5 Things to Keep in Mind When Potty Training a Child with Autism

Potty training is a big milestone for any child. It definitely is an important milestone for parents as well! No more diapers!! However, there are some things to keep in mind prior to considering potty training as well as during potty training. Blog-Potty-Training-Main-Landscape

  1. When should you consider potty training?
    • On average you would consider potty training when the child is around 2.5 years of age and above, can hold urine for 60-90 minutes, recognize the sensation of a full bladder, and show some form of awareness that they need to go to the bathroom.
    • Do at a time when you can spend large amounts of time at home! Some parents find it best to do in the summer (less clothing!).
  2. What schedule should you use when potty training?
    • You want to take your child to the bathroom every 90 minutes, if your child urinates then you wait for the next 90 minute interval, if not you reduce the time by 30 minutes.
    • Consistency is extremely important to ensure success.
  3. While on the toilet what should we do?
    • Praise your child for sitting appropriately on the toilet.
    • You can do activities with them as long as they are not too engaging or involved.
    • If they do urinate you want to CELEBRATE!
    • You need to wait up to 15 minutes if there is still no urination, then you let them get off and bring them back after 60 minutes (this keeps decreasing by 30 minutes each time there is not urination).
  4. What should you do when there is an accident?
    • It happens! Make sure you have your child help you clean it up, this is not meant to be punishing but more a natural consequence of having an accident. Keep a neutral tone and assist your child if needed to clean up the mess.
    • If your child is having too many accidents you may need to shorten the intervals of going to the toilet, or it may be that your child is not ready to be potty trained yet. Always rule out any medical reasons as well!
  5. Things to remember!
    • When starting potty training you want to make sure you child can sit on the toilet for up to 15 minutes with minimal challenging behaviors.
    • The goal is INDEPENDECE, you want to work towards your child walking to the bathroom on their own and removing and putting on their underwear and pants independently as well as washing their hands.
    • Make sure you child is in underwear throughout potty training! NO DIAPERS/PULL UPS!
    • Diapers and pull-ups are okay during nap time and bed time.
    • Number one thing to remember is PATIENCE, try to be consistently upbeat and encouraging to your child and deal with accidents as calmly as possible!

It is important to ensure that potty training is as positive an experience as possible for your child! Maintain your positive energy and constantly praise appropriate behavior seen throughout the potty training process! This will encourage your child to become more independent as well as want to go to the bathroom more often on their own!

NSPT offers services in Bucktown, Evanston, Deerfield, Lincolnwood, Glenview, Lake Bluff, Des Plaines, Hinsdale and Mequon! If you have any questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140!


Parineetha Viswanathan

Parineetha Viswanathan

Pari Viswanathan is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who truly enjoys working with children and individuals with autism, developmental and intellectual disabilities. She earned her Bachelors of Science and Bachelors of Education in Toronto at York University, and completed her Masters of Special Education with a specialization in Autism and Developmental Disabilities at the University of Texas at Austin. Pari has spent the past 5 years working in a variety of positions within clinical and education settings. She started her career in special education by volunteering and eventually working with a Therapeutic Arts program for children with autism in Toronto. In this role she worked with colleagues to create art and movement activities to engage children and promote gross and fine motor skills as well as social skills. She also worked as a social skills worker at the Geneva Center for Autism in Toronto. Pari has worked as a special education teacher in a special education school in London, UK. In this role she was responsible for planning and implementing lessons that were in line with the national curriculum. In addition, she has collaborated and worked with speech pathologists, occupational therapist, and physiotherapists to implement a variety of interventions within the classroom setting. Students under Pari’s care were students diagnosed with either autism and/or other developmental disabilities. Moreover she communicated and worked with parents to create and work on goals that were important to the families. In Austin, Texas while completing her Masters program Pari worked in a clinical setting as a behavior therapist providing ABA services to children with autism ranging in age and ability. She worked as a lead therapist for one of the clients and was responsible for maintaining the client’s files and data and reporting to the supervising BCBA. Finally she has worked in a private school in Austin, Texas that serves students with autism and developmental disabilities. She was responsible for the therapeutic classroom in the school. She was responsible for implementing ABA, and behavior programs as well as planning math, reading and social skills lessons. Once again she has worked with speech pathologists and occupational therapists to implement programs that benefit the students. Pari has had a wide variety of experiences that have given her a vast skill set that can be used to meet the needs of each of her clients. She is passionate about helping children blossom!

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