The words that send a shiver down the spine of parents of Autistic children everywhere.
(And I’m only half kidding!)
Whether you have…
- an Autistic toddler who’s showing interest in the potty
- An Autistic preschooler who needs to go potty in order to access child care
- Or a school-aged (or older) Autistic child who is working on independent bathroom skills
…potty training isn’t for the faint of heart, but that doesn’t mean it has to be an epic battle!
So today I’m going to take a look at potty training with the Embracing Autism Method.
Potty Training With the Embracing Autism Method
If we haven’t met yet, hey friend, I’m Kaylene!
I’m an Autistic adult and parent-coach that helps parents of autistic children drop the “autism mom” label and become the parent-advocate that their kids truly need.
So if you’re looking to be able to truly accommodate your child, balance your family life, and create real change through advocacy, feel free to hop over to AutisticMama.com/Apply and fill out the form to access an advanced private training!
What is the Embracing Autism Method?
The Embracing Autism Method is a framework that I’ve developed after working with tons of parents of Autistic children and noticing patterns along their journeys.
It starts with Accommodating.
This is where you’re focused on meeting your Autistic child’s needs and helping them feel safe, understood, and regulated.
Once your child is regulated most of the time, you’re able to start Balancing.
This is where you are focused on meeting all of your family needs, setting boundaries, and creating routines that help your entire family work.
Finally, you’re ready to focus on creating Change.
This is where you’re fiercely advocating for your Autistic child, building your Autistic child’s self-advocacy skills, and allying with Autistics.
So let’s take a look at how to apply the Embracing Autism Method to potty training.
Step One: Accommodate
Accommodating is going to be your biggest focus when potty training with the Embracing Autism Method.
The key is finding out exactly what is making going potty such a struggle for your child.
Here are just a few examples:
- The toilet seat is too cold
- They don’t know when they need to go
- It’s boring to sit and wait to go potty
- The toilet flushing is too loud
- They can’t remember all the steps
Once you figure out your child’s specific struggles, you can focus on finding accommodations for those struggles.
Like if your child struggles with sitting and waiting, you might have them use their tablet while they go potty.
Or if they struggle with the flushing being too loud, you might have them leave the bathroom while an adult flushes for them.
This will help your child feel safe and stay regulated when using the potty.
Step Two: Balance
When it comes to balance and potty training, you’re going to want to focus on respecting your child’s consent.
This way you can really model what it looks like to respond to their boundaries.
We can’t expect our kids to respond to our boundaries if we aren’t willing to respond to theirs.
In the Balance Stage of the Embracing Autism Method, we also focus on skill-building.
So you’ll also want to break down going potty into several new skills that you can build with your child.
There are tons of micro-skills involved in potty training, like:
- Transitioning to the bathroom in time
- Staying on the potty long enough to actually go
- Aiming for the toilet (peeing standing up)
- Wiping their private areas effectively
- Washing hands independently
In general, when teaching skills I recommend you follow this process:
- Introduce – Noticing the skill in others.
- Play – Involve the skill in play.
- Help – You get help using the skill.
- Practice – Practice the skill regularly.
(I teach the entire skill-building system inside the Embracing Autism Accelerator Program!)
Step Three: Change
When talking about change (or advocacy) when potty training, we want to really focus on your advocacy scripts.
Start by planning out scripts ahead of time to navigate conversations with other caregivers who may need to accommodate your child.
Here are a few simple examples:
- “(Name) is still using pull-ups. When we change them, it helps if we (enter accommodations). Do you have any questions?”
- “It’s important to ask (name) if they’re ready to use the potty about once an hour. They will go when they need to, but they won’t remember on their own.”
- “If (name) has an accident, their extra clothes are in their bag. It’s important that you let them know that accidents happen and help them change without making it a big deal.”
Now you might be left thinking: okay, this sounds great, but I still have questions like…
- How do I figure out what accommodations my child actually needs?
- What do I do if my child is absolutely terrified of the potty?
- How do I advocate for my child if their preschool threatens to kick them out if they aren’t potty trained?
- What am I supposed to do when my child refuses to wear pull-ups, but constantly has accidents?
- How do I navigate my child needing help to use the potty but absolutely refusing any help?
I teach all about how to discover your child’s unique needs, meet them without burning yourself out, and advocate for them effectively in my Embracing Autism Accelerator Program.
Plus, when you apply for the Accelerator, you get access to an exclusive private training: 3 Steps to Become the Parent-Advocate Your Child Needs.
Click here to apply and get your invite to the private training!