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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!

Meet-With-An-Applied-Behavior-Analyst

Toilet Training While in Preschool? Communication is Key!

Megan Sexton, director of Creative Scholars Preschool in Chicago, shares important insights about how to approach the topic of potty training with your child’s preschool.

The toddler years are joyful, busy times of great growth for children! These are the years where children Blog-Toilet-Training-Main-Portraitare finding their sense of self, exerting their will, and discovering what effects they have on the world. With these new discoveries comes a toddler’s desire for independence driven by a desire to find a sense of control over themselves and their world. Because of this, learning self-help skills such as toilet training can be a stressful time for children and their families especially when you also consider that approaches to teaching a child to use the bathroom independently vary greatly from family to family.

When a child is enrolled in preschool and is in the process of toilet training, the potential for differences in approaches multiplies and another layer of anxiety can build up for children and families. This is where the importance of frequent and clear communication between you and your child’s teachers comes into play. In fact, this ongoing communication should begin even before the toilet training process begins! Some parents are unsure about when is the best time to begin potty training and will rely on the recommendation of a toddler teacher who has likely helped many children and their families with the toilet training process. Other parents have a clear timeline of when they would like to begin the process for their child. Whichever way works the best for you, it’s important to have those conversations with your child’s school. This helps get everyone on the same page and sets the child up for success.

What do teachers want to know?

In order to best support children and families, there are a few pieces of information that are helpful when shared with your child’s school.

  • What words does your family use when talking about body parts and elimination? If a teacher doesn’t know a family term for something, your child may become confused when the teachers use different vocabulary.
  • Does your boy sit or stand when trying to use the toilet? Some little boys find it uncomfortable to sit because they don’t like having to direct their penis down and accidentally getting their finger wet. Others don’t like to stand because they become nervous about the potential of falling forwards.
  • What signals does your child’s body give when they have to use the bathroom? Do they wiggle? Do they stand in a corner? Will they use words to let someone know they need to use the restroom?
  • How do they react when they have an accident? Let your teachers know if they get embarrassed or afraid that they will get in trouble if they have an accident.
  • How often do you want your child to try to use the toilet? Some children are able to inform teachers when they have to go, others get so involved in their play that they need reminders to try.
  • Is your child wearing pull-ups or underpants? If your child is wearing underpants, do they use pull-ups at nap?
  • Is your child nervous about anything, for example, when the toilet is flushed?
  • What can your child do independently and what do they need support with? Can they pull up their pants, but struggle with buttons or zippers?
  • How do you want soiled clothing to be handled? Do you want teachers to keep underpants that have had a poop accident or just throw them away? Do you have a dirty clothes bag you would like the soiled clothes placed in or can teachers put the clothes into a plastic grocery bag? Where do you want the soiled clothes placed to make it easy to find at dismissal time?

Make a communication plan.

Whether your child attends a half day program in which all children are picked up at the same time or they attend a full day program in which children are picked up at various points in the evening, it is important to make sure that teachers and parents are able to connect regarding your child’s day and their progress with using the restroom during the day. Maybe your child has the same teachers the entire day or maybe they have a different set of teachers in the afternoon than they do in the morning. How do you make sure that everyone is on the same page?

Some ideas to help maintain this two-way communication, in addition to face-to-face conversations, include:

  • Keeping a notebook in your child’s cubby where each teacher and parent can write notes including how many times your child tried to use the toilet, how many times they were successful, and any notes regarding soiled clothes or questions.
  • Having a toilet use log with times across the top in which teachers and parents make check marks under the times the child tried and went to the restroom.
  • Sending the teachers a follow up email at the end of the day asking how things went.

When parents and teachers work together and have clear communication, the stress of toilet training can be greatly reduced; everyone ends up working together to help the children feel successful and proud of their latest accomplishment!

Megan-Sexton-1Megan Sexton has a master’s degree in child development from the Erikson Institute. She has taught children aged toddler through first grade and is currently the director at Creative Scholars Preschool. Megan believes in the power of play, inquiry, and relationships in shaping a child’s early years.

poop on potty

Help! My Child Won’t Poop on the Potty

You have started the process of potty training, and your child is starting to make progress with urinating in the toilet. Hooray! Now comes bowel training, which tends to be more challenging. Some children will begin to poop in the toilet after the first occurrence, while other children may take longer. It is very common for bowel training to take longer since it is something that does not happen as much as urination, and some children may associate pain or discomfort with the toilet.  Some common issues that arise during bowel training include the following: child not wanting to sit on the toilet, child only pooping in his diaper or pull-up, and holding in bowel movements. Below are some strategies that can be used to make this process easier.

Tips to Get Your Child to Poop on the Potty:

    • Try to figure out exactly why your child will not poop in the toilet. There are a number ofHelp! My Child Won't Poop on the Potty reasons why a child won’t poop in the potty such as being scared of the toilet, not liking the sound of the flushing, etc.
      • If you child does have some type of fear of the toilet, begin having them touch the toilet, then eventually sit on the toilet with his clothes on and the lid down, then eventually sit on the toilet with the lid up. You can do these activities 3-4 times a day for a few minutes at a time to start, then eventually increase the time spent near or on the toilet. Be sure to reinforce and praise your child after each positive experience with the toilet.
      • Provide a potty seat and/or a stool for him to place his feet on to help your child feel secure on the toilet. Some children have fears of falling in or falling off the toilet, so providing these items will allow your child to feel more stable on the toilet.
    • If you have a boy and he is standing to urinate, begin having him sit while he urinates, so he can get comfortable sitting on the toilet.
    • Begin tracking the time of day when your child has bowel movements, and look for trends. If you notice your child always has bowel movements around bedtime, then you can start having him sit on the toilet at that time of day.
    • If your child will only poop in a diaper or pull-up, you can allow him to wear these initially, but require him to to stay in the bathroom while he poops.
      • Once he is successful with this, you can then have them sit on the toilet with the pull-up on, then eventually phase the pull-up out.
    • Create a reward system. Have a sticker chart or some other type of visual reward system, so your child has motivation to poop in the toilet. Allow your child to help choose his reward.
      • In the beginning, reward your child the first few times he successfully poops in the potty. Then after 5-6 successful times, make the reward dependent on her pooping in the potty 3 days in a row, then a week in a row, etc.
    • Provide natural consequences for accidents (i.e., have your child assist with the clean-up). Never yell or punish your child if he has an accident.
    • Let you child read a book, hold his favorite toy, or listen to music while sitting on the toilet. If he is tense or upset, he will not be able to have a bowel movement.
      • If you suspect your child may have constipation or any other type of bowel issue, contact your pediatrician. Also contact your pediatrician if you suspect your child is holding in his bowel movements.
    • Once your child eventually poops in the toilet, make a huge deal about it and reward him with his favorite foods, toys, activities, etc. so he is more likely to go again in the future.
    • Remember to be patient, as some children take a little longer to start pooping in the toilet, but sooner or later they will be fully potty trained.


Potty Training 101: The Easy How-To Guide For Parents Download our free, 15-Page eBook

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Potty Training a Child with Autism: The Toughest Case

Potty training can be a very challenging process, and even when you have a plan in place there will more than likely be issues that arise. Potty training children with autism can add additional challenges, but potty training is still possible. It is important to remember that potty training is a process that takes time, so be patient and eventually your child will be potty trained.

Keys for successfully potty training a child with autism:

  • Always start with urine training – It is much easier to control fluid intake, and urinationPotty Training a Child with Autism: The Toughest Case occurs more frequently. After your child is successfully urine trained, you can then work on bowel movements.
  • Create a reward system to reinforce positive toileting behaviors – Start with basic toileting skills (i.e., sitting on the toilet) then begin rewarding additional behaviors such as going in the toilet, requesting to go, etc.).
  • Do not use punishment for accidents – Always keep in mind that your child is learning and accidents are a part of that learning process. If you punish accidents your child could begin to associate normal bodily functions as something bad. The preferred method of handling accidents is to provide natural consequences such as making them assist in the clean-up, making them change their own clothes, etc.
  • Create a toileting schedule – This will keep both you and your child on track. In the beginning you can start taking your child to the bathroom every 15 minutes. After following this schedule for a week or two you can adjust the time either up or down depending on how well they are doing.

Potential challenges of potty training a child with autism and how to handle them:

  • Child will not sit on the toilet – If this happens you will need to pair the toilet as something reinforcing. The best way to do this is to withhold their favorite toy such as an iPad and only let them play with the item when they are on the toilet. You can set a timer so they know how long they need to sit. Start with a shorter time, and then slowly increase the amount of time they need to sit.
  • Child will only urinate or have a bowel movement in their diaper – The quickest solution for this is to completely eliminate diapers. If there are no diapers in your home, your child can’t rely on using them anymore.
  • Child will sit on the toilet, but will have an accident as soon as they get off the toilet – In this situation you will need to sit your child on the toilet, and continue to give plenty of fluids and have them sit there until the go. Once they eventually go, reward them.
  • Child will never ask to use the bathroom – This can be common in children with autism since often times they have communication challenges. The best way to address this is to teach them how to communicate when they need to go to the bathroom from the start. Use whichever mode of communication they are currently using (i.e., vocal, sign language, PECS). Prior to taking them to the bathroom, prompt then to request to go.


Potty Training 101: The Easy How-To Guide For Parents Download our free, 15-Page eBook

NSPT offers services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!

Potty Training: Is There A Right Way?

The internet provides us with countless resources on potty training from research articles, websites, and blog posts like this one.  While the sharing of ideas can be of great benefit, it can also be overwhelming for those looking for concrete answers.  Potty training feels like one of those topics that has been written about by just about everyone.  In fact, in doing a Google search for potty training, over 15 relevant websites were listed.  Some even offer programs that “guarantee” success in a matter of days!  With all that we know about individual differences among children and various styles of parenting, someone like myself wonders how anyone can really know the “right” way to toilet train a child.  What may be a more important question is, what makes one method the “right” method?

In my experience working with children and their families, I have met many parents seeking the “right” or “best” way topotty training the right way teach their child a new skill.  The fact is, people (and families) are especially complex, so it’s near impossible to determine the one “best” way to do things when it comes to parenting.  What has been concluded about potty training is that there are many ways to do it successfully.  One research study I read recently examined the impact of toilet training method on dysfunctional voiding (having toileting accidents).  It very clearly stated that “there was no significant difference in dysfunctional voiding between toilet training methods.”

If you or someone you know are about to embark on the exciting task of potty training a child, here are 4 points that are consistent for success, no matter which method you choose.

Potty Training The Right Way:

  1. Be consistent and persistent— yes, it isn’t always easy but in the end it will pay off!
  2. Be flexible and expect setbacksaccidents will happen, don’t expect otherwise!  Just as all new life transitions, there is no way to be certain of how your child will respond.
  3. Celebrate successes—One mother recently described how she had a “potty party” for her child to kickoff an intensive potty-training weekend.  Be sure to provide praise for even the smallest successes (for example, if a child has an accidents on his way to the bathroom, praise him for making the attempt to go in the toilet)
  4. Remember, it’s a family process—The potty training process can be challenging for everyone involved, not just the child.  Practice patience as your young ones acquire this new skill.

Do you have more tips or suggestions about potty training?  What worked for you? Please leave comments below!

Click here to read 10 Do’s and Dont’s on Potty Training.

potty training
NSPT offers mental health services in BucktownEvanstonHighland ParkLincolnwoodGlenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!


Step-by-Step: Potty Training a Child with Autism

Potty training can be an overwhelming process for parents of young children. Potty training a child with autism can make the process seem even more daunting. But not to worry, with consistency and patience, children with autism can be successfully potty trained.

When to begin potty training – There is no magic age to start potty training, as it varies from child to child. Children with autism are not always developing at the same pace as their same-aged peers. However, no matter what your child’s current functioning level is, you should be able to start the potty training process around age 3.

Step-by-Step: Potty Training a Child with AutismPottyTraining

  • It is best to begin during a time when you have at least 3-4 days in a row to devote to potty training (i.e., a holiday break or a long weekend).
  • Divide potty training into two phases:
    • Phase 1 – Urination
    • Phase 2 – Bowel movements
  • Start by working on phase 1, and once your child is consistently urinating on the toilet, you can then begin working on phase 2.
    • When potty training boys, have them sit instead of stand. This will make it easier when you introduce phase 2.
  • When begin the toilet training process, begin to slowly fade out the use of diapers or Pull-Ups. If your child learns that they will go back to wearing a diaper every time they don’t go in the toilet, they will most likely wait until the diaper is on to urinate.
  • Make highly desired items (i.e., IPad, computer games, favorite treat, etc.) contingent on urinating in the toilet. Do not give your child access to these items at any other time. Restricting these items will increase their reinforcing value, making urinating in the toilet more motivating.
  • Provide natural consequences for accidents. Never yell or scream when accidents occur. Instead, have your child help with the clean-up, change themselves (to the best of their ability), and put their dirty clothes in the laundry.
  • Expect some resistance from your child when you begin toilet training. Children with autism love routines, and you are going to disrupt their normal routine as soon as you start potty training. Negative behaviors like crying and screaming are very likely in the beginning. It is important to ignore these behaviors and continue with the process. Once they learn the new potty routine, the behaviors will decrease.
  • Be consistent. Once you start potty training, stick with it! Requiring your child to use the potty one day, and then putting them back in a diaper the next can be confusing and will most likely extend the potty training process.
  • Once your child is consistently urinating in the toilet, you can move onto phase 2 and follow the same steps. It is common for phase 2 to take longer, so do not get discouraged if your child is more resistant at first.

Following these general guidelines can help with the potty training process. It is important to remember that every child is different, and what works for one child may not work for another. If you have been trying to potty train your child without any success, it is recommended that you contact a professional to assist you. Someone with knowledge and experience with potty training can write an individualized plan tailored specifically for your child.

Click here to download a printable potty chart.






What to Do When Your Child has a Potty Accident

Potty training can be difficult.  Throughout the process there can be slip-ups and accidents.  If you have a child who is already potty training, or if you have a child who exhibits signs that he or she is ready to start potty training, then keep these helpful strategies in mind for when an unavoidable accident occurs.

Strategies for dealing with a potty accident:

Potty

  1. Environment:  Create a friendly and inviting bathroom environment.  Provide different books that your child can read while she sits on the toilet.  You can even offer to play different songs while your child sits on the toilet and tries to go potty.
  2. Schedule:  Make sure that you, along with everyone who is with your child throughout the day, is on the same potty schedule.  Using this potty schedule, select a certain amount of time that you want your child to practice going on the potty.  You can start with having your child go to the potty every 30 minutes.  Set a timer. When it goes off, have your child stop what she is doing and try to go to the potty.  After she tries, reset the timer and wait for the next 30 minute potty try.  If your child is still having accidents on a 30-minute schedule, switch to 15 minutes intervals to catch the accident before it happens. Read more

7 Signs Your Child Is Ready to Potty Train

Potty training is not always an easy or quick process.  There are several skills that need to be taught and practiced.  Parents need to 

Potty Training

keep in mind that every child is different and there is no magic age that a child is ready to start learning to use the potty.  Even though there is not a magic age, there are definitely signs that you child is ready. 

 

7 Signs Your Child Is Ready For The Potty:

 

  1. A Desire to Use the Potty-Your child will start to show an interest in being potty trained.  He or she will start to stay clean and dry for longer periods of time and will be excited and happy about it.  Your child will also want to wear big kid underpants instead of diapers or pull-ups.  Interested potty learners are often curious about what you are doing when you are going to the bathroom.  He or she may start to ask questions about bathroom time.
  2. The Ability to Follow Simple InstructionsYour potty learner should be able to follow and complete simple instructions.  This is because there are several steps that need to be completed when going to the bathroom (i.e. turn on the light, close the door, pull down your pants and underwear, sit on the potty, wipe your bottom, flush the toilet, wash your hands…) 
  3. The Ability to Engage in an Activity-It is important that your child can sit and engage in an activity for more than a few minutes.  If your child becomes distracted easily or is quick to get frustrated or agitated, it will Read more

Signs Your Child Is Ready For The Potty

In today’s webisode a Board Certified Behavior Analyst Gives us the signs to look for when beginning potty training with a child!  To read a blog on the 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Potty Training, click here.

In This Video You Will Learn:

  • The signs to look for if your child is ready for potty training
  • What directions your child should be able to follow in order to use the potty
  • Why the length of your child’s attention span matters

Video Transcription:

Announcer: From Chicago’s leading experts in pediatrics to a worldwide
audience, this is Pediatric Therapy TV, where we provide experience and
innovation to maximize your child’s potential. Now your host, here’s Robyn.Robyn: Hello, and welcome to Pediatric Therapy TV. I’m your host,
Robyn Ackerman, and today I’m standing here with Katie Sadowski,
a behavioral analyst. Katie, can you tell our viewers how to
know when your child is ready for potty training?Katie: Yes. For your child to be ready for potty training, you want to
look for certain signs. One sign that you want to notice is that
your child is showing a desire and want. There is an interest
that your child is showing in regards to being potty trained.
They’re now starting to stay clean, stay dry, and they’re
excited about it, and they’re happy. They also are wanting to
wear big kids’ underpants. Another thing that you’ll see is that
they’re taking an interest in what you’re doing when you’re
going to the bathroom and asking questions about what are you
doing or why are you doing that.

Some other things that are helpful when potty training are
looking at the fact, “Can your child follow simple directions?”
When you’re using the bathroom, there are a lot of one-step
directions that we have to complete. You go in, you turn on the
light, you close the door, you have to pull down your pants,
your underwear. So there are a lot of different things that your
child needs to be able to do.

Another thing is just making sure that your child can sit and
actually engage in an activity for a certain amount of time. If
they’re very quick to get frustrated or agitated, that will make
it hard in the potty training process.

Some other things that are good to notice is that your child is
staying clean or dry for a longer amount of time. Being able to
hold their bladder for longer, also shows that they’re getting
ready and that they’re capable of doing it. Some other things
that are helpful are that your child can easily pull up and pull
down their underpants as well as pants.

You want to make sure that your child is capable of walking or
running to the bathroom. When you’re potty training, it’s not
always, “There’s the bathroom.” You might be a little bit away,
so your child has to be able to get there in time.

Those are some things that you should definitely be looking for
and being aware of.

Robyn: All right. Thank you so much, Katie.

Katie: Thank you.

Robyn: And thank you to our viewers, and remember keep on blossoming.

Announcer: This has been Pediatric Therapy TV, where we bring peace of
mind to your family with the best in educational programming. To
subscribe to our broadcast, read our blogs, or learn more, visit
our website at LearnMore.me. That’s LearnMore.me.

The Dirty Little Secret on Poop – Tips For Children Who Won’t Use the Potty in Public or at School

As if potty training isn’t hard enough, there is also the challenge of having your child go to the washroom in public. Many children have increased anxiety when it comes to using a public restroom. There are several reasons that might cause your child to display this anxiety resulting in avoidance of using the bathroom. Below are some tips to help reduce your child’s anxiety and encourage them to use public restrooms.

Ways to Encourage Children To Change Behavior And Use Public Restrooms

Talk About It!

Address the problem that your child is having. Take the time to figure out why your child is having difficulties using public restrooms. Some possible things that might cause your child to be anxious are:

  • The toilet is different than the one at home
  • The toilet flushes differently (automatic vs. manual flush)
  • The water in the toilet bowl might be a different color (some places use the cleaners that make the water dark blue or even a green color)
  • The lighting in the restroom
  • The sounds fans make
  • The noises of the automatic air fresheners,
  • The germs – Yes, germs! You are probably thinking that kids aren’t concerned about germs, but that is actually not always the case.

Start talking to your child to identify what items in the restroom are causing their anxiety. If your child has difficulties saying exactly what bothers him or her about public restrooms, take field trips. When out and about in the community go into different restrooms and ask your child to tell you what it is that makes him or her uncomfortable.

Brainstorm Solutions and Try Them!

Try to come up with different solutions to help your child feel more at ease when using public restrooms. If certain noises in the restroom bother your child, let him use headphones or hold his ears to listen the noise. If he is scared about germs, put toilet paper on the seat before he  uses it. Let him know that toilets will be different, but that does not make them scary. Look at different toilets on the Internet and talk about them.

Create Positive Potty Time Stories!

Once you identify the problems and come up with solutions that make your child more comfortable to use the restroom, sit down and write a story together. Be sure to have your child help with this story as much as possible. Write out the things that scare him and then add the different things that help him calm down. The story should be used before going out to the community and can even be used right before the child needs to use the restroom as a reminder of what they will encounter.

Give praise!

When your child uses a public restroom, be sure to praise them. You want to make a big deal about this great accomplishment so that it will be more likely to happen again. Be sure to provide plenty of verbal praise, “Great job of using the bathroom! You are such a big girl/boy!”, “I knew you could do it! See, there was nothing to be scared of!”.When your child first starts using the public restroom, you can also give them little rewards. For example, if you are at his/her favorite restaurant he/she can pick an extra treat, at the toy store your child can pick out a new toy, or at the grocery store he/she can choose a favorite candy bar. These treats should not last forever but should be given heavily in the beginning and then sporadically, eventually completely fading out.

Listed below are some books that can help when potty training:

 What are your tips for helping ease the anxiety when your child uses a public restroom?