5 Tips for Potty Training A Child on the Autism Spectrum

We hear from parents all the time just how difficult potty training can be. We have a few tips for overcoming common challenges when potty training a child with autism spectrum disorder:

  1. A Picture Says a Thousand Words
    Use clear and simple pictures (visuals). Less words, such as, “Go Potty,” are better to help your child understand what is expected.
  2. Oops! I had an accident!
    Accidents happen. It’s ok! Refrain from discussing, pleading, teasing, or fussing. Instead, take your child to the bathroom, have them sit on the toilet, then clean up the accident with no discussion. Have your child help clean up. Provide a lot of attention and praise for use and/or attempts to use the toilet, not the accident.
  3. Yay! I Peed in the Potty!
    What does your child like? Activities? Toys? Candy? Find what motivates your child and pick 2 of these to use for potty training. Only provide those activities and/or treats when your child has a toileting success. Provide those activities and/or treats immediately after the child has successfully peed or pooped in the toilet.
  4. Tell Me What You Need
    Teach your child a way to communicate the need to use the bathroom. You can teach them the sign for bathroom, how to exchange a picture for bathroom, or to say, “Go” when he/she has to use the bathroom. Provide activities and/or treats immediately for attempts to communicate the need to use the bathroom, in addition to taking them to the bathroom.
  5. Can I Get a Doctor in Here?
    Sometimes we need professional assistance with toilet training. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with experience in intensive toilet training or a physician, if toilet training problems continue or you suspect your child may need additional support.

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