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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a three year old son, Jackson, with mild autism. He's pretty verbal, and high-functioning. I'm looking to start potty training/learning with him, but I'm not sure where to start. He's my first child, BTW, and I'd most likely be teaching 2 yr old little sister at the same time.

I don't know how ready he is, to be honest. He's kinda lazy, and doesn't make a lot of effort to communicate. And it doesn't bother him at all to stay in a soggy or dirty diaper. If I ask him if he's got a poopy diaper, he always responds "No." But after we change a dirty diaper, we "Go put the poopies in the potty" and he'll come and help dump the solids in the toilet, close the lid, flush it, and wash his hands. He knows something about the toilet, but I can never tell what.

I'm also not sure if this is a good time to start, but can't figure that any other time would be better. I'm due to have a baby anytime in the next eleven days or so, and DH will be taking three weeks off to help. DH doesn't want to "Waste his vacation"
trying to start potty training. Jackson will also be starting ESY tomorrow. I'd like to start now, while the weather is decent and the kids can just run around outside in undies and kind of get a feel as what's going on in their little bodies.

Anyway, aside from the little rant
I was wondering if anyone has any advice or methods that worked really well for them? I'm not expecting this to be a short or an easy road, by any means. But I just don't know where to start. Anyone have some good resources?

TIA,
Micki
 

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I have no personal experience but have been told by other moms that training SN kids with sensory issues (I assume your son has them?) and ASD can take longer because they have difficulty sensing that their bladders and bowels are full. It's a neurological thing. Anyway, they take a lot longer to train and train later, from what other moms have told me (my ds is 17 mos. old, has SID and is being evaluated for ASD in august), so 3 weeks probably won't cut it, ESPECIALLY given the fact that a new baby is due to arrive soon.

Conventional wisdom from Dr. Sears, et al, says that one of the worst times to initiate potty training is right before or after the arrival of a new baby, so I would really rethink that idea, as tiring as it is to have 3 in diapers.

Sorry if I wasn't much help, good luck to you and congratulations on your upcoming new arrival!
 

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My kids have special needs, including autism. There are books you can buy about potty training and special needs (check out Future Horizons publications). If you haven't read up on autism yet, that may be a good place to start since you can't really help with an issue until you understand the issue.

I say we lucked out with my oldest boy because he trained before he was 4, even with sensory issues and autism issues, but we also laid a lot of groundwork. When he turned 3, we started with the potty storybooks and potty videos and a potty doll. We did lots of modeling and used a picture schedule to help him understand. Still, we didn't push it because he obviously wasn't ready yet. A few more months, a little more therapy to address sensory issues, a bit more proficiency with communication, and then he started.

Do you know what is holding your son back? If it's a lack of familiarity, you can start making it familiar. If it's sensory issues, that may need to be addressed before he can feel when he has to go or has gone (it could be that he doesn't feel a dirty diaper). My daughter has motor planning issues, so that was a hurdle she had to overcome (still working on it at age 4). Also, many kids with autism have low muscle tone which can make the process difficult. Some people have luck with ABA, but I think that is if the behavior truly is a behavior issue as opposed to one of the reasons I listed above.

Also want to agree with the pp about maybe waiting. Lots of kids experience regression when a new baby arrives, regardless of whether or not they have special needs. So any success your son achieves now could well be lost when the new baby comes, which will mean starting over and frustration for you both.
 

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Abi has sensory issues that were worse when she was younger. Even though she was physically ready very early on, she was not emotionally ready for the responsibility until much later. She potty trained at 3.8 years old, and at 4.5 years old still has an accident on average once a week.

I think it's a good idea to expose him to the process of using the toilet, talk to him about it, and so on. But don't expect anything until he shows interest. There's this book called something like Potty Training in a Day. It was designed for developmentally delayed adults and children, and is supposed to be pretty good for that population as well as the typical potty training toddler. I tried it and it didn't work for Abi, but I wanted to at least let you know about the book.

With a new baby coming, I would say hold off and wait. A baby is going to totally change the dynamics of the home and it will take him awhile to adjust. Even if he did potty learn, he will probably un-learn once the baby comes. Abi was using the potty on and off but once Nitara was born that totally went away for about 6 mos.
 

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do you do any sort of ec'ing? With Ian, bottomless pt'ing, intensively for about one week or so, did the trick for the most part. There was a week or two directly after bottomless training that he thought that if *anything* was on-dipe, undies, whatever, if clothes were on, then he was to pee in them. It took about 3-4 weeks total of getting him to learn when his bladder was full, what a wet dipe felt like, and then figuring to use the potty when he felt a full bladder and not a wet diaper. After all that sunk in for him, he was good to go....at 33 mos old. He's 3.9 yo now and still can't do all nights, but day is no problem. Prior to going bottomless, we always encouraged but never forced potty going and he was allowed to watch us for modeling purposes.
 

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I have a son that was diagnosed with Autism at 3yrs and he's now 7 1/2yrs. He started peeing on the potty at 1 1/2yrs and has continued to do so during the day, butevery once in a while he'll have a streak of wetting the bed (which I think has to do with him drinking juice-so I try not to give him any). Also he still has #2 accidents--sometimes everyday (even more than once) and then he'll seem to have a week or so more recently of no accidents, then back to having accidents. It's very frustrating because I don't know why. I think teaching them as soon as possible and to keep trying is the best thing you can do. Also when he was 1 and 2 I used to use disposie pull-ups (i wasn't well educated about cloth at that point
) I would notice whenever he had a pull up on he would pee and poop in it, but when he was in underwear he wouldn't pee in them. It's like he knew diapers were for peeing in. I have found with him that there's no in between learning...either you always pee and poop in a diaper or you don't. He didn't understand..this diaper was only for accidents :LOL This year Ronny is in a new school and there wonderful...they said they've been trying real hard to take him to the potty more often to "catch" him before he has an accident. And I find if i force him (i know it seems harsh but it seems like if I don't he'll have an accident) to go right when he gets home from school he'll go and then no more accidents that night. He'll look at me and say "no" and try to walk away from the bathroom and i tell him "no, ronny go potty" and he almost always goes. My youngest son just turned 1yr old and I've been EC'ing him for 4 months. I agree you should try and keep him naked or in underwear as much as possible and try to be persistant....now i don't mean have a war with him, but if he's willing a little you should try. Maybe since your having a new baby...take it slow, but definately go with underwear. Even though Ronny acted like he didn't care to be in wet or dirty underwear in thew beggining, now he'll go to the bathroom and take off the dirty underwear and leave them on the floor and pull up his pants and go..So obviously he doesn't like it :LOL Be patient..it'll happen. And take it easy you have alot to deal with especially with a new baby on the way. BTW Congrats!
Good Luck-its not easy!

RayRay
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thank you so much for all your input! You know how things just get so overwhelming sometimes that you just can't sort through them? It helps so much to talk about it


I think we're going to hold off on the hard core training right now, but I still want to take another step in the direction of teaching Jackson and DD, Evie, about body functions and such.

Right now, we have a very open door policy in the bathroom. I leave the door open when I use it, and the kids come and go as they please. Trying to set a good example, LOL. Both kids know the order of things as well, and will "coach" me through it. "Okay, Mama. Flush." or "Wash hands" etc. I've been able to convince Evie to sit on the potty chair naked before baths, but Jackson's not too sure yet. I'll just keep trying and hope that DH will follow suit. My next argument with DH about getting his support and help through this is that I don't have all the right equipment to teach Jackson about the potty


I don't know if DH will do the undies thing outside, but I'm going to, even if it is a big hassle with a newborn. I'm still not going to push the potty thing, but I want them to make the connection between diapers and how they get dirty/wet.

I think we're cd'ing the new baby, and I have a whole set of diapers for Evie, so that may be starting soon as well and I hope it will help. With Jackson, I'm afraid to switch him to cloth, and introduce more potty habits at the same time because I'm a little worried it will be too much change.

Anyway, we're taking baby steps towards potty training now, and I feel much more comfortable with it after discussing it with you. Thanks again!
 

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my mom teaches autistic kids and kids with aspergers, she has potty trained a lot of 1rst graders and kindergartners, she told me that what helps more than anything else is when the perents will put the kids in underwear and not pullups cuz the children can't tell that they wet themselfs if they are in diapers or pull ups
 
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