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Readers Respond: How Did You Teach Your Child with Autism To Use the Toilet?

Responses: 23


Updated May 12, 2009

Toilet training can be very tough for children with autism. Often, the process can go on for years, and typical toilet training methods just don't work. But many parents and therapists have found tricks and techniques that really do work for kids on the autism spectrum. If you've found a sure-fire toilet training method for children with autism, please share it here! Share Your Toileting Tips


My daughter is waiting on a diagnosis of autism the school recommend it but she potty trained for more then a year and nowall of a sudden she started peering in her pants...I understand 1 or 2 accidents but its more then 5 times a day doesn't do it in public but at home is when she does it but today she went in public and i dont know what to do...
—Guest ray

Aba style

Used portable DVD player with sons favorite video and put it in BR to get him in there. Did ABA selection of rewards trial with son until 5 most effective were found. Used pecs picture rip off strip for each step of tolieting. Spent 3 days in BR with son and his rewards. At first toileted him q 30 min and had him drink water every1 hour. Gave him rewards when he went and no reward when he didn't go. Took 3/4 of first day before he went first time and got a reward. After 3 days of this all day long he got it!
—Guest Fauna

A long & hard road!!!

My son is 7yrs now & is ASD & was diagnosed at 4yrs old. I wanted him toilet trained ready for kindy, as he is functioning quite well in a mainstream school. I started to try my own methods with no success, so consulted our OT & we started with sitting him on the toilet on a time schedule for wee & occupied his mind whilst on there with numerous aids like story telling, portable DVD's & books. Wee wee's were going ok, but it was the no. 2 that was the big hurdle!!! He would only do one when in a nappy as the OT said it was the comfort of the feeling of the nappy around him. The OT then introduced us to a method called Bone Conduction Therapy, which was him listening to classical music through calibrated headphones from a iPod made for this system to send vibrations from the headphones out to the skull to & spread out through his skeletal system. This music was listened to twice a day for a week or two, but in the first 5 minutes of hearing it, he felt the need to pooh on toilet! Yey!
—Guest Helen

Thank you!

I have been having so much trouble finding advice like this. Strangers have come up to me and told me that my son shouldn't be in diapers any more, but I don't think I owe them any explanation about his autism.` He'll be 5 in Sept. (a month from yesterday, in fact). I will try some of these tips and see if they help because I'm at a complete loss on my own.
—Guest Zachary's Mom

Poop in soiled success, 9 1/2 yr boy

Where to start, we are so excited and still amazed that after 9 1/2 years there are no more diapers. Ii was beginning to doubt this would ever happen. At 5 we got him to pee iin the toilet. We tried poop in the toilet off and on for years. At 7, I was fed up, frustrated, and at a loss. Started not giving him computer if he wouldn't try. He started regressing, holding it for 9 days, would not go iin diaper either. Not my best parenting moment. At 8, Got a great new behaviorist. For 4-5 months we worked hard to get the poop routine back to normal, in a diaper and iin the bathroom, step 2. Step 3, was all about me and my attitude. I had to be happy, positive and not get mad at any poop issues. Very difficult, but payoff was in my sons actions. Now what... He had not computer at home for the last 6 months, To instill a big reward. We got him a new one, wrote a social story using real pics of him & put a date on the calendar. 6 days no poop, gave myalax for 4 days..forced him to go
—Guest Kelly

They develope at their own rate

I have three children on the spectrum all high functioning. My eldest son by 3.5 understood the process but had wetting acidents only during the day. This went on till 4th grade. My middle daughter was 4 before she was trained but continued to wet only during the day until the end of 2nd grade. She is now in 5th grade and had an accident just last month. She gets little to no warning when she has to go and she has sensory issues. My youngest daughter is now 9.5 in 3rd grade and still has no idea when she has to go and it really bothers her. She has difficulty with urinating and bowel movements. All three of my children have IQ's in 99th percentile so it was very difficault to understand as a parent why they couldn't get the concept. I even had teachers say things like "Did you ever consider if it's your fault? As a parent thats all I thought. But now I know better. My little one went to the bathroom on her own for the 1st time yesterday. YEAH!Don't get discouraged it will get better.
—Guest Rosemary

6 almost 7 is potty Trained!

My grandson will be 7 in a month, potty train for almost 2 months. We found out at age 3 he has autism. Pull ups we did not make him go to potty. But always told him pee and poop goes in the toilet. Or ask him while change him where does poop go, he say toilet. He knew but would not go. He watch same age cousin go to potty. Than on dayy daughter told him okay we are out of pull ups, but Granny got you some grown up boys underwear, for Christmas remember these! We have wear these now but you must potty in the toilet. Okay? Well, it did good. Even no wet bed. We remind him before bed and when he wakes up to go potty. He Happy and so are We! Each child is different! Autism! Is Autism! Love is Love!
—Guest GRANNY in Houston

First Time

My 1st child has Aspergers as well as ODD (opposional diffiant disorder) and Anxiety. She is 6, in kindergarden, and still not potty trained and had never even "accidently" gone in the toilet. She had chronic retentive mega colon since she was 10 months old so she knows how to hold it well. Almost too well. I read and bought a book called Ready Set Go: Toilet Training for Children With Autism and other Developmental Disorders by Brenda Batts. We are implementing the routine in 2 weeks when she has 7 days off from school in a row. I've tried everything before from candy rewards, bribes, time out, sticker charts, etc. and still haven't had success. I hoping with this book it will be the thing that changes it around. Consistancy is the one of the hardest parts but also my daughter is so use to wearing a diaper that she hates the feel of nickers. I will take any tips I can get since this is the first time I will be potty training a child since all the other attempts have failed.
—Guest Melissa in Idaho


we are still trying, we got our little girl to understand about peeing...but pooping is a struggle. After reading some of these stories I am getting a lot of ideas....god bless you all that have taken the time to share your experiences.
—Guest rob

3 day potty training method!!

Hi , My daughter is 3 1/2 and has Autism and we only have been potty training her for 2 weeks and she is already going 6 x's a day in the potty!! First she started flushing the toilet and acting really interested in the toilet/potty and sitting on it! Then I let her run around naked for a couple days ,and play with her toys on the potty ,and watch her Dora dvds! She peed in the potty 3 x's the first day. Then the next night I found the 3 day potty training method online. So we started right away. First I put underwear on her under her training pants. And gave her a lot to eat and drink.Then 30 mins. later I put her on the potty to see if she would go . At first she wouldn't go . She has pre-school every day m-f so we couldn't wait too long. Then when she got home I immediately put her on the potty!!!She went in the potty after 1hr and 15 mins. If she has an accident and we clean it up together and rinse her underwear. I'd put the underwear back on after she went in potty.
—Guest S in NH

elimination control

the method of potty training in eastern cultures works very well for nearly all children.. search EC, or infant potty training, and you will find resources necessary to help you "potty train" your infant (and yourself!)..since it is actually very natural for a baby to learn when and how to potty, it is us in the western cultures who need to be "trained"! i used this method w/ two children, one of whom is autistic.
—Guest jen

Careful of long toilet sits

We've been battling constipation and toileting issues for the past 4 years with my 9 yr old asperger son. Recently we've gone to a physio specializing in constipation problems. They said not to have your child sit for more that 5 minutes on the toilet, as it will be bad for them (keegle sp? muscle). Our son has been better since the stigma of sitting in poopy pants has kicked in, but still has the odd accident. He still pees the bed every night.
—Guest MidLifeCrisis

AS and potty

My kid is 6, a (now)possible Asperger's Diagnosis. We warred with her 4 years to 'get' pottying and only kept her clean and dry by all the adults putting her on potty on a schedule. She could hold it, but not self initiate. Then when she was 5 one day she said in great surprise, "I have to go to the bathroom" and had a BM in the potty by herself. This was when she & I finally understood that until that moment she didn't know when she needed to go. She now can self initiate BM's except when sleeping so I do have big clean ups from her pullup some mornings. The pee took another 6 mo, and she still has an accident if really absorbed in a project/activity. Finally got a referral to a potty specialist this is helping. Most useful is that she says it feels inside like 'pressure' and now she knows that is the signal. This was not in any reference to say, so this description may help you with your kid. Also, sometimes they really can't tell or aren't ready and you know your kid best.

Potty training

My son Austin is four year old when we starting working on peeing we would set the timmer for every hour he is autistic he is verbal. now he goes to the potty and tells me it took me a year to teach him that. Now he is having problems and wont go poop in the potty he just goes in his pants hes pee potty trained now we have one more year before school starts to get him to poop in the potty it is very stressful and very messy. trying to find a way to work with him but its hard to tell when he has to go.....
—Guest Jessica


My daughter just turned 5 years old, and has autism, (Non-Verbal). But, she was potty trained at age two. She loved dora the explorer, so I sat her on the potty with her portable DVD player and dora video. The first time I did this, she went!!!! In three days, I didn't even need the DVD any longer.... GOOD LUCK!!!!
—Guest shannon

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How Did You Teach Your Child with Autism To Use the Toilet?

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  5. Toilet Training and Autism - Tips for Toilet Training a Child with Autism

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