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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Helpful Tips for Toilet Training Your Child with Autism

* Try to give your child a drink about 15 minutes before taking them to the toilet. This will increase their chance of success. Do, however, try to avoid giving too many drinks as this will throw off the child's "normal" routine.

* Decide ahead of time if you want to teach your child to leave the door open or shut as part of their toileting routine.

* Avoid using "baby talk" for words associated with toileting. Your child might find it difficult to change his language later on. It probably wouldn't be too appropriate to have a 30 year old announce that they are going to go "pee-pee."

* Wet wipes are much more effective than dry toilet paper for easy cleanup.

* Many children have a fear of the sound of the toilet flushing. If this is the case, you might want to remove that step from the sequence and leave it for the end of the routine. You might need to flush the toilet at the beginning and gradually work the child into the task by having them stand closer to the toilet each time you flush.

* Make sure you have a car seat protector installed. This will prevent messy and time-consuming accident cleanup.

* Some children will hold their pee or poop until you put their diaper on. It helps to be aware of this habit in planning your trips to the toilet.

* There is a range of absorbent pants and swimwear for older children available

* Toilet training is incredibly time consuming. If you have other children you might want to plan to carve out some extra "alone" time with them.

* Train your child at home before tackling the task of teaching them to use public restrooms. When visiting new places, always show your child where the bathrooms are when you arrive. Use the same routine as you do at home. Also use the same visual cues/books/pictures that you use at home.

* Some autistic children like to smear and/or play with their poop. There are complicated reasons as to why this might be the case, so if your child is exhibiting this behaviour you might want to keep him supervised in the bathroom.

* If your child is away from home in a daycare or other setting, try to duplicate the home environment as much as possible. Get a duplicate child's potty or toilet seat insert. Don't forget to send lots of changes of clothes.
It is important that you have clear lines of communication during this time so having a home/school book to share concerns and successes is vital.

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