Continue in App Continue in App

continue to mobile site

Potty Training Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Ashley H.
Potty Training Consultant
Fill 1 Created with Sketch. Fill 1 Created with Sketch. Fill 1 Created with Sketch. Fill 1 Created with Sketch. Fill 1 Created with Sketch.

Join Potty Training Specialist, Ashley Hickey, for a Q&A about potty training kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Ashley is here to answer questions and support parents through this potty training process.

Show more
Ashley H. photo Group 2 Created with Sketch.
Have your own question?

Ask Ashley, our Potty Training Consultant!

Message Ashley

How do you get them to poop in the potty? My son will hold onto his poop until he goes to sleep! Thanks!


Hi! For poop in the potty, first you need to determine your child's pattern. Does he typically have a BM around the same time, after eating a certain food, or after an activity. Once you know when he typically has a BM, then you should have him sit on the potty a few minutes before he usually goes and have him stay on the potty until he goes. Be prepared to reward success with a highly motivating reinforcer.

Our Q&A is now over

Thank you for sharing all of your incredible advice, Ashley! Ashley will answer all questions posted today. Ashley is available for consultations and intensive potty training support through her company, Successful Potty Training. Check out her profile for more info.

Potty Training 8 year old with Down Syndrome and Autism

Donovan is not interested in potty training whatsoever. We know he doesn't have any fear of the bathroom or toilet since he is actually quite helpful when I go to bathroom. Lol.

He seems completely unaware that he needs to let us know that he needs to go to the bathroom and he doesn't really have a schedule when it comes to pooping.

We have tired incorporation games, toys, videos, and nothing seems to work.


Also, I forgot to mention he is non-verbal and is barely learning to sign.

Living with the In-Laws

Both my son, 3yo, and I, 25yo, are on the spectrum. We currently live with my in-laws, and have started to attempt potty training for the 3rd time. My son does good, until we attempt to get him to go poop, and then he starts having meltdowns.

I understand, kind of, what's going on, but my MIL and I butt heads every time I try to talk to her about stuff like this. I am afraid of pushing him too hard because he is doing so well with going pee in the potty. Any tips.


First, it's important to figure out if your son has any fears of going poop
in the potty. If so, that should be addressed. Once he is willing to sit on
the potty, then you can expect him to successfully use it for a BM. He
should sit on the potty before he feels the urge to go, then have him stay
on the potty until he goes. Be prepared with highly motivating rewards!


Thank you! I will try to talk to him about it.

Moving backwards instead of forward

My son was potty trained for 3 days and then regressed and now shows no interest


Although he may have had some success over those three days, it sounds like
he didn't actually learn the new behavior. But, at least, you know he is
capable of doing it! You can get him back on track by using positive
reinforcement to motivate him to start using the potty again.Positive
reinforcement will increase the probability that his success will continue.


Thanks, any ideas for postive reinforcement? He doesn't show interest into much.

Potty Training for 4.5 year old with Developmental Delays

Hello Ashley,

I would first like to Thank you for taking the time to answer all of our difficult questions. This is something many parents struggle with their children and any help you can provide to us is just wonderful.

On to my question. My daughter is 4.5 years old and at 3 years old she was diagnosed with Developmental Delays (she currently is about 1.5 years behind in development). She has also been diagnosed with Anxiety and Sensory Processing Disorder. I have dived into a world where I am still learning each day about my daughter. I have joined Autism Support Groups in hopes of helping my daughter any which way I can.

One of the issues I have struggled with is Potty Training. My daughter is still in diapers and at this rate I see no way out of them. We have a small potty for my daughter but she absolutely will not go anywhere near it. Anytime we try to sit her down on it she scream and cries to the point where you would think that someone is killing her. We tried sitting her on the "big potty" and she refuses. We tried letting her run around without a diaper on and she will not go to the bathroom. She ends up holding it, refusing to go & refusing to sit on the potty. We had to take her to the Dr. because she ended up having a bladder infection. I feel like we have tried alot of the options that have been given to us and nothing has worked. She is showing no interest in toliet training. We have tried "special" rewards for sitting on the potty but not even that is working. Some people say she is not ready and when she is things will be different. Other want to know why she is still in diapers. Its so frustrating I don't know what to do. Do you have any other suggestions? I would really appreciate it.


First, determine if there are any real fears of sitting on the potty or is
she just not motivated to sit on it. If there is a fear, it's important to
remedy it before you can expect her to sit. If she just doesn't want to,
she needs to be motivated to do with the effective use of positive
reinforcement. Also, allow her to play with preferred toys, books,
activities while sitting on the potty.


Hi Ashley,

We have determined there doesn't seem to be a real fear of the potty. She is just completely unmotivated to sit on it. We manged to get her on the potty once but that was sometime ago. We gave her our tablet which she absolutely loves and had her sit on the potty. She sat there but she would not go even after giving her water to drink constantly as she sat there. She has complained over and over that she wants her diaper back. We have not been successful at getting her back on the potty. All she does is scream and cry and throw tantrums.

Already pooping in potty, how do i get him to pee?

My son is 5 years old and mostly non verbal. He currently will poop in the potty, 1-2 times a day, during which he'll also pee. He doesn't let me know when he has to go, i can usually tell by his body language. When I tell him "lets go potty", he'll go right into the bathroom. How do i do the potty training thing for pee? He seems to always have a wet pull up, and doesn't hold it at all. Thank you for your advice!


First, I recommend having him wear underwear. Remind him to keep his pants
dry and tell him what he needs to do if he needs to pee. Example "Walk to
the potty if you need to pee" or if he uses a communication device/pictures
then say "Touch the picture if you need to pee".
Also, you can use reinforcers to motivate him to self initiate by telling
him "You can have (reward) if you pee in the potty".

Going on his own and pooping?

How do I get my 5 year old to go pee on his own? He'll go when we ask (well I shouldn't say ask, if we ask he will say "no", I usually just tell him "let's go pee in the potty") almost 100% of the time now, but he will not do it on his own. Also, he will only sit. I haven't pushed standing yet since he has only pooped in the potty one time so far, but I always ask him if he wants to stand and he refuses. Is that something I should try harder on or wait till he is pooping first? Also, how do I get him to poop in the potty? I think that one time was just pure luck!


Instead of asking him in needs to go to the potty, it's helpful to remind
him what he needs to do when he needs to go pee. Example "Say pee pee if
you need to go pee" or ""Walk to the potty if you need to pee".
Don't worry about teaching him to stand to pee. That will come eventually.
It's more important that he sit so that he can have the opportunity to
poop. In order to get him to start pooping, he should be comfortable and
settled on the potty before he feels the urge to go and stay on potty until
he goes. Reinforce success immediately!

potty a 6 year old and a 4 year old with autism

How do I get my 6 year old and 4 year to be interested in the potty chair. I have tried rewarding them, I have tried putting undies on first and then placing a diaper on top so they can feel the wetness, I have tried taking them to the bathroom every 30 mins and after they wake up from a nap and nothing is helping. Tell me what I'm doing wrong plz


Positive reinforcement is the key to successful potty training. It needs to
be consistently used and your children need to know exactly what they need
to do to receive the reinforcer. The reinforcer needs to be a highly
motivating reward that is only used for potty training.

Potty schedule?

What's a good potty scheduled to have them on? My son only uses the potty if he doesnt have a pullup on .


Once you are ready to fully commit to potty training, have your child wear
underwear full time and take him to the potty 1-2 times per hour, while he
is learning.