Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Autism and Potty Training Tips - Getting Through this Difficult Time

Potty training toddlers can be hard work. But for any child, autistic or not, this is a very important step in the developmental process, and one that should not be delayed. Autism potty training, however, may bring about a little dread in parents that are about to undergo the process. This article will briefly cover some of the ways you can help ease this process, and what you should expect.

First, it is important that you understand that some fundamental and universal techniques for potty training children are simply not applicable to children with autism. Or, more accurately, these rules are not applicable in their original form - not without some tweaking, anyway. It is also important to understand that this process will not be easy, no matter the level of learning ability of your child. The process is not easy for any child. You will need to bring patience and determination to the table in order to be successful.

Before you start the potty training process, it is important to remember that children with autism to not tend to react to positive reinforcements and stimuli in the same fashion as other children do. Because of this, you should probably avoid offering your child rewards or prizes based on their behavior, as their reaction will likely vary from instance to instance and cannot be counted upon.

It is also important to fully communicate the importance of using a toilet to your child, as they may simply not understand the reasoning behind such an act. An effective way to accomplish this is with visual aides, rather than spoken commands. Showing your child simple illustrations of the entire process of using the bathroom can help them understand the process better. These can be simple illustrations or symbolic representations.

Another hurdle to overcome when potty training autistic children is that they often times cannot sense when they need to go to the bathroom. To overcome this, a good idea may be to establish a strict routine. Using a clock or timer, teach your child how to use the bathroom at the same times each day. As children with autism naturally move toward routine, this should not be too hard.

Lastly, it is important to understand that children with autism do not accept change into their lives easily. Because of this, it is important to stay patient and understanding during the potty training process. While any child can have difficulty learning to be potty trained, with autistic children, the process can be especially daunting. This doesn't mean that it is impossible, however. If you accept the challenges ahead of you, and maintain that you will overcome them to achieve positive results right from the very start, then you will ultimately be successful.

Autism potty training does not have to make you feel a sense of dread. With some hard work and patience, this task can be effectively accomplished. Although be prepared for it to take longer and probably start later than for children without autism.

By Rachel Evans. Sign up for a free newsletter for more information on autism. In the newsletter you'll discover vital information on other parenting challenges similar to autism potty training.

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