I want to share with you today about a hot topic and that’s potty training your child with Autism.
I am in many moms groups on Facebook where EVERYDAY there is a parent asking for help. It seems daunting doesn’t it? You don’t know where to start. You don’t know if it’s even inside you to try. Feeling a bit overwhelmed?
Guess what? I’ve been there! BUT there is GOOD NEWS! There will be a time when you look back (could be a few years though) and you’ll think – I MADE IT!
Do you feel like you’re in that valley and couldn’t see the other side? I’m going to share some of my experiences with you and hope that it might alleviate some of that stress.. give you some pointers that you might take away from here to make that path a little easier!
#1. TAKE A DEEP BREATHE & RELAX
Your child has a HIGH sensitivity radar! They can feel when you are anxious, stressed or frustrated. That feeling flows over them and makes them want to bolt.
#2. MAKE SURE THEY ARE READY
Don’t push the potty concept on them. There is so much pressure out there that your child NEEDS to be trained by 2 1/2 yr OR ELSE! Watch them – observe them! Will they sit on the potty/toilet without screaming/crying?
Be realistic – mine were not ready till they were about 4 or 5 years old. At this point they are developed mentally about the age of a 2 1/2 – 3 yr old.
#3. USE AN INNER RING & A STEP STOOL
Until they feel comfortable sitting alone and are not scared they are going to fall down into that scary hole! That’s real so do everything you can to reassure them.
My son Michael, age 9, is now sitting sideways on the toilet to go. When he first started – we actually had to get him to sit backwards on the toilet first to start. He had a HUGE fear of falling backwards!
My daughter Beverley, age 8, is now sitting all the way to the back so she can lean on the seat for support. When she first started – she would lean all the way over onto her knees to balance her out on the toilet.
Do what feels comfortable to your child – every child is different!
#4. MAKE A VISUAL SCHEDULE!
Show them pictures of what you want them to do. Our children only catch the first two words out of ours mouths! They have trouble with full sentences. They see things in pictures, so I used a PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System) program and printed off 3 inch photos. Laminate them. Try them in color or black and white. This is a trial and error process. Some children find colors to overwhelming. Watch your little one closely!
For instance, Michael was about age 3 when I decided to decorate his bedroom. I wanted it to look like a BOYS room… so I went out and painted his walls blue – put up some pictures of Spiderman (his favorite guy), put up the Spiderman clock and hung curtains, etc. I went all out!
When he entered the room – he crawled to the end of the bed on the floor and put his face to the floor and crunched up into a ball. Wow… He would not get up after that – he hid till I took him out. Let me tell you – it was heartbreaking to experience that. So sight and color is everything!
Set up the pictures vertically so they can see what you want them to do. I take the pictures and paste them on a bigger sheet that I laminate over top of it all. Example: toilet > pants down > sit on toilet > toilet paper > pants up > flush
Place this visual schedule on the wall right next to the toilet so they can see it, they can touch it and you can point to each step along the way.
#5. TEST SOUND SENSITIVITY
In bathrooms, because of the small rooms – the ceramic tile, etc, sound is hard on their little ears.
Beverley – EVERY TIME she goes in there has to place her fingers in her ears before she goes. The sound of any tinkling drives her crazy. And whatever you do – watch them as you get them to flush! I have to wash her hands first then flush when she’s running out of the room. Because the noise of the toilet flushing makes her wimper and cry – it hurts her ears.
So I hope some of these points help you out where you are with your child at this point.
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Live, Laugh, Love & Be Free,