Guide to Potty Training an Autistic Child

by beagooddad on April 24, 2009

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Someone emailed BeAGoodMom the other day asking for advice on potty training someone with autism. Both of us have written quite a few posts on the potty training our son with autism on our blogs and I decided to write a post linking to all our information about potty training a child with autism.

A couple notes that aren’t really covered in these posts below.

Don’t rush it. Don’t make it a battle. If I could do it all over again, I would have started much later and stayed much, much, much calmer. Some of the moments that I am most disappointed in myself as a father happened because we started too early and I let my self get angry and frustrated. I would give anything to have those moments back.

Take the entire experience as a fun journey. Use it as an opportunity to learn to talk calmly to your child with autism and party like a rock star when (s)he has success. Spend more time comforting your child than lecturing or disciplining.

And don’t buy new furniture or carpet until it is all over.

Don’t worry about how long it takes. Pookie started to understand peeing in the toilet at around 4 1/4 years old and didn’t get the pooping part until he was nearly 5. Learning to hold it overnight took even longer.

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The BeAGoodDad (and Mom) Guide to Potty Training an Autistic Child





Wow. I can’t believe we talked so much about pee and poop during that summer and fall.

I know potty training is a very serious thing for parents of autistic children because there is real pressure from schools and day care about how much they will help or even if they will. And let’s face it, nobody wants to be changing diapers/pullups for 5 years or more.

But remember, potty training is not really a skill that is a building block for other skills. When your kid is 18 is it going to make any difference if it took him 2 year, 5 years, or 10 years to learn how to use the toilet? Is it going to change how good they are at using a toilet when they are an adult?

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