Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


Toilet Training Your Child With Autism

"Any tips for toilet training my little guy with high-functioning autism?"

Even for the "typical" child, toilet training is often a difficult skill to master. For the autistic child, there are additional factors that may inhibit toilet training. The things that would encourage the typical child may not be effective with the autistic child.

Social motivation is a critical factor in determining "readiness" for toilet training. An autistic child may not be motivated by the opportunity to wear "big boy pants," or "big girl pants. The autistic child may not understand what is expected of him. Following all the steps necessary for toilet training may be difficult for the autistic child. Changes in the child's routine may also be a challenge. An autistic child may not be aware of the need to use the toilet.

The first step in toilet training your autistic child will be to determine their level of readiness.


* Establish a positive and meaningful routine around toileting and collect data about your autistic child's readiness for schedule training or for independent toileting.

* Use a simple chart to collect the data needed about the child's readiness. On a routine basis, the child is taken to the bathroom for a "quick check" every 30 minutes and data is recorded on each occasion.

* Over a period of 1 or 2 weeks, patterns of data begin to emerge.
  1. Is the child dry for significant periods of time?
  2. Is there some regularity in his wetting/soiling?
  3. Does the child show any indication that he/she is aware of being wet/soiled?
  4. Does the child pause while wetting/soiling?

* If the answer to all of these questions is no, it may not be time to toilet train the child.

* During this trial period, assess other aspects of the process of toilet training.
  1. Is the child beginning to pick up on the routine involved?
  2. Does the child have dressing skills?
  3. Are there any fears associated with the process of toileting?
  4. What is the child's attention span?

It may be beneficial to develop a task analysis of the steps of toileting. This can provide a picture of all the skills needed, and also let us you see where specific trouble areas may be. The task analysis can be very general or very specific, including everything from entering the bathroom, to flushing the toilet and leaving the bathroom.

Physical Environment-

When beginning the toilet training of a child with autism, you want to help the child learn that this set of behaviors (elimination) is associated with a particular place (the toilet). Moving all changing, cleaning, and toileting-related dressing to this setting helps the child realize the purpose of this room.

A second goal for creating clear physical structure to assist in toilet training is to create an environment that is secure and not over-stimulating. The child will be calmer and more responsive with good physical support for his body. Think about adding foot support, side rails, or other physical supports. Think also about the plumbing noises and echoes of many bathrooms. Many children appreciate soft music playing or the addition sound-absorbent materials.

Using Visual Supports-

For the autistic child, it may be helpful to provide pictures to demonstrate the sequence of events that occur surrounding toilet training. At the most basic level, a transition object may be used to let the child know that the toilet routine is beginning. An object that is associated with toileting may be given to the child to serve as the transition object that takes the child to the correct location. Once the transition to the toilet area has been made, it is important to continue to visually support each step of the toileting routine. We need to let the child know each step he is to accomplish, when the sequence will be finished, and what will happen when the sequence is finished. Again, using an object sequence, a picture sequence, or a written list are all ways to communicate this information to the child.

Trouble Shooting-

Once you have begun the process, you may notice areas that are more challenging. Below are some common solutions.

If you child resists sitting on the toilet:
  • allow them to sit on the toilet without removing clothes
  • allow to sit with toilet covered (cardboard under the seat, gradually cutting larger hole, or towel under the seat, gradually removed)
  • use potty seat on the floor rather than up high
  • take turns sitting, or use doll for model
  • sit together
  • add physical support
  • help him understand how long to sit (sing potty song, length of 1 song on tape player, set timer 1 minute, etc.)
  • as he gradually begins to tolerate sitting, provide with entertainment

If your child is afraid of flushing:
  • don't flush until there is something to flush
  • start flush with child away from toilet
  • give advance warning of flush
  • allow him to flush

Only want to flush:
  • physically cover toilet handle to remove from sight
  • give something else to hold and keep them busy
  • use visual sequence to show when to flush (after replacing clothing, for example)
  • when time to flush, give child a sticker that matches to a sticker on toilet handle

Plays in the water:
  • give him a toy as distraction
  • use a padded lap desk while seated
  • cover the seat until ready to use
  • put a visual cue of where to stand

Plays with toilet paper:
  • remove it
  • roll out amount ahead of time
  • give visual cue for how much

Resists being cleaned:
  • try different materials (wet wipes, cloth, sponge)
  • consider temperature of above material
  • take turns with doll

Bad aim:
  • supply a "target" in the water, such as a Cheerio
  • larger target as toilet insert (contact papered or laminated cardboard with target drawn on it), gradually moved down
  • add food coloring in the water to draw attention

No comments:

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

Click here to read the full article…

Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes.

Click here to read the full article...

Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

Click here to read the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content