Parenting Kids With Autism – 4 Tips for Toilet Training

It can be very difficult, parenting kids with autism. There are so many issues that come up that wouldn't normally come up if you had a typically developing kid. One of the troublesome ones can be toilet training. It can take some kids with autism years longer than their peers to learn how to use the toilet.

Fortunately, there are strategies that can help autistic kids.

It is common for parents of autistic kids to become frustrated when trying to get their loved ones to use the toilet. He just sits there and won't do anything. Diapers can get bulky and annoying to change, and of course your autistic child needs to be toilet trained, in most cases, in order to be able to go to school.

Toilet training is one of the more difficult issues in parenting kids with autism, but luckily, there are a lot of parents who have gone before you. Here are some tips.  

  1. Take one step at a time. First and foremost, when teaching kids with autism to use the toilet, you should break everything into small steps. This works best if your autistic child already has an understanding of what you use a toilet for. Some autistic kids have a lot of fear around a toilet. This could be because it's so loud, or different, or even because they think they might fall in, but whatever it is, they need to know what the parts of the toilet are and parents may need to show them the different parts of the toilet in a low pressure environment. Parenting autism is not easy…but it does not have to be difficult either.
  2. Use physical rewards as encouragement. You will want to find some rewards that might be of interest your child with autism. These can be anything from cookies or some food treat to action figures or baseball cards. Choose anything that is small and that you can keep in the bathroom so that you can access it easily. Parents of kids with autism use these "reinforcers" to acknowledge a job well done and to say to your child that they have succeeded in the task at hand.
  3. Have patience. When parents bring their kids with autism into the bathroom, assume that you will stay for some time. Provide acknowledgement and praise if your autistic kid is willing to stay in the bathroom and does not want to leave. Provide a reward for staying close to the toilet. A good thing to do is to reward your child if he or she sits and stays on the toilet, even if they are doing nothing but sitting there! Remember, parenting kids with autism can be a slow and gradual process and you will eventually get there.
  4. Reward any step accomplished successfully. If there is an "accident" go to the toilet, remove your child's pants and show him or her were the waste goes. This will help your child realize where the waste is supposed to end up. Remember, eventually your child will get the idea. Then let them flush the toilet and use toilet paper to clean. Each step that they accomplish gets them closer to the finish line. When parenting an autistic kid, each step, even if accomplished out-of-order, should be praised.

The goal is to gradually, step-by-step, build to your desired outcome. In other words, having your child use the toilet- and do the steps that lead up to it enough times that it will eventually sink into his head what he's supposed to do.

You will of course want to be sure to reinforce your child if he uses the toilet in an appropriate way, and he will, eventually. Patience is the key to all problems involving parenting kids with autism.

The above suggestions for parenting kids with autism come from parents who have achieved success. Tips from other parents and professionals can be extremely helpful. A great book that has tips and suggestions for helping your child with autism is the The Autism Survival Guide. Parents rave about the useful advice the book offers.

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6 Responses to “Parenting Kids With Autism – Tips and Tricks for Toilet Training”

  1. Kristie Mills Says:

    The tips listed were very helpful, I would just like to add what I used to get my 4 year old with autism on the potty. I found that my sons best motivator was anything Lightning McQueen from the movie “CARS”. I bought a McQueen toilet training potty and a McQueen clip in seat that fit perfectly on the adult size toilet(ergo taking away the fear of falling in the toilet seat. As a reward I gave my son a CARS sticker just for sitting on the potty. It is working out beautifully.


  2. charmin coupons Says:

    I`m having a bit of a problem subscribing to your rss feed. I dont get the updates whenever you post a new one… I`m not sure what could be the problem.


  3. Heather Says:

    Thank you so much for this information! I have been doing this with my un-diagnosed 2 year old son. He does no.1 but is having difficulty with no.2 landing in the toilet. I have been doing these things with him all along since his 2nd birthday and his 3rd is right around the corner. I am currently studying to be a psychologist and want to focus on this area espeically so that I can help autistic children and their families so that they can enjoy the fullness of what life is supposed to be like, happy and healthy.


  4. Arumugan.R.L. Says:

    Thank you so much for your information it helps me a lot for my 11yrs old
    Autistic son . Tips like diet,Toilet training,planing out on a holiday etc.
    I share this with other autistic parents.I like from you that how to handle
    shame part and teach him.


  5. jan caulfield Says:

    great tips there thanks a mill.


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