When you have a child with autism, you are going to worry about whether they will be able to take care of themselves or not. Autistic children don’t develop in the same way as normal children and it is difficult to decide when to start toilet training them. How will they understand the concept of using the potty let alone accepting sitting on it? Yes, it seems impossible because you don’t think they will be able to follow directions or be willing to accept the change. As a parent, you need to know that you have to be patient and consistent and you will get results.
If you have a high-functioning autistic child, you can always use video modeling, social stories, or visual cues. For instance, picture cards depicting the entire process step-by-step can be handy, or even actual photos can work. But, if they are not that cognitively developed, you have to come up with a different process. How can you do that? Luckily, there is a complete guide to assist you in potty training:
Make the bathroom fun :
When you have an autistic child who doesn’t respond to the therapeutic techniques, there is a good chance that they don’t want to enter the bathroom or come near the potty. The key is to make the bathroom fun and the way to do it is to spend some time there with them without putting any demands. You can take an iPad, books, pillows, blanket, or whatever toys they like. Spend some time just hanging out in the bathroom. You want your autistic child to associate the bathroom with a positive experience.
Look for a motivator :
Find something your child loves and something they don’t get that frequently. It can be their favorite snacks such as chocolate chips or M&Ms or their favorite toy or even stickers. Make sure you only give them access to this motivator during potty time. Avoid giving it to them outside the bathroom because you want it to motivate.
Give up diapers :
Now, the bathroom is fun and it is time to begin the potty training process. Give up diapers and only use them at night-time. Make sure everyone is on board because your child will be in training pants or underwear, which means that there will be accidents.
Set up a timer for every half an hour :
You need to set up a timer for every half an hour. Get started with just making your child sit on the potty. They might object, but there is no need to freak out. You have to be encouraging when they do sit and praise them. Give them their motivator and see if it works. Start making them sit for 15 seconds and then give them the motivator. In this way, make them go through all the steps and continue encouraging them. There will be ups and downs, but you will succeed eventually.
Be ready for accidents :
Even when potty training a normal child, there are accidents and they are bound to happen with an autistic kid. If an accident does happen, you shouldn’t scold them at all. Instead of doing so, you need to explain the steps all over again.
Never give up :
Last, but definitely not least, you need to be persistent and don’t give up. It is a given that it will be tough, but your child is autistic and has developmental and communication issues so you need to be prepared for the problems. Give them a break and then start all over if you have to.
Follow these steps and you will be able to potty train your autistic child.
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