Potty Training: Overcoming Poop Withholding

Potty training is probably one of the greatest challenges for most parents. Children will refuse to poop on the potty, or they would just simply feel comfortable in the pull-ups and avoid it.
Now for parents on the spectrum,  the challenge goes to a new level. Non-verbal difficulties, and sometimes even movement challenges can raise the level. However, it is possible to successfully train your child, and today we will share a couple of tips to ease the task!

Timing is Everything 

Before starting any training ask yourself if your child is truly ready to get started. For some parents, the ideal age to begin is 3 years old, for others 2.5. The reality is that there is not an “ideal” age to start. It all goes down to your child being ready. 
Additionally, make sure that you are ready too. Having the time to pursue this goal is key, so ensuring that you will be available for duty is a must.

Get Things Ready 

Get a potty seat with a cartoon he/she likes, and arrange it in a place that can be convenient for both. If the bathroom is upstairs and you spend most of your day close to the kitchen, you can place the potty somewhere near and eventually move it closer to the bathroom.


Autistic children thrive in visuals and carefully prepared settings. Make sure to take the time to explain to your child what is about to happen. Show them visuals, and take the time to rehearse each one of the steps he/she will follow. 

Lead By Example 

Most parents complain that they would lose their privacy even when using the bathroom. Use this to your favor and explain to your child what you are doing. Autistic children learn visually and they will imitate what they see you doing. Additionally, many kids fear that the toilet would eat them, so watching you or his/her siblings using it will give them security and make them feel included.

Incentivize Efforts 

Children love being rewarded. Offering your child things he/she likes would incentivize efforts and get them motivated. This reward does not necessarily need to be an expensive thing. A sticker, a small sugar-free candy, some time in the park, more time to play before bed, or even a book can be great ways to get him/her excited. Additionally, a chart can be a great way to implement this even for greater milestones.

Make Transition Easier 

Follow these steps offered by Dr. Kroeger for managing toilet teaching when your child wants to poop only in a diaper:
  1. Figure out when your child is going to poop, and have him/her poop in the diaper while in the bathroom.
  2. Slowly, transition to having him/her poop into the diaper while on the toilet.
  3. Next, have him/her pull their pants down before sitting on the toilet.
  4. Last, of all, have them sit on the toilet with diaper off.
These steps may take a long time, and you may need to break them down further and further.

Make It Fun

Singing a happy song about poop, having toys around the potty, and even reading poop stories are great ways to make potty training fun. As we mentioned above, many children are afraid of the potty, so making it fun will help them overcome that fear.
Books like Super Pooper, Bloop, Bloop! Goes the Poop or Poop! There it Is can be fun to read even after your child is fully potty trained.
We understand that parenting and ASD children can be challenging but there is a reward in every single milestone. So dont give up! All your efforts will be paid off in your most beloved asset, your child!
At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation and improving brain function. We also created an autistic community on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.
 Remember, you are not alone!