How to potty train a child with Autism?

My daughter is 4 1/2 and autistic. She has been without a diaper for about 6 months except for a pull-up at night and does great. She tells me when she has to go and is good about taking herself to the potty. Unless she has to. She used to only poop at night in the pull-up, but now we are going through 2-3 pairs of underwear a day. She has gone on the potty twice, and if you ask her, she will tell you where poop goes. Both her dad and I have tried talking to her calmly, get over excited about poop in the potty, disappointed when it is in the underwear. She has gotten in trouble a few times for ruining them. She cries every time we find out she does it and tries to hide it, so I know she knows better. I feel like I’ve tried everything, and nothing works. Any suggestions?


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. How to potty train a child with Autism?

U can’t discipline a child with autism, u need to redirect, that is why she is hiding it now. My 22 month old daughter is autistic its about being patient because it will happen on her own time. Just keep trying but don’t get mad or punish her it will make things worse


Idk about autistic but if it could be due to constipation where it’s hard for the child to control. Dealing with that with my son and it can be going good for awhile then have a rly bad week or 2.

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I honestly think it’s a faze that girls go through. My daughter was going very well being trained and then all of a sudden she started going in her underwear no matter what I did. I felt like it would never change… now she has started going to the toilet again without a problem. She was just over 3 when it started and is now almost 4.

She will go back an forth with toileting my son is 8 an has it to ask your OT for help with it my sons doctor said it’s common for a child to go back an fourth with autism also there brain don’t work ours

My oldest son is autistic and he understood as well so we would get disappointed as well. Shes hiding it because she doesn’t want u to know she done it. It does take them a little more time my son was 6 before he completely broke. Also just because they have autism doesn’t mean u can’t punish them especially if they understand. U just have to know when to punish and when it just needs to be redirected. We only redirected my son when he didn’t understand but when he did understand we would punish. I feel its best to treat them as normal as possible like everyone else and never to treat them differently just because of their autism. Keep trying mama she will get it.


It took my autistic son until about 4 1/2 to get it. It was tough. Be as patient as possible. :blue_heart:


With and without autism I was always told by pediatricians to encourage potty training BUT do not punish for it or they could back track. Also not to bribe with treats like candy or items such as that. To try allowing kiddo to have a special book that they ONLY get on the potty. Take it slow and go based on the child’s comfort. If there seems to be an issue have Dr check. Some things can be constipation, dehydration, and such.


You should never get in trouble for having to poop! Period! Don’t care how old you are!!
Time is of the essence and she needs more of it!
Stop punishment for a natural occurrence! Smdh!!
People need to understand all children grow at different stages and rates! It’s not one fits all! Continue to work with her gently and compassionately and she won’t need therapy in her 20s!!
Happy parenting!!

Please don’t get mad when she pops her knickers. Autistic children don’t want you to get mad, they want you to love them. You need to show patience as frustrating as it is, be patient. I work in ECE and see this all to much and getting mad is not the key, it just makes it worse.


A lot of autistic kids struggle with this, my autistic son is 9 and is just now really getting a handle on it long term. Disciplining them and shaming them doesn’t help, they cannot control it. If she needs to go back to pull-ups all the time again, then so be it. See if her doctor is willing to write a prescription for them since it’s an issue related to her autism. My insurance covered diapers for my son from 3-7 when we made the choice to take him out of them.
You need to teach her how to read her body’s signals for needing to poop, start by having her go sit on the potty every 2 hours and try to poop.

Reward her when she goes on the potty

My kiddo is 5 1/2, regression happens with autism so don’t get discouraged just keep the routine. Positive reenforcement/redirection works so much better than punishments. Go back to potty timers, little treats (we use teeth cleaning lollipops), stickers etc whatever excites your kiddo.


My son went though this phase while at hime he went nuddy no trousers or pants so he had to use the toliet/potty once mastered we worse just pants for a couple days ect x

You should never punish a child for using their underwear while trying to potty train. That just discourages them even more


Stop trying to force her to potty train. She will when she is ready.


Ask her why she poops in her undies I’m sure there is a reason hopefully she can communicate the problem to u…my so with adhd and severe anxiety had this issue all he ever said was poop hurts finally we went to doc and yeah he also has digestive issues that make his bms really big so we gave him miralax? And lots of water which help dramatically …try ur best to talk to her keep talking to her about it asking why I’m sure u will discover the answer

I will never forget my son having these same issues. We could never get upset because it only made the issue worse. He finally got better overtime. He is now 9 and hasn’t had issues with it in a while now (years). When he was five, he had started a new daycare and the doctor had just put him on miralax. I will never forget him being nervous about the new daycare and the pooping issue, so he had some accidents. I offered to bring pull-ups until the miralax was figured out with a doctors note, and the daycare told me they would call the state on me. Needless to say, he never returned to that daycare, and we found a daycare that he never needed pull-ups at and he maybe had a couple off accidents over the entire year. The whole point is…many of us parents have gone through this, you are NOT alone. It gets better.


Be “very” patient, they all do it when they feel comfortable enough to do it in the potty…it does get better and she will crack it…where do you make your daughter go when she uses the potty may I ask?

Worth reading. Punishment is definitely not the way to go!


Try encouraging only. Getting mad or disciplining only discourages them and can cause them to regress or hold it in. Try a positive reward chart or a special treat (like m and ms or something small that she likes) for when she does well. And deff just give it time! 2 of my kids trained for over night right away the other two took time.

Getting upset with an autistic child because she shit her pants WTF YOU OK

Positive reinforcement when she does what is expected and disappointment when she doesn’t, but NEVER anger or shame. She will get this if you are patient.


Trouble? You need to stop that or she will never.


Could it possibly be a regression my son regress sometimes he has autism

My daughter has been back and forth with it she was doing great then I think she started trying to hold it so she peed in her underwear just enough for them to be a little wet and tried to hold it again to avoid going. Recently we said potty train out loud so she started chooo chooing around the house so now we start the “potty train” and she’s the conductor all the way to the potty I’d try that every 20 min or so and see if you could get her back on track with a fun game

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Talk about why it’s nice to be clean and don’t wait for her to tell you she needs to go. People with ASD often have issues with “early warning” for the toilet so will only realise when they need to run there! Remind her to go to the toilet, especially if she tends to poo at a certain time of day. Don’t be disappointed. Just be matter of fact so she’s not scared to tell you. Don’t act like potty poop is exciting either, otherwise she’ll feel worse if she fails. If she ruins underwear don’t make it a big thing. It’s going to be an issue for a few years, just keep working on it as calmly as you can. If you’re somewhere with a disabled toilet scheme, it’s worth getting a key too.

You have to be patient and you need to understand that people with autism don’t always feel the need to go. They don’t have that register and getting mad and punishing. Her is definitely not helping the situation. You’re creating a negative environment, which is why she’s hiding it. You should encourage her to come to you. Even if she doesn’t go poop on the potty and end her underwear, She should feel safe enough to come to you. I have two little boys with autism. One is completely nonverbal and almost seven. She’ll go when she’s ready. You can’t rush these things.

You’re the adult, behavior like that should be ignored, ( like don’t buy into her fits). Either don’t put panties on her or put her on the toilet until she poops. I have seen both forms of teaching and they both are highly effective!! Good luck :four_leaf_clover:

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My oldest daughter hated wearing a dirty diaper, she was potty trained at 18 months!!! She started out wearing a diaper at night.I made a sticker chart so when she didn’t soil the diaper she got a sticker. After a full month of no soiled diapers she was declared she was a big girl. My second daughter didn’t even give a hoot wether she was wearing a dirty diaper or not. She was 3 years when she finally got potty trained :heart:

Maybe you need to go back to taking her to the potty every 30 min. You and your husband can take turns. While she is on the potty let her play with a toy or read her a favourite book. When she goes in the potty, make a fuss and reward her. She must relearn the connection between potty and wee/poo. Do this for at least 3 weeks. Then go every hour.


A lot of these “encouraging” activities (rewards charts), are known to be damaging to those in the autistic community. What if the individual never gets that reward? How would that make you feel if YOU never got a reward, no matter how hard you tried? Less than?

There is potentially something medically going on, and she isn’t getting that connection to use the toilet any more. Something has caused her to regress.


Stop fussing at her for having accidents. She’s young and she has autism, she may not understand as she claims. Have patience and tell her mistakes are okay.


please dont get cross with her she will learn in her own time.she cries because she knows you will get on to her,she will learn believe me.


Do not punish her. My daughter who is autistic was fully potty trained at 7 years old (now 15) She will do it when she gets comfortable enough to do it. Don’t feel like bad parents either. Her milestones will be delayed from her peers so expect it. never make her feel bad about it and congratulate every little win! My hearts with you guys :heart: (uhh ohh!! We will try again next time) with a smile goes a really long way. She won’t fear that she will get in trouble and she needs that. You’re SUPER lucky she will tell you she has to go!


Would you like it if someone older than you yelled at you for sneezing?
No. don’t yell at a child for a bodily function sometimes it comes down to diet and whether she’s emptying her bowel completely. Ruining her pants … so what! She’s 4 years old she’s still learning ! they either wash out or put her back into pull-ups !! she would be extremely embarrassed that’s why she’s hiding it, she’s not purposefully soiling her pants. Take her to a paediatrician and see if they can help.
I know it’s frustrating because she was doing so well previously and because she can tell you where poop goes, and no parent likes cleaning up poop. She’s only little so give her extra praise when she goes to the toilet, give her extra patience when accidents happen tomorrow isn’t guaranteed.
A little mantra I say to myself is
What has happened has happened we can’t change that it’s happened but now we move forward and deal with it.

Try a social story, and a potty chart with rewards!

Our 15 year old on the spectrum has never been able to poop on the potty. The Dr says it’s because he doesn’t feel when he has to go. I have discovered that it’s quite common with autistic.

Praise the positive. And ignore the potty mistakes. Mistakes will happen. She will get it right again. Stay positive

Have you consulted your paediatrician? My son also had this exact issue and it was sensory related(meaning he liked how it felt) and continued into his second year at school, he was referred to a child psychologist who helped him to make the transition to using the toilet

My sons not autistic, but he was afraid of the toilet for some reason when it came to number 2. He wasnt potty trained fully til almost 4 cuz of it. Come to find out he was afraid of the back splash when he went in the toilet.

Is it possible that when she does poop on the potty that the water splashes her and that is what she doesn’t like about it? They have lil potties that are for lil one’s that sit on the floor and there is no water in it. That’s the only advice I really have, good luck Mama!!

I promised my son a poo party if he went a week pooing in toilet. 2 weeks later we had a poo party! He loved it! A year n a bit later he still talks about it!


Dont reprimand her harshly. No shes frightened because of your anger over this. Has anything changed in her routine or possibly at Day care. I dont know what to suggest. I dont have experience with autistic children. I will pray you find support.

Try telling her that you’ll take her for some ice cream or something like that if she goes potty on the potty

My son is the same age and has has autism as well. I called his doctor recently for advise because he does that as well. The doctor recommended giving him a gold star sticker every time he goes poop in the toilet. You can try that.

My daughter isn’t autistic so I don’t know if what I did with my daughter will help you or not, but I did a sticker chart and after she peed on the potty she would get one sticker on the chart, poop she would get 2, after she would get up to 10 I would give her a cheap toy. I did that for about 2 weeks and then she was fully potty trained, no accidents at all after that. Good luck