“You can learn many things from children. How much patience you have, for instance.” — Quote by the late Franklin P. Jones, reporter , and humorist.
Children on the spectrum have their own barriers that can make toilet training a challenge for parents and caregivers. In this context, the standard approaches to toilet training may fall short of success. It is there that applied behavioral analysis (ABA) therapy comes to the aid of families in obtaining this fundamental life skill.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based treatment and one of the best ways to deliver toilet training per the US Surgeon General and by the American Psychological Association. ABA is a therapeutic approach that focuses on modifying socially significant behaviors. Through the systematic use of the principles of behavior, functional and adaptive skills are increased, while maladaptive or impeding behaviors are decreased. Research has shown that ABA therapy is an effective treatment for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, as well as other co-morbid developmental disorders.
Many parents and therapists are using ABA to toilet train children with ASD. This is achieved via shaping, naturalistic environment teaching, and using a serious of rewards and consequential systems. ABA breaks a single skill down into simple and basic steps with a reward for achieving each step in the entire process. This is what it looks like:
Go to the bathroom.
Close the door.
Undress from the waist down.
Sit on the toilet.
Clean yourself with bidet / tissue paper
Pull the Flush.
Open the bathroom door
Here are some more tips on toilet training:
Concentrate all energy on one step at a time. Be involved and supervise each step and help out with the step the child is yet to master.
A visual board / chart can be created and used effectively. It should be placed inside the bathroom at eye level on the door.
Make sure the child drinks plenty of liquids so that they need to go to the washroom often on a daily basis.
Retain a sense of humor and wit. Make learning fun for all.
Be consistent with the routine. It is the best way to ensure success.
Select a reward system that works for your family and child. It may go beyond verbal praise.
It is advisable to begin the toilet training exercise once the child has the ability to finish each individual step of the process. For instance, if your child is yet to develop the motor skills needed to undress, then they are not yet equipped for potty training just yet. It is also vital to rule out any medical issues that may impede toilet training