Potty Training Autistic Child

Potty training autistic child provides additional challenges, however you can also use some of the conditions symptoms to successfully complete potty training an autism child. Autistic children go through some stages in development in much the same way as other children, but they often times take longer to get there and it can be more difficult for them to adapt. When some children are hypersensitive with sensory integration issues it might actually be easier to make the switch from diapers.

It might be worth investigating the Elimination Communication  method I write about in the 0 - 18 months section. Same principles can be adapted to children with developmental delays even when they are older.

Potty Training With Autism

The one element to keep sight of when potty training autistic child is that they're very attached to a routine and have superior attention and perception skills. The challenge might be getting them interested in potty training.

Autism and Potty Training Readiness
Your first step would be to know the signs that indicate your autistic child is ready to potty train. They're much the same signs that non-autistic children display, and they include:

  • Ability to follow simple instructions, and in the case of potty training an instruction could possibly be, "Sit on the toilet" or "Pull your pants down".
  • Ability to gesture to you or tell you that they have soiled or wet the diaper and clothes.
  • Has regular bowel movements.
  • Is able to control the bladder adequately, i.e. at least an hour at a time.


Once you've seen those signs, you can start to attack potty training autistic child as a set of smaller goals as opposed to one huge goal, which may seem daunting to a parent with an autistic child. A good place to start would be to familiarize the child with the toilet by telling them what it's used for and showing them how to use it.

Potty Training Autistic Child Using Visual Aids

Autistic children are often visual learners, so that attribute may help in the potty training process. Instead of using just words to explain how the potty is used, you could arrange to have some images stuck up on the walls in the bathroom doing the explanation. Perhaps labeling the character doing the actions in the images with the same name as your child will allow them to pay keener attention and relate to the fact that that's what they're actually supposed to do.

Images and other visual cues can also be used as reminders for your autistic child to take potty breaks, even if they don’t feel the urge to pee or poo right away. Remember that although they may not necessarily want to listen to what you have to say, they will likely pay more attention to images because they like all kids they like to learn.

Tips For Potty Training Autistic Child

Here are three more key bits of advice that should aid in making the potty training process easier for your autistic child:

  • Use one word to describe the potty - everyone in the family needs to get on board with this one so the child doesn’t end up getting confused. Decide on one word that will represent potty, for example "toilet", "loo" or even "potty" itself. It helps the child to make a connection.
  • Try to stick to one word instructions when helping your child determine when there's a sensation to use the bathroom. Teach them single words to describe their feelings so they don’t feel overloaded with trying to communicate more than the can, or want to.
  • It may help to skip the step of using the actual potty and just go straight for the toilet when potty training an autistic child. It may be difficult to teach the process all over again when your child is old enough to use the actual toilet. Try to keep the number of changes limited for your autistic child so they don’t feel overloaded with information. A great solution for this would be to get a potty seat that fits right over the toilet seat and is ideal for smaller bodies to sit on.

An autistic child potty training will experience the same developmental phases as non-autistic children, but it may simply take more time, and can sometimes happen later than foreseen.

As a parent, it's important that you remain patient and try to teach new things at the pace that your autistic child can learn. Avoid getting too frustrated because your autistic toddler is very perceptive, and can quickly pick up your frustration.

Return from Potty training autistic child to Potty Training Problems

Leave a comment or share your story about kids potty training.

Return to Little Darling Potty Training home page





XML RSSSubscribe To This Site
  • XML RSS
  • follow us in feedly
  • Add to My Yahoo!
  • Add to My MSN
  • Subscribe with Bloglines