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CrouchingOwl
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25 Apr 2015, 11:42 am

I am on the spectrum, and I have (at least) one son on the spectrum as well. My 4 year old little boy has potty trained for peeing fairly smoothly, with one interruption when we accidentally started pushing to hard when it would have been good for him to go before going places. For some reason, he has no interest in pooping in the toilet. We've tried using prizes like we did to help him train for peeing- such as offering fruit snacks, ice cream, letting him play/watch video games, reading books with him while he sits on the potty, and even cooking him another dinosaur cake (he absolutely loved his 3D stegosaurus cake from his last birthday, dinosaurs are an obsession with him these days). Ironically, his little brother who might also be on the spectrum (diagnosis still pending) potty trained for both pee and poop in response already in response to our focus on it for his big brother. The older kid always declines the awards and says that he doesn't want to poop on the potty. I finally asked him the other day what prize he would like. He answered "I don't want anything for pooping on the potty." When I ask why he doesn't want to do it he just says "I don't know" which is often a phrase he uses when he is unsure how to verbalize something.

My theories are that maybe he thinks pooping on the potty takes too long or perhaps he just really likes the one on one time when we change his poopy underwear. Another theory is that he has been very interested in the whole growing process recently and has expressed some anxiety that after he becomes a teenager and is all grown up and becomes a daddy he wants to be just him again. Maybe keeping on pooping in his underwear is a way for him to hold on to being a kid.

For us at home, all of this not being ready yet isn't too big of a deal. He's very good at peeing in the toilet and poops few enough times a day that changing his poopy underwear is not that big of a burden. The problem is that kindergarten is coming up. Despite being academically ready (he does his numbers, colors, letters, the basics of phonetics and word recognition all very well), the school is planning on putting him in an unintegrated classroom because he isn't fully potty trained and because the selective mutism he also has makes it so that he is mostly non verbal at preschool despite being fully verbal at home. If we could get him to poop in the toilet it would really help get him into an integrated classroom.

In theory, the public school sponsored special ed preschool was supposed to be helping him with communication and with toilet training, but they've sent home no progress reports explaining what progress they've made, how we can help, or what they are doing. I'm very frustrated that he is likely going to be put into an unintegrated classroom when his academic skills are doing quite well and he does not have a low IQ nor does he even have much trouble with melt downs or other "behaviour problems".

Does anybody have any good suggestions of things we could try to help with the toilet training? We already know it would be good to get him into private speech therapy for the selective mutism since the preschool is doing very little on it. But we could use suggestions for potty training.



TheAP
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25 Apr 2015, 11:58 am

I'm not a parent so I'm not an expert on this, but could it be that he is having trouble "pushing it out"? I had that problem when I was little and had a lot of trouble going on cue.



eikonabridge
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25 Apr 2015, 12:27 pm

Two comments.

One: just because neurotypical kids do potty training earlier, it does not mean children on the spectrum need to follow suit. Take your time. If Bill Gates wears a diaper, he is still Bill Gates and one of the richest men on earth. Potty training is simply not a priority, in my humble opinion. The fixation on potty training from parents is unhealthy. Instead, to me, the development of visual-manual skills (including reading) should be the priority. The brains of these children need to be developed.

Please do not translate failure of our school system into failure of our children. The children are fine. If school is a problem, we fix that problem there. You always have choices of schools. Don't blame the children for failure of adults. You may say: but neurotypical kids don't have these problems. Let me cite my favorite example: sea turtles. When they hatch, they can run on the beach, jump into the ocean, swim, and start to fetch food by themselves. They are fully developed and have acquired all the skills they need, even before they get out of their shells. But these sea turtle don't write poems, compose symphonies, or build rocket ships to go to the moon. Humans spend much more time in rearing their offspring. It's part of evolution. Same with autism.

Two: that being said, this is what my wife did. It's all just a sensory issue: some kids are simply used to diapers. They like the status quo. So when my son was more-or-less ready, meaning he went to pee all right but did not like to poop in the toilet (about the same age as your son), my wife hid the diaper box. Of course my son refrained from pooping for as long as he could. But at one point he did have to go pee in the toilet. Then, not even realizing it, he pooped as well. That was it. Of course we cheered, clapped our hands, and did high fives with him. After that, he was OK with pooping in the toilet.


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eikonabridge
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25 Apr 2015, 12:42 pm

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. "Transition" (meaning explanation ahead of time, to set expectations) is important. Before training our son to poop in the toilet, I explained to him many times judiciously, through pictures, that babies pooped in diapers but big boys poop in toilets. Visual communication is always important. Magnetic drawing boards and 4x6 blank index cards (plus mini photo album of the same size) are your friends.


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