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Potty Training a Child with Autism

Let’s face it, potty training any child is a struggle. It’s not a fun process, it’s frustrating for both kids and parents and it can be, well, quite messy. Now throw in to the mix a kid with autism and motor delays and you can understand why we chose to wait to potty train him for as long as possible. 

Potty Training a Child With Autism

Brady was 3 and a half when we first introduced the potty. It was met with screams and cries, from both of us. We worked with our therapists for over a year and we finally got some success! Then went on vacation and basically un-did everything inadvertently. He regressed and more screams and cries (again from us both) and we wondered if he’d go to Kindergarten in a pull-up. 

Potty training a kid with any delays or special needs can be a long process, a few quick tips I have to help are:


They don’t work for every child and finding the perfect one will take some time, but when you do find that one thing that motivates them, watch out! They will surprise you with what they can accomplish. What ended up working for us were the dum dum suckers and mini tubs of play doh. He ONLY gets them after he goes on the potty. 


If at first you don’t succeed… If they aren’t ready, whether mentally or physically, don’t give up. Simply take a break and try again in a few weeks, or even a few months depending on the child. 


You will spend countless hours sitting on the floor of the bathroom, willing and begging your child to tinkle. I often sneak in my phone so at least I can beat some Candy Crush levels while we wait it out. 

Tag Team

Your spouse, partner, significant other, reluctant grandparent, whomever. Sometimes having someone new to help out will bring success. If not, at least you got a bit of a break.


Give your kid something to drink, then set a timer for 20-30 minutes. Once the timer goes off, it’s potty time! If they don’t go, count to 20 out loud while telling them when you reach 20 they can get off the pot. Then set the timer for 10 minute increments and keep trying. They can’t hold it forever! 😉 


Hopefully a few of these tricks will work for you! If your child has low muscle tone, I really recommend a cushioned potty seat. It has really seemed to help him to sit longer and have more confidence since he can get on the potty himself.