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How to teach toileting to your autistic child

Is your child ready?

Toileting is one of those life skills that require the child to be developmentally, physically and emotionally ready!

It’s all very good and well to make a decision that it’s time to toilet train your child but if they are not in a place to take on those skills, you’re wasting your time and energy!

One crucial lesson that I learnt after attending a seminar on teaching toileting, was that even with all the encouragement and inspiration that I felt that day to go home and start, there was one important element missing from my plan! That is that my child was nowhere near ready!

We started the process of toileting at the age of four and a half and it wasn’t until he was almost nine years of age that we began to have some success – the turning point for him was showing signs of copying and mimicking physical movements, speech and role modelling actions.

Why toilet training?

It helps by showing the child why it is a good idea to toilet train:

  • the need to feel clean
  • to smell nice
  • hygienic
  • no more incontinence products
  • feel independent
  • improve self esteem

Sensory Issues

When you do begin to teach toileting, it’s important to think about any underlying sensory challenges. The child will be learning to do many new things as part of their training:

  • the action of sitting on a toilet
  • cold toilet seat
  • echoey noises in the bathroom
  • sensations of bowel movements
  • for boys, learning how to aim in the toilet as part of working out where their body sits in space
  • the smell of their wee/poo
  • the feel of toilet paper
  • working out how to wipe

Learning to toilet in other places

When you begin teaching your child to toilet at home, you also need to have a conversation about having the same rules and routines with other places that they access regularly such as school, after school programs, short term accommodation houses and other community venues. Everyone needs to be on the same page with the approach to toileting so that the child learns to generalise the skills across all the different settings.

Above all!

Please don’t think that you have missed the chance to toilet train your child by the age of five!

There is no harm in making attempts to train your child but be guided by them remembering that they are more likely to do it when they are developmentally ready!

Written by Sherri Cincotta

Watch the video HERE

All the best! 🙂

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