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Potty Training Children With Autism

By Author: Karen cole
Total Articles: 4

Upbringing a child is no easy task and one of the aspects that most parents dread is potty training. There are a lot of hits and misses, which can lead to a crazy mess due to which not all parents are able to handle it all that well. While it is quite difficult with normal children, it gets even tougher when you have to potty train an autistic child. Children with autism like their routines, which means they are often resistant to change. They may also have sensory issues and repetitive and ritualized behaviors that can make the transition of elimination in diapers to the potty quite difficult.
After all, they are moving from something comfortable or something known to an unfamiliar place, which means there are new sounds, sights and feelings they have to process. Suffice it to say, it can be very difficult to get them to switch. How to go about it? Here is a complete guide to potty training children with autism:
1- In order to start the potty training process, you have to create a consistent schedule so your child can get used to the concept of going to the toilet to eliminate. Initially, you may have to take your child to the bathroom after every 30 minutes or even 15 minutes, depending on the child’s age. When starting, it is best to check for a dry diaper as this can increase your chance of success.
2- The first step is to get your child to just sit on the toilet. When they do, make sure you praise them. If the child is resistant, you may have to take incremental steps like first going to the bathroom fully clothed, then sitting on the toilet with diaper on and then finally diaper off.
3- Gradually, increase the time your child has to sit on the potty. You can use a timer for this purpose, especially a visual one such as sand in an hour glass or one on your smartphone as this will allow them to understand better.
4- Take their favorite toy, book or any other activity along so your child can stay occupied while sitting on the potty. The purpose is to make this process a pleasant experience and not an anxious one. Think of what motivates your child and then use it for this process.
5- If your child is finding it difficult to comprehend the process or are unable to follow the steps, you can create a visual aid to help them. Make a chart that depicts each step visually like pants down, sitting on the toilet, toilet paper, flush the toilet, pants up and washing hands. On this visual schedule, you can also add their favorite toy at the end as this will give your child something to look forward to after they have gone to the washroom. They will be able to make a positive association with going to the bathroom.
Once your autistic child has gone to the bathroom successfully, make sure you throw a huge party in the bathroom and also give them rewards. By the same rule, if your child is unable to learn potty training in the first few tries, you shouldn’t be negative or become frustrated. If you do so, your child will become anxious and they may actually start withholding elimination thereby leading to even bigger issues. The key is to remember to be patient because your child is different than others and may follow a different pace. You need to figure out the best way they understand and use it for effective potty training.

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