Once we have pinpointed the specific factors contributing to toilet training failure for an individual with autism, we can craft and implement an effective, step-by-step action plan to meet that person’s unique needs. The topic of toilet training can fill a book, so we will just touch on a few points in this podcast.
1. TAKE TIME. Think of toilet training as an intense, all-out training program. The time and effort spent now teaching a person with autism to use a toilet will save lots of trouble in the future – time that would be spent cleaning up messes, dollars spent on diapers, and concern about toileting issues in public. Changing a soiled diaper for a five-year-old is only a minor inconvenience, but changing a soiled diaper for a twenty-five-year-old can be quite a challenge.
2. SET UP FOR SUCCESS. Successful toilet training frees up individuals with autism and their families – allowing them to go places and participate in events in a way not possible with the potential of wet or soiled clothing. The keys to success of a toilet training program are patience and consistency. In most cases, a person’s mind and body can usually adjust to using a toilet if expectations are clearly defined, if a person is given time and opportunity to use the toilet, and if new habits are rewarded and practiced consistently.
3. MEASURE YOUR RESPONSES. Calm, measured responses are critical in a toilet training program. Nagging and lecturing rarely work. Don’t let frustration and anger interfere with success. In many cases, toilet training is a long process, often requiring many weeks, or even months, of patient work, especially if you are coaching a teenager or an adult. Your encouraging attitude and your consistent response to success and to failure will eventually pay off.
TIP FOR THE DAY: Keep your eyes open for an FAQautism Toileting Toolkit, an in-depth resource with more ideas and options for dealing with challenging toileting issues.
NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At FAQautism.com we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. Feel free to send me a confidential email at talk@FAQautism.com with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. http://FAQautism.com