Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Potty Training & Autism

Posted by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 7:58 PM
  • 10 Replies
  • 406 Total Views

I'm looking for some advice from those of you have had experience with potty training an autistic child.

My son, Corbin, is 30 months old.  He was diagnosed as being "mildly autistic" at the age of 18 months.  He does not yet talk...some words OCCASSIONALLY.  I feel as though we should start trying to potty train him, but I don't know that he is ready.  He LOVES throwing things in the toilet and flushing them, but he does NOT respond to change well, and easily gets frustrated.

Has anyone had any experience with this? Suggestions?


by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 7:58 PM
Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Replies (1-10):
melissarose72
by on Jul. 8, 2011 at 10:01 PM

I am trying to potty train my 4 yr old, but it's not something I have experience with. My son has PDD NOS and has lots of trouble with words/sounds/articulation and other speech issues. Right now I'm just getting him to sit on the toilet for increasing amounts of time. This is what our BCBA suggests.

He's sat on the toilet before, but not on a schedule. He's even peed in the toilet a few times (long before this), just by chance. So recently he started sitting on the toilet for 30 seconds & the time is increased after 2 successful times (not going potty, just sitting without fighting it)....we are up to 3 minutes.

We did take a break because he was really sick for almost a week. He gets a reward/motivator for every successful time. Right now food/treats do not seem to motivate him (he's a picky eater), so I'm giving him toys. That will get too expensive soon, but right now he seems to want a big reward. Later I will go to smaller rewards like stickers or small pieces of candy or gummy treats, I hope. Maybe even just lots of praise and a hug. I might also use watching a cartoon/dvd as a reward. This may even be done during his time on the potty, when his time increases. His BCBA wants his time to get up to sitting on the toilet for 15 minutes, so I think that will require watching a dvd.

While he's sitting on the toilet, he has an Elmo potty book to look at. This book has musical-sound effect buttons that keep him entertained. At least to the 3 minute point. Longer than that....I'm not sure what we'll do (until we get to the point we need to use the portable dvd player or the ipad for games).

The other program we have to work on is getting him to try on & wear underwear. He is very against this & motivators are not working yet. Today (for the first time ever) I was able to get him to allow me to put underwear on him as he finished up his 3 minutes on the toilet. I didn't ask or talk about it, I just started putting them over his feet & pulling them up, as he was sitting there (with his feet on the step stool). As soon as they were pulled up and I mentioned putting his shorts on, he started taking the underwear off. Just getting him to allow me to put the underwear on him is a huge success, as it seemed to terrify him before. He has a very tough time with change, esp with clothing items or new experiences.

I am not trying to rush my child (with the underwear issue). I don't want it to be tramatic for him (forcing him to wear them while he screams), so we are taking it slow. I just need to get to the point with him that sitting on the toilet multiple times a day is in HIS personal routine (meaning he expects it & doesn't fight it). So far I've only gotten him to sit on the toilet twice a day.

I'm sure there are other moms with a lot more advice than I have. Good luck!

Gemini5
by Member on Jul. 8, 2011 at 11:18 PM

My son would not even start trying to train till he was 6 and by 7 years old he was trained but he had megga sensory issues and such so once I figured out that the bathroom was too echo e and bright plus he didn't like hearing the toilet sounds he wore headphones sunglasses and peed through a plastic pipe-he loves pipes so I had to really think outside the circle as well as not rush/push him not even worry about the age because although he was 6[ mentally and other he was at an 18 mos to 2 year old age level. I also needed to use insentives/rewards for every time he went on toilet he got to unwrap a mini present from the dollar store-treasure chest. Hope my info might help you a little-all the best.

mommato2kiddos
by New Member on Jul. 8, 2011 at 11:31 PM

I am in the same boat ladies. My daughter will be 4 October 30th and her teachers and family are pushing me to get her to potty train. She knows what a potty is, she has panties, she has been given rewards, I even have one big reward if she goes #1 and #2. She tells my husband and I what we are doing on the toilet when we go. She does not like the sound of the public toilets flushing nor the air dryers in the restrooms. She covers her ears with her hands and she starts shaking. She has alot of sensory issues, she is verbal. I need help as well and I am overwhelmed because so many people label me a lazy or bad mom because she is almost 4 and won't go on the potty. I have yet to get her to go #2 on the potty and she did #1 by chance maybe 2 times but it was a small amount. HELP PLEASE! Also I have a son who is 10 months and 3 days younger than my daughter. He will be 3 9/03, he isn't interested in going to the potty either. Buying diapers is expensive and quite honestly I get tired of so many people telling me my kids should be potty trained but offer to help on how to accomplish that.

NNIKKI
by New Member on Jul. 9, 2011 at 7:45 AM

My son is the same way.. we don't do well with changes.  So far he will not allow us to put underwear on him either..infact  he on't even attempt pullups, or swimmers, or ANYTHING except diapers or bare bottom.. not sure how we are going to over come this :(

NNIKKI
by New Member on Jul. 9, 2011 at 7:50 AM

oh boy- I'm sorry  :(  People just don't understand what it is like to have a child on the spectrum.  I am new to this as well, but I absolutely want to do whatever I can...other suggestions are welcome.  Thank you for responding!

melissarose72
by on Jul. 9, 2011 at 11:37 AM

I can put generic type pull ups on my son (the kind that are able to refasten at the sides)....if he doesn't notice it's not his diaper. With all the diaper companies putting different characters on their diapers, my son notices if anything is different (his diapers currently have a purple monkey on the front, the pull up type ones have bugs bunny). The newest box of diapers I bought has different animals on them, so I'm sure he's going to notice. When he notices, he says....no bunny! Monkey, monkey! (meaning he wants his diaper, not the pull up type one). If he doesn't notice (because I put it on him just like a diaper, by opening the sides first), he's ok wearing it & only notices when I take it off.

Other than the one time when I just pulled them on quick while he was sitting, he wants nothing to do with underwear. He will cry, scream, say no underwear, monkey, monkey, run away or grab it from me & put the underwear back in the dresser. I plan to buy boxer briefs & boxers to try, but I know this could be a long painful process. Getting him to accept a different pair of shoes (sneakers that look as similar as possible to his old ones) is a major issue.

I think we have to remember that kids with autism deal with potty training differently than typical kids. They have different issues to deal with (fears, challenges, etc). I know there are some kids with autism that train at a typical age, but others that train (partially or fully) at a much later age. To make it even worse, my 4 yr old is big for his age (being tall runs in our family), so we are in the biggest size diaper (one brand is still roomy, luckily).   My son has limited verbal skills, but he knows what to call the toilet. He just doesn't tell me when he needs a diaper change, except on a rare occasion (and never because it's wet).

His BCBA seems to think that potty training is going to be at the point he's wearing underwear, having accidents & then realizing what he has to do. But we have to get to the point he'll wear underwear first, imo!  And to a point that he's willing to sit on the toilet much more often than just twice a day.

To get my son to enjoy washing his hands, I bought some foaming soap...and I call it bubble soap (because he loves bubbles, bubble baths & water, usually).

jkountry
by New Member on Jul. 9, 2011 at 11:27 PM

Hey

 

Have you ever thought of taking him to the store and explaining that he is a big boy and letting him pick the pullups with his favorite character on front. 

 Also, most kids iwth autism are delayed in all areas, so just because everyone else wants them trained, doesn't mean they are physically or mentally ready for it.  Boys take longer and kids with autism do it even later.  The doctor says mine will be 5 before he is trained.  He doesn't yet have the ability to feel when he has to go yet.  A lot of them have sensory perception issues and this one of them.  I have to buy a pack of pullups a day.  $200 a month and it is so hard. 

Eva1973
by on Jul. 10, 2011 at 3:27 PM

I don't know.  I have 2 books on the topic, but haven't started yet.  My son will be 3 in september.  I just don't think he's ready.  He pees all the time.  His diaper is always wet.  And he poops in his sleep.  He also wakes up with a wet diaper.   He doesn't seem to notice when he goes #1 or #2.  He seems to have no bladder or bowel control.  

momof3_dll
by on Jul. 10, 2011 at 6:30 PM

I went to a class that the Autism Society held on potty training.  The teacher has been working with autistic children for 35yrs now and her method really works well.  My son who I would consider mild to moderate asd was fully trained in roughly 5-6mos. 

First off....don't wait until their ready...it'll never come.  You need to just pick a date to start and stick with it. 

Do not use pull-ups or diapers during training times, it's ok to use in between times. 

Get a special box to put reinforcers in that he can only play with during training times.  Get all types of stuff he would enjoy.  Can be stickers, squishy things, little toy cars, whatever your kid would respond well to.  Keep this box out of sight during non training times.  You want this to be something to look forward to.

Before even beginning the training, observe how long it takes after he has drank something when he wets himself.  This will help a lot!  Notice any "potty dance" type of stuff he/she may do too.  I know mine will squirm a lot or stim a lot right before he needs to go. 

Next you'll want to block off time during the day just for potty training.  We started off with 2hr blocks and then increasing that to about 3-4hrs.  Use the regular potty when training.  If you can, use PECS or any visuals to reinforce learning.  You'll need a picture of someone sitting on the potty or actually peeing into the potty.  During the  blocked time your child should be in their underwear and there will be accidents but that's ok, that's how they learn. Knowing about how long it takes for them to go pee after drinking will now come in handy since you can somewhat time this during the training sessions.

If your child is having a hard time just even wearing underwear...use the reinforcers in the special box.  Basically it's like doing ABA, show them what they can have if they first get the underwear on.  Then if they comply, praise and be excited and let them play with the item for 5-10min.  Then you'll need to have them put the item back in the box.  Do this for any struggle you may have during the training time.   With each accomplishment be super excited, good old positive reinforcement for the behavior you desire. 

Main thing is not to give up.  They will learn if you keep up with it.  It may seem forever before they get the hang of it but as long as you keep at it, they will too. Show enthusiasm even though you may be getting frustrated, they sense that and won't respond as well. 

I hope this helps some of you!

Eva1973
by on Jul. 11, 2011 at 3:29 PM

Yes, this is pretty much what it says in my books.  I'm just not looking forward to having him crap all over the couch while I'm training him.  

Quoting momof3_dll:

I went to a class that the Autism Society held on potty training.  The teacher has been working with autistic children for 35yrs now and her method really works well.  My son who I would consider mild to moderate asd was fully trained in roughly 5-6mos. 

First off....don't wait until their ready...it'll never come.  You need to just pick a date to start and stick with it. 

Do not use pull-ups or diapers during training times, it's ok to use in between times. 

Get a special box to put reinforcers in that he can only play with during training times.  Get all types of stuff he would enjoy.  Can be stickers, squishy things, little toy cars, whatever your kid would respond well to.  Keep this box out of sight during non training times.  You want this to be something to look forward to.

Before even beginning the training, observe how long it takes after he has drank something when he wets himself.  This will help a lot!  Notice any "potty dance" type of stuff he/she may do too.  I know mine will squirm a lot or stim a lot right before he needs to go. 

Next you'll want to block off time during the day just for potty training.  We started off with 2hr blocks and then increasing that to about 3-4hrs.  Use the regular potty when training.  If you can, use PECS or any visuals to reinforce learning.  You'll need a picture of someone sitting on the potty or actually peeing into the potty.  During the  blocked time your child should be in their underwear and there will be accidents but that's ok, that's how they learn. Knowing about how long it takes for them to go pee after drinking will now come in handy since you can somewhat time this during the training sessions.

If your child is having a hard time just even wearing underwear...use the reinforcers in the special box.  Basically it's like doing ABA, show them what they can have if they first get the underwear on.  Then if they comply, praise and be excited and let them play with the item for 5-10min.  Then you'll need to have them put the item back in the box.  Do this for any struggle you may have during the training time.   With each accomplishment be super excited, good old positive reinforcement for the behavior you desire. 

Main thing is not to give up.  They will learn if you keep up with it.  It may seem forever before they get the hang of it but as long as you keep at it, they will too. Show enthusiasm even though you may be getting frustrated, they sense that and won't respond as well. 

I hope this helps some of you!


Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)