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Autism and Toilet Training Made Easier

Practical tips and an overview on how to conduct toilet training for your child on the autism spectrum

Steps to conducting toilet training for your child with autism:

1) Record and Analyse data

  • When starting toilet training for children, conduct a baseline assessment for a week.

  • Check child’s diaper every 15 minutes.

  • Analyse data to check the specific timings which a child passes motion or urine.

  • The data collected will help to schedule a when toilet time should be

2) Teach child Visual/ verbal cue for “Toilet”

  • Use verbal cue or visual cue each time the child has to go to the toilet.

  • E.g. Before going to the toilet, show cue card and don't forget to say “toilet” and bring the child to the toilet immediately. For verbal learners, show the cue card and prompt child to say “I want toilet”. The verbal input “toilet” or “I want toilet” is crucial as we want to pair it with the visual image of the toilet so that the child will make verbal requests for it even after fading the verbal prompts.

3) Increase Fluid intake and No Diapers

  • Increasing fluid intake will increase the chances of the child needing to use the toilet. Therefore also creating opportunities to praise or reinforce the behavior of going to the toilet.

  • Also an important note to remove diapers. In cases where the child wets himself, it’s beneficial for the child to feel the wetness and get slightly uncomfortable. This is when we can help the child understand that going to the toilet can help prevent accidents as such.

4) Ensure the child is comfortable

  • Ensure that the child is feeling comfortable and secure and well positioned on the toilet seat. We can achieve this by delivering praises and words of affirmation such as “Wow, good job urinating in the toilet! You are now a big boy. ”

  • When the child feels uncomfortable and insecure on the toilet seat, it will increase tension and create resistance associated with toileting.

5) Visuals on steps for toileting

  • Having visual steps on what the child should do when using the toilet sometimes help the child anticipate what to expect. For example, pulling down pants, flushing the toilet and washing hands after use. We can even include a reward for completing the whole procedure such as getting a favorite cookie after following through.

Keys points to take note:

Toilet training can begin when there is consistent bowel movement and when therapist/caregiver has established good rapport and instructional control.

During toilet training, the child has to wear clothing that allow him to feel wetness.

Use verbal praise or strong reinforcer during toilet training to create a positive association to going to the toilet to pass urine or motion.

Written by Venezia

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