Is Potty Training an Autistic Child Difficult?

Potty training your child can be a frustrating and difficult time for parents. When you reach your goal of your child being “potty independent,” it can be one of the most rewarding time periods for you as a parent as your child grows and achieves his developmental milestones. For a parent with a child who has autism, the potty training period can be an even more stressful as a child with autism presents challenges.  For a parent with an autistic child, how to potty train a child with autism can be daunting.  But with the proper knowledge and preparedness, it can be done. (The following information is to not meant diagnose or treat. The information provided should not take the place for consultation with a qualified healthcare professional.)

What is Autism?

According to, autism is a spectrum disorder. A spectrum disorder is a cognitive disorder characterized, in varying degrees, with difficulties in  verbal and nonverbal communication and may have  repetitive behaviors. It also includes difficulty in interacting with others in a social setting. Since successful potty training depends greatly on communication and interaction with the parties involved, the parent and child, if your child has autism, it may be more difficult to connect with each other about the goal of potty learning.

Can your autistic child be potty trained?

This is not to say that your child with autism can not be potty trained. They can be potty trained using the same techniques practiced with a child without autism. It just takes more patience and structured consistency. In this video made by the AEIOU foundation, the techniques for potty training a child with autism are covered. The need for consistency for all parties involved is emphasized. The same steps  to successful potty training that include timing, proper equipment and reward incentives used with children without autism are used for children with autism.

Reach Out for Support

Make sure you reach out to organizations or healthcare professionals that are knowledgeable about  autism disorder.  There are many parental support groups and non-profit organizations that exist to help parents through child-rearing and caring for an autistic child.

Please watch the video above created by the AEIOU Foundation

Visit their website.  The AEIOU foundation is based in Australia. The Foundation is a great resource for parents who have children with autism. The Foundation offers therapy and care for children with autism from 2-6 years of age. If you do not live in Australia, you can still find excellent information on their website  and they encourage you to contact them through email for additional information about autism. Please visit their website for more information –

Remember, having a child with autism has its many challenges. You as a parent with an autistic child, are not alone.

You Can Be Successful

You can find support if you connect with others on a similar journey. Your child can progress through the child developmental milestones such as potty training. You can know how to potty train a child with autism. It may take more time, but your child is able to become “potty independent”, too.

What do you think would be the most difficult part of potty training a child with autism? Please share.

Do you know anyone with autism? What are some of their challenges? How do you help? Please leave your comments below. Thanks

If you found this post helpful, please share it! Til next time.

Check out our free e-book potty training guide, “How to Start Potty Training Guide”

By Delois

I am a baby-boomer and experienced mother of four, all adults now. I enjoy sharing parenting tips that may help newbie parents facing challenges with their new "little charges."

7 thoughts on “How to Potty Train a Child with Autism”
  1. I can only imagine how hard it would be to potty train a child with autism.

    I have three kids, two of them had a pretty smooth transition, the third one didn’t.

    Having a kid with autism would require a lot more patience and probably some kind of specific technique. And that’s just where those support groups come in handy.

    1. Delois McKay says:

      Hi Eliane,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Each child learns at his own rate. Even if they are all from the same family and environment. So we have to approach each child with an open mind and flexibility. We all need some help from time to time, support from family and friends and resources from within our communities.  

  2. D-AnnTaylor says:

    Hi Delois,
    I enjoyed reading your article on “How to Potty Train a Child with Autism.” You provided some helpful information about how to potty train a child with Autism.

    I don’t know of anyone whose child has Autism, but the information is great for those who do.

    I think the most challenging part of potty training a child with Autism would be the childs ability to communicate when they need to go to the potty and when they have experienced an accident.

    The video covering Autism provided some great strategies one can utilize to potty train a child with Autism or without it. This a great resource for parents.

    The article is a good read and I’m sure parents who have children with Autism will find this information very helpful. Patience is the key.


    1. Delois McKay says:

      Hi D-Ann

      You are right, patience is the key for potty training all children. Autistic children are teachable but it just takes time and consistency and parents’ observation of their child’s way of communicating. There are support resources to help parents with autistic children, also. Thank you for sharing your comments with us.

  3. I don’t personally know any autistic children. However, my daughter is currently 18 months old. Very soon she would have to be potty trained. Generally speaking, two years old should be the latest a child needs to be potty trained. The biggest hurdle right now is to make sure that my daughter gets patient enough to actually sit down on the potty chair. I don’t expect her to be able to use it yet, but being able to sit down long enough for “action” to happen is my biggest sticky point right now. It probably won’t be easy. I have also heard of something known as “elimination control” in which parents can use voice commands to help children potty train. Have you ever heard of that?

    1. Delois McKay says:

      Hi Win Bill

      Yes, it does take some time for them to get used to sitting on potty for awhile. One of my sons would look at a comic book while he sat on the potty. I have heard about elimination control. I have info on my blog about going “diaper free” with elimination control and a blog post. http://howtopottytrainyourbaby…  Thanks for your input and comments. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *