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Autism and Toileting

Flora, like many children with autism, has difficulty learning to use the toilet. This may be due to physical difficulties , difficulty to manage change ( they have learned to wear a nappy and find it difficult to change this habit), they lack the 'social' motivation to 'do as others do'.

When and how can we help Flora learn to use the toilet?


The ultimate goal is to teach the child to use the toilet independently. This may take some time. It is important to show patience as well as perseverance, but also to celebrate and praise every success in the process of learning to use the toilet. 


Usually, the child's change in behaviour shows us that they may be ready to start going to the toilet. It is important to see these changes before we begin the process of learning to use the toilet.

What are the signs that a child is ready to learn?


When the child:

  • Shows signs of understanding that they have wet or soiled their nappy. 

  • Their behaviour changes; they seem restless or distracted when their nappy is full. 

  • Communicates in some way that their nappy  is dirty. 

  • Shows interest in going to the toilet.

  • For 1-2 hours they can avoid having an accident.


What can we do: 


  1. Environment 

We organise the toilet in such a way that the child has as easy access to everything ( toilet, paper, soap, etc.). We avoid strong smells and noises to create a quiet and calm environment. 

We start changing the nappy in the toilet so that the child can begin to familiarize themselves with the environment of the toilet. During the process of changing, it is important to encourage the child to participate actively. 

We can do this by telling them that their nappy is dirty, encouraging them to catch it if it is wet, empty it into the toilet when it is full, and flush the toilet. We must avoid using negative comments such as " ugh, it stinks" and we need to  focus on creating a positive atmosphere throughout the process. 


  1. Symbols

We prepare symbols that include the process, for example: Pull down pants, pull down underwear, pee in the toilet, wipe, pull up underwear, pull up pants, flush, wash hands. 

At the same time, depending on the child's communication level, we teach them how to communicate that they need to go to the toilet. 


  1. Observation

It is important to observe when the child fills the nappy so that we can make it part of their schedule to go to the toilet at that time. It is important to increase visits to the toilet especially after activities when they are  likely to need the toilet, like after the snack. 


  1. Consistency 

 All adults who come into contact with the child ( relatives,friends and other professionals) need to  use the same routine and approach. 


  1. Praise

Every achievement, big or small, is important to be praised. In fact, when the child manages to use the toilet, it is good to reward them with enthusiasm and something they like.


Here we need to remind that the process of learning to use the toilet is personal and different for each child. It is important to observe how each child experiences it, what their difficulties and their habits are. 

You can contact us at florastophasma@gmail.com , to discuss and share advice according to the child's profile.


 

We will share more tips and activities in the future, so keep visiting us.


We are looking forward to hearing your views and experiences. You can email us at florastophasma@gmail.com.


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