7 answers

Potty Training an Autistic Child


I have a boy who is Autistic and refuses to use the potty. He has in the past urinated in the toilet and even pooped once. He asks to use the potty but when we take him he does not do anything. Does anyone else have this issue? He goes to school where they take him to the potty but he will not do anything for them. I want to get him potty trained by the time he is 5 which is 6 months away. Any suggestions? We have tried rewards but they don't mean anything to him.

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There are a lot of great books out there..try looking on Amazon...My little boy is on the autism spectrum, but potty training has not been an issue, I have seen A LOT of books on the topic though! KEEP THE FAITH...

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I work with special needs children. I am not an expert but have had some experience with autistic children. What I do know is that they need routine. So maybe if you make it a daily routine where you put him on the toilet the minute he gets out of bed in the morning and every....say two hours from there on and lastly every night before he goes to bed. I know this sounds quite time consuming but sometimes that's what it takes to get things in motion. I'm also big on the reward system. I know it will work with autistic children as well. You need not make it anything big....just a sticker or a few M&M's each time he succeeds will do. Try buying him some 'big boy' underwear....ones he really likes. Remember, just because he's autistic doesn't mean he can't do things just like the rest of us. Of course I don't know his level of autism but trust me, I've seen great things happen with kids of all levels of autism.

Good Luck....would love to know how things work out!

1 mom found this helpful

There is a potty training book out there for disabled adults (can't remember the exact title). I think it's something like "Potty Train in a Day". Even though he's not really in that category of a disabled adult, I have heard that some of this book's suggesstions are successfull with children who pose more of a challenge for parents. You could google search the book's topic or that supposed title... I'm going to track it down so that I have the addtional insight when it's my turn... Good luck!

Hi R.,

I'm an SLP that works with children with autism. I work with an excellent teacher who has had great success with this in her classroom. It takes a lot of dedication and consistency, but it CAN be done. If you would like to consult with her I'd be happy to pass on her email. She is amazing and is always willing to talk to anyone who needs the consultation. She has an amazing gift and works for APS in Albuquerque. Oh, and I would be happy to consult as well with you too. (BTW: no charge of course for either one of us!!) I do know the training program but am not the one doing it on a daily basis and would not be able to answer all the detail ?s that would come up with an individual situation. BUT I can give you a run down and her phone number. This could also help your child's teachers be successful at school.
Please let me know, S.
PS. Although some of the suggestions below are nice, they generally are not as successful as a theraputic, specific program such as this one. Autism is a unique condition that sometimes requires more intensive & clear boundaries and rewards than what is normally required for children learning to use the potty.

As an ex-special education teacher I would say consult with those who are experienced with autistic kids. They have much different behavior patterns and "rewards". Standard parenting info may or may not be of help.
How long ago did he successfully urinate in the toilet? Can you think back to what may have been unique about that time?
I know of some kids who had to be explicitly shown what to do by their parents...

There is a non profit organization in the valley called "HOPE GROUP" they provide habilitation and respite care for kids with autism. They aslo have a Potty Trainning Class Specifically Catered to kids with autism. I have taken the class and found it very usefull.

If the reward doesn't mean anything to him. Have him pick out the rewards. Something small for each time he sits and tries. Something big that he pick out but can't play with until he earns like 10-20 stickers.

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