Do kids on the spectrum potty train later than NT kids?

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highlandbeekeeper
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31 Aug 2019, 7:38 pm

My daughter, who has every indication of being on the spectrum (high functioning autism but we prefer aspie) did not fully potty train until well into kindergarten. She wore pull ups. I don't think she used the restroom while she was at school. At the time, I thought it was because she had had digestive troubles but after reading this I suspect it was all connected. If I recall, she was fully trained by the end of the year.



Juliette
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07 Sep 2019, 9:43 pm

I have 3 HFA children, all with individual and very different training tales from each other. I’ve also had the pleasure of training children whose parents were told not to bother as “they’re too low functioning”! Yes, unbelievable! I put the following together quite a few years ago for a friend who was having the pressure heaped upon her by teaching staff in Australia, as her non-verbal son, considered “low functioning” was untrained despite her best efforts. I’ve only just stumbled upon it recently.

Those working with autistic children and adults need to be made aware of the very real barriers that can hinder successful toilet training. There are many adults on the spectrum, who while high functioning in some areas(eg Roz Blackburn who speaks freely about such issues) simply cannot integrate the many pieces of the process(both mentally, sensory-wise and physically).

Words from others ... “My son was potty trained at age 6. Even now at 9 years, he has accidents. Connecting the sensation of needing to use the bathroom can sometimes be a sensory process. I was really one who procrastinated a lot during the toileting thing because it really does take a lot of planning, patience etc, but once he got going, it got better.

From a woman considered “low functioning” ... (she lives independently with a friend on the spectrum) ... “ I grasped the idea of toilets slightly late, was “terrified” of toilets, but even after I got to the point where I could use them, I still often cannot because I just can’t put together things like ...

1. There is a body sensation happening.
2. The body sensation is in my brain area.
3. It is a particular kind of sensation.
4. Body sensations in your groin area of that kind mean you need to go to the toilet.
5. Going to the toilet requires connecting to a body and/or redirecting a body from what it is already doing.
6. Connecting to your body & moving it is done in a very particular way.
7. You have to remember what you’re connecting “to” at the same time as remembering what you’re supposed to be “doing”.
8. When you do all this, your body needs to not balk at movement or change in movement.
People need to be able to sort out the sensations and actions.

If a child has awareness of, and control over their own body, if they’re able to integrate sensory information such as establishing a relationship between bodily sensations and the need for toileting functions, then they are ready for toilet training. Many autistic children and adults are not aware of the cues that signal a need to visit the bathroom. Some are overwhelmed by the sensory stimuli in the bathroom, from the sound of running water, to the sight of the huge hole in the toilet, to the tactile senses in taking their clothes off and on.

A process that has worked for many is as follows but must consistently used at both home and school if attempted during term time.

Establish a motivator for your child that you can provide after successful elimination.
1. Eliminate all nappies/pull-ups from day use(only use for night time).
2. Using a timer, take child to the bathroom every 20-30 mins. Have child sit on toilet for 5 minutes, provide story/books/something to hold, favourite toy etc.
3. Consider providing a picture of the toilet or an object(soft flannel) your child can associate with ‘going to the bathroom’, so eventually, he can use this himself to communicate his need to go.
4. Keep the experience positive and enjoyable. Follow through with praise and reward. No negatives(tone or aversives).

It’s not necessarily easy to follow through with this routine over a period of weeks(every 30 mins) but nevertheless, it’s worthwhile for the results and less than one month. Adults need to be consistent, calm, and see this through if they want results. Expect occasional opposition and setbacks(change is difficult), but above all, keep things positive. Remind the child of the reward(show them a visual of the reward which should be kept handy ... in the bathroom even) and do not give up or give in. You should be supported in this wholeheartedly by those around you. Some use a token system(where children collect play money and can exchange these for “something special”. This does not mean that they will expect this for always ... but will give them the necessary ‘motivator’ to set them on their way. Successful toileting boosts self esteem.



ConverseFan
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05 Nov 2019, 9:54 pm

Juliette wrote:
I have 3 HFA children, all with individual and very different training tales from each other. I’ve also had the pleasure of training children whose parents were told not to bother as “they’re too low functioning”! Yes, unbelievable! I put the following together quite a few years ago for a friend who was having the pressure heaped upon her by teaching staff in Australia, as her non-verbal son, considered “low functioning” was untrained despite her best efforts. I’ve only just stumbled upon it recently.

Those working with autistic children and adults need to be made aware of the very real barriers that can hinder successful toilet training. There are many adults on the spectrum, who while high functioning in some areas(eg Roz Blackburn who speaks freely about such issues) simply cannot integrate the many pieces of the process(both mentally, sensory-wise and physically).

Words from others ... “My son was potty trained at age 6. Even now at 9 years, he has accidents. Connecting the sensation of needing to use the bathroom can sometimes be a sensory process. I was really one who procrastinated a lot during the toileting thing because it really does take a lot of planning, patience etc, but once he got going, it got better.

From a woman considered “low functioning” ... (she lives independently with a friend on the spectrum) ... “ I grasped the idea of toilets slightly late, was “terrified” of toilets, but even after I got to the point where I could use them, I still often cannot because I just can’t put together things like ...

1. There is a body sensation happening.
2. The body sensation is in my brain area.
3. It is a particular kind of sensation.
4. Body sensations in your groin area of that kind mean you need to go to the toilet.
5. Going to the toilet requires connecting to a body and/or redirecting a body from what it is already doing.
6. Connecting to your body & moving it is done in a very particular way.
7. You have to remember what you’re connecting “to” at the same time as remembering what you’re supposed to be “doing”.
8. When you do all this, your body needs to not balk at movement or change in movement.
People need to be able to sort out the sensations and actions.

If a child has awareness of, and control over their own body, if they’re able to integrate sensory information such as establishing a relationship between bodily sensations and the need for toileting functions, then they are ready for toilet training. Many autistic children and adults are not aware of the cues that signal a need to visit the bathroom. Some are overwhelmed by the sensory stimuli in the bathroom, from the sound of running water, to the sight of the huge hole in the toilet, to the tactile senses in taking their clothes off and on.

A process that has worked for many is as follows but must consistently used at both home and school if attempted during term time.

Establish a motivator for your child that you can provide after successful elimination.
1. Eliminate all nappies/pull-ups from day use(only use for night time).
2. Using a timer, take child to the bathroom every 20-30 mins. Have child sit on toilet for 5 minutes, provide story/books/something to hold, favourite toy etc.
3. Consider providing a picture of the toilet or an object(soft flannel) your child can associate with ‘going to the bathroom’, so eventually, he can use this himself to communicate his need to go.
4. Keep the experience positive and enjoyable. Follow through with praise and reward. No negatives(tone or aversives).

It’s not necessarily easy to follow through with this routine over a period of weeks(every 30 mins) but nevertheless, it’s worthwhile for the results and less than one month. Adults need to be consistent, calm, and see this through if they want results. Expect occasional opposition and setbacks(change is difficult), but above all, keep things positive. Remind the child of the reward(show them a visual of the reward which should be kept handy ... in the bathroom even) and do not give up or give in. You should be supported in this wholeheartedly by those around you. Some use a token system(where children collect play money and can exchange these for “something special”. This does not mean that they will expect this for always ... but will give them the necessary ‘motivator’ to set them on their way. Successful toileting boosts self esteem.


Your reply was worded very well. I'm an autistic adult and I still struggle with some of the stuff you mentioned about sensory stuff.



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06 Nov 2019, 10:53 am

I think, however, that all those efforts into potty training are misguided. This is what we have been doing:

Kids don't potty ---> potty train them
Kids don't talk ---> speech therapy
Kids don't socialize --> social skill training
Kids don't behave --> behavioral therapy

I mean, are we out of our minds?

Everybody has a pair of eyes, after 76 years of dealing with child autism, you'd think people would realize what they are doing wrong. But nope, people don't learn. People don't even realize what they are doing is wrong.

Potty training, speech, social skills, behaviors, have never been the issues. Yet, parents put all their attention on all these irrelevant issues, to the point that their kids become underdeveloped. You can't grow a tree backwards:

Image

You need to grow a tree starting from its roots.

Image

Develop the brain of your children first, visual-manually. All those other issues (including potty training) will fix themselves, no need to worry at all. Autism has never been the problem. Underdevelopment, brain nderdevelopment, is the real issue. Autistic children have powerful brains, yet, parents let their children's brains go idle. And then they complain about potty training. Com'on. Wake up!


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Last edited by eikonabridge on 06 Nov 2019, 2:20 pm, edited 2 times in total.

kraftiekortie
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06 Nov 2019, 10:55 am

Potty training is a practical skill for many reasons. Most of them having to do with health.

It is not wrong to promote potty training.

I was potty-trained a little late for the early 1960s----2 1/2 years old. That would be about average nowadays.



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06 Nov 2019, 1:18 pm

Potty training is useful but the world shouldn't revolve around it.
My diagnosed kid resisted any attempts to potty train her and I didn't push... until a month before her third birthday I somehow sensed she was ready and we were done in two days.
The younger kid had it even funnier - I learned to notice signals before she pooed and whenever I saw them, I put her on a toilet with baby reductor. So she pooed to a toilet while still using diapers for pee. That was quite practical. Then she learned to also pee to the toilet by herself, without any prompting.


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eikonabridge
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06 Nov 2019, 1:49 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
It is not wrong to promote potty training.

I appreciate your sense of humor. But that doesn't mean your words need be taken seriously.

You do know there are autistic adults, and by that I mean autistic adults in their 20s, 30s, 40s, that wear diapers, right? How many years have they been potty trained, huh? How many more years are you going to potty train them, huh?

The problem is never about potty training. Don't grow a tree from its leaves. Grow a tree from its roots. You see a kid not potty trained, and all you do is to potty train the kid. Guess what? 40 years later the kid will still be wearing diapers. Are you happy about that?!


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Juliette
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06 Nov 2019, 2:47 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Potty training is a practical skill for many reasons. Most of them having to do with health.

It is not wrong to promote potty training.

I was potty-trained a little late for the early 1960s----2 1/2 years old. That would be about average nowadays.


Seconded! :)



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10 Nov 2019, 8:13 pm

I see nothing wrong with wearing diapers. Not wearing them and being able to use the toilet on your own when you are a kid is a sign of success and growth development. Unless the kid has a weak bladder and has wetting or messing issues, they should be in diapers but even for a child being made to wear a diaper because of your medical issue can be very humiliating. So they may prefer to have wet or messy pants because it's less humiliating than wearing a diaper. My son is that way whenever he has bowel issues. He would rather mess his underwear than wearing a diaper or a IC pad.


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Roses16
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11 Nov 2019, 8:52 pm

My brother was in diapers until he was 5. My parents say it was because of sensory issues that had to do with feeling the need to go. Hes 19 and still struggles.



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11 Nov 2019, 8:59 pm

Do Kids On The Spectrum Potty Train Later Than NT Kids?

Well. Training a potty doesn't work. It just sits there.


As a more serious answer, I really don't know as it depends on the individual.


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14 Dec 2019, 11:51 am

Hi. I realize I am posting very late on this, but wanted to share my experience because I realize that others may benefit from reading this reply, even if perhaps your child is already potty-trained. My experience - both as a mom and in my professional interactions with children on the Spectrum - is that delays in potty training are not uncommon. I recall following all recommendations regarding potty training, including reading books about potty training with my child, playing videos (the old VHS type) on the subject, obtaining the potty chair, the adaptor for the adult toilet, etc.... I provided rewards, had visuals in the bathroom, and provided encouragement. Still, nothing seemed to work. I decided that the process was becoming discouraging for me and perhaps stressful for my child. Therefore, we took a “potty training vacation.” Sure enough, after a few weeks with this new attitude, my child one day asked for the potty. I took him to the potty and he used it. From that day on, he continued to use his potty and NEVER had an “accident” during the daytime or at night.

I am not suggesting that the same strategy will work for you. What I do suggest is that you explore whether the difficulty potty training is related to the process being stressful, whether there is a sensory issue (I.e., your child may like the warm feeling of urine or dislike the cold feeling of the toilet, or some other such sensory preference or sensitivity), organic (I.e., your child may suffer from pain due to constipation and it may hurt when he/she is defecating or it may hurt when he/she is urinating because they may have a urinary condition,) or whether he/she may enjoy the attention of having you change his/her diapers,etc... In other words, paying close attention to the possible cause may get you closer to finding answers.

It also often helps to have a “model” that your child looks up to talking about how they use the potty. If your child is a boy, for example, you may have daddy talk about how he needs to go to the bathroom, how he feels glad to relieve himself in the toilet, and how satisfied he feels that he can do it all by himself. Thus, indirectly communicating to your child that this is something desireable for him to replicate.

Further, it is very important to remember that consistency is very important. If you decide you want to reward your child for using the toilet, reward EACH AND EVERY TIME they use it. Also, you may want to reward the STEPS to using the toilet instead of ONLY rewarding the end product. For instance, you could first start by rewarding your child for every time they request the potty. Once they have mastered requesting the potty, you could then reward them for every time they sit on the potty, then for every time they urinate in the potty, and finally every time they defecate in the potty. (Many kids will find #2 more difficult to master.)

I hope this is helpful to any parent facing this situation. Best wishes!



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31 Dec 2019, 4:00 pm

I don't know if ASD kids potty train later in general, but I know my DD did. She's 17 now, so it's been a long time, but if I remember correctly, she was somewhere between 3 and 3 1/2. Her delay had nothing to do with knowing what to do and how to do it. I honestly believe she didn't like the change of going from diapers to using the toilet.

Basically, every time I tried to take her out of her diaper, she might use the potty or toilet once, then she would pee her pants. And I would put her right back in her diaper. Finally, one morning, when she was due to go to gymnastics, she had such a bad diaper rash I said enough is enough. She was uncomfortable from the rash and I said, "There's no way you can do gymnastics like that. No more diapers."

She spent that day peeing her pants, because when she did that before, I always put her back in a diaper. Once she realized that wasn't going to happen any more, she was done. From the next day onward, she used the toilet, and within a week or two, she didn't need a diaper at night.

So, at least for her, and maybe for other high-functioning ASD kids, it's a matter of not liking the change.