Autism and Potty Training: A Step By Step Guide Of What Has Worked For Us… sorta.
December 16, 2011
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Now Reading: Autism and Potty Training: A Step By Step Guide Of What Has Worked For Us… sorta.
December 16, 2011
(originally written & published on December 16, 2011)
I’ve written many times on my Autism Daddy Facebook Page about how we’ve successfully potty trained Kyle…3 different times. He regressed and lost his potty training twice. We just retrained him back in September and so far, so good… although he did have 3 pee-pee accidents this week.
Regardless we don’t blame the regression on the potty training method we use. That’s just Kyle’s M.O. He regresses and loses things. I think the potty training method we use is solid and the fact that we’ve successfully trained a non-verbal severe asd kid who doesn’t have the greatest receptive language either is pretty impressive if I do say so myself. So hats off to my wife (who does that VAST MAJORITY of the potty training) and to one of his ABA therapists who gave us this program a few years back. I’m going to attach the actual official word documents that lay out the programs for both urination & bowel movements (bm’s).
Again, those are the official programs but we modified them a bit to fit our needs and lifestyle. Also I honestly can’t remember how or when we trained Kyle with bm’s. We probably used a version of the protocol in the document below, but I forgot. He’s gone poopy on the potty for years now and he never lost that. He only always regressed with his pee-pee on the potty training. So everything I’m gonna talk about below pertains to pee-pee training.
Ok, so for us we need like a nice 4 day weekend with no school and almost no activities so you’ll be in the house ALL DAY LONG. Kyle had 2 days off in late September for Jewish holidays and the weather was going to be rainy all weekend so we decided that it was perfect timing. Please note that mom & dad need to be in the right mental mind-set to pull this off because it gets REALLY MONOTONOUS and it can drive you crazy. We put it off for months because we thought Kyle wasn’t ready or we weren’t ready…
We started first thing in the morning, put him in underwear, set a timer and took Kyle to the potty EVERY 10 MINUTES.
The timer would go off and we’d say “let’s go on the potty”.
We had a pecs pic of a toilet on the Ipad and we would make him push it and it would say “I have to go potty.”
And then we’d take him in there. “Pull down pants”, etc
And if he was dry we’d make a big fuss! “YOU STAYED DRY! Good job!”
“Do you have to go pee-pee?”
If he does urinate… HUGE PRAISE.
If he doesn’t urinate…More praise for being dry.
Some little reward for staying dry and bigger reward for urinating in the potty. We kept a few of Kyle’s favorite toys in the bathroom so those were the small rewards and the big reward was a game or a video on the ipad.My wife tried to set up an amazing play area in the bathtub as a big reward but Kyle wasn’t that into it…
Anyway, when it’s all over, set the timer for 10 minutes and do it all over again.
And you should keep data like you can see in the handwritten chart pictured below….
TIME? DID HE VOID? WAS HE DRY? LIST PRAISE / REINFORCEMENT…
If he has no accidents for the first ?? hours move up to 15 minutes between trips to the potty, then 30 minutes, then 45 minutes, then 60 minutes.
This is all subjective. We probably kept Kyle on the 10 minute schedule for about
8-9 hours WITHOUT AN ACCIDENT before going up to 15 minutes…. But that’s up to you and how well you know your child. You might want to do a whole day on the every 10 minute schedule before moving up or follow exactly what the protocol says.
Now if Kyle had a pee-pee accident. We would say in a somewhat firm/ disappointed voice “No. You go pee-pee in the potty not in your pants.” And we were told to give him a mild punishment. We would make him rinse out his own underwear in the sink WHICH HE HATES. If he has a lot of accidents at the 60 minute level then go back down to 30 minutes or maybe 45, until you are accident free…
But he really didn’t have many accidents and over the 4 day weekend we extended things from every 10 minutes to every 60-90 minutes. When school started on Monday we sent him in big boy underwear and gave them a few extra sets of clothes and we asked the school to keep their own data and to take him every 30 minutes to start the week and increase it accordingly. Thankfully his classroom this year has a bathroom in it which helps IMMENSELY.
As I said, this started in late September and by late October you could say he was potty trained. I mean he still can’t communicate that he has to go. The Ipad PECS Toilet thing hasn’t stuck. But for the most part the kid will hold it until you take him… So every 90 minutes or so somebody will take him. And sometimes AT HOME ONLY he will initiate and just walk into the bathroom whip down his pants and let it rip! There is no better sound than being in the kitchen and faintly hearing pee-pee hitting the potty!
When we are out somewhere (shopping, his weekend activities, etc) we kinda have an unwritten rule that we take him at each stop.First Stop: Target – “Let’s go to the potty…”
Second Stop: Bed, Bath & Beyond – “Do you have to go peeps? Let’s try…”
Third Stop: Music Therapy – “Let’s try to go to the potty before class buddy…”Sometimes mom & dad f**k up and we forget to take him for a couple of hours. And then we feel like IDIOTS when he’s soaked. And we’re like, “oh so that’s why he was having a meltdown in the car…”
And sometimes Kyle will just get sloppy or stupid and have a day of accidents. Like a few days ago he had 3 pee-pee accidents in a 24 hour period. And me & the wife are FREAKING OUT that he’s losing it again… But I think one of the times was an accident and another was out of pure laziness and the fact that the king didn’t want to miss a second of Elmo’s World, so he peed right there.
Anyway, long story short, that’s the potty training routine that has worked for us. And if he starts getting sloppy again or god forbid regressing… this time we will nip it in the bud and go right back to every 10-15 minutes. I’m saying right here, right now that I am never putting him in PULL-UPS again…
Anyway, that’s our potty story and we’re sticking to it. I hope that this can be helpful to some of you. Attached below are the official training regiments that we were given. If your kid is an extremely tough case, I would maybe recommend doing EXACTLY what they specify to the letter of the law! 🙂
Good luck! And please report back any successes… or failures…
Written byFrank Campagna
I’m a 48 year old neurotypical dad with a 14 year old son with severe, non-verbal autism & epilepsy. I created this blog to rant about autism & epilepsy while celebrating my son who I affectionately call “the king” :-).