Potty training for children with autism is especially difficult. Using the toilet is a critical life skill necessary for independent living and is one of the major milestones of early childhood. For children with autism, toileting acquisition may be delayed or in some cases never achieved. A wide range of issues can make it extremely hard for a child with autism to grasp potty training.
Sensory overload, cognition, restricted and repetitive behaviors, deficits in communication and social skills, limited motor skills and other characteristics associated with the autism spectrum can all play a role, and underlying cause of difficulties related to potty training will depend on the individual.
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Because of the importance of potty training in improving a child’s quality of life, behavior analytic researchers have long been studying effective methods to potty train children with autism. There are several toilet training techniques for children with autism that research has shown to be extremely effective.
How Does ABA Therapy Teach Potty Training?
ABA therapy teaches potty training in a way specific to each child based on their needs and skills. Since there are a variety of techniques, a trained BCBA will help identify which methods will likely be the most appropriate and effective for each child based on what skills the child already has.
For example, some children with autism must be taught to tolerate sitting on a toilet before a toileting procedure can start. Others may use the toilet when instructed but will not initiate. Sometimes, a child will urinate in the toilet but not have a bowel movement. It is important to individualize the potty-training procedure based on what a child currently has in their skill set.
Dr. Lapin from The Place for Children with Autism describing tips and strategies for teaching toilet training
- ABA Therapy for Children with Autism
- Common ABA Treatment Outcomes
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