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Do you have tips for toilet training a young child with Asperger’s?

Question

Do you have tips for toilet training a young child with Asperger’s?

Answer

Toilet training your child with Asperger’s will most likely be difficult for you as a parent. If you have potty trained an older child, you will find this experience likely to be very different. Methods that work with some children are typically based on a child’s desire to please the parent and often based on a reward system. Many parents have relied heavily on ‘the M&M method’ or the ‘shoot the Cheerios in the bowl’ trick. These are not typically effective with children with Asperger’s, as children with Asperger’s don’t tend to have the same desire to please and have a more difficult time changing behaviors.

With children with Asperger’s, it can be effective to try to change only one behavior at a time. Concentrate on teaching a child to either pee or poop in the potty, not both at the same time. Watch your child to see if you see signs that your child is aware of needing to use the toilet. If he is aware of his need, it is time to start training.

Many parents find Social Stories helpful during potty training. These are short, pictorial guides designed to storyboard the potty process. Talking through these with your child can help familiarize him with the process of using the toilet. These stories should contain information about feeling the need to use the potty through flushing the toilet and washing your hands. You will need to repeat these Social Stories often, and understand that the potty training process take some time.

Establish a routine around using the potty for your child. This will help the child with Asperger’s feel more comfortable with the toilet training process. Look to see if your child has any fears about using the potty that need to be addressed. Look to see if your child has a degree of comfort and ability in manipulating his own clothing. Can he pull down his own pants? Can he work the button or snap on his pants? If he is comfortable with these things, use them in helping him establish his potty routine.

Maria Wheeler has created a good book on toilet training called, “Toilet Training for Individuals with Autism & Related Disorders.” This comprehensive toilet training guide contains two hundred toilet training tips and over forty case studies with solutions. Reading this book will give you not only helpful tips, but also some real life examples of how those tips worked for people.

The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete
Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed
With Aspergers Syndrome.

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