how to potty train autistic son?

Sonya - posted on 12/17/2009 ( 42 moms have responded )

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i am having trouble potty training my son who is autistic he is going to be 5 this sunday what can i do?

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Tammy - posted on 12/30/2009

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Just relax and don't stress about it...it will happen...Just make it a routine with praise and reward for any little accomplishment. My Aspie son was about this age when "HE" finally decided he didn't want soiled potty pants anymore. Just remember every child is different. Hang in there!!! You will probably find that all of a sudden it will just click for him:)

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David - posted on 10/24/2012

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Sonya--please visit www.tinkletoonz.com and read autism/special needs section and how our musical sensor works in pullups/huggies...it really works!! And teachers/caregivers love it too because they know instantly the child is "wet" and needs to be taken to the toilet over 7,000 now trained with our musical sensor. Dave

Yvonne - posted on 01/03/2010

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sonya i dont know what part of the world you are in or what education your son has had but i really would recommend checking out www.teacch.com... division teacch north carolina...they have an excellent way of teaching children everything krystina has been using the teacch programe since the age of 3 and i can tell you its saved my life she is 10 now and we still use their method every day ..i was lucky krystinas schools were using this method but you can contact them and i can assure you they will help you...they are in chapel hill north carolina they contact number is on their website please check it out

Donna - posted on 01/02/2010

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Just keep trying. I have a son that I adopted at 4 1/2 months old that has asperger's and is mildly mentally retarded. He didn't potty train until he was 4. We went on a trip and stopped every hour and took him to the bathroom. We praised him every time even if he did nothing...by the end of the trip, we had very few accidents. Afterwards, there was the ocassional "I waited too long before going" one...but not often.

Yvonne - posted on 01/02/2010

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my daughter was 4 and a half its very hard and u must litterelly concentrate on that and that only..i kept her in for 5 days did not leave the house with her she had no nappies or pull ups or underwear on and watched her like a hawk and put her on the toilet every time she needed to go till she got it ..it was the only way shes more into visual instruction then verbal and plenty of repeating over and over again was the only way im lucky shes my only child so it did make it that bit easier..hope this helps

Veronica - posted on 01/01/2010

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So glad to hear from other mothers who had trouble with toilet training an ASD kid. My son (now 15) was in nappies (sorry, diapers, I'm in the UK) till 3 1/2. He was dry at night the instant we took him out of the night time nappies but not dry in the day for another year or so, and then continued soiling right up to the age of 12 when he had to go to a health service residential unit as a weekly boarder for 9 months and they got him clean. I've never met other mums here in the UK who had such trouble with toilet training an ASD kid (and my son is only Asperger's) so it is great to discover that this is quite 'normal' with ASD kids. I hope my experience doesn't discourage anyone, but I can say that they all get there in the end.

Carine - posted on 12/31/2009

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Let me share my experience. My boy is now 14 yrs old, & I started him when he's 3 (before we kn he's autistic). He'll touch his penis when he wants to pee & a certain facial expression to poo. We carry him to the loo asap & remove his pants, he started peeing on the bathroom floor or standing poo poo with a potty below him. Step by step he learns to go bathroom & remove pants himself, we'll be there to help clean him. After he has master this action, we introduce the toilet bowl (actual size), he started standing & gradually learns to sit on it. The hardest is cleaning up. He was 7 by the time I teach him to use toilet paper. First, I'll do it on him, after he's used to paper, he'll be asked to do it once on his own & the rest mommy will help & so on... he's encouraged to shower immediately if at home so as to make sure he's completely clean. All these by age 9 & 100% shower & teeth brushing by age 12. So relax & be patient, take one step at a time & expect lots of crying sessions.Good luck!

Stacey - posted on 12/31/2009

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www.tacanow.org has a potty training guide, or did last time I looked, check it out, good luck

Sandy - posted on 12/29/2009

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this may not help...but my daughter is 4 with aspergers and she is kinda potty trained for number 1 but not number 2. we give rewards. but she still has accidents. her problem is the noise that the potty makes when it flushes. she plugs her ears even in the public restrooms. i have had to resort to covering the sensor for the automatic ones just to get her to go.

[deleted account]

hi Sonya
i have to agree with nina. It took me 2 years to train my son Daniel and somebody suggested to picture chart on the bathroom wall and also a social story. he is now fully toilet trained, day and night. my son has gone from smearing himself with his poo to going to the toilet all by himself, just keep with it, the step by step picture guide worked, it clicked with him within a week

Chris - posted on 12/29/2009

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We used "First and Then" A laminated card with a little picture of Lachlan on the toilet (First) and then a little box of Smarties (Then) We ha it on the wall and every now and then during the day we waved it under his nose. I can't stress enough that I worry about all these things whereas Lachlan does it all in his own time and I am left wondering what I stressed about in the first place!!

For poo you can get him to sit on the loo or potty and blow on a whistle or a balloon, this shows him the muscles he needs to use.

Good luck Sonya.

Lori - posted on 12/29/2009

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I have a son who will be 5 in April and we are fighting the potty training blues as well all I have done is tell Dale and he attends a special needs preschool as well that IF he feels he has to go lets try I may have to get a Drs Rx if he isnt trained by august for kindergarten

User - posted on 12/28/2009

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agree with the first reply. I also did everything the way she did.
My son started potty training at 2 and finished at 6.
I used pictures to help him get through the whole process of going to the bathroom, and I praised him every time he would walk into the bathroom. I also had friends come over and praise him for going into the bathroom.
After that, we kept praising him more if he could sit on the seat.
But now, instead of using pictures to teach him, there's an iPhone application that can show icons for communication. The site's here: http://voice4uaac.com/

[deleted account]

@Polita - my son also tends to withhold the poop, so I brought him to a gastroenterologist who prescribed him Kristalose - a non digestible sugar that adds enough bulk to the poop that it's more difficult for him to hold back. Since starting the Kristalose we've gotten him to poop in the potty 4 or 5 times!

And as for peeing, what's been working for us is emphasizing that we're proud of him for keeping his pants dry, instead of rewarding him for using the potty. I don't know why rephrasing things has helped, but it totally has.

Elizabeth - posted on 12/27/2009

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These children are picture learners. This worked like a charm. Took about 4 weeks to master it.

1. Make the pecs like discussed. OR we used a small notebook. This is you. This is you sitting on the toliet. This is you wiping, etc..... This is you getting your surprise! (to be discussed later.)

2. Setting the surprise. What is it your child loves more than anything? Toy, food, clothes, what? Take that away and this is the carrot to get them to get it. For my son, it was Toys R Us. He would not get anything until he did this. He was promised if he did as outlined, he got it. His birthday came and went, no Toys R Us. Sounds mean, but you need to NOT give in.

3. The toliet game....As many who will play with you. Go sit on the toliet SEAT for 1 to 5 seconds and get up. Everyone clap. Next person. Clap Next person, Clap. Childs turn, clap....Do it EVERYDAY over and over. Set times are the best, use a timer. Then everyone sit with toliet seat up. clap next person, etc... Follow by those close knit. of pull down pants and sit, get up, etc clap.

4. Make the toliet more cozy. Add sound deafening things to your bathroom. Even blankets hung like a tapestry will deafen it. Dense things in the room to absorb the echoing sound.

5. Make a toliet seat cover. Take the toliet tank LID cover, put over toliet seat and cut out the hole of the toliet seat. soft and comfortable to flesh touch. OR buy a soft seat type of cover.

6. USE A TIMER. get a small timer. Attach to child's clothes. Set for every 15 min., when it goes off. "Potty game time" This trains the brain for going more oftien. Reinforce with stick pictures drawn of "this is you going potty. This is you getting your reward.

Let me know how this workds for you. elizabethm@wgng.net.

Lise - posted on 12/26/2009

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Quoting Heidi:

We tried having him sit on the toilet with his pull-up on, hoping to make him more comfortable with it and it didnt work. He normally will come and ask for a pull-up. I ask him if he needs to go poop and the answer is always yes lol I then have him go and sit on the toilet for about 10-15 minutes and try but he wont go ( i have kept im on the toilet longer but we still got no results other than blood curdling screaming and some aggression). We have been working on this for a couple of years now with little to no BM progress. He is aware of when he needs to go but for some reason we cant get it to translate over to using the actual toilet. He also has looser stool than most people. His large intestine processes everything too quickly and pushes it through so his normal BMs are not a normal consistency. This also leads to him waking in the middle of the night to have a Bm, medications are processed out of his body rather quickly, and a few other problems.


If on the toilet is stressful, then try just in the bathroom. Or right outside the bathroom door.  Once that's comfortable, then you can move in.

Heidi - posted on 12/26/2009

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We tried having him sit on the toilet with his pull-up on, hoping to make him more comfortable with it and it didnt work. He normally will come and ask for a pull-up. I ask him if he needs to go poop and the answer is always yes lol I then have him go and sit on the toilet for about 10-15 minutes and try but he wont go ( i have kept im on the toilet longer but we still got no results other than blood curdling screaming and some aggression). We have been working on this for a couple of years now with little to no BM progress. He is aware of when he needs to go but for some reason we cant get it to translate over to using the actual toilet. He also has looser stool than most people. His large intestine processes everything too quickly and pushes it through so his normal BMs are not a normal consistency. This also leads to him waking in the middle of the night to have a Bm, medications are processed out of his body rather quickly, and a few other problems.

Lise - posted on 12/26/2009

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Quoting Heidi:

We started with urination. We would take him him every hour or so and have him sit down and try. Once he did it the 1st time we had a party. We sang and danced and got rewards. It took a few weeks for him to get it consistently in the toilet but with lots of praise and motivation ( IE lightsaber battles lol) he got it down. We still have a few accidents but nothing major.
Pooping... well thats a whole other story. 6 and still refuses to use the toilet. If he sees or smells poop it makes him gag and vomit (or anything that looks like it IE. canned cat food etc) We went so far this summer as to remove every pull-up from our house and let him run naked from sun up til bedtime, going and sitting on the toilet every hour. All that managed to do was spike his anxiety and for me to have to clean my carpets almost daily. He would hold it til he couldnt hold it anymore and it would quite literally fall out. We tried video games in bathroom, a portable DVD player in the bathroom, star wars toys, rewards...you name it we tried and still couldnt get him to poop in the toilet. After speaking to his psychiatrist she told us to give him back his pull-ups because we were causing too much anxiety for him (despite trying to keep things as calm about it as possible, we were causing more problems) At one point he found where we had hid the pull-ups and took a package into his room and hid them. I would walk in his room and see him with a pull-up on going to the bathroom. I searched his room and to this day still dont know where he had them hid. When I would ask him where he got a pull-up from he would give this cute little smile and say "I dont know mom, I just found it" and then continue to act like he had no idea where it could have come from lol


Will he poop in the pull-up in the bathroom, or does he go to another room in the house?

Heidi - posted on 12/26/2009

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We started with urination. We would take him him every hour or so and have him sit down and try. Once he did it the 1st time we had a party. We sang and danced and got rewards. It took a few weeks for him to get it consistently in the toilet but with lots of praise and motivation ( IE lightsaber battles lol) he got it down. We still have a few accidents but nothing major.
Pooping... well thats a whole other story. 6 and still refuses to use the toilet. If he sees or smells poop it makes him gag and vomit (or anything that looks like it IE. canned cat food etc) We went so far this summer as to remove every pull-up from our house and let him run naked from sun up til bedtime, going and sitting on the toilet every hour. All that managed to do was spike his anxiety and for me to have to clean my carpets almost daily. He would hold it til he couldnt hold it anymore and it would quite literally fall out. We tried video games in bathroom, a portable DVD player in the bathroom, star wars toys, rewards...you name it we tried and still couldnt get him to poop in the toilet. After speaking to his psychiatrist she told us to give him back his pull-ups because we were causing too much anxiety for him (despite trying to keep things as calm about it as possible, we were causing more problems) At one point he found where we had hid the pull-ups and took a package into his room and hid them. I would walk in his room and see him with a pull-up on going to the bathroom. I searched his room and to this day still dont know where he had them hid. When I would ask him where he got a pull-up from he would give this cute little smile and say "I dont know mom, I just found it" and then continue to act like he had no idea where it could have come from lol

Lise - posted on 12/26/2009

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What exactly are you hoping for right now? Peeing on the potty? Initiating pee? Staying dry? They can all be targeted and are often targeted differently.

Jan - posted on 12/26/2009

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I hate to be the tiding of bad news by my 15 yr old ASD/ID still has trouble. He can be ok for a while then wets himself again. It can be VERY frustrating. I have used videos, pecs which we still use in the loo, shown him, but to no avail. getting to wipe himself after the toilet is another issue aaaggg. It may have more to do with the ID more than the autism. Jan

Adria - posted on 12/24/2009

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Quoting DeAnna:

I am not a mom of a child with asd but I am a teacher. The moms that have posted have given you great ideas. The only other thing I have heard of or wittnessed is a program where you give the child mega-amounts of water and take them to the bathroom every 15 minutes. A program I saw was set up at school. They put a child's folding table and chairs outside the bathroom door. They had a pitcher w/ water and several table activities. They would have the child drink a glass of water, do an activity, then go to the bathroom. This was repeated throughout the entire day. The boy who was doing this program just wore plain underwear. I had a set of parents who did almost the same thing but actually camped out in the bathroom the entire day. So here is another option. Best of luck to you:)



This is what I said!  It actually is working... we started with 15 minutes then moved to thirty and now its about 5 times a day between school and home... We never camped out in the bathroom and there is a childs cup that is spill proof and has a straw at walmart... so we could keep refilling it as often as we needed without worrying about it getting all over the place.  Also my son hated drinking water all day so we gave him 100% juice (juicy juice) watered down and that has kept him dry.  He doesn't run and hide though so we know he isn't ready for the next step of going when his body tells him.

Polita - posted on 12/23/2009

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My little one will be 5 next month and we are still strugling. He has a really bad habit of holding his pee and will refuse to poop. He will go a day or so and will not poop. He holds it and will come and tell me his belly hurts him. If anyone has any help on how to help him start pooping or wanting to even begin pooping in the potty any advice will help. I am afraid he is going to hurt himself internally. Trying to get him to sit on the potty is a huge struggle. I have bought the soft potty chair, a thomas the train chair, Elmo potty time, singing, reading and candy rewards. Help!

Rosemary - posted on 12/22/2009

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I had this same problem. Eventually I found that my son had an extreme dislike for being wet, so I put him in pants. This speed the process up considerably.
Good luck.

[deleted account]

idk if it would help anyone and maybe it isn't the proper way but i put my aspie son in real underwear, showed him where and how to sit on the potty and after a week of messes that had to be cleaned up he got the hang of it. he didn't like the wet feeling. i never fussed, i was patient and understanding about the clean up and praised him when he started going to the potty correctly.

DeAnna - posted on 12/20/2009

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I am not a mom of a child with asd but I am a teacher. The moms that have posted have given you great ideas. The only other thing I have heard of or wittnessed is a program where you give the child mega-amounts of water and take them to the bathroom every 15 minutes. A program I saw was set up at school. They put a child's folding table and chairs outside the bathroom door. They had a pitcher w/ water and several table activities. They would have the child drink a glass of water, do an activity, then go to the bathroom. This was repeated throughout the entire day. The boy who was doing this program just wore plain underwear. I had a set of parents who did almost the same thing but actually camped out in the bathroom the entire day. So here is another option. Best of luck to you:)

Magen - posted on 12/20/2009

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Not sure if anyone else mentioned this but with them not wanting to sit on the toilet there are little cousion seats that fit on top of your toilet seat. The opening is smaller so they don't feel they will fall in and they are soft and cousioned. You can find them at walmart for sure and probably most stores like that. they come in plain white and I've seen ones with cartoon characters if that helps your little one. My son would never use a potty chair and would not sit on the toilet with out the seat for a long time. They also make travel ones but my son hated them because they aren't as secure feeling. And to echo everyone else you are not alone be patient and keep trying. It will happen.



Found this to help:

http://pottytrainingsolutions.com/produc...



Just copy and paste into your browser it will show you the one we used and its pretty cheap.

Sharon - posted on 12/20/2009

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Okay, I know this sounds crazy, but it WORKS! If your child is at the point that he/she is doing things like hiding behind the couch to do their business, then he/she is aware of the need to use a restroom. My son loved to go sit on the vents to do his tinkling.

Anyway, what you do is call it practice. Every time you see him go to his special hiding place, you grab his hand and say "let's practice getting to the bathroom to go potty." You put him up on the potty, and let him go if he needs to. You do this 10 times EACH time, yes even when he's not really going potty. This helps him associate that bodily feeling with the need to use the restroom. Then, when you begin to notice that he hasn't gone in a while, you practice again, yes even when he doesn't have to go. You also run to the bathroom from random places in the house, 10 times each time. Even if they're screaming at you, keep doing it. I know this sounds crazy, we did this with my son with ASD and my typical daughter, she took longer than he did. If you're worried about a meltdown, don't be, I had the most physically aggressive child with autism you could have and he never went into full meltdown mode when we did this. He yelled a lot, but never more than that.

It takes a huge amount of energy and I give my husband full credit, but I've told this to all my friends and the longest I've ever heard of anyone taking is 2 weeks. By the end of a week, my son was so sick of practicing to get to the bathroom, he simply seemed to be like "no mom, I've got this" He was 4 when we did it. Good luck!

Rachel - posted on 12/19/2009

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My son has just started staying dry through the day. He is 3.5 As soon as he wakes up the diaper is OFF...I'm pregnant so constantly having to go so whenever I go and I know he may need to I bring him with me. Or right before the bath I have him try. He kinda gets annoyed and tries not to but I stand behind him and let him try.. He's been doing awesome.. He waits for me to say flush the toilet and he thinks it's so cool that now he can finally flush the toilet.. If he goes pee.. He's yet to go poop but he will eventually! What helps is having his 1 yr old sister she is pretty advance and always wants to try so it's kinda a group thing.. lol.. Nice going through 1-2 diapers a day considering I will have 3 in diapers soon... AHHHH!! It's funny though sometimes he cries for a diaper and at night I put it on him as soon as he sees the diaper he gets so excited and starts to kiss it.. lol he's funny

Adria - posted on 12/19/2009

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This is gonna sound really crazy but my son is 7 and what we have done is we started while he was out on a school break - we got cotton underwear and for about a week we put him on the potty every 15 minutes, then it was every half hour and that was even when he went back to school. His one on one would put him on the potty every half an hour too, then we moved to every hour (sometimes hour and a half) and now... He goes when he first wakes up, when he gets to school, during recess, lunch, before he gets on the bus, when he first gets home and twice before bedtime, then right before he goes to bed and yes he is actually holding it until he has to go.



Last thing I want to say is every morning I wash my face using Mary Kay, so I leave the water running while I do the microderm abrasion and cleanser... by the time I am done the sound of the water alone causes him to go... Its becoming so clock work that we can keep him in underwear from the time he wakes up until bedtime. We even keep him in underwear now when we go out in public. Hope this helps... A timer that counts down to 0 would also be a good thing to try if your child hates sitting on the potty like mine did.

Lynette - posted on 12/18/2009

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Is he peeing and not pooping in the potty or niether? Some other questions is the seat too cold on the toilet did you try using a padded seat for the toilet? does he have a stool for his feet ?some kids with asd are fear full if thier feet dangle,for pooping we were told to train in stages,If he was only pooping in the pull up to have him sit on the potty with the diaper/pull up on as soon as he goes in the corner or grunts any sign he is about to poop.the after a few times of this ,now this sounds bizarre,cut a hole in the pull up so he still has the secureity of the pull up an after a few days of this take away the pullup. for the peeing it only worked feeding him cheerios,reading a story,coloring if he would sit still long enough or blow bubbles to distract him until he peed in the toilet.it only took once an when he discovered he peed in the potty an we praised him he wanted that praise again an so he started peeing regularily. it took 2 weeks of steady training ,turning off the tv no other outside stimulation,put the potty next to the bathroom an gradually move the potty into the bathroom or if you lack room like me just tried him on the padded seat on the toilet. were still trying to gett him to do the poop in the potty an get him to go all night without the pullup. every 45 min's daytime put hi on the toilet.dont shame him for accidents,i found taking away the pullups daytime an replacing it with underwear an t-shirt for the first two weeks around the house an gradually teach him to pull down his pants an sitting on the potty.if he sees you frustrated he will be too.praise him for the small an big stuff.reward him with one smarty or one m&m something he is not usually allowed to have but only when he does something in the potty right away give it too him.you have a very very short window of opportunity to give him the treat an give praise so it will register that pee equals a good thing.Good luck.

Benita - posted on 12/18/2009

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pecs pics worked great for me and thankfully my boy did not like to be wet or dirty, so that helped me a lot. maybe something fun in the toilet to wee on too, sounds awful i know, but we had a little ball floating in the loo water for a little while . it was a game for him to pee on the ball and watch it move around- much more fun than peeing your pants, i guess...goodluck!

Kat - posted on 12/18/2009

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Hi Sonya,, I found this difficult as well. My two are very visual so as wth the other suggestion I agree. Set the potty up in an all access area, or if using the big loo, ensure the door is open and he can get on/off. Make it his routine as you wld when training others. Get him to sit first thing of the morn, before or after meals etc Set up the visual clues A pic where th potty/toilet is - a pic for him to use also. Reward even the slightest thing, him sitting, he attempting and he actually achieving. Lastly my nearly 8 yo daughter still has accidents during the day. She will ross her legs and 'jiggle' but when prompted to go will say 'i not busting',,,,, i have been told its like a 'loose wire' from the brain to the bladder and the msg doesnt get through. So just persevere, if still sorried chat with your gp or peadi, but no matter what you are doing a great job, smile and just breath,,,,, gd luck hope i hv helped in some way,,,, xx kat

Hilary - posted on 12/18/2009

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Definitly do not geel alone in this task! My Autistic son turned 5 in September and we are still working on it. It does take a lot of time and patience, especially if they are hypersensitive to certain touch feelings. My son will go No.1 bcaus he can do it standing up, but refuses to even go near the toilet for No. 2 becaus he knows he has to sit on the seat. I totally agree though with the reward thing, I give my son a miniature reese cup every time he goes becaus it is such a big deal and I want him to know how proud I am of him. So we always do our high fives, hugs, your such a big boy! and then our chocolate. It helps me out a lot. I wish the best of luck to you.

Stacey - posted on 12/18/2009

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I have seen a potty training guide on one of the Autism sites, I think it was www.tacanow.org, it might be helpful.

Caroline - posted on 12/17/2009

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Hi Sonya,
Don't stress or fret. Your son will pick up on it and make him anxious. My son was 8 before he was properly trained. I used the charts, rewards etc as well. It workes. I also used to use 'together time'. My son would sit on the potty, and I would read a story, or we would do drawing or something like that together, so he was relaxed and less stressful.

User - posted on 12/17/2009

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It is so hard. My little guy didn't really seem to even understand what we were doing. He would sit down (and getting him to sit on the darn thing took forever) and soon as his bottom end hit the seat he would pop up, start clapping and say done, done!



The one thing I learned was that if your child is hyposensitive, he might not actually feel the body's signals. So, if he likes to drink...and you are using time intervals...say at 9:30...big, big glass of cold water. Then when you sit him down at 10:00, refer to the picture chart Nina described...he should have to go. Talk about the tickly feeling. The tickle tickle says its time to pee.



My little guy, if he has waited to long, will run to the bathroom yelling it's tickling, it's tickling!



Good luck. (we also used rewards...smarties, stickers, good peeing chart!)



Sheila

Jodi - posted on 12/17/2009

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I agree with the first reply and will add BE PATIENT! It took my little Aspie a lot longer to figure out toilet training than his two older brothers. Make potty time fun for him and give plenty of rewards that he has already responded to.

Renee - posted on 12/17/2009

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I would second that advice - PECS picture exchange communication system works wonders for many children.

Nina - posted on 12/17/2009

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Hi Sonya

I dont know what help you have had with this so my answer may not be of much use.

I have always found that autistic children are visual learners. I think it will be a good idea to make a picture chart for him, make sure you put the toilet time sequence on there eg go to bathroom, pull pants down, sit on toilet, get off toilet ,pull pants up etc..you could even use pictures of him in this so that it is more familiar to him. Make sure that tiolet time is made a part of his routine so that in the begining he knows what to expect and when again another chart can be made for this maybe design a chart that shows that when he gets up in the morning he needs to go to the toilet and then at regular intervals throughout the day. make sure that he has some reward even for the littlest of successes so something he likes to do, eat or play would be a good idea to have at hand. This wont happen over night it may take a long time and some days he will seem to go back to square one but remember to carry on regardless as routine is the key here

best wishes

nina

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