Potty Training for Child with Autism

My son with autism is 9.5 years old and is bladder trained with the exception of occasional (once in 8-12 weeks)bed-wetting. He has still not achieved bowel continence, although we have progressed from severe aversion at sitting on toilet to peacefully sitting 2-5 minutes 3-4 times daily. He passes gas when seated on toilet and we praise that as a step toward success as we have other small successes along the way. He is very limited with respect to expressive speech, but can say "potty" and does self-initiate voiding approximately 25% of the time at home. We have been working on this literally for years now and I am beginning to wonder if there is more we should do or if only patience is required. I am receiving pressure from school staff to start using pull-ups or implement some kind of every 30 minute routine which I fear will compromise our gains by making him aversive to toileting. I would welcome any wisdom/experience that you can share. Thanks, Rhonda

Comments for Potty Training for Child with Autism

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 08, 2010
Potty Training
by: Dana

Thank you for your question and going to my website. One suggestion I have is to now only reinforce your son if he has a bowel movement on the toilet. It is great that you have been reinforcing your son to sit on it and void, but he could have gotten too use to being rewarded for just that. So why have the bowel movement if he already got the reward. Do you understand? I would also make the reinforcer something bigger then you already have used. It should be something he only gets if he has a bowel movement on the toilet. If your son truly understand the reward system he should get it.

I will say, having a bm on the toilet takes much more time, You also could try reinforcing for voiding, but it not be as big as the one for having a bm. You could use stickers or a little edible for voiding and a bigger one for bm. It usually is all about motivation. Your son should know what he will get if he succeeds. Eventually you will be able to fade out the reinforcers, but for now they should be whatever will motivate him to do. I hope my suggestions help. Any other questions, please continue to ask. Dana

I agree with your thought about not going to a strict schedule. Once a child starts going on their own, you want the initiations to continue spontaneously. Try it for a few weeks and see what happens. Please let me know if it worked or not.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Answers to Your Questions.