Potty Training at 8 years old and Autistic

Among the different milestones and challenges that children present to us as parents is potty training. We have skirted around the issue for such a long time. We had to get through all those years of Isaac being on the ventilator up to the time when we were managing problems during decannulation.

A few years ago, we found out that Isaac was on the spectrum. I had suspected it for a while but remained in denial because he was also a micropreemie and had serious medical problems growing up. But I could not avoid addressing it any longer. I know as a former educator that early intervention is key. It was right around the beginning of the pandemic when we decided to have him evaluated first by the psychologist at the University of Texas High Risk Clinic and then later on at THINK Neurology. I knew deep down in my heart of hearts that he was autistic. I still ugly-cried, but prayed that it wasn’t too late and we could still do a lot of things to help him. He was 5 years old at the time. It was a blessing that we found an awesome ABA company that really helped unlock his abilities as well as discover his strengths and weaknesses.

Fast forward a few years later, we have now decided to do potty training. We had started it a few months back but got interrupted by an almost month long stay in the PICU due to RSV. When we resumed ABA, it was after more than a month before we attempted to do potty training again. I must say though that he behaved like a champ! We allowed him to choose the underwear he liked and bought a couple of packages. Then we let him sit on the toilet a few times just to get used to it. We decided to offer the potty every 30 minutes and would increase the interval as we see fit. Day 1 was great with an accident or two. Same thing for day 2. Day 2 was so exhausting! I think I met my goal in steps that day by racking up 11k! We are working towards him giving us the sign for potty. Which he does not want to do yet. But Isaac being how he is, I am sure he will get there too. I still put him on his pull ups when we go outside and when he goes to sleep. At other times when I do need a break, I put the pull ups, underwear, and his pants on. For those of you who are in the same situation, know that there are so many ways to potty train a child. Each child is different and we need to respect that.

If you are still reading up to this point, thank you very much. I am grateful!


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