Be it for typical kids or kids with disorders; potty training is a tough task. Autistic children have developmental delays, because of which they usually face more difficulties than normal kids during the process of toilet training, taking longer than usual.
Often, autistics also have trouble breaking their long-term routine of using a diaper. Plus, because of their limited verbal abilities, they face a challenge when it comes to toilet training and can develop anxiety around toileting.
Here are a few strategies that can train your child with special needs to be self-sufficient when it comes to their toilet needs.
Social stories can come in handy when it comes to toilet training challenge. Write a social story using words and pictures for your child’s toilet training and make them practice it before going to someone else’s house. This way, your child will know what to do whenever they need to go.
Autistic children are mostly visual learners; hence you can use visual cues and prompts to make them understand the process. Maybe create visual support or a schedule that depicts the steps in using the toilet. Stick the schedule on a wall close to the toilet and remind them of the steps whenever it’s time.
Break down steps
Break down the steps of the process of going to the toilet into smaller parts. Teach each part to your child step by step, making it easier for them to catch up. For instance, ‘pull pants down’, ‘sit on the toilet’, ‘Wipe with toilet paper’, ‘Flush’, and ‘Wash hands’.
Don’t delay the underwear
Convert your child into using underwear as soon as their time comes. Diapers can soak up pee quickly, making it difficult for the child to realize that they have urinated. Putting them in underwear will give them an idea of toilet accidents and discomfort.
When your autistic child goes through an accident, don’t fuss over it or tease them; it will only make the child stress out more. You can politely remind them that they are supposed to use the toilet next time they feel like they need to go.
Encouragement and rewards
Determine the activities/toys/treats that motivate your child. Then use them as rewards when your child successfully uses the toilet, and keep them only for toilet successes. Once your child realizes this, they will work harder to use the toilet successfully. Keep praising them as they learn each step of the toilet training process.
The transformation from diaper to using a toilet is a very lengthy process and requires a lot of patience. However, once you get it right, the payoff reward is worthwhile.