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Potty training


New Member
My son was only diagnosed about 3 months ago with low to moderate autism with a speech delay, just before his 3rd birthday.

When he poops, he removes his diaper immediately and tries cleaning it (gets everywhere).
He pees in the toilet, he knows when he needs to poop, but refuses to anywhere but in the diaper/pull up… or yesterday, on the floor.
I’m at a loss. I don’t know what to do. We keep him in underwear most of the day. He runs to pee in the potty or the toilet. It’s the poop. He is ready. He knows the feeling.
But I have no idea what else to do. I’m constantly cleaning it up from the floors. And the truth is, many children without ASD have the same issue, but I don’t think they get poop all over the place.

Anyone have any suggestions? My head hurts from crying so much.
I'm tellin' you, I had a hard time when my daughter was small, but when I got this episode of Bear in the Big Blue House on videocassette, wow! it saved my sanity. She quickly potty trained afterward.

It's called "Bear in the Big Blue House: When You've Got to Go". We still sing songs from it and make jokes about it, and she's an adult now.

This video treats the child with dignity, and in dialogue a small one can understand. The characters talk about listening to your body. The characters speak frankly, yet kindly about the toilet, accidents, and bodily functions, without being crass.

It also helped to go into the bathroom with other little children who are maybe further along with potty trained, and to have your son watch the whole process.

Let him come in the bathroom when you have to go. Obviously, keep it very innocent. An open door policy is very educational for wee ones. If his dad is in the picture, have him explain things and show how it's done. Kids really have to be taught to understand.

Also, I know this goes against western cultural norms, but it might be helpful to put potty seats in every room. One in the bedroom, one in the living room, one in the bathroom.

Keep a good eye on him. Check in frequently, so he doesn't have the chance to fingerpaint. It usually happens that a child will have to potty about twenty minutes after a meal or beverage.

Play this video every day, when he's calm and in a focused mood.

With autistic youth, a lot of comfort comes from sameness. When there is sudden change, it puts their whole world into uncertainty. My daughter still called herself a "toddler" until she was eight years old. Although she could do most activities at age level, and she did not act like a baby, she did not want to be a big girl. She would say "I am not a big girl. I am little and tiny."

So maybe, keep things happy and nonjudgmental. Don't use "big boy", or make it look like it's a change that has to happen. Perhaps just talk about "Oh now don't you feel so fresh, without that crunchy, itchy diaper?" "That's better. Clean and dry. I bet you felt really yucky with that wet diaper on. I'm glad you're feeling better now. Let's play." Things like that.
Little ones, I've noticed, really don't care if they have clothes on or not. Especially in summer. If you have a big back yard, and no neighbors that can see in, maybe just let him run around in his birthday suit.

It may sound weird, but it's normal.

He will go pee and poop out in the yard. He'll stop what ever he's doing, and be able to see the pee come out, and most likely try aiming.

And he'll squat when it's time to go number two.
Have you heard of elimination communication? It's potty training by observing a child's nonverbal cues.

It's twenty minutes after a meal. You can kind of see their tummy stick out. Maybe nostrils flaring. Yep. Time to pick junior up and help him listen to his body.
Welcome to the forum.

I am not a mother, but I would try to remember that this is all just temporary. You are going through the developmental stages quickly with such a young one, and even though every day feels like a struggle sometimes, remember that this will pass and you will not be stuck in this place forever.

You can do this. I hope we can help.
Try to talk with him and help him to understand he is not doing anything wrong by not using a diaper.
We respond more to talk and understanding a situation than actions.
I went through the same phase when mom tried to potty train me.
I knew where the diapers were kept and would cry and go for a diaper when she told me to use a potty.

I know it sounds odd that a toddler remembers this, but I have a very early memory of all things. Much more than most people.
My feeling was that I was doing something wrong if I did it outside the diaper. I didn't understand why I was praised as a baby for never making a mess and the diaper was the reason.
Then I was told to not use the diaper. To me, that was making a mess into the potty.
I eventually understood it was not wrong.
This could be what he is feeling from the change. The trying to clean it up, etc.
Don't know. But I know what I felt. Hope it may help.
I bribed my 3 kids, all NT, with M&Ms to get them to poop in the potty. A successful potty trip was rewarded with 4 or 5 M&M candies. No doubt the "experts" would say what I did was wrong, but it worked. Once they got used to using the toilet, I no longer had to bribe them.
I bribed my 3 kids, all NT, with M&Ms to get them to poop in the potty. A successful potty trip was rewarded with 4 or 5 M&M candies. No doubt the "experts" would say what I did was wrong, but it worked. Once they got used to using the toilet, I no longer had to bribe them.
That’s the method my parents used! With great success, I might add. I think they called them “potty treats.”
Yup. I had a bag of Halloween candy as a reward sitting where she could see it. I knew she was ready because she never dirty her bath water. She couldn't move out of diapers. So l brought a little toilet seat contraption so that there was no judgment, just help. Also, is there a reason where he may not have control with his muscles? Maybe a call to his doctor or research that there is no other issue as far as in his elimation. Watch the video about bathroom visits in the morning and at nite.

I probably would plunk a breakfast sausage in the toilet, take him off the seat, point out the poop sausage, and ask him to pick a treat out as a reward. But l wouldn't reward for pee as this is no longer a issue. I remember one mom telling me her son was aiming in the little garbage pail instead of the toilet so she put cheerios in toilet for him to aim at.

You could put him back in diapers 24/7, with clothing that
he can't remove. That way he'd have to ask for help to go
pee, if he wanted to do it in the potty or toilet.

And he could poop in the diaper.

When he decides he doesn't like the feeling of poopy
diaper, and has to get assistance to make it go away,
he may gradually grow into the idea of using the
potty/toilet for peeing and pooping, both.

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