Parents With Children On The Autism Spectrum

Potty Training – With My Autistic Boys

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No One Said This Will Be Easy

Potty training is one milestone I have always been scared of, in a phobia type of way. I swear, my first time was sweat inducing and the feeling of “I don’t know if I can do this”, settled in the pit of my belly. All I thought is, I have a non-verbal son and the run-of-the-mill suggestions just did not cut it. I was way out of my league and I felt each and every drop of sweat sliding down my forehead. I was terrified and my oldest, Zach probably knew it.

Potty Training- With My Autistic Boys, is about how I am having quite an opposite experience with each of my boys. And as we continue on with this article, we can journey along together and see how Zach’s potty training went and how my current trainee, my youngest, Jojo differs.

Zach and Jojo are shaping up to be so incredibly different that it has extended into the potty training arena! There seems to be their is probably an unspoken agreement between my two boys on how different they can be. It is awesome, but also a challenge each and every day to keep up and ahead of them.

Honestly sometimes, rules do not apply in the potty training world.

Zach’s On and Off Again Road To Underpants

The first time I tried to potty train Zach at the age of 5, I knew he was not ready for it. He might have exhibited a couple of traits showing he was ready; like the grabbing of himself or his heighten excitement (running around the house all of a sudden), that I figured out was his version of the ‘pee’ dance. But alas, in one weekend, I all but gave up.

I let many people’s opinions or questions about what age he should be trained or why he was not already trained, get to me. It made me feel horrible, like I was not doing it right or wondering if I was being a good enough mother for him. The feelings I experienced after this first attempt and small failure was a determination to do better next time and to watch out for when the right time did come.

I learned to always remember: listen to my gut and if it is saying that your child is not ready, then most likely, they are not.

He did not seem to know what was going on and no one was able to really give me pointers on potty training my autistic sons. Methods generally used were useless to me. So instead of forcing the training, I decided to return to it when I felt he can handle it, and boy was the road a long one.

On The Road Again….

One beautiful Saturday morning, the idea popped in my head. I can NOT say there were signs per se. I can not say that he was talking at this time, just a few words, tops, and no leading me to the bathroom to indicate the need to go. As I review our day, I just thought of the tremendous work and growth Zach has shown and It lead me to believe that he was ready and so in one weekend he gained an understanding with using the bathroom for pee but number 2 was an another ball game that lasted for an eternity, but in reality lasted around a year.

Up To My Elbows In P**P For A Year

I did not know how to respond to people when I took Zach to the bathroom and get the ‘Oh, he’s potty trained?!’,.. I swear, don’t laugh, but I would shrug and say, ‘Yeah, sort of’ because to me he was 100% HALFWAY trained and patience was the name of the game. The amount of time spent cleaning, washing clothes and baths I have spent within this year was crazy and I thought that maybe, this was how it was going to be for the rest of his life. And sadly, no one had answers because autism can lead to many outcomes when it comes to potty training.

So for about a year I was literally on poop duty, 2 to 3 times a day, until something, someday it just clicked, and I was blessed with a fully trained 6 year old sons.

So you see, patience was a crucial element to training my oldest son in one of the hardest milestones I have yet to encounter, Potty Training.

Jojos A Quick Study

As much time as Zach took when training, my youngest son decided to do just the opposite approach to the potty training milestone. Even as ready as Jojo seemed, I still waited just a bit longer because once again, I had another non-verbal in need of potty taining and I wanted to do things better. I did not try to push anything before I knew he was ready. So I waited.

A couple of months passed by, and I showed different ‘potty training’ songs in the form of videos, mainly on YouTube and Netflix. I let him become curious, when he wanted to see what went on when I or his brother used the bathroom. I even made up this upbeat type of song, in which using the potty was this great adventure. The lyrics always changed because it was all made up as I went along and he loved it. So all was right in his world and therefore, my world.

Amazingly, it has been 8 days since I started this with Jojo and he has taken to it as if he has been waiting all his life to be trained. It is far from perfect (Psst, there is no such thing in the potty training world) but he is doing it and I can not wait to celebrate this new milestone with my son!

A Moms Milestone

A toast to all parents on a job well done and a toast to those who have yet to pass this milestone. This is not for the faint of heart or stomach, but there is not anything we would not do for our children and potty training is a BIG one.

So my advice is… trust your intuition and have lots of patience and it will ALL work out in the end!

Good luck and lots of light and love.

Keep Being AMAZING!

Brendaliz


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6 Comments

  1. Hi Brendaliz,

    Appreciate your efforts to share this article, kids learn to use the Potty toilet at their own pace.

    It might take days, weeks, or longer for a child to get there eventually but we must stay positive and encourage kids to learn potty training. Getting out of nappies can be an important sign that kid is ready and the transition will be easier from nappies to potty stool.

    I truly loved your content and feel your a lovely mom who understands the need of her children and an optimistic person.

    Although potty training can be frustrating at times, avoid being angry with that little toddler, let them know that it’s okay and encourage them to do it next time, your little one will eventually get the hang of it.

    Thanks for it
    Cheers!

    1. Hello!!
      I am super glad that they both learned to step away from the pull ups! Prices are ridiculous lol!
      I try being as understanding and patient as possible with my boys and the best way to get through life is to really believe that we can do it; to be as optimistic as possible.
      Thank you for your words and for stopping by!
      Have a wonderful weekend!
      Light and Love to you and yours!

  2. What an enlightening article. I was intrigued by the title, despite having no children. It made me think about how difficult it would probably be, trying to potty train non-verbal kids. You are obviously a fantastic and patient mother. The love for your kids shines through with each sentence. I’m sure telling your journey will help lots of other parents! I learned something new today by reading your article! Thanks for sharing a bit about your world…well done!

    1. Hello Yvette!
      I can honestly say, I hope that my reaction is not a common thing because let me tell you, I was scared! and a lot of that did stem from my boys being non verbal. I also wrtote the article because I thought how interesting it was, having both my sons non-verbal, with such different reactions to potty training. My youngest, pretty much got potty training within a week, with maybe a handful of mistakes in that time. While it took about a year with my oldest. So I think having my nightmare come true with my first son and I lived :), kicked aside my anxiety. Because to me, it could not get worst then what I already experienced.
      Thank you for your comment and compliment, and I hope you read from you again!
      Sending light and love your way!
      Brendaliz

  3. Great article. While I raised five children and have spent countless hours with my ten grandchildren I have never potty trained a non-verbal autistic child.

    That certainly up the anti doesn’t it.

    My most difficult child to train was an ADHD son which certainly was a challenge to keep him in one place long enough to accomplish anything let alone pee or poop.

    I give you huge kudos for your patience, not all of us are as well developed in that area.

    I have no doubt your article will help other moms struggling through this milestone to feel less alone.

    1. Hello!
      I have no doubt that children, no matter the situation, is going to be a race to the potty and constant look out of the pee dance. Their is a lot going on for both the parent AND the child and it can get pretty bonkers!
      Honestly, you need to give you the kudos because five children and then grandchildren after that is having me break out in hives AND I only have two!
      I hope you have a wonderful day, full with light and love!
      Brendaliz

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