What does it take to get a child with autism to completely independently, and calmly, use the toilet in a public place?
Solid skills at home, comfort with being in an unfamiliar bathroom, and no option of using a Pull-Up.
- Get your child so good at using the bathroom at home that they could TEACH this skill. They do all the clothing management regardless of the fasteners on the pants. They wipe, flush, wash and dry their hands like a pro. Then make sure they can do this at relative’s homes and at school.
- Bring them into public bathrooms very frequently to just wash their hands AND to see YOU using the facilities. This means bringing them into the stall or in front of the urinal. They don’t need to “go” at first, but they need to be “really” there, not on a screen. This is because they need to not be distracted or distressed by the sounds and smells. They won’t be able to use the toilet or urinal alone if they are. It has to be more familiar to walk into these places and get down to business.
- They can’t have the option of peeing into a diaper in order to AVOID use a public facility. This means you may be making many visits to the local library and using their bathroom, just because home is too far away. It will be one of the quietest and cleanest bathrooms out there. A good start for the ultimate goal of full toileting independence.
Want more toileting information on EVERY step of learning to use the potty?
I wrote a book for you!
The Practical Guide to Toilet Training the Autistic Child is just like the title: filled with useful information to guide you, not charts to complete and theories about what is going on .
I am an occupational therapist, which means I am all about skill development. Using the toilet is a sensory-motor skill with behavioral components, NOT A BEHAVIOR.
This means that your child needs to have skills, not plans. They need to be able to use the facilities, not list them on a visual chart. They need to know what it feels like to need to “go”, how to manage their clothes and the toilet as well as their position on the toilet once they get there. They need to be able to attend to the important sensory information and ignore the unimportant sensory stuff like sounds and stinks.