Thursday, 5 February 2009

Toilet Training the Autistic Child

Toilet training any toddler can be an adventuresome and tiring ordeal. There are many methods that have hit the markets lately and these methods can range anywhere between diapers that change color when wet to musical toilets that reward the child with music when they use the potty. This task is more difficult when your child has autism. When communication is a problem, as with most autistic children, letting an adult know you need to use the bathroom can be almost impossible endeavor. Some autistic children reach the double digits in age before they learn to ask for and to use the toilet.

Most autistic children do not have the skill and sometimes to desire to mimic or imitate a behavior. Just because the parents are using the toilet and they demonstrate the behavior, the autistic child will refuse or not get the connection between the right or wrong of toilet training. Most autistic children's schedule is full and when you add something new to the schedule it usually upsets them emotionally. The addition of toilet training to their regiment could cause out right rebellion and bad behavior because they do not want to get outside of their normal daily activity.

If you are having trouble toilet training your autistic child, you might want to observe them for a few days before you try again. Watch and see if the child actually notices when they soil themselves. Do they reposition themselves so that they are not uncomfortable after an accident? Some autistic children feel natural in their own wastes while other will react by taking off their clothes. If your child is ignoring their soiling, consult with a doctor to see if your child has a medical condition that would prevent them from recognizing the feeling they are experiencing.

Now here is your part in toilet training. You need to relax and not stress over it. Time will make it happen and your stress and high emotion will only cause the stress of your child. Even the most conscious parent will overreact when they have to change yet another diaper. If your child sees it's no big deal for you, then they can relax and let the behavior come naturally. You do have to stay diligent to get the job done thought. If your child is not toilet trained by school age, limitations may be set for opportunities for education and further socialization.

One method is to watch what your child does before they soil themselves. Write down a list of what they do and when they do it. If you realize that your child gets up in the morning and drinks a glass of juice and twenty minutes later they soil themselves, then you have something to work with. If the child goes through the same routine, you can put the child on the toilet during the time they normally soil themselves and see what happens. Once you get the morning soiling scheduled, add on an afternoon and evening. Pretty soon the body will work out the system even though the child does not. It is repeated, routine behavior and eventually the child will be bought in.

Does this sound like a lot of hard work? It is. Even parents of non-autistic children stress and labor over potty training their child. Each parent will give you a different bit of advice about what worked for them, but you as a parent of an autistic child know what extra you are in for. Be patient. Try different methods and remember that you have probably never seen a teenage in pampers. It takes time and patience.

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