6 Fun Ways to Reach Autism Potty Success!

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Declan will be 5 years old in one month.  Declan happily wears a Pull-Up.

I’m not so happy.

But the potty just isn’t Declan’s thing.

I guess I should clarify.  Declan will go on the potty, if you put him on the potty.  He does not tell you he has to go, though.  You have to catch him before hand and take him.  So, that is a plus.

As of now, we are not an Autism Potty-Training success story.  YET.  I know we will get there, and I am so grateful for that.

In the meantime, here is what I am learning works for us.

6 Fun Ways to Reach Autism Potty Success!


Potty training my son with Autism, Declan, is different from it was potty training my older 2 children.  I mean, we did the same things.  We looked for the same cues.  We kept a consistent schedule.  We had accidents, but we kept trying till we got it right.  It took them a bit to learn and make the connection, but they got it.

With Declan, we are over a year in the potty training process now.  We have some success and that is where I keep my focus!

About 6 months ago, Declan’s school had him on a pretty regular schedule.  The teacher said that she took Declan to the potty with the rest of the class when they went.  Declan has a 1/1 Aid who can help and said Declan would “go” at this time.  They felt that Declan would enjoy wearing underwear and that it may motivate him to use the potty all the time.

Declan just didn’t like underwear for the longest time!

We had little success at home with this issue.  They worked on the issue at school, too.  His teacher was trying to get him to wear the underwear on his head for a bit, just to be a little silly and to get more used to the underwear.

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And true with most Autism success stories, we bought a lot of different kinds not sure if there was a sensory issue with the briefs I chose.  We tried boxers, briefs, tightie whities.  After going through the entire underwear department store, he agreed to wear the original set we bought.  For a few hours a day.

I am comfortable with the few hours a day schedule for now.  I know about when he is going to go and catch him before and put him on the potty.  I know when he is going to go again and catch him before.  Sometimes I miss the time, or we are off schedule and there is an accident.



This one helped us to get him to sit on the potty at first.  Declan doesn’t like to sit.  At all.  He is always on the go.  He grazes all day.  I make meals for him, and the plate sits at the family table.  Declan comes in, takes a bite, and is off again.  So, I already thought getting him to sit on the potty would be a challenge.

Thankfully, I read the story here about how a mother got her son to brush his teeth (we use this tool for teeth brushing, too).  She sings!  We sing!  Song has always been a way I connect with Declan.  He is so impulsive that at times, I do not think he hears me.  So, if I REALLY need him to hear me, I sing my request to him.  So, to get him to sit – we sing!  The ABC’s to be exact.  I think he likes to know exactly how long he has to sit.  I think he likes the song.  Works for me!  Win, Win!!


Yes, true for most behaviors you want your learner to learn.  Be consistent!  Declan loves a schedule.  He needs to have a routine.  Making potty just a regular part of his day works.


We use the daily visual calendar to help him with his routine.  In general, it works.  There are days he is up all night and not very agreeable to a morning routine.  Sometimes he just wakes up “on the wrong side of the bed.”  But since we are flexible, we will try again later.  Here is a picture of the morning routine cards:



This worked for my older kids.  Not so much for Declan, but if you are like me, you are willing to try ANYTHING!  Right now, we have Spiderman webs ready for when a #2 happens on the potty.  The webs have sat, waiting for about 7 months now.  We’ll get there!

We also tried a button system.  Paper buttons of superheroes that he earned for each try at the potty.  He just wasn’t motivated by this reward either.  We stopped that one.


I tried the timer, too.  I had it set to go off every 15 minutes.  If he went, he got 30 minutes until the next try.  Declan enjoyed knowing it was time to go for about a week.  Then he grew tired of the timer and hid it.  I’m still looking for it, but got the message.  No timer!


We are over a year in with Declan.  Overall, we’ve had a lot of success.  We keep trying and I know eventually he will make the urge/potty time connection.  I am thankful for that!

When you hit the internet, everyone has a different opinion on what works – pick and choose what fits for you and your special one.  The things we have tried that are a success?  Flexibility, singing, consistency and the visual calendar.  The timer worked for a bit, but then it got “lost.”  We are hoping the Spiderman webs are the COOLEST reward and will help future potty success.  We’ll see!  We WILL get there!

How about you?  What are your success stories?  What have you tried that works?  What hasn’t?  Let me know!



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