Potty Training Your Autistic Child: Same but Different

Potty training is a challenging time for toddlers and parents. For most parents, potty training cannot come fast enough! Just because your child has a diagnosis of autism doesn’t mean that they can’t achieve success and use the toilet.

When to Start Potty Training

How do you know your child is ready for toilet training? Two clues may tell you it’s time to give it a go.

  1. Being able to stay dry and your child’s ability to recognize that they are wet.
  2. Being able to complete all the steps in using the bathroom (going into the bathroom, removing clothes, elimination, redress, flush, wash hands). Of course there can be prompting/assistance during this process, but having the child being able to master those steps is an indicator that he/she is ready for potty training.

Potty Training Action Steps

Once we have those two points locked down, now we move onto the prize. What kid does not want a prize for doing something good! One of the mainstays of potty training is the reward aspect. Children on the spectrum are no different. Here are some simple steps to getting your child potty trained in no time.

  • First make your child comfortable with the experience. Start by taking your child to the bathroom to do other activities such as teeth brushing, handwashing, etc.
  • Next ditch the diapers. Several kids on the spectrum has sensory issues, so hopefully they won’t like the feeling of being wet or dirty. Consider using pull-ups or diapers only at night while sleeping, until your child perfects toilet training
  • Drink up and be merry! Encourage drinks and sips of fun to load up your child’s little bladder
  • Set a timer.  A set time you want your child to sit on the toilet for (5, 7, 10 minutes)
  • Try turning the faucet on to a light stream or  trickling water between their legs to help start the golden flow
  • Encourage dry pants checks every 10 minutes and trips to the potty every 30 minutes
  • No pee-pee, no problem…increase the fluids and increase the time sitting on the toilet
  • Start changing their accidents in the bathroom. Standing up for boys and sitting on the toilet for girls. This helps associates the action with the proper place
  • Make your child clean up their own accidents
  • Let your child play with an iPad or an electronic device while sitting on the toilet to pass the time
  • Create a reward item for each successful elimination (just make sure you don’t give that reward to your child at any other time during the season of toilet training)

Trust Your Mommy Gut

When toilet training, always trust your mommy gut. Start when you think he’s ready and don’t look back! Block out some time…a lot of time if possible, you don’t want to lose ground and you always want to be moving forward. Be patient and never give up! Let your child amaze you on all that he/she is able to achieve.

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