How about potty training kids with autism? any suggestions?

Charlotte - posted on 11/12/2008 ( 23 moms have responded )

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i have 3 kids with autism. twins who are 5 and a 3 year old. how do you go about potty training. autism is relatively mild, but i am having NO success. what do i do????

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Bethany - posted on 12/14/2008

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I tried everything under the sun, checked out books on potty training in positive ways, used rewards, on and on for 2 years and then I finally developed my own method (which I'm not entirely proud of but dammit, it worked and I'm no longer changing diapers or scrubbing poop out of the carpet).
I put a comfortable potty with a cushioned seat and a noisy "flusher" sound on the floor in the corner or our large kitchen (the only place in our apt that wasn't carpeted) and I made him sit on that potty for 5 minutes every 15 minutes from the time he woke up until he went to bed. No diapers except at bedtime. The first 2 days he kicked, screamed and bit me every single time. There was NO letup of resistance. It was heart-breaking for me and possibly traumatic for him. On the 3rd day, he sat willingly and calmly and midday I decided to load him up with fluids (3 sippie cups of his favorite drink) and then we went for a walk. We walked until he wet himself and then I made him walk all the way back home with wet pants, crying the whole way.
It was horrible, exhausting, and- like I said earlier- not something I'm terribly proud of.
But he never had an accident again and has been diaper-free from that day on.
If I could do it over again, I'm not sure what I'd do differently- maybe it's one of those things I can chalk up to "that was the best I knew how to do"
Perhaps I have SOME redemption is giving him tons of verbal sympathy and tons of hugs even while refusing to carry him home. Parenting isn't for the faint of heart! Good luck and I hope you don't fin yourself getting as extreme as I did (that was many years ago, perhaps there are more resources).

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Smith_chris - posted on 04/02/2012

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Hi Charlotte, also have 5 year old twins and another one. Trying to toilet train has been a real no-go and I just don't know what to do next? Are you on Facebook Charlotte? Christine.

Kimberly - posted on 12/18/2008

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Any of your children boys? The only way I got my son to figure out potty training was to have him pee outside. Once he got that down pat we moved him inside and did just fine. It took him a little while to poop on the potty but now doing it like a champ. The only issues we have are at night.

Jen - posted on 12/18/2008

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My daughter is 4 and still not potty trained. Since she was diagnosed with ASD (about a year ago), I have learned to "go with the flow" and not worry about toilet training and other goals. Not that I have given up, I provide examples and allow my daughter to develop at her own pace. She now takes off her diaper after she wets herself and then sits on the toilet, and after BMs she lets me know. To me, and for her, this is a great accomplishment. Try concentrating on what your child CAN do, rather than what he or she cannot do. You will be happier, and so will your child = )

Martha - posted on 12/17/2008

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I know it's hard work to train to go potty when my son was 3 I had to take him every five minutes and sit him on the potty for three whole months like that every single day until he got it that was where you go and he still wet the bed at night until I wouldn't let him drink anything before bedtime and make him go to the toilet before bed. Now he's 10 he actually sit's on the toilet for the longest time and sometimes won't get off till you tell him, he even has sat there for a hour.

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I agree with Christi Kreg, I did a "potty party" for my then 4 year old autistic daughter and it worked! It was a lot of work but worth it. She finally mastered going #1 in two weeks. #2 took longer but she finally understood potty was in the potty room. You just have to have A LOT of patience.

Jennifer - posted on 12/15/2008

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We are dealing with this too. My son is PDD-NOS and is almost 4 in a matter of a couple of weeks and still not potty trained. I brought this up at his 4 year checkup and his doctor told us it was due to sensory issues and not to force him but keep offering it. I know it is frustrating with one kid on the spectrum, I can't imagine 3 of them!

Ceris - posted on 12/15/2008

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be patient all kids will respond when ready. never forget our special kids are creatures of habit and you must first learn to observe their habits before you can expect any sucess with the potty. my boy is 14 today and we now have no problems. don't give up hope.

Awdanis - posted on 12/14/2008

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We have been trying what seems like forever. Our son is 7 years old and lazy for going on the potty. One day I went shopping with my son and he saw the Potty Training with Elmo DVD and he watched it for 2 full days. I was sick of it after the second time he watched it, but it was a very effective movie. After he was done watching he went to the bathroom and, pulled down his pants and went potty. At school, he stays dry and he is saving us tons of money by staying dry at home too. He is not very verbal, but now he will tell me when he has to go even if we are at the movies. Sometimes I take him to the bathroom, other times he goes on his own. He also has BM's in the toilet, not as consistant, but he does not mind. I hope this helps.

Christi - posted on 12/13/2008

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I am surprised no one else has tried the "potty party" method, here are the basics:

Your child is ready to try if they can remain dry for 2 hours, able to tolerate sitting on the potty for 15 minutes (with toys/ or books as necceassy), and are often compliant.



Basically you pick a weekend and a friend to help, and you spend all day in a room close to the bathroom (adjoining is best).

You keep your child in underwear and a t-shirt if desired, and you fill them with salty foods and soda (i.e. pretzels and coke) the salt makes them thirsty and the soda makes them pee often.

Every 15 minutes you have a potty break and you go sit and play on the potty...If there is success you give them the A+ toy that is only for voiding in the potty.

If they do not void you go back to playing and try again in 5 minutes.

The big thing to remember is that when they have an accident you do an obnoxious practice run over and over ("Where do we go potty? In the Potty! X3 and then "Let's practice!" and go and sit as if you would expect them to go).



The friend is there to take turns because if you try to do this alone it will make you CRAZY! This is a meathod used specifically for children with Developmental Delays and I have seen it work in the school setting.



For BM's my suggestion is to use Miralax to make them regular and soft so they are predictable and not so scary.



Good Luck!

Christina - posted on 12/12/2008

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One of the things I did was put a real underwear inside a pull up. The feeling of wetness was very uncomfortable for him. I did this to help him be aware of his body function. I explained to him pps made his undies wet and to keep it dry he has to go to the potty. That kind of click for him then we progressed to cool alert pull ups. We just worked on one function at a time. He got one every color of the m&m's for each success. Plus lots of praise and exaggerated overjoy. Once that was somewhat mastered, we moved on to #2 business. He likes presents. So I wrapped several gifts and put it near the potty area in his line of sight. It was the incentives for #2. It took awhile. Once he was accidentally successful and with that I had him unwrapped the gift that I thought he would like most which was a train. From then on he pooped. It was a little bit expensive incentive but it paid off. I also used the overflow gifts from his birthday party and Christmas. He never got around to using it so I wrapped it and used it for potty prize. I also had him watch a favorite movie on a portable dvd player. He thought that was really neat!

All in all it was a long process but he now uses the potty independently both at home and in public places!!!! Hang in there! Your kids time will come. Try not to show your frustration. When frustration comes remove yourself fr. the situation. Remember, you can always try again later. God bless you. Pray for a lot of patience.

Kelly - posted on 12/12/2008

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My son is 5 yrs old and I have finally got him pee pee trained throught the day. It took me 3 yrs to get here. He still wears pull ups at night though. I am now working on BM's. I just found something he really enjoyed and only gave it to him in the bathroom. I bought him a story reader from storyreader.com and he was day trained in a week. Just keep with it. Persistence will pay off in the end. Hope this helps.

Sarah - posted on 11/19/2008

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My son with Autism just turned 4 and we've been trying potty training. I'm just wondering how much I should push the issue... he is REALLY unwilling to go in the toilet. He'll do the whole routine - pull his pants down, sit on the toilet, wipe, flush, wash his hands - but he will NOT go in the toilet. He holds it until the afternoon when I put a pull up on for nap. Any suggestions or thoughts? I am just not sure if I should hold off or keep trying at this point. They have been taking him during preschool as well and said he will rarely even sit on the toilet for them.

User - posted on 11/14/2008

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Hang in there, it will happen. My son also is very high functioning, but there were/are developmental delays. Of course we didn't realize any of this while trying to potty train for 2+ years! I now understand his physical delay made him not physiologically ready until 4. He was unable to stay dry for even an hour. When we tried the naked method he would just stare in horror as he went to the bathroom on the floor, unable to stop himself because his muscles there were not developed enough. Assess if your kids are really ready before torturing yourself (and them).

Mary - posted on 11/14/2008

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Well it is kind of different but it worked on our autistic son.Its called the $75 method. Let them be naked, no diapers or underwear. They dont like the feeling of nothing catching their pee or poop. They will literally get a look on their face,at that point you run to the bathroom. It worked very well. The $75 is for carpet cleaning. Dont know where I heard this method but it did work. Good luck

Rhonda - posted on 11/14/2008

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Discovery Toys has a great book called the Potty Train. It is a humor filled tale. Children are encouraged to climb on aboard the Potty Train along with the fun animal friends. Along the way mishaps will occur, but you keep chugging along until one day you make it clean and dry into the station. It really is a cute book. This may help create an opportunity for children to talk about their experiences.

www.discoverytoyslink.com/rhondaschultz

Christina - posted on 11/14/2008

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As Lori says "Just hang in there". It's going to take time. Keep doing what you're doing and continue to be encouraging and give lots of praise each time he/she does go potty, and eventually, it will suddenly click. That's what happended with my son. After over a year of trying to train, he just started doing it all by himself and would come to me to let me know how proud he was. And after only 2 weeks, he's even dry right through the night. So, don't worry, it'll come. It just takes a little longer than most children.

Raeliene - posted on 11/13/2008

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i have an 11 year old son with autism...i put fruit loops in the toilet and told him 2 aim 4 the holes...LOL, he was potty trained in about 2 weeks

Amy - posted on 11/13/2008

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Our son is 3 1/2 and we've been potty training for almost 2 years. So I know how you feel. Something that is bringing us a lot more success with him being more consistent is having a penny chart. I took 5 pennies and put velcro on the backs and he has to go on the potty five times to be able to play with something he really likes...for us that is a remote controled Tractor. I set the timer for 7 minutes and when the timer dings we put it away again and start over. He can ONLY play with it when he's gone 5 times. He is going 90% of the time now. It just takes time. Don't stress over it.

Lisa - posted on 11/13/2008

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if anyone has any ideas post them to me please x we have been toilet training kieran for over a year now still not there x he is 6 years old now and still decies he does not always want to go tothe toilet, some days he is dry but not always and he still wears nappies for bed , any ideas would be great( even thoug i think i have tried everything hahaha)

Tammi - posted on 11/12/2008

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We started by potty "regulating" him. We would take him in every couple of hours & have him try to go. (we also had a social story) Eventually he would go when we took him (sometimes) And we would reward him with a sticker on a potty chart we kept in the bathroom. Every 3 stickers he got a reward. As he progressed it got changed to staying "dry" all day to a bigger reward. My son does NOT like having BM's in the toilet, and would avoid them at all costs. Eventually his body would do it for him in his sleep. Eventually we got him to do that in the toilet as well. He still usually doesn't do it on his own, as his mommy I kind of keep track of when he does go & just tell him to do it.. sometimes he says "no" and I say its not a choice. (which means its a rule and he must comply) Now my son is 9, still soaks his pullup every night. (Urologist said he was okay, we tried meds but even they were unsuccessful)

Jennifer - posted on 11/12/2008

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It took my autistic son until he was 5. Even than he would still have accidents. I just found that you have to find that one desirable ..spck...thing that really motivates them. I also just stopped using pull ups and everything else and let him choose his own big boy pants. More work for me, but it did pay off.

Lori - posted on 11/12/2008

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Just hang in there is my advice. My son who is now 9 still has toliet issues. He was 5 when I finally got him trained. I think his brain signals were off when the urge to go potty came. He has Asperger's and just flat out refused and scared. It got better as he got older. He still needs me to help when he is finished with a BM. Good Luck

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