My dear son did not toilet train early or before turning 3 years old. While he eliminated in the loo he needed reassurrance that everything was alright and he was following the correct way to do it. If you are a parent or caregiver and hearing “Mum, is all the Poo off my bum?”, “Mum, wipe my bum!” and you know they can do it themselves, then in our cicumstance I felt this was a Sensory Processing Disorder and part of Autism Spectrum. It was a worry for me because I was scared he was asking and showing people at school or in public and I had to find a way to fix this. I did it by using a wall mirror in the bathroom so my child could self check. Hopefully this would instill in him a sense of self confidence.
It took me, as a parent, a while to realize that a mirror in the bathroom may do the trick. The bathroom idea was not an idea that had been provided to me by any therapists I was seeing. It was not until aged 7 and a half he was totally independantly toilet trained and he did not ask me those questions.
I think Sensory Processing has allot to do with it. I feel for parents going through this issue with their child. I know I felt isolated when I was going through this issue with my son. I would like to share a few strategies that I used while toilet training my son, which you may find useful.
- A corner mirror in the bathroom so your kiddo can visually see the state of his cleanliness. (So when the kiddo has finished wiping and says that he still feel unclean and perhaps wiping many more times than he has to. A problem because kiddo may irritate his bottom tissues through abrasive toilet paper, you may run out of loo paper and toilet drain becomes blocked.)
- Reading favorite stories to your child while they are on the loo to make the experience of sitting on the loo more emotionally comforting.
- Realizing that the kiddo may feel there is material still left on bottom because of Sensory Processing Disorder difficulties. So an explanation to the kiddo about what he is feeling or some cream may help. The kiddo may feel very frustrated by the whole loo process and not want to go at all.
- When the kiddo says “Mum, wipe my Bum!”. Mum says “No, you do it! and the kiddo says “But I forgot how?” you can use laminated compix or photo’s in bathroom for bathroom routine.
Realize that the child could be getting Bum sweat, which possibly could be percieved as feeling like there is something remaing. And also when kiddo gets anxious the body can sweat.
- Cartoons are also great instructional routines to set the bathroom routine in place.
- Finally, I was right there with him, to help him, and I told him how proud I was of him and then when he looked at me with those beautiful eyes I just repeated the mantra over and over, I know you can do this, I trust you. And it did not work all the time for fully independant toileting experiance. But one step at a time is all you can do.
Toilet training your Autistic child can take a long time, longer than usual and two Autistic siblings can develop at different rates and toilet train at different times. I felt as though I had explained to my son more than 1000 times how to do it then I realized that by challenging the Sensory processing difficulty with the his own visual input may be helpful, and it was and we use it all the time. Hopefully this is helpful to some other parents.