I am trying to potty a train my 3 year old. He is on the autism spectrum, but his issues are mainly sensory. I can't get him to wear underpants or even sit on the potty or toilet. He is scared, and we've tried books, videos nothing seems to be helping. I have been told that this process isn't going to be quick or easy, but I am having trouble at day care. They don't seem to like changing a 3 year olds diaper. Any suggestions?

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Ferarh - posted on 11/19/2008

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my 7 year old son is autistic and the way i got him to use the toilet is i know it sounds stupid but let him see you on the toilet and tell him that he has to do a pee pee or a poo poo in there then reward him when he wants to go. My son has got very little speech but u will soon find a signal that means he wants to go to the toilet i hope this helps

Carrie - posted on 11/16/2008

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I also have a 3 year old boy and potty training is not fun however what we do with andrew is we set a timer any should do we use an egg timer and when it goes off we make a big deal about going to the potty.....we also turned him around on the potty so he is facing the back of the toilet so he can see his "bubbles" this way when he is ready to stand up it wont be so weird to him. and your day care will get over it you pay them not the other way around......

Michelle - posted on 11/16/2008

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What a rotten daycare! Your son's needs come first!

Anyway. Don't try to potty train before he is ready. He should clearly have an awareness of the sensation, be able to pull down his pants on his own, and tell you either by speaking or signing that it is time to go. Then you can start.

My daughter is six and still in diapers. She has an unusual fear of toilets because of the noise a flush makes. The washroom at home is not an issue, just the ones everywhere else! ;) I've been going through systematic desensitization. Basically I make every visit to a washroom a pleasant experience regardless of what we actually do. Next I decided to go with ear defenders, the kind that look like DJ ear phones to kill the noise. No scary noise, no fear.

In order to teach the child to be successful an elimination chart is just about the perfect way to start. For a full week, or two if need be observe when your son has peed or pooed. Mark down what he did and what he was doing right before he goes. You may also want to mark what and when he eats. When you are past the first bit, you can try to "catch" him before he goes and successfully have your son "go" where you want him to. Say/sign what is going on, and when he does go you can feel free to make as big a deal as you want about how great it is that he "went".

Tracey - posted on 11/12/2008

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My son is 4 1/2 and we are at about 95% potty trained, you really have to wait it out until there is some willingness. I took a class to do the 3 day intensive that included strategies that were helpful for PDD kids...before I could get it ready and down my son started the process and because of that it was a long process but it clicked about 3 months later (I have washed a lot of underwear, once he got in them I never put him in another pull up - didn't want the chance that he'd give up wearing the underwear). Anyway, one thing to try for the sitting on the potty is having him sit backwards so he can hold the tank, it's different and fun and they feel more secure. For Brandon, standing for potty was a piece of cake (the hiccup was sensing it) but sitting was the biggest deal. Or make sure there is always a stool to set his feet on, dangling is really scary. I'll look for my notes from class and see if I can summary it for you, it was a great idea I didn't have to do since Brandon took it upon himself before I was ready. AND most parents of children with similar sensory levels have said that a kid potty trained before 5 with PDD is amazing, so don't put undue pressure on yourself before he and you are ready.

Marie - posted on 11/12/2008

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That was an awesome array of advice, thank you everyone. Joey is also my only child, so half the battle for me is knowing what is "normal" and what is not. I hate to attribute every little problem of his to autism, but its hard not to when I don't know any different. I guess I won't push the training issue, but keep trying a little at a time until he is ready. Thanks again!



Marie

Nina - posted on 11/12/2008

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Hi..wow what you are going through is so familiar, sounds just like what we went through. My son is 9 and has autism and has major sensory issues. He at the time had very little speach, and we were working on getting him to use pecs. We tried to decide to do it, that didn't work....he decided one day and that was it. It was done in one summer break from school. This is what we learned....he had to choose to do it, letting him be naked really helped (that sensory thing), don't ever use pull ups, they become to comfortable in them, diapers get big and it's hard to run and play in. When he dropped them after going was a huge sign. Also we had to find underwaer he liked and didn't want to get dirty or wet. It ended up being boxer briefs....like my hubby, his daddy wears, they match, he likes that. It will be hit and miss on what works for you/him. Bottom line is don't push it, he will when he is ready and then it will be quick. Good luck, hope this helped even if just a little....

Jennifer - posted on 11/12/2008

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P.S. - How does your daycare handle his other behaviors? If they are good, keep them. I had a daycare center that had NO IDEA how to handle him and I switched daycare and he is thriving big time! Remember, whatever you choose to do, you are paying for their service so you are their boss and your son's biggest advocate. Good luck!

Jennifer - posted on 11/12/2008

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Your 3 year old sounds a lot like my son who is now 4 1/2. He has autism but also has sensory disorder and he didn't really start talking until after he was 4, and his doctor told me to wait until he can tell me, but I didn't. Here's what I did...I'll warn you it is a little unusual, but it worked great and his teacher told me they used to recommend this all the time. My son could hold it throughout the night, which told me he had good bladder control, which is very important. When he would wet, he wouldn't say anything but would come to me and point to his diaper or would just bring me a clean diaper so as to tell me. I took 3 days and closed the curtains and turned up the heat. I let him run around naked the whole weekend (I also don't have carpets). This way, when he would start to pee, he didn't like the feeling of being wet so I could put him on the potty. I kept the potty near where all the activity was in my house, because I soon found that he would not go with me watching but would put himself on it. I just had to watch or listen for him to start, put him on it, and then together we'd go to flush it (and wave bye-bye potty) and cheer and clap. It's very unconventional but he was fully potty-trained within 3 days, I knew his potty schedule and could share it with daycare, and he was soon pottying on the potty. Obviously, I wouldn't recommend doing this on carpets or anything and if you are watching, it doesn't get as far as the floor, but it just might be the only way my son was going to be successful and hope if you don't do it, it might spark some ideas for you.

Jenni - posted on 11/12/2008

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My son is 6 and still not fully potty trained, but he does do well on a trip schedule. To put it simply... make a schedule of when he goes, then take him at those times. My son does not initiate going, but as long as we sit him on the potty when he needs to go, he will.



As far as getting him to sit. Let him sit first with the lid closed and his clothes on. Then gradually work your way to sitting correctly. You might have a special toy he likes that he can only play with while sitting on the potty. One thing I would definately not do though is use a potty training seat. If you do, you are just adding an extra step to success later. If he is anything like my son, he will come to think he needs that seat everywhere and unless you want to carry around a potty chair for the next few years, I'd try and avoid that, (That is just my opinion, if your son is not too ritualistic he might do ok with a potty chair,)



As far as the daycare goes, if they complain too much, then maybe you need to find a new daycare that is more open to helping kids with disabilities.

Kelly - posted on 11/12/2008

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hiya hun i wpuld like to start by saying its daycare,s job to change your son and it the discriminating for them not to i to have a son aged 3 years he also not yet tolet trained but i will go with him has he affraid of the tolet and potty i,am sure he start when his ready just like your son hang in there regards

Amy - posted on 11/12/2008

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ok I didn't read ALL the replies but read many of them... if I repeat sorry LOL I have a 15 yo son who has many issues (ADHD, PDD, scizoeffective (bipolar with scizophrenic features) etc) he was 4 1/2 before he was trained. One issue was attention span for him he would realize he had to go and head for the bathroom and then forget and go do something else. another issue was he HATED (still does) the feel of underwear (he wears silky nylon shorts instead) he didn't want to sit either. We did a combonation of things 1) multiple potty seats all over the house 2) if he used the toilet he got to play a special game ... we had a bowl of cheerios on the back of the toilet and he got to throw a handful in the toilet then shoot em down (this required a step stool to make him tall enough) he LOVED that. Also we got rid of pull-ups except for at night. it was hard for us. I had a 2 year old daughter that was trained with in a week of her 2ond b day and newborn twins at the time. I was soooo fristrated that his sister that was 2 and a half years younger than he was was trained and he wasn't! Also with the twins (who where premature) I NEEDED him to no be in diapers and not need a whole lot of my attention to go potty. I thought that time would never end... when he did train at last it happened almost over night... it just clicked in his brain.

Kathleen - posted on 11/12/2008

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Like they all have said. Don't fell rushed or sweat the small things. My son wasn't potty trained until he was almost 5. He didn't like an audience and he didnt like the sound of the potty. it made it very difficult to train him on how to use the potty. We tried every few months to start over and eventually it worked. My son was in pre-k before he was finished (because of his birth date) and now he is doing very well he still needs help with wiping but, I still am happy about that.

Jennifer - posted on 11/12/2008

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I feel for you! I am in the same boat. My three old will wear pull ups but he does not have the feeling of needing to go. We have been working on this for 6 1/2 months now. People think it is me and that I am not doing it right because he should know how since he is three. I wish I could help more but don't worry about what others think.

Cathy - posted on 11/12/2008

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It so easy for these people at day care isnt it? I may be wrong, but isnt it part of their job? Any way.. this isnt helping you is it. My son is 4 and has Aspergers. He still likes to use a nappy(diaper) for number 2s. He's not keen on the toilet at all and still squats on the toilet seat, he doesnt sit like me or you would. his feet are on the toilet seat.. Everything takes a while longer for our kiddies i think. just hang in there. good luck!

Sabrina - posted on 11/11/2008

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I had the same problem with my son. He was almost 4yrs before he was train. What we did was he was in daycare and got permission from the other boys parents and the boys for him to see what they are doing and with in the month he was complete day and nite time train. I am very thankfull for the help from that daycare.

[deleted account]

This is going to be blunt, but tell your daycare to "get over it"... He is not ready and there is NOTHING you can do to make him ready... It is your daycares job to change diapers... they need to know that!



My youngest who is almost 3 also is scared of the potty, she will only occasionally sit... and that is with her Dora seat adapter, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book and then only as long as I keep rereading the book... She has pee'd exactly once in 1 year. We don't push the issue, I always offer and if she sits I throw a party in my head! Usually you mention the potty and she freaks! I also have been known to sit (fully clothed) on the potty behind her for extra reassurance (usually when away from home... like at grandmas)

My daughter also does NOT want to wear underpants... she likes her dipes. Change is hard for these kids!

Cristy-Anne - posted on 11/11/2008

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Hi marie, i also have a 3yo on the spectrum, personaly i havnt even tried to get my boy potty trained yet, he has no language yet and it makes it hard to know when he is or wants to do anything, but as i have an 18month old also who is starting to remove his nappys by himself i have been putting the potty infront of nick jr like michele said but i have been sitting my sons favourite elmo doll on their, because he is scared of it i am hoping that if he sees elmo do it then it will be ok for him too, I hope that maybe its another idea for the list, maybe it might help. best of luck!

Melissa - posted on 11/11/2008

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First of all, don't get frustrated. I have the same problem that you have only my son is 6 and in grade 1. My son has an educational assistant just for him that helps him through the day and changes diapers. The potty training thing will happen eventually I'm told and we shouldn't push too hard because it won't happen until he's ready.

Every day is a challenge but my son is such a happy kid and I'm not going to sweat the small stuff.

Michele - posted on 11/11/2008

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My boys are both aspies and they were also 3 years old when I trained them. The grown up bathroom was not working for either of them, but what eventually worked was putting the potty chair in front of the television it took the focus off the training and purt it on Nick Jr. they both were trained in 3-4 days. I don't know if it was where the potty was or if I just got lucky? Good luck.

Lara - posted on 11/11/2008

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Marie, i dont know if i have alot of advice. My daughter who has Aspergers Syndrom. and my youngest son is 4, I tried the books, the videos, etc. Neither one of them was willing to do anything. So, i had to let them teach me basically. I went off their cues. The daycare didn't like it either. Having to take time out to change them. The way we saw it, that is why they are there, and why we pay them to help our kids. Needless to say, they have finally gotten over the fear. My daughter had to learn to go potty otherwise Grandma wouldn't treat her to a trip to American Girl. And my son, was a trip to Shed Aqaurium in Chicago. It worked!!

Jennifer - posted on 11/11/2008

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What is he scared of? We used one of those seats you put on the toilet so my son wasn't afraid of falling in. We also find he's still scared of the noise a loto f toilets make so maybe work on the flushing part later. Good luck!

Laura - posted on 11/11/2008

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God Bless You! I will be thinking of you. I would try to take something warm (warm towels?) and warm up the seat of the potty. (This would be really hard to do in the gotta go moments.) Maybe the temp. of the seat bothers him. I used to teach sp. ed. and we had a kiddo that the sense of cold sent him over the edge. Also I would try moving his potty away from the toliet. Maybe either it's too scarry or the sound of the flushing of the toliet is too much for him. Hope this helps! Good luck!

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