How to Potty Train a Child with Autism | Autism Potty Training Basics

How to Potty Train a Child with Autism | Autism Potty Training Basics

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How to Potty Train a Autistic Child

Whether potty training autistic boys or potty training autistic girls, the process of potty training a child with autism may be more lengthy, slower and a bit more of a challenge than normal potty training. Autism is a spectrum disorder and where your child is on that spectrum will influence the potty training timetable. But it can be done, and you can do it. Just be all the more patient with your child.

If you have an autistic child then there are some things that you are already aware of, both medical and behavioral, that will influence the potty training process.  The most common medical condition encountered with autistic children are gastrointestinal problems. If you see or suspect a medical condition that may affect the potty training process I would urge you to consult a medical professional.

On the behavioral side, autistic children are routine driven in extreme cases even to the point of being ritualistic. That is, they do not like change. They have a set way of doing things and that is how they want it to stay. Which means, if your child is accustomed to using a diaper (and he or she probable are) they will resist changing from diapers to underwear. Change can create anxiety issues in your child that need to be patiently dealt with.

Breaking old and well-established routines is part of the challenge of potty training autistic children. But it can be done. The challenge is in creating new routines that both you and your child can live with.

Then there is the problem of general developmental delay. Autistic children generally learn slower than other children. This does not mean that the child is not smart. An autistic child may be very bright, very intelligent, but they may develop this intelligence more slowly. This just means that you will have to be a little more patient, a little more persevering.

Thirdly, in many cases communication can be an issue. You will need to understand how to clearly communicate your desires to your child and also how to understand your child’s verbal and nonverbal cues.

And speaking of nonverbal cues, in the case of autistic children, they often do not show the usual signs of the need to go that you would see in other children. They often go with any apparent warning that an accident is on the way.

Keep communication simple by using short phrases and visual aids

Much of the difference between potty training an autistic child and potty training a normal child lies in the realm of communication. Keep verbal communication very short and to the point. For example, do not say, “Do you need to go potty now?” but rather something short like “Time for potty?” or “Potty now?”

Also, visual communication used in combination with the verbal can be effective. This would consist of clear and simple cartoon pictures that you or the child can point to, such as a picture of a potty, a roll of toilet paper, etc. Pictures that show what you are wanting the child to do, or that the child can point at to show what they are wanting to do.

Follow up your communication with action. Tell your child “time for potty” point to the potty picture and then take your child to his or her potty. In the beginning do this on a regular schedule. Have them sit on the potty for a while and let them know it is OK if they cannot go. Remember part of the process of potty training an autistic child is establishing a new normal, a new routine for them to follow, so regularity and consistency is important.

Entertainment and rewards

As the child sits on the potty, keep them engaged by reading to them, telling stories, giving them a coloring book, etc. Generally, children are not interested in sitting still or extended periods of time. So, make potty time as interesting as possible.

If they do go, even if only a tiny dribble, reward them in some way. And do this quickly so they make a connection between successfully going to the potty and receiving the reward. This helps to reinforce in their mind that going potty is something desirable. But take care that the reward you use is used exclusively for potty training, and exclusively for successfully going to the potty. Do not inadvertently teach them that there are other ways they can get that reward.

If the reward is something the child desires and they learn that successfully going potty is the only way they can get it, it will motivate them and speed the learning process. Remember, your autistic child is routine driven, so be sure to make the reward immediate and be sure to be consistent with the reward.

Accidents will happen. Just stay calm, stay cool

Yes, accidents will happen, more often than you would like. When they do happen, stay calm, stay cool, and do not make a big deal over it. Definitely do not fuss or scold or give any kind of negative feedback. In other words, do not reward them with extra attention (positive or negative) when accidents occur. Let them know that accidents are OK but remind them to try to use the potty next time.

Diapers, Pull-ups or Underwear?

Normally you would transition your child from diapers to pull-ups to underwear. With autistic children you may want to skip the pull-ups and go straight to underwear. Why? Because diapers and pull-ups have become so good at absorbing moisture may not realize they peed. Not so with underwear. By using underwear early on in potty training your child, the discomfort of wet underwear becomes associated in the child’s mind with accidents and provides additional motivation to go to the potty.

Prime the pump

One tactic that is often used in training a child to use the potty is give the child a glass of water or juice about 10 or 15 minutes before you think they will need to use the toilet. But do not give them an excessive amount of water or juice. This increases the likelihood of a successful potty succession, which subsequently increase the likelihood of the child associating the sensation of the need to go with going to the potty.

Wiping themselves and flushing the toilet

As toilet training progresses you will want to start teaching them how to wipe themselves, and how to wash up afterwards. With girls you will want to emphasize that they wipe from front to back to prevent the spreading of germs from anis to vagina, thus preventing infections.

At some point you will want to start letting your child flush the toilet. First show them how it works. Let them watch you flush it when empty a few times and watch the water as it swirls. Put something in the toilet that is flushable and let them see what happens to it. Try to make flushing something interesting to the child and then let them try it themselves.

Remember, ultimately you want to teach your child to be independent. So, when they start wanting to do things themselves, let them. But do not push them to act independently too quickly. You want to keep the stress level as low as possible.

When teaching a child to flush, make it interesting, but also teach them that they are not to flush it again and again. Yes, it is fun, but the toilet is not a toy for them to play with. Teach them that they get to flush when they are successful in going potty.

Teach them to wash their hands

This is very important, and it is a habit, a routine that you want to instill in them early. It is recommended by some that you let your child pick out for themselves a special soft soap that they get to use whenever they go potty. Again the point is to make the process something special in the mind of the child.

Medical issues that may affect toilet training

As a reminder, on the medical side, it is not unusual for autistic children to have gastrointestinal issues. These may complicate the potty training process. This may manifest itself as constipation, diarrhea, bloating, etc.

As I have already noted, if you suspect that your child has any medical issues, gastrointestinal or otherwise, see your pediatrician. Get professional medical advice.


Toilet Training 101 for Toddlers | Your Basic How To Guide to Potty Training Success

Toilet Training 101 for Toddlers | Your Basic How To Guide to Potty Training Success


How to Potty Training?

Ogg-befuddled-parentSince cave man days parents have been asking the eternal question “How to potty training?” Good news. Toilet training for toddlers is not overly complicated. Billions of parents have successfully potty trained their children. This is potty training 101, your basic how to guide to potty training success.

OK, so you have determined that the time is right to begin potty training your child. You have obtained the necessary supplies and have made up you  potty training kit. So now what? How do you begin? Just exactly how do you potty train a child.

1. Get everything ready

Unpack the training potty and get all of your potty training supplies organized. Set up the training potty where your child spends most of his or her time. The object is to have the training potty close at hand. Remember, speed in getting the child to the potty will be essential in the initial phase of potty training.

2. Do a few practice runs on the potty to get your child used to the idea

Get your child used to the idea of sitting on the potty. You might wish to start out by having your child sit on the potty with their cloths on. Give your child a chance to become familiar with it. This should not take long. At the same time, when the child is sitting on the potty, check to see that the potty is a good fit for the child. Can his or her feet rest on the floor? Or will they need something to on which to place their feet as they sit?

If you are using a seat reducer instead of a training potty, again get them used to the idea of sitting on it. You might even let them flush the toilet for fun.

Take some time to talk to your child about the purpose of the potty. Let them know why you want them to sit on it. Explain to them what you are expecting from them. Do this using simple but positive language.

Also, this would be the time to break out the entertainment. You child is more likely to be willing to sit still for a few minutes if they are given something to do while they are sitting. Read to them, give them a book to look at, a toy they can play with, perhaps some crayons and paper if they like to draw.

3. Have a standard routine that you follow

Now, having gotten your child used to the idea of sitting on the potty, have the child sit on the potty without a diaper at regular intervals. Depending on the child, you may wish to have him or her sit for a few minutes every two hours or so. Depending on the child the interval may be shorter or longer.

Stay with the child as long as they are on the potty. If they cannot go, that is OK. Praise your child for making the effort, for trying. Let him or her know that they can always try again later. Allow the child to get up when they are ready. And as before, break out the entertainment. Give them something to do as they sit on the potty.

If you are potty training a boy, let them master peeing sitting down first. They can learn to master peeing standing up later.

At this stage try to be consistent. Potty training should not be an on again off again experience. If you are going to be away from home have a training potty or a seat reducer that you can take with you.

4. Keep your running shoes on

When you first start potty training your child you will have to act quickly when you see signs that the child might need to go. These signs might manifest themselves in various forms. Standing behind curtains, going into another room, squatting or holding their genital area, squirming, etc.

Stop whatever you are doing. Stop whatever the child is doing, and get them to the potty right away. Remember that at this point in their development by the time they sense that they have to go, they have to go like right now.

Now you as a parent should praise your child for letting you know that he or she had to go. Do this even if they do not make it to the potty in time. This helps to reinforce their own awareness of their need to go, and with practice they will learn to recognize the signs earlier rather than later, thus reducing the number of accidents. If you praise them even when they fail, it will make them want to do better next time. Positive reinforcement will always bring better results than negative reinforcement.

Also, this is a good place to remind you of the necessity of dressing your child in easy and quickly removable clothing.

5. After your child goes potty, teach him or her proper hygiene

This very important, and what your child learns or does not learn about proper hygiene can greatly influence their future health. Do not just show them what to do, but take the time to explain why they need to do it.

Part one of teaching proper hygiene is showing them how to properly wipe themselves. If you are teaching a girl they should be taught to wipe from front to back as wiping from back to front can bring infection causing germs from the rectum to either the vagina or bladder.

Part two of teaching proper hygiene is showing them how to properly wash their hands. You may need to get them a step stool that allows them to reach the bathroom sink to do this. Washing their hands should become a natural habit to them whenever they go to the potty.

If after a few weeks nothing is working and the child is resisting your efforts to potty train them, it might be too early. Your child may not be ready yet. Take a break and try again at a later date. It will be better for you and for your child.

6. And remember, accidents will happen

When an accident happens keep your calm. Do not try to shame or discipline or scold your child. That will be counterproductive. Let them know that it is OK. It was just an accident, nothing more.

And oh, by the way, since it is inevitable that accidents will happen, be sure to keep a change of clothing handy.

11 Point Toilet Training Checklist | What You Need to Get Started

11 Point Toilet Training Checklist | What You Need to Get Started


Toilet Training Your Toddler

OK, so your child is ready to begin potty training, but are you ready? Here in this potty training checklist are the essential toilet training supplies you will need to get the job done. Using the right tools to do the job is important no matter what task you are taking on. After all, you would not use a hammer to tighten a bolt, or a screwdriver to drive a nail.

Potty training is no different. Using the right tools will make the task easier, both for you and your child.

Some of the theses potty training essentials you will need at the very beginning of the process. Others will become necessary as you progress. So, let’s get started.

Just what are you, as a parent, going to need to potty train your child?

  • #1. Patience.

The number one item on the list of potty training essentials is patience. That’s right, and you are going to need a lot of it. So you might want to start stocking up on it now. Just remember to keep calm and stay cool, no matter what happens.

  • #2. A child size potty.

Obviously if you are going to potty train your child you are going to need a potty training toilet, or Potty Chair as they are called. These come in many sizes, shapes and colors, but they all have one thing in common. They are designed to fit your little one’s bottom. Some are rather plain and utilitarian. Others are colorful and may even have various animal or cartoon themes and even play musical tunes. The idea is to get something your child will want to use. Try, as far as possible, to make the potty training experience an adventure.

Also, there are things called Seat Reducers. These are designed to sit on top of a standard adult toilet seat. Their purpose is to reduce the toilet seat to a child friendly size. These are generally cheaper than the stand alone potty chair and also come in a variety of colors and designs.

Which ever you opt for, Potty Chair or Seat Reducer, make sure it is a good fit for your child.

Elephant Shaped Baby Potty Training Toilet with Music Function – $77.95
Retail Price: $97.99
You Save: $20.04
from: Costway CA

  • #3. A mall step stool.

The step stool will serve more than one purpose. If you opt to get the Seat Reducer rather than a Potty Chair, the step stool will help the child get up onto the seat. An adult toilet may seem quite high to a toddler. Also, whether using a Potty Chair or Seat Reducer the child’s feet need to be able to rest on the floor or step stool as they sit on their potty. Fortunately many seat reducers actually come with built in step ladders to help your child reach the toilet.

A step stool should also be used to help the child to reach the bathroom sink to wash their hands after they go potty. Teaching the child proper hygiene as you potty train them is important. If they learn it now at an early age it will become a habit that will last them a lifetime, and in all likelihood spare them many days of sick time.

  • #4 Some kind of wipe.

Toilet paper or wet wipes? You will probably need both. Toilet paper you probably already have. Wet wipes can really come in handy, especially in the early stages of toilet training. Toward the end of the training period your child will should have graduated to using toilet paper. There are plumbing safe flushable wet wipes available. But whichever you use, be sure to have a good stock on hand. You do not want to run out at a crucial moment.

  • #5. Hand soap.

As you teach your child proper hygiene it helps to have soap that is easy for the child to use. Soft soaps work well. Some suggest using the foaming variety. To encourage hand washing you might take the child shopping and let them pick put their own personal soap. Having their very own soap will give the child a sense of ownership of the hand washing process. Try always to install in your child a sense of personal pride in the things you are teaching them to do. The more they WANT to do it the quicker and easier the whole thing will go.

Make Potty Time Fun Time

  • #6. A book or game.

Get a picture book, perhaps one on potty training, that your child can look at as they sit on the potty. Give them something to occupy their time as they sit. Or perhaps you might read a story to them. Little children are not good at sitting still for prolonged periods of time. So something to keep their interest will help keep them on the potty until they do their business.

  • #7. Their Very Own Special Watch.

Part of the potty training process, especially when just beginning, is to establish a set routing of going to the potty as specific intervals of time, like once every two hours or so, until they become better able to determine for themselves when they actually need to go. There are special fun children’s watches designed for this very purpose that can be set to play a musical tone at specified intervals. Having their very own special musical watch to alert them when they should go to the potty not only adds an element of fun for the child but also gives them a sense of ownership of the potty training process, and hence enhances their motivation to potty training success.

  • #8. A progress chart/reward system.

Get a chart to show your child’s progress. You can buy them or make your own. The chart above is just one example of a personalized chart available on Zazzle. This one happens to be a Dry Erase Board. But the designs on Zazzle can be transfered to almost any medium you desire. If you opt for a poster board chart you may also want to get some colorful stickers and let the child place a sticker on the chart every time they successfully use the potty. Little things like this will help keep them interested in their training – and hopefully motivate them to be more successful as time goes on.

Your toddler is going to need a potty training wardrobe

  • #9. Easy on, easy off, potty training pants.

Draw strings, zippers, button up pants, rompers, overalls. – Sorry, but they all have to go. By the time a child of this age realize they need to go, they need to go like right NOW. They do not have time to fumble around with clumsy zippers, drawstring, buttons, rompers or overalls. What they need is something that can be pulled down quickly, that is, something with an elastic waist band. The object is to develop a sense of self dependence they progress in their training they can do themselves.

Potty training pants are easily available for this purpose. They are quick and easy to pull up and down, and they work great when accidents happen. And accidents will happen. Count on it.

  • #10. Undies

As you near the end of the potty training you may want to graduate your child to wearing children’s underwear. These can be in bright colors with cartoon characters. The prospect of graduating to undies can also become a motivator for your child. As you observe your child you will know when the time is right.

  • #11. Patience.

Oh, did I mention this already? Well you are still going to need it. So be sure to stock up on plenty of it.

Next – Potty Training 101 For Toddlers

How and When to Start Potty Training | How do You Know When the Time is Right?

How and When to Start Potty Training | How do You Know When the Time is Right?

Hair Play

When Start Potty Training?

How and when to start potty training is the question that every parent, since caveman days, have asked themselves at some point in their child’s life. This post will be focusing on when to start potty training. Other posts will take up the question of how to potty train your child.

When do you start potty training boys?

When should you start potty training girls?

I am glad you asked. The first thing you need to know is that there is no set age when a toddler, boy or girl, is ready for potty training. It will vary from child to child. If you are attentive to the behavior of your child, they will let you know when the time has come.

A small percentage of children can be potty trained as early as 18 months while at the other end of the spectrum some will not be ready till they are about 4 years old. Most however are ready sometime around their 2nd or 3rd birthday. Some special needs children may not be ready for yet another year or two beyond their 3rd birthday.

Potty training is not a competition sport. You do not get extra points for potty training your child earlier and faster than your neighbor or co-worker potty trained their child. In fact, trying to force an early and quick potty training on your child may backfire and prolong the process. It is completely counter intuitive, but studies have shown that parents who wait until their child is about 2 years old before beginning potty training are generally finished potty training by the time the child is 3 years old, while those who start potty training their child earlier, around 18 months, generally are not finished until the child is about 4 years old. So don’t try to rush the process.

To a large degree the child will determine not only when, but how long the process will take.

So, is your toddler ready to take this big step in his or her life? And just as important, are you ready to potty train your child? Remember, you and your child are in this together. Potty training is going to be a team effort.

Pre-Potty Training Preparation

While it is true that you do not want to rush the start of potty training, there are things you can do beforehand to prepare you toddler for potty training. These preliminary steps will keep potty training from coming as a sudden surprise to your child and also prepare them mentally for the training when the time comes.  They will already know something of what to expect.

  • First of all you can go ahead and get the training potty or seat reducer that you will be using and allow your child opportunity to become familiar with it. You might even let your child pick out, with your guidance, the one they want. Begin to explain to the child what it is for and how it works.
  • Second, this may also be a good time to pick up a children’s book or two about potty training to begin the educational process. Something with lots of pictures. Read it to them, let them look at the pictures. Help them to make a connection between what they are seeing and the training potty you have gotten for them. Use these books to begin the process of building your child’s vocabulary, simple words like pee and poop or whatever terms you prefer, that you will be using during the potty training process. In other words, begin a two way communication process early so that when the time comes to actually begin potty training the child will already understand what you are wanting.
  • Third, since your child is most likely still in diapers at this stage, show them what happens to the poop that is in their diapers. Let them put it in their potty, let them put it in the toilet, and even allow them to flush it down the toilet. Give them a chance to see how things work.
  • Fourth, there are some who advocate letting your child watch an adult of the same sex use the toilet. You will have to decide if this is something you would want to do or not. Depending on who the adult would be it might not always be appropriate.

So how do you know when the time is right to potty train your child?

Every child is different, but if you are attentive to your child’s behavior you can know when your child is ready for potty training.

  • Bladder and bowel control.

Ask yourself if your child has sufficient control of their bladder to begin the process of toilet training. As a rule, they should be able to stay dry for at least 2 hours at a time. There is a reason for this. At younger ages children simply are not capable of controlling their bladders. Trying to potty train a child who has not yet become capable of controlling their bladder is nothing more than an act of futility. It just won’t happen. When they are capable of staying dry for about 2 hours at a time that indicates that they have developed sufficient control of their bladder to begin the process of potty training.

But be aware that a child may develop control of their bladder months before they develop control of their bowels. Sorry, but that is the reality of the situation. Control of their bowels usually starts at about 2 years of age. But again, the timing will vary from child to child.

As already mentioned, trying to rush the process before the child is ready can backfire and prolong the process. If you push training for pooping too quickly and it can easily become a negative and frustrating experience for the child. They may out of fear of having an accident attempt to hold it in for days and consequently become constipated, which only makes the experience even more negative and frustration for the child.

When you notice that their bowel movements have become more regular and you are making fewer diaper changes, then the time for potty training may have arrived.

  • Is the child aware of their need to go?

A child’s awareness of when they need to go, whether it be pee poop, is key to potty training. As a parent you can know when your child has developed this awareness if they do things such as hide behind furniture, curtains, or go into another room to do their business. Also, behaviors such as squatting or squirming, etc., can be indicative of their awareness that they need to go. As a parent you need to be attentive to the signals they give. When you start seeing these behaviors it may well be time to begin potty training.

  • Is your child mobile, that is, can they easily walk or run to their potty?

Although by the time you begin potty training your toddler, they have already developed a degree of control over their bowel and bladder movements, the urge to go often comes suddenly. So. Ask yourself if they can get to their potty quickly enough to avoid an accident.

Now initially, you will probably be taking your child to their potty when you see signs of their needing to go. In the beginning stages you may well schedule a regular potty break every two hours or so to get them accustom to the idea of sitting on the potty when they need to go. But in eventually they will want to do it by themselves.

  • Has your child developed a dislike for dirty diapers?

At some point in their lives, babies will notice when their diapers are dirty and decide that they do not want to be in them anymore. If they have become dirty or wet diaper conscious then that may be a sign that they are ready for potty training. In other words, they are now ready, and motivated, to learn how to use a potty.

  • Is there about to be a big change in your child’s life?

Are you about to move to a new home? Is a new sibling about to be introduced into the family? If there is any major disruptive event coming up, you may want to defer the potty training for a while. Potty training in itself may be disruptive enough to your child’s normal routine without adding further stress to the situation.

Remember, this is a big change for your child. It is a big step they are taking. So patience is the key word here. Be willing to wait if the time is not right.

When your child is sleeping

Bladder control at night when the child is sleeping usually takes longer to achieve. Generally, most children, when they are between 5 and 7 years old develop overnight bladder control. This is normal and not anything to be overly concerned about.

Do not be afraid to ask your doctor for help

Sometimes a child may have unforeseen problems, unusual difficulties. Or you may have questions that you cannot find the answer to. It’s OK to ask your doctor for help. Your child’s doctor can check to see if there is a problem, or give you additional guidance.

Next – 11 Point Toilet Training Checklist

About Us

About Us

My name is Elden. I am here to provide you with all the information you need to successfully potty train your child.

While potty training can be stressful for both parent and child, having the right information can ease the stress factor, and the purpose of this site is to give you that information.

How can you tell when your child is ready to be toilet trained? What do you need to get started? What are some of the tips and tricks parents have used to motivate and encourage their child during the potty training process? Moreover, what do you do when standard potty training tactics will not work? How do you potty train a child with various disabilities? Where can you find resources to help in these situations?

To answer these questions and more is the object of this web site.

All the best,
Simple Potty Training

How to Potty Train Your Child

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