by Marcia Hinds – Megan and Ryan’s Mom
Toilet training is a challenge for any child, but when your kid has autism it seems like it may never happen. It is a good thing I had Megan first or I might not have known what to do with Ryan. I used the same methods to potty train my son as I had with my daughter. Toilet training is something all parents struggle with. This is especially true when your child is on the spectrum. Those children don’t give us the same signs they are ready that “typical” children do. I simply woke up one day and decided this was the day we would start. Ryan was three and a half.
- First we read books together and watched videos about “the potty” long before we ever started the formal training. When Ryan never hinted that he was ready to be toilet trained like Megan had.
- We jumped in the car and went to Target. I made a big deal out of picking out stickers. One kind of sticker was for “Pee Pee” and one for “Poopie.” We also picked out “big boy” underpants with things he liked on them. He acted uninterested in all of this hoopla and seemed oblivious to all my actions. He really wasn’t, he just couldn’t show me yet that he cared.
- I taped a piece of construction paper on the wall of the bathroom with masking tape (nothing fancy). This was for putting the stickers on when he used the toilet. I worried that he might never do that. But I didn’t know what else to do.
- We stayed home for two days. Let me emphasize this. You need to stay home!!! I put him in the underpants. (I didn’t use pull-ups since our kids hate the feeling of being wet.) We continued to read potty books and talk about peeing on the toilet. We talked about how proud Grandma would be if he peed in the toilet. My needs reminded me to put him on the toilet. I sat him on the potty after he watched me and every time I used the bathroom.
- The first time he did it, we danced around the house, called Dad, and were singing with delight this stupid song that our family always sings when something great happens. Within two days, he was trained for daytime.
- I didn’t even attempt nighttime until he woke up dry. That’s when I yanked off the diaper and put him on the toilet. If you wait for signs, it may never happen. Part of the problem is our kids don’t know how to show you that they care. But they do. I never knew if he understood anything I said because he never showed me he was listening by looking at me or some other form of nonverbal communication. This affects language development also. Sometimes parents stop talking to their kids because they get no feedback, a smile or clue they are hearing us. The hardest thing I ever did was to keep talking to a kid that was unresponsive. It wasn’t until he was older that I realized he was listening, but hadn’t yet learned how to respond or show me he was listening.
NOTE FROM MARCIA HINDS – Megan and Ryan’s mom:
Ryan became an aerospace engineer, because he received proper medical treatment combined with behavioral, and educational interventions. To preview my book, “I Know You’re In There – winning our war against autism”go to Amazon or my website www.autism-and-treatment.com
Contact info for Marcia:
Phone: 805 497-8202 Email: For help finding a doctor firstname.lastname@example.org
There is more info to help on my website.