Single Moms Raising Autistic Sons

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Need Help With Toilet Training Tips

Griffin has been mouthing non-food objects again and putting his fingers in his mouth and writing on windows & mirrors with his saliva (YUCK!), it's no wonder that he keeps getting sick. I try to sanitize his hands as often as I can especially when we go out in public but I can't keep up. I know that it means that he needs more oral stimulation like a spin toothbrush and a Nuk brush too and I guess that I'll be going out to get one in order to help him stop doing these things. Since Griffin got sick recently he has stopped using the toilet almost completely and I don't know how to get him to start using it again. He had been going consistently with a little bit of encouragement getting to the bathroom but once in front of the toilet he would go willingly. Now he has to be practically dragged to the bathroom and once in front of the toilet he refuses to even push his pants down to urinate. He also needs to a great deal of encouragement to get to the bathroom when he needs to have a BM and often goes in his pullups/diaper. I have tried using a reward system where he got a jelly bean or m&m after using the toilet but it stopped working because he totally lost interest in eating them. I don't know of a reward that he likes better than those, he has no interest in stickers either. Of course I give him lots of praise when he goes but he doesn't really seem to care whether I do or not. Who has some suggestions? I would love to hear some ideas that you might have, I'm getting desperate because he has regressed so badly and I feel like we are at square one, even worse than square one because at least at square one he liked jelly beans! Oh and he doesn't seem to be bothered by the feeling of a wet pullup either so that's not a factor. He has some "big boy" underpants but he is not in the least bit interested in wearing them so I don't know how to motivate the little guy.


Nicole said...

The following have worked for kids I've worked with, but of course each child is different. Make sure to pair tangible reinforcers with social praise. Griffin's teacher may be able to help you out.

Does he understand a token system? For example, he could get a token (e.g., penny, marble, etc.) each time he uses the toilet and when he has a certain number (he should be able to see how many he needs) he can pick out a puzzle, toy, or whatever from the store.

This site ( has PECS of video covers, toys, games etc. You could find ones he likes, print them, cut them out, attach velco, and use them as reinforcers or tokens.

Alternatively, you could find a book, magnet letters, etc. that he really likes and only let him have access to them for a few minutes after he uses the toilet. You may need to be careful not to use something he likes so much he totally melts down when you put it away, as this would make it difficult for both of you and he could associate using the toilet with negative experiences.

Lora said...

Thank you Nicole, I wish that you had a blog so that I could visit you too, I would like to know if you are a teacher or therapist. I would love to get to know you too. We have a great support system of bloggers here and we are always wanting to meet new people. I will give it a try, it might just work. I'm not sure that he will understand the token system but I will never know until I try.....right? Thanks again a whole bunch!

Nicole said...

You could try giving a verbal explanation (e.g., "Griffin you get a Thomas picture when you use the potty. When you get 3 pictures you get a ____ .") and a visual explanation (e.g., on a strip of cardboard draw 3 square outlines the size of the tokens, you can also have a picture of his prize after the 3 outlines). It's hard to explain in writing, his teacher can likely show you how to make a token board. It'll only work if he can understand the concept.

About me, I've been working with kids for many years and am very involved with ASD research and grants. I was diagnosed with an ASD 1 1/2 years ago, which gives me an interesting perspective in my work.

Sam I Am said...

My school district has an Autism Resource Specialist do a 4 night workshop specifically on toileting autistic children. I was hopeless and had planned on buying diapers forever. The instructor was awesome. All I have to send you would be copies of her powerpointe presentation and my notes. I can tell you that the main thing that brought us success after her class, was me sticking to it to a tee, charting, not working around my schedule, but completely around Sam's schedule. If you would like to send me an e-mail of your mailing address, I would be more than happy to send you a copy. Good luck!!!

Tina and Jayce said...

Hi Lora,
I would try backing away from toilet training for just awhile. He was sick and it may be possible he had a urinary tract infection?

Does Griffin take Iron? Maybe it would help with his mouthing non food stuff. My brother Adam mouthed and ate alot of non food stuff and we found his iron was low, I wish I were more help.

It does sound like it's illness related to me cause he stopped using the toilet right around the time he was sick.

Hugs to you both, we are always here for you:)

Tina and Jayce said...

I forgot to mention, Griffin is adorable in the photo! What a smile!

A Bishops wife said...

This is an adorable picture of Griffin. He looks like he is having so much fun!

My "Junior" is 5 too and although he knows "How" to go potty he just does not seem to get"why". He just doesn't care. It is like , he knows he can and is proud of himself when he does but he just doesn't care about it that much. Sometimes he refuses and sometimes I do not think he even thinks about it as "a thing to do".

That sounded confusing.

I am glad you wrote about this and hope to gleen some knowladge from it too-if you do not mind.

Anonymous said...

The intensive toilet training program by Foxx (Richard) and Azrin or the toilet training program out of the book "A Work In Progress" is the most effective.

Steve said...

Back when our son was learning, the school psychologist / ABA expert suggested that we let him go naked around the house. It is, of course, uncomfortable. And, it takes a great deal of patience and attentiveness, but it's worth a shot.

I believe the idea is that our kids are often ok with a mess in their own pants, but they are aware enough to not leave a mess where they live/play/sleep.