Potty training two preschoolers with special needs - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 2 Old 08-01-2013, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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I need help with potty training, please. We have four kids. The youngest are boys ages 3-1/2 and 5, both on the autism spectrum, cognitively challenged and speech delayed, with some serious behavioral issues due to in utero drug and alcohol exposure and trauma before they joined our family. My sons are fully dependent on diapers. I need tips for beginning to potty train them at home. Every single day is difficult to just live through because of their behaviors. I just don't know how I can add on potty training, yet it sure seems like it's time.


My 5-year-old is most severely affected. He doesn't understand wet, poopy, etc., and doesn't mind messy pants. If I don't catch a poopy diaper fast enough, he'll reach in and smear and/or taste it. My 3-year-old is starting to imitate us more in other ways around the house (like trying to blow his own nose or wipe his highchair tray), wants to please us, sometimes tells me when he needs a clean diaper, and has more vocabulary.


They attend the autism classroom part time at a special needs school. At school, the staff puts them on the toilet a couple times each afternoon. They have to sit for 1 or 2 minutes until the timer beeps. At school they have special seats on the toilet that have armrests and are deep and wide with back support. There is even a seatbelt, which my boys need. They don't expect them to go in the toilet, just to sit for now. When my 5-year-old is constipated, he resists the school potty.


At times I have started to put them on the potty at home. I have the exact same timer as school does, only I've used less time because they struggle to get off. It becomes so hard for me to manage one boy while putting the other on the toilet that I keep giving up. (School has a teacher and three parapros for 6-8 kids). I literally cannot turn my back on either one of my boys, so I don't know how I can get one on the potty. One does bizarre things like eating completely inappropriate and dangerous items, or he bolts outside the house as some autistic kids do. The other gets violent if he isn't getting attention. At any moment, he might take the hardest thing he can find and smash it against the window or throw something at the back of my head while I'm turned toward another child. (Of course our house is extremely childproofed and locked up tight, but they still find simple things and turn them into danger, or one of the older kids very occasionally forgets to lock a door.)


We pretty much stay gated into our living/dining room space most of the general play time for their safety.


I've considered keeping one or two toddler potty chairs in the living room as I did when my older, neurotypical kids were learning the potty, but I fear that my one son would be licking the pot while the other tried to break the window with the chair.


I'd love to hear all ideas. Even simple ones. I'm so intimidated about even trying this again.

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#2 of 2 Old 08-01-2013, 10:23 PM
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I don't know but I couldn't not reply. I had successfully potty trained two kids and figured I could do DS1 as well, he is ASD, I know it would take some extra time, but we'd get there. biglaugh.gifHis preschool aide potty trained him when he was 3.5. It took them about 6 weeks. I have no clue other then that fact he was willing to do stuff for them that I couldn't get him to do.




The potty chairs out didn't help us and if anything I think he was confused about the difference with them and the regular toilet. We did also have issues with DS2 doing things like licking the toilet bowl.... My kid is a freaking camel, he seriously doesn't need to pee but a few times a day. sometimes 4+ hours between times. The whole try and pee every 30 minutes was an epic failure because of that. He can not pee at all until he HAS to go. Part of it I know has to do with the fact that we can barely get food and fluids into him but even if he is on some type of fluid jag, he still doesn't pee that much. I think it is also part of the failure to recognize his body's signals. I have still yet to introduce the concept of doing anything other then toileting sitting down and I think it will be a long time before we can even go there. Getting on and off the toilet, having the fine motor control to help with pants up and down, and the initiation to tell anyone that he has to go are still struggles with us. It was almost like we had to catch when he finally had to go, and get him there before he realized what was going on. Tricky. Best wishes!

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