HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

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Urinating In All The Wrong Places

Question

My son is peeing in corners …on his lounge chair …on his Frisbee (toys). He suffers from ASD, ODD, ADD, ADHD, SPD, ANXIETY NOS. Does anyone else’s child do this?? If so, how have you got them to stop?????? We need help ASAP!!

Answer

In summary, children who pee in all the wrong places do so because (a) they can, (b) it brings them a sense of pleasure, and (c) it gives them a sense of control …let me explain:

About 25% of kids can be strong-willed, and they can find unique ways to "express their will" – and peeing on toys might be an expression of dominance, anger, or mastery (e.g., “look what I can do”). Your son’s emotional state when he pees on toys will help lead you to the underlying issue, (e.g., anger, dominance, mastery).

Usually this kind of behavior is seen when an ASD youngster is feeling stressed, unfairly disciplined, overlooked, or over-controlled. It seems to be a kind of secretive rebellion, a way of "marking territory." Regardless, you obviously want to redirect this behavior immediately so he doesn't start falling back on it whenever he's angry, stressed, or seeking some form of control over his environment.

What can you do? Here are some tips:

1. Use a “praise and rewards” system. You want your statement, ''You remembered to use the potty every time today! Great Job!'' to feel so good to hear that he'll want to hear it again every day. Also, you will get better cooperation if you use positive discipline in general, which is even more important for your child, in case he is rebelling against your discipline practices.

2. Do the “clean-up” together. Say, "Oops, did you pee here? Come on, let's get this cleaned up." Stay calm, hand him the paper towels, and have him help.

3. Consider play therapy. You may want to initiate a play session with his stuffed animals, and have one of them pee all over the house. Make it funny. If you get him laughing, you'll know you're on the right track. You might even have one stuffed animal you're holding ask the one your child is holding, "Why is he doing that?!" You might be surprised at the answer. Your son’s answer will give you some clue as to his motivation for pursuing this bad habit.

4. Consider a reward chart. Some therapists do not recommend reward charts in general, because they get children focused on the external reward, rather than on the rewarding feelings of "doing the right thing." More importantly, if you don't get to the feelings underneath that are causing your child to pee in all the wrong places, it won't work! However, if you do give him help with those feelings, a reward chart could be helpful as an additional incentive to help him break this habit. To try this, every time your child pees in the toilet, he gets a star, and a certain number of stars get him something he really wants – within a few days. Make sure the stars seem really valuable to him. In fact, you might want to launch this by giving him a small reward that he values (e.g., a snack, a small piece of candy) every single time he pees in the toilet. This may seem like overkill, but you need to make the toilet MUCH more rewarding than the lounge chair.

5. Give your child permission to pee outside if he wants. Tell him the rule is that people are allowed to pee outside sometimes, but only over there behind the shed where no one can see and it won't hurt any flowers. That way he will be able to have the satisfaction he's getting from this behavior, but in a more appropriate way.

6. Help your child with whatever feelings are driving him. Your child won’t be able to explain what feelings are driving him. Your job is to help him vent any feelings of fear or anger that are causing him to act-out. The best way to do that is to notice when he is close to a meltdown, and then to "love" him through it.

7. Be patient as he learns to restrain his “impulsivity” (“Hey, peeing right here - right now - sounds like fun”). Aspergers kids can be very impulsive, and it takes a little practice to overcome this “not-so-good” trait.

8. Increase his visits to the bathroom to make it less likely that he'll find himself with a full bladder and feel tempted. Make rules about bathroom habits: "The rule is that we use the bathroom before we go to bed, before and after a snack, after dinner, etc." When he doesn't like the rule, empathize: "I know, you don't want to go right now, but that's the rule. We all go right after meals." Externalizing the rule reduces the chance of a power-struggle between the two of you. Many Aspergers kids are very attached to rules and will follow them as long as they don't feel bossed around.

9. Just in case he's rebelling against what feels like too much control, give him fairly constant choices. Don't overwhelm him with ten choices at a time, just let him choose, whenever it would be ok for him to decide between two things.

10. Make it clear that "all people pee in the toilet" – but don't get into a struggle with your child about this. You can't win it, because he can always continue the behavior, and it will just require that you “up the ante” to a level of punishment that would be clearly inappropriate. The truth is that improving your relationship with him will have more impact on eradicating this behavior than any kind of punishment you could devise, and punishment always undermines your relationship.

11. Most young kids are feeling their testosterone. They need opportunities to wrestle, play superhero, and demonstrate their prowess in any way they can. This is totally age-appropriate, including when he brags to you that he is stronger than Superman. (Your response to that? "Wow!") Make sure he has plenty of opportunities to feel powerful, so he doesn't need to use his territory-marking strategy.

12. Shower him with unrequested love, appreciation and attention. Setting aside a regular daily time just to spend with your child can be challenging, but that may be the most important action you can take. You want him to feel so connected to you that he just can't bring himself to do something that he knows displeases you.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums in Aspergers Children

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, we have delt with this like you would not believe. My 5 year old son has been very difficult to completely potty train and goes through periods where he will pee on floors, walls, his dresser, etc. I believe it is a total control thing with him and most often happens once we are having lots of trouble in other areas and the punishments and time outs are frequent. This article show many suggestions for praise and rewards, etc. Though rewards motivate my son praise does nothing for him. He shys away from it in fact. Oh, and after much diligence on my part, we just recently received a diagnosis for ADHD and possible (lol) Autism (Asperger) spectrum. Further testing recommended for once he turns 6.

Anonymous said...

OH MY our 5 yr old son who is under eval for asd has yet to be completely potty trained.he pees his pants all the time and on the floor too. He does not care. HE doesnt even case to stay wet. IDK what to do with him. NOTHING we have tried has helped

Anonymous said...

My son is 6 and was diagnosed wiyh aspergers wen he was 3. We had a very hard time potty trainning him. He knew that he was supposed to pee in the potty but refused to do it. He would pee in his pants, on floors, one time he peed on his father. Finally after about a yeat and a half of consistent trainning and taking him to potty ever 30 minutes, he finally started using the potty. My advice is hang in there, stay consistent, and be patient and he will start using the potty.

Anonymous said...

We have tried everything we could think of. We've tried talking to him about why he did it and why it was wrong. We've gotten angry. We've taken things away. We've tried making him take responsibility for his actions and help clean up the mess. Nothing worked for more than a day or two. Then one day it stopped as quickly as it had started, until these past few weeks. It had probably been a couple of months since he had last done it. Now when you ask him why he did it he says "I guess I didn't make it to the potty in time."

Anonymous said...

Please don't respond harshly to your son in response to this. He is not peeing all over just to be ornery.Something clearly is not right inside him, and he is reacting to that.Just stay calm and say "Oops, you had an accident. Let's clean this up together. Here's a towel for you to clean the floor." Some patience, having him help clean up, and some detective work on what could be upsetting him should get him back to normal. I promise that a child who mastered potty training so early is not likely to have accidents for long.

Anonymous said...

My son keeps peeing and pooping all over the house too! ...he absolutely refuses to use the little potty or the big potty, even if i put pants on him he takes them off and then rips off his diaper and goes where he stands. sometimes he goes on the couch or the bed and then tries to play in it. I'm getting so fed up.

Anonymous said...

Our son is potty trained just after we got his gut healed. His is gluten and dairy free and low sugar which prevents yeast flare ups in his GI track. Look into yeast and gut healing. Alot of his ADHD symptoms got much better, good luck!

Anonymous said...

My 9 year old son has Aspergers. This urinating thing was never an issue w/ him. He potty trained normally... i guess it could go either way.

Anonymous said...

My son did this too. Peed in my crocks, in corner in playroom, in toy box....on and on. Just had to keep pointing it out, and showing my frustration to him and expain how dirty it was. Seemed like it was a fase he went thru. He is now 11, this was several years ago, he was prob age 4 or so. He even got ahold of a purple pill of mine that looked like a skittle, (for Bladder infect) peed bright orange/yellow on the carpet, stained it. He still pees outside....all the time.
40 minutes ago · Like

Anonymous said...

We caught our son after he peed in his brothers closet after he was angry about the way he played a game.
Today we found he peed in the craft room on paper. He just turned 9 and this currently taking 3 Prozac daily. I will bring this up to his Dr. to see what we can do.

Roger Jackson said...

I THINK SOME. SORT OF CORPORAL PUNISHMENT IS IN ORDER FOR A SIX YEAR OLD. THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING. MAKE IT ROUGH FOR THEM TO COVER IT UP. SPIT SHINE HOUSE

Unknown said...

My son is 9 and we have recently caught him peeing in various corners of our house (his closet, next to his bed,the playroom, behind our sofa, etc.) Very frustrating and confusing considering he has never displayed this type of behavior until this year. He is ADHD, is very impulsive, has to be corrected often and the start to his school year has been difficult to say the least. At first he blamed peeing in his closet & bedroom floor on being afraid of the dark & monsters, but now we've caught him doing it in the light of day and in other areas of our home. We started out being sympathetic and understanding, moved onto making him clean it up & explaining that this behavior will not be tolerated and have now given punishments as well... It's not working! Although he clearly feels bad afterwards, I think the urinating is connected to underlying anger and frustration and a need for control of his world. I think he views himself as a "bad child" because he is in trouble so often and this is almost his way of solidifying that label. I also believe it is his way of challenging authority and seeing how far he'll be allowed to go with it as he seems to be taking greater risks in where he chooses to urinate. For our parts, I think he needs more positive reinforcement and less negative reactions to his poor and impulsive choices, but that is very tough to do at times. I also think he needs a positive way of releasing his frustrations both verbally and physically and he could also use a few hard core chores around the house to instill a little pride in the roof over his head and the walls around him that keep his safe, warm and dry.

QUEENIED said...

i agree
, i just got a phone call from the gym teacher at school and apparently my 11yr old has been urinating in the corner in the bathrooms. He has just started jr high, and has an IA with him all day.ughs im embarrased for him....calling him square....ughs poor kid has no social skills as it is,im feeling lil helpless and so sad for him...he just came home and tried to exlplain how sorry but that he was mad at kids touching a square on his back and calling him a square...ughs he did apologise to custodian and said he Never do again

Mickey said...

I'm so glad that I'm not the only parent out there dealing with this issue. My step son is 6 and has ADHD. He is on two medications. My husband and I have no control over his medications (long story). I'm unsure if he is doing this behavior at his mom's house. We have had lots of behavioral issues with him. He rips new clothes and breaks toys. So frustrating! I am at a loss on how to discipline or deal with these issues. I have tried everything. Now today I found a clothes under his bed that smelled of pee. This isn't the first time. He has peed on his sisters blankets. The answer we get is because I was mad at her. I feel so lost about this issue.

Josh said...

I can't believe how pampering and weak all this is. That's why they are such brats, because of people like this telling you to be loving to them when they are peeing all over your house!! Every child HAS to be taught right and wrong and inappropriate behaviour should have consequences. No wonder they are all out of control domineering violent sneaky brats.

Chris Simmons said...

I was not diagnosed ASD untill adulthood but remember haveing this problem as well.
I however was doing it not in anger or retaliation but I was to envolved and concentrated on an activity "putting together a model car for instance" rather than takeing the time to go to the restroom I simply wized it out in a corner. I had already worked it out in my head that I would blame it on the dog if caught. I just didnt want to take the time to go to the restroom and leave my activity.

rebeccaalderman2011 said...

To Roger Jackson and Josh --

Corporal punishment for "normal" kids in this instance may be a better means of dealing with that, but with autism-spectrum children things are different. Depending on the degree, they will do whatever it is that is negative to spite you or react to stressful situations. In short, with too much strict discipline, you may as well be shooting yourself in the foot. I know this for a fact because I was really strict with my son until a year or so ago, thinking this worked better than being "soft" but with Autism-spectrum kids, this can be a negative effect. Honey does get more flies than vinegar in this case and positive reinforcement does get better response for Autistic kids than spankings, shaming, and other forms of corporal punishment.

Understand?

My son is 12 and has recently begun this behavior. I need to discuss this with his psychiatrist to see what she thinks.

Beth Johnson said...

Do u have children with disabilities?? They are not brats!!

Daniel Wilcox said...

I love these answers ..... they are perfect.... for healthy children ..... do they know what Aspergers is ?????? Talking, explaining, disciplining, and my personal favorite playing with them is COMPLETELY and UTTERLY USELESS. Do I sound bitter ?? 34 years and counting ... furniture destroyed, carpets destroyed (dont ask about what happens every 28 days), plates and cutlery missing, garbage found in hidden places, loss of every friend we ever knew (over time), countless police visits stemming from park excursions on days when she decides to visit the children naked. We have tried EVERYTHING and I MEAN EVERYTHING to prevent this from happening. To be honest ... if I knew then what I know now and I wasnt pushing 50 .... I would have killed her ... 25 yrs in jail (WORST CASE) would be a cake walk compared to what we've been living through. I know I sound like an uncaring monster but Im not..... im just very very very tired of living like this .... we have tried to get her into a home in the last few years but it turns out the Govt have been closing them down ....gee I wonder why ??? As the years roll by its been getting worse and worse and worse ..... it will NEVER improve ... dont delude yourself. I came here looking for some answers that might help us ..... but not surprisingly didnt find any. My apoligies for sounding so awful but venting to you all is all I can do to maintain my sanity .........

Brandy Crawford said...

Obviously you do not have a special needs child. If you do you would probably be in jail for abuse.

Niecey said...

I think it's disgusting the way some people have reacted to people trying to find some help I my self have a son that dose this and it's slowly getting better and every child dose it for different reasons my son has adhd spd autism and asperges I've never found out the reason why he's done it to this day and he still dose it every so often but it's not everyday anymore and he try's to clean it up when he doses all I know is that he had very strong urges to do which he can't control so take this into consideration before judging any child or mother on how they act to this issue my son is 10 years old and is not s brat or spoilt at all

Nikki C-4 said...

Ha! My 4 yr old son has been like this since he turned 1! He's strong willed alright! On everything! He yells at us more than we yell at him. Time out never worked unless I sat in the corner with him and kept one hand on his back to make sure he didn't run off before his time was done. We tried removing privlidges (because we made the grave mistake all 1st time parents do: we showered him with everything we could, spoiling the cadoodles out of him), we even resorted to spanking (I dread the very mention of it but alas, we went down the list of methods over the course of a year to no avail!). Still, the little rascal continues to act out even with a red rump from a good thwack well deserved for man handling his baby brother... He has become aggressive, invasive, and has even used language I, myself, have not used (ei. Explicit language such as calling mom a "b" and dad an "a" or a "c" sucker....). I thought it was jealousy since the twins took alot of our time but we continued to treat him the same as we always had and dedicated time just for him... And still he continued. He was caught urinating in the twins' nursery twice when the bathroom was literally 3 feet behind him and free. All he could say was that he was sorry but, he doesn't like the loud noise (of the flush I assume) which is why he never flushes, pees on the floor, toilet, and seat, and doesn't wash his hands (I had to hold him while dad washed his hands because he fought us that hard)... This is every single day for us... Plus 6 month old twins who are teething... Plus grandpa who has Alzheimer's and diabetes.... Fun times... The 4 yr old is still the hardest part of our day...

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