He’ll do it when he’s ready.

Posted on: February 19, 2012

I thought I would touch upon this subject following my toileting blog post a couple of weeks ago.

A is behind for his age when it comes to self care skills. He can’t dress himself and can only remove loose items of clothing. He can’t brush his own teeth properly – although he does try. He can’t wash himself etc and isn’t toilet trained, all essential life skills.

I’ve tried really hard to potty train A, and if you look at my previous post ‘A poop on the potty’ you will see I put a lot of effort into designing a reward scheme and a visual strip to give A some sort of understanding of what’s expected of him.
We tried to potty train him around 6 months previous to this time and he did wee & poo on the potty but he wasn’t aware he was doing so, I would praise him and probably from someone looking in, I looked like a mad woman – but I was just trying anything for it to ‘click’ in A’s head that he had done something on the potty – even took him to the toilet to empty the contents out – he just wasn’t interested, showed no awareness and so I gave up.

I’ve been determined to give potty training a really good go, mainly because he starts school in September & although I know its not a neccessity that he is toilet trained – I wanted to say ‘we’ve tried and……..’

So I had everything set up & needless to say, no success – then he was ill. The potty has remained in the living room so have the charts and I think he’s sat on it once in 3 weeks. To say I was disappointed was an understatement, I was upset and at one point I did think why do I bother?

Then I began doing a little more research and found that…..

Independent toileting skills take time to develop in all young children, yes some are quicker than others but its all depends on your child being physically & mentally mature enough to be aware of their bodily functions – to be able to control the feeling of needing the toilet, then to be able to indicate their need.

I broke it up into small steps

You have the urge for the toilet

Then you have to make your way to the toilet – or in a childs case tell someone you need the toilet.

Pull your pants down

Sit on the toilet – then release

When you think of it like this – its not easy, all this time you have to be in firm control of your body as to not have any accidents.

For most children with Autism, toileting skills usually do take longer to develop than those of the same age group.
The reasons for this are numerous and may result in resistance to changes involved in moving from nappies to using a potty/toilet,

Some children are even known to only use their familiar home toilet and refuse to use any other. Over – sensitive children may be overwhelmed by the smell, and a childs anxieties of letting go could also lead to a refusal in using the toilet, Or holding it in all day until a nappy has been put back on.

Again its all about being a detective:

Watching your child to see when the toilet is most likely to needed then taking them to the toilet regularly. I logged it down in a notepad.

Changing nappies in the toilet so that your child can become more familiar with the environment.

Its useful to remember that it may be easier for a child to make just the one change – Nappy to toilet instead of introducing the potty 1st – making it two changes.

Use visual cues – show them what is expected of them – just like the strip I created for A.

Ignore mistakes and accidents and praising even the smallest of achievements.

Distract them whilst on the toilet by letting them play with a particular toy. This will help your child to relax the muscles involved in letting go.

I hope some of those tips can help someone and that overall the post is raising yet more awareness to the difficulties our children face.

And remember – Your child will use the potty – become toilet trained – when they are ready – so don’t worry (like I did)

I do have some very useful links for symbols if anyone would like those, please ask 🙂

As always comments greatly appreciated.

L x


5 Responses to "He’ll do it when he’s ready."

A good piece about a subject that worries many a parent.
G has Asperger’s and kidney damage and other issues. He was late at potty training but then he was in hospital and for various reasons he got the hang of it because nappies for a while became painful.
However he had problems with bed-wetting up to 9 years. We used an alarm system that worked in a gentle way. Apparently it is down to muscle tone and messages to the brain and a lot of patience. In fact one of his current Doctors was surprised that G had managed at all with all that had happened in his early childhood.
Patience is everything, and when appropriate the child may even want to know about how the body manages it’s waste products. G loves detail and it helps him to get a handle on how it relates to him.

While my boys are grown, I found your post very informative. Very interesting approach to potty training. Both boys trained at the same time in the lives but reacted very differently. Oldest grandma told him he was “wonderful” for using the potty and he never had another accident…youngest took weeks to day train and used diapers at night for another 6 months. Oldest had accidents through adolescence, but it was always associated with huge transitions, like changing schools. It was more an outgrowth of his anxiety than a toileting problem. So it is important to also look to see if there are underlying reasons that bedwetting may be occurring too.

I used to say when they were little, that I wasn’t worried about toileting them. If they were not potty trained by the time they were married, it then would become her problem. It was just a joke of course, but the sentiment is there. Your anxiety about it, can also be a hindrance to some children.

I remember those days. Thanks for sharing.

Think your doing so well raising Autism awareness, it’s so important for others to be aware of it. Your doing a great job x x

My oldest daughter (high functioning autistic) is now 25. We tried everything to potty train her. This was before we knew that she was autistic or had special needs, so obviously, according to outsiders, we were doing it all wrong. As we were approaching 5 years of age, potty training was not happening. Three things happened that helped. My mother found a wooden toilet seat that sat on commode with arm rests (antique) at a garage sale. My father found a three foot tall plastic bear bank, and my daughter really, really, really liked putting pennies into the bank and listening to the sound of them falling (motivation). We found a method of potting training that seemed to help. It was for children with special needs and involving motor training. That is, every single time there was an accident, we made our daughter practice all the physical processes of going to the bathroom, without fail. Probably a combination of finally being ready and the motor training turned the corner. It’s not easy, and some serendipitous happenings.

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