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What is he trying to tell me? HELP!


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Hi there my 9 year old son all of a suddenly is obsessed with squeezing his body into the toilet with his clothes on. He also makes a bubble bath in the toilet and plays in the toilet. He has access to a bathtub or any other means of making a bubble party, but he just wants the toilet. He will just sit on the toilet with the lid up and squeeze in there as much as he can but with his clothes on! Has anyone ever experienced a similar thing? If this is sensory seeking I just can't think about what he would need. Thanks
Hi @spaul.

Is your son verbal? Does he have any means of clear communication with you? I would try to get the answer from him if you can. When a new behavior like this starts rather suddenly, it’s possible that it’s either a new fascination or a way to try to communicate an unmet need.

Are there signs of distress when he is doing this or elsewhere in his life right now? Does he seem happy and playful about it?
He is verbal. Tells me he want to sit in the toilet. “No pee” but not verbal to tell me why. Yes I know it’s like an unmet need. That’s what I am trying to figure out. No distress. It is something he wants to do. Looking for someone who maybe has experienced this in their child
He is verbal. Tells me he want to sit in the toilet. “No pee” but not verbal to tell me why. Yes I know it’s like an unmet need. That’s what I am trying to figure out.
The way you describe it so far, I wonder if it’s more of a new fascination. Even in adulthood, many of us can become fascinated with a new experience. It often seems odd to others, but there is something about it that we must understand and experience fully.

Have you asked him not to do this or made any attempts to reduce this behavior? Is it something you are trying to stop or simply understand?

Even though he already has access to the bath and other types of water play, maybe a new replacement activity could be introduced. For example, instead of doing this in the toilet, perhaps there is some sort of bath chair where he can get the same satisfaction but without the toilet.
I second @Rodafina's idea. Or take a potty chair or a 5 gallon orange bucket from home depot, put it in bathtub. But first put his name in huge colors, say you have his new chair filled with water. Can you get to a indoor pool? YMCA or community pool, this might be another answer. Or a small plastic blow up pool? Outside? Of course l never leave a child attended in water because sadly drownings can occur. Good luck, if you get to answer, that will be great. If all else fails, you just have to wait until they outgrow it. My daughter was obsessed with Pokémon. To no end. I never said anything. Eventually she moved on. And graduated the Uni this year. This is a teenager who didn't want to get a driver's license. :)
Fascination makes so much sense. For the most part I am just trying to understand but also he is now flushing clothes down which leads to much bigger problems. I will for sure try a different water bubble place for him to see if I can redirect him. Thanks so much.
Perhaps it's the idea of the toilet gobbling everything up? Maybe the idea that he'll be sucked down there too, into a new adventure? I mean, toilets are great things aren't they? You don't really need to know here it all goes, it just takes stuff away. IMO autistic folk can find this sort of 'shortcuts' idea fascinating. I always liked the idea of laundry chutes, dumb waiters, those chutes they use on building sites, water slides that went inside and outside or through walls.
Me too, as a younger child, l wanted to go down our laundry shute. Thank God, l didn't go any further with a two story laundry shute. However as a tween, l went straight down a very steep hill with my bike. Then l went straight on a extremely steep advance ski run, because l was obsessed getting down that hill. Of course, l basically sat on my skis. Lol. It's probably amazing l am still alive. Now because of @MNAus post, they helped me realize this. So glad my daughter wasn't out that far out there with that type of fascination. We probably would give our parents heart attacks if they knew half of we wanted to do as tweens.
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Sometimes it is the simplest of reasons, as well. It could be that it's round. It could be that the water is so clear. It could be that the water is so cold. It could be that he so perfectly fits in there. It could be the exact height off the ground that he prefers.
This is likely "not" attention seeking behavior, and the behavior likely has nothing to do with a desire to annoy the parents or break the toilet by flushing objects down. He is Iikely not trying to be funny. They seem in their own world and are either exploring or doing what feels natural for them, or trying to relax and make sense of things..

This sounds sensory related, the tight fit need and possibly preoccupation with the sight or sound of water going through pipes, etc.

Our very small youngest eleven year old has problem solving skills and is not attention seeking, yet he is not only obsessed with flowing water from faucets and through pipes, watching and listening to it and trying to find out where it comes from and goes, but also loves a close and snug feeling of being in oversized boxes, cupboards, closets filled with items, and sitting partly in an open washer.

Although he is often sitting next to us too on the couch and loving that contact and climbing over us and wanting to be held, it is not necessarily for attention as he gets much of that, but a sensory need to feel pressure next to him and a close, comforting fit or warm connection. Of course we won't sit next to him all day long as he and we need our independence too. He needs a weighted blanket on him at night too or else he won't sleep.

So, whether the child has one issue or two, it seems likely sensory related to me from the little known so far. Some of the advice given like to divert attention away from the toilet when he does that and to replace the sensory need or preoccupation with a somewhat similar routine sounds better, like turning on the water faucet to wash his hands with soapy bubbles, sliding water or small toys objects down through a long plastic chute container, sitting in a large container or box, until you find out his sensory need, etc.

Stern lectures and critiquing the child with such likely sensory issues is not my answer to stop such, if these are not neurotypicals who try to play emotional or test your limit games with their parents. They are not going to stop any such sensory need from happening again necessarily because of tough parenting or we love you stuff. Finding other items instead without germs, to provide him that stimulation, with a reminder that potties are for sitting only for those other hygiene activities, and being assertive there in not allowing that but giving another choice instead if health or sanitary issues are at stake.

Kids like this could be your next engineer. They are far from being dopes.
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I Remember when I was a few years old the toilet was a mysterious object fascinated me stuff went in then disappeared like magic remember whole roll of toilet paper unrolling maybe this is what is happening scaring him.
see's what part of him is disappearing to me at the time it was just wonderment. I amaze myself with how far back my memory goes.

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