Potty Training Autism: Toilet Training Guide & Tips for Parents and Professionals

If you’re having any potty problems, you’re likely also going to have a lot of other problems. I created this free ebook on potty training autism, and I am going to take a few minutes to tell you what’s inside the book in this video blog.

Each week I provide you with some of my ideas about turning autism around, so if you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, you can do that now and join the tens of thousands of others who already have.

My free ebook on potty training autism is a little over 20 pages in length. I might decide to sell it eventually or at some point, but right now, you can get it at marybarbera.com/potty. In addition to being a behavior analyst and being the mom of 2 young adult sons now, one with autism and one without I have been a registered nurse since the mid 1980s and when we’re talking about a bodily function like potty training, I do think that my long career as a registered nurse, especially my work with neurologically impaired patients, really helped guide me into the world of potty training my two boys as well as potty training or helping to potty train many of my clients.

You may or may not know if you’re a parent or professional in the autism world that I have online courses. I don’t have a standalone potty training autism course because I truly believe that if you are having problems with potty training, whether your child or client is 4 or 5 years of age or whether they are 14 or 40 years of age, if you’re having any potty problems, you’re likely also having a lot of other problems like problem behaviors, not talking a lot, not conversational, failure to go through the daily routines by themselves, and safety concerns.

So there’s a whole lot of issues that are going on and I don’t really want to spend time just talking about the potty. Potty training is covered in my online courses currently. So in the table of contents of my guide are things like research in the field of autism. A lot of behavior analysts I know say to do the Azrin and Foxx method and there are some steps in there that can become extremely problematic and I go over those steps and what to do instead. I go over when to start toilet training, are there prerequisites, are there readiness skills? Is a child ever too “low functioning” to be potty trained? I go over where you start, whether you’re going to do a scheduled training or a more intensive in the bathroom method or some combination of both of them. The ebook tells you what materials you need, who’s going to coordinate between school and home and lots more information.

Lose those diapers and get your child or client with or without autism more independent with my free ebook below!

Then we talk also about bowel training and wiping in this free ebook. As well as nighttime training and toileting accidents or regression after the child is toilet trained. So it’s a very meaty book. I’m very proud that I was able to put it together and we were able to offer it for free. Again, that is at marybarbera.com/potty. My approach differs then doctors Azrin and Foxx’s approach in 2 ways. They have 5 steps in their procedure, including the 3 steps that I do use. So I’m going to tell you what 3 steps I do use and the 2 steps that I no longer use.

  1. The first step I use is schedule so putting the child on a schedule, whether that is every 15 minutes, every half an hour, or every hour. In the beginning, it’s going to have to be more frequent.
  2. The second step I use is extra drinks, especially if you’re trying to get them potty trained quickly, specifically extra drinks that are consistent. So not just like he has 2 Caprisuns at lunch and then he doesn’t drink the rest of the day. So it needs to be extra drinks and more consistent drinks like 4 ounces an hour for smaller children or more than that potentially for older children.
  3. The last step I use is data collection and it doesn’t have to be scary data. It can just be whether they sat on the toilet, whether they peed when they had a bowel movement, either in the toilet or in a diaper, those sorts of things. So it doesn’t have to be hard data, but it needs to be some information that we can make data-based decisions.

Doctors Azrin and Foxx in their book, Toilet Training in Less Than a Day, which was published in 1974 also includes 2 steps that I don’t use. One of them is dry pants checks, which involved keeping the child in underwear and visually inspecting the underwear at a time schedule.

You can see how that would not be appropriate in say a public school setting where the child would then just be in underwear. That would not fly these days even if they’re behind a partition. So dry pants checks are kind of out with my approach as well as positive practice, which is a punishment procedure and in most cases not legal to carry out within public school settings, especially without really having a system of positive reinforcement.

I have my approach which differs from what a lot of behavior analysts are following right now in terms of toilet training. So you want to check out the guide at marybarbera.com/potty. I do have a podcast on potty training autism too, but I wanted to do a short video blog as well. I know I’m not able to get into the full guide and everything, but you have it handy. You have other resources. I am going to be talking about pottying throughout my online courses and community. If you’d like to find out more about joining those, you can go to marybarbera.com/workshop. If you liked this video/article on potty training autism, give me a thumbs up, share the video, leave a comment, and I will see you right here next week.

Lose those diapers and get your child or client with or without autism more independent with my free ebook below!