5 Tips to Help Toilet Train a Child with Autism
If you’re about to start or currently are in the process of needing to toilet train a child with autism, then read on! Changing from nappies to undies is hard enough, but when a child has autism, things can be harder. Common difficulties include learning all the steps required to use a toilet, plus developing awareness of a full bladder. To help make things easier, we’ve put five tips together for you.
Autism spectrum disorder is a wide and varied condition. In general, autistic children have difficulty with change, routines, communicating their needs and interpreting those of others. These challenges continue during potty training.
Five tips to help make things a little easier are:
- Don’t do potty training – sounds counterproductive, but having to learn to use a potty and then to use a toilet, may be too much change for your child. Start with a child sized toilet seat right from the get go and skip the potty altogether.
- Start with underwear, not pullups – undies help your child feel the wet feeling and help them understand that a visit to the potty is necessary.
- Use visual cues – provide a sequence of pictures for your child to follow when going potty can help make things flow smoother. For instance: pull down your pants, sit on the toilet, wipe until clean, stand up, pull up undies, flush toilet and wash hands.
- Stay calm – accidents are going to happen. By minimising your response to them, you can show that accidents are no big deal and use the time to positively reinforce using the toilet again.
- Make your toilet child-friendly. Footstools, handrails, a warm room, familiar characters on the wall – whatever it takes to encourage your child to use the toilet! Be sure to encourage independence from the start.
If your child isn’t showing signs of toilet training readiness
Remember that they may not be ready to start and that's okay. Don’t push the issue or try to hurry them along. If you demonstrate patience and encourage your child to take the lead, things will most likely be easier for everyone.