the potty. You will have some messes to clean up but chances are, once he pees in the potty the first time or two he will be much more open to it. DS will be 3 in August and has developmental delays and medical issues, but we started potty training April 5th and he is pretty much trained now. He hasn't had an accident in at least a week and even wakes up dry in the morning which is a miracle considering his gets 375ml of formula during the night (tube fed).

    Answer by mnt_2_b_mommy at 4:37 AM on May. 22, 2010

  • First of all, ignore your MIL. She's off base. Second, talk to your son's teachers and ask them for advice. My nephew is also autistic and his teachers helped get him potty trained at school. I also agree with the going naked approach. I couldn't for the life of me see why it would work but tried it with my 3 yr old son (who has developmental delays). For some reason, he wouldn't pee in the random places while naked but would while wearing underwear. other option is to pick one time of day to keep trying to get him to sit ont he potty. Once he's comfortable with that, expand the number of times and work into it gradually. Punishment will not help.

    Answer by momofryan07 at 7:32 PM on May. 23, 2010

  • I just got sick to my stomach when reading about what your MIL is telling you. People are messed up!
    My daughter is 3 and is being stubborn about using the potty and she doesn't have the diagnosis your son does. Some kids potty train later than others, especially if they are at home with their parents instead of at a day care.
    I'm sorry I don't have any advice, just don't let your toxic MIL make you stress about this.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:23 PM on May. 25, 2010

  • Don't listen to your MIL. If he knows when he's going and is just having trouble sitting long enough on the toilet there are much less stressful ways than just forcing him. My son is at the point in potty training where he'll tell me he has to go and will usually sit on the toilet long enough, but sometimes he just wants nothing to do with the bathroom. What I do is bake up a big batch of cookies (usually about the size of my palm and I make enough to last for the week). These are the potty cookies. whenever he uses the toilet, he gets a cookie. We have a basket of toys next to the toilet now as well for when he's having trouble staying on long enough to go. I let him pick out one toy and he can play with it as long as he's on the toilet. These are toys he can only play with while on the toilet so they stay interesting.
    We started this about two weeks ago and went from having accidents a couple times a day to once a week.

    Answer by flitpixie at 1:08 PM on May. 25, 2010

  • i don't know how you will feel about talking to his father and asking him to help you out in this matter. i have three boys and my middle son would not sit on the potty. his father took him into the bathroom and taught him how to "aim and shoot" so when he needed to pee he knew he could play "aim and shoot" no problem there but pooping of course, butt not long after he realized he neede to sit for poop and stand to pee... that's why it' harder for us to potty train boys. NOTE: i am not promoting "gun play" no guns are involved. trust me when i tell you ITS A BOY THING!( don't force the issue though) if that doesn't work he'll eventually get tired of sitting in pee and poop...good luck!

    Answer by MomInc at 2:39 PM on May. 25, 2010

  • I don't know about the autism part, i know that can make a difference. What i recently did with my son (3 1/2, went pee pretty well but wouldnt poop on the potty. he COULD, he just WOULDNT) I found something that was really important to him (kiddie video games) and took them away and told him he could have them back when he was big enough to go poop on the potty. It took 3 days of not getting what he wanted, me reminding him that he could get it that day if he pooped, and he finally started doing it. now he's been doing GREAT. it might be something that could work for you, worth a try maybe!

    Answer by Anonymous at 2:53 PM on May. 25, 2010

  • I don't claim to know a thing about autism, but I've used for all of my kids and it's worked wonders!

    My son potty-trained in about 7 days at 27 months old.
    My 1st daughter PT in 2 days at 20 months old.
    And my 2nd daughter PT in about 14 days at 30 months old.

    I have to say that, in my situation (autism aside) the older they got, the longer they took the PT.

    Hope you find something that works for you! I would NOT discipline for him going in his pants/diaper since he knows no different. Now, if he PT and THEN intentionally starts going in his pants later, that is the time for discipline.

    Answer by fluud7 at 3:27 PM on May. 25, 2010

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