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Your Advice Requested: Toilet Teaching and Autism

By November 7, 2008

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Toilet teaching is tough. It can be much, much tougher, though, if your child is autistic. Between developmental delays, sensory issues, and difficulty with communication, it can take much longer than usual to teach an autistic child to use the toilet.

About a year ago, I wrote an article called Toilet Train Your Child with Autism. I actually interviewed an expert on autism and toilet training (!) at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center - and put together a step-by-step primer.

The article, though, is just a start. At the bottom of the article is a green box with the title "Share Your Toileting Tips." I'd like to invite readers to do just that! Fill in the box to add your thoughts to the article. Perhaps you know:

  • How to enlist siblings in helping with the toilet training process
  • Tricks for managing sensory issues
  • Products that made all the difference
  • Motivators that really work
  • How to overcome fear of flushing noise and splashing water
...or you have other ideas that might help other parents.

Please share your knowledge!

November 7, 2008 at 8:02 pm
(1) Pete says:

We tried for years to potty train our autistic son. Nothing worked until just took away all the pull ups cold turkey.

It took about about a month and a half, but he caught on then and has been using the potty ever since.

We did it right ater he got out of preschool for the summer.

November 14, 2008 at 1:48 pm
(2) Gwendolyn Warren says:

I have four boys and to be honest the best way I have ever found to potty train a child with special needs, and especially autism is for them to be able to mimic what they see. I had my brothers and the boys’ grandpa show them- see this is how we go pee, etc. My youngest is the one that learned the fastest

November 17, 2008 at 2:08 pm
(3) Paula says:

DS wasn’t potty trained until he was five years old (just a few months ago!). We found that regular trips to the bathroom (every 1 1/2 to 2 hours) seemed to help. At first, we used pull-ups and then the specialist suggested that we use underwear UNDERNEATH the pullup so that he could feel that he was wet. This worked well, because he hates to be wet! After a short while, we were able to use just underwear.

Bowel movements, though, were more of an issue. We found that DS was constipated as he had trouble sitting on the toilet to poop. The doctor suggested a laxative like Miralax given once daily and after a week, this did the trick!

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