Toilet training is a challenging time for any parent, but the challenges can be exacerbated if you have a nonverbal child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with ASD tend to resist changes to their routine, and they may have trouble learning new physical skills. Not to worry, though! All it takes is patience and a little know-how. Here are some toilet training tips for nonverbal children:
Use visual aids.
As you may already know, many children who have ASD learn more effectively from visual prompts, such as pictures, than they do from verbal instructions. You might try drawing a series of simple pictures to guide your child through the process of going to the toilet, using it, wiping, flushing, and handwashing. Being able to see this process will help many children remember it.
Create a routine around using the bathroom. Incorporate fun and predictable experience for your child when going to the bathroom (i.e., singing a particular song, transitioning with a particular object to the bathroom and cueing your child before going to the bathroom). In addition to using visual supports to review the necessary steps to complete the bathroom routine, use the same language when transitioning to the bathroom in order to create predictability in their daily environment.
Don’t focus on accidents.
It’s only natural that your child will have accidents during the toilet training process. When that happens, don’t call attention to it. Making a fuss about every accident may confuse your child since it can be difficult for some children with ASD to firmly distinguish between positive attention and negative attention. Rather than inadvertently reinforcing the behavior, simply clean up the mess and remind your child to use the toilet.
Give small rewards.
When your child goes through the process of using the toilet with no mistakes or accidents, you might try rewarding them with something like a treat or a small toy. These rewards will be helpful for reinforcing desired behavior, and they will associate the successful use of the toilet with positive emotions in your child’s mind.
STAR of CA works to provide the best possible education and resources for children who are living with ASD and other developmental disorders. We are based in Ventura County, but we now serve a wider range of communities across California. If you would like to learn more about our services, you can reach us today at (805) 644-7827.
As every parent knows, toilet training a young child takes some time—and a lot of patience. The challenge may be amplified, however, when you are toilet training a child who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Fortunately, it’s a challenge that can be met. The same principles that are used in teaching children with ASD can be applied to teach this essential life skill. Here is what parents should know about how to toilet train children with ASD.
Don’t start training before your child is ready.
The typical age guidelines—anywhere from two to two and a half—do not apply with children with ASD, for whom development may proceed at a different pace. If your child understands how to follow simple directions, can sit on a toilet for at least a few minutes, and can hold in urine for at least an hour, he or she may be ready to begin toilet training.
Don’t be discouraged by accidents.
Accidents aren’t a problem when you are toilet training a child—in fact, they’re part of how children learn. With consistent teaching, and a good plan of attack, the number of accidents will steadily decrease and your child will begin to go to the toilet without being prompted.
Once you’ve started, be consistent.
After you start toilet training your child, it’s important to stick with it. Make sure that your child has quick and easy access to the toilet consistently.
If you have a child in your life who has ASD, it’s imperative that you have access to the best and most up-to-date treatments. At STAR of CA , we work to give families the education and resources they require to confront the challenges of ASD. We are based in Ventura County, but we have expanded our services to other communities. Call (805) 644-7827 today to learn more.
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