How to Potty Train an Autistic Child?


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Toilet training could get really hard for children with Autism, Asperger’s and ADHD. The problem doesn’t necessarily lie with your child but could be present due to the issues or problems that he or she might be facing.

Why is Autism Potty Training so difficult?

Children with Autism face certain unique challenges. Here are a few examples:

Sensory Sensitivities

Autistic kids have heightened sensory dysfunction. They could be extremely sensitive to the senses of touch, smell and sound. Often such children find it a real struggle to get potty trained. This could be for multiple reasons – For example, maybe the toilet seat is too uncomfortable for the child.

Communication Challenges

Most children, ranging from high functioning to classical autism face communication challenges at varying degrees of severity. Often they find it hard to express what they are feeling. This applies to Potty training as well. Such autistic children may not be able to communicate in time when they need to go to the toilet – and the accident happens!

Lack of Self Confidence

Children with Autism, who are more than 4 years old face a different kind of challenge. The self-confidence issue! They know that, in many areas, they are sub-functional compared to their peers in schools or kindergartens.  Hence the additional challenge in getting them potty trained.

So, How to Potty Train an Autistic Child?

Click Here to Learn How to Potty Train an Autistic Child

Well, fortunately, there are some good Potty Training Autism resources are available online that can help to get your child Potty trained in just a few days.

ABA (or Applied Behavior Analysis) constitutes of quite a few solid strategies that are essentially quite simple and easy to implement. These techniques could easily be applied to any child with Autism, Asperger’s of ADHD to get them successfully potty trained in less than a week.

how to potty train an autistic child
Six building blocks to potty train an autistic child

Some of these concepts are used on a daily basis by therapy professionals who deal with kids having Autism, ADHD and Asperger’s on a day to day basis. Here are 3 of the most common strategies that could be directly applied to Autism potty training.

Visual Boards

In ABA terminology, this is also known as Picture Exchange Communication System or PECs. Visual boards help to break down complex pieces of information into simple, easy to follow executable content.

We use visual boards all the time in our daily life, with or without our knowledge. The use of sticky notes is a classic example of Visual Boards in action. These visual boards could be used to easily toilet train your child. For example, you can implement a visual board to depict your child’s routine like this:

  • Wake up in the morning
  • Brush your teeth
  • Use the toilet
  • Eat breakfast.

This way, the fact that your child has to use the toilet immediately after brushing his or her teeth gets imprinted in his or her mind.

Task Management

Another super helpful tool to get your child potty trained real quickly. Task management involves breaking down a complex set of activities into simple executable tasks that are easy to follow. For example, if I were to tell you to build a house, how would you feel? Really confused and clueless on where to start, right? Instead, if I were to tell you to follow these simpler steps like:

  • Build the foundation
  • Lay the bricks
  • Mount the roof, and
  • Paint the walls

Would you not already start feeling better? Remember, even simple activities, like going to the toilet could be incredibly complex to manage for a child with Autism. Instead, if you were to break down the steps like:

  • Have the toilet seat in order
  • Pull down pants
  • Use the toilet and
  • Clean yourself off.

The child begins to get much more comfortable with the whole idea of toilet training.

Positive Reinforcement

This is another brilliant tool to help with steps 1 and 2. Positive reinforcement means rewarding your child for a job that is done well (but not necessarily punishing him/her for something they couldn’t do). The reward could be anything your child likes – like chocolates, stickers, etc. However, there are two important aspects of positive reinforcement that you need to keep in mind:

  • You both play by your rules: Remember this point. You set the rules and your child gets rewarded for following it. There is no room for negotiation here.
  • There is no reward for a job that is done partially. This is also important; otherwise, the value of the reward gets diminished. Remember, you are not helping anyone here by being nice!

Using these techniques, you can easily potty train any child with Autism in a matter of days! Click here for more information on Potty Training Autism.

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