4 Tips to Make Toilet Training Easy and Fun
Asperger's syndrome, sometimes referred to as Asperger's disorder or Asperger's disease has various symptoms but one of the more common can be having trouble with toilet training. For whatever reason, it takes a lot of kids with Asperger's syndrome a lot longer than normal to be able to toilet train. Some kids can be six or seven before they're fully toilet trained…or later. This is not to say that every kid with Asperger's will have this problem, or to such an extreme; but it does happen. Luckily, there are some strategies that can help. It can be very frustrating when you try and try to get your kid to go to the toilet, but he just sits there and doesn't go. Those diapers get bulky and tiresome to change after a while, and then of course there is the matter of school.
- Break it into small steps. The most important strategy to use while teaching toilet training is to break it into very small steps. This works best if you think your child has a basic grasp of what a toilet is used for. Some kids with Asperger's syndrome and autism have a lot of anxiety related to the toilet. Perhaps it's the loud noise that flushing makes; perhaps they're afraid that they will fall in; perhaps the whirling water scares them. Maybe it's just too different a concept for them to handle. Whatever the case, you need to familiarize them with the parts of the toilet.
- Reward success. Choose some "reinforcers" that you think will work well with your child. This can be chocolate chips, Oreos, action figures, anything small and easily accessible that show your child when they are doing something right, and give them incentive to do it again.
- Be patient, go slow, take your time. Take your child into the bathroom, and prepare to be there for a while. If the child stays near the toilet and doesn't try to run away, reward that. Reward him if he sits on the toilet, even if he doesn't use it. Other steps could include pulling his pants down in preparation for using the toilet; eliminating waste even if it's not actually in the toilet (because this is better than the living room, sofa or so on); practicing flushing the toilet, and so on.If you can incrementally increase your proximity to the goal, and do it enough, then it should sink in to your child sooner rather than later what it is he's supposed to do.
- Reinforce success. Of course, be sure to reinforce your child if he manages to use the toilet in the appropriate way, as well. Many kids with Asperger's and autism have very bad toilet habits, and will go just about anywhere where the urge strikes them…including on your furniture. Toilet training, then, becomes of utmost importance, and a large dose of patience is needed to achieve it.
One mother solved the toilet training problem by making a day of it, and locking her and her son in the bathroom with lots of juice and cookies. Her son would get thirsty, drink, and eventually use the toilet; when he did, she rewarded him by giving him candy as a reinforcer.
Her son threw lots of tantrums and had a lot of resistance. However, she kept pushing him towards the goal, and ignored the meltdowns. Eventually he pushed through his fear and anxiety of whatever was stopping him – or enough connections in his brain clicked on and he realized what he was supposed to do – and he managed to do it.
With persistence and patience, toilet training a child with Asperger's syndrome is possible. One thing to keep in mind is not to show irritation or anger; this will probably just scare your child more and make it less likely that he will do what you want him to. He will also associate feelings of fear and confusion with toilet training, which is not an association you want him or her to have.
Problems with toilet training can be one of the more frustrating symptoms of Asperger's syndrome, but with lots of patience and a few tips, you will indeed get to where you want to be. And for more solutions click here to learn how to not only survive but thrive with Asperger's syndrome.
These are just a few of the answers you will need to successfully survive and thrive with Aspergers. To find information to help both children and adults with Asperger's syndrome see our solutions page. Also ensure you sign up for the FREE Asperger's Syndrome Newsletter to gain additional information to help your loved one be happy and succeed in life.