Fear of entering the bathroom by Autistic children when toilet training is more common than you may think.
As a Autism Toilet Training Consultant I speak to families all over Ireland and indeed internationally about challenges their Autistic children face when toilet training. I have created a Youtube Video which you can watch back HERE covering this topic.
Autism Toilet Training – A Personal Note
On a personal note, I know it can seem daunting as a parent trying to toilet-train your child, but it doesn’t have to be that way. As a parent to three Autistic children, it was a steep learning curve for myself over a decade ago when my gorgeous Conor was born. I have been learning every day since that night my beautiful Conor took his first breath, how to be a best parent I can be for him. Know that if you are starting out on the toilet training journey with your Autistic child, you are doing your best right now, and that is more than enough. Be kind to yourself.
Autism Toilet Training Is Different
Autistic Toilet Training is different. Your child is Neurodivergent and as such, their journey to toileting independence may be different to that of children who are Neurotypical.
Support Autistic Children In A Non Judgemental Manner
For some Autistic children, entering the bathroom for toileting purposes can be an overwhelming and frightening experience. We must acknowledge and realise that this is a genuine fear for the child, and support them in a non-judgemental, assumptive manner.
Why Autistic Children May Fear Entering The Bathroom
For many Autistic children, until now, they may have only been visiting the bathroom to wash their hands, or if there is a bath/shower in your bathroom, maybe they have only ever had to visit for that purpose. Until now, it has never been to use the toilet. Now suddenly, we are changing the routine that they have always known and we now asking them to utilise the bathroom for a new purpose.
Autism Toilet Training & Sensory Processes Differences
For some Autistic children, visiting the bathroom, from a sensory perspective may be overwhelming. For some children, the scent of bathroom cleaning products can be nauseating, for others the water in the bottom of the toilet bowl can be overwhelming. For more children sitting on the toilet may be an uncomfortable, even a painful experience as they process sensory information differently.
It is important that we acknowledge and validate the Autistic child’s fears. They are genuine and very real fears. If the Autistic child has difficulty entering the bathroom from a sensory perspective, it is important we support them and where necessary contact a qualified Occupational Therapist.
Autism Toilet Training Support Strategies
We can support the Autistic child to understand what the bathroom is used for by teaching the child before attempting to toilet train. Pre-teaching about the toilet and the bathroom supports the Autistic child to understand what the bathroom is used for and to understand it is a safe (also consider their sensory differences here and how you can provide accommodations) place to enter.
You can use story books about the bathroom/using the toilet, watch cartoons and videos featuring favorite characters to spark interest.
Autism Toilet Training Support
If you would like 1:1 support in helping your Autistic child achieve toileting independence, please do not hesitate to contact me through my social media, which you can find links for below or through my email; email@example.com