Autism + Potty Training = The Seventh Circle of Hell

Autism + Potty Training = The Seventh Circle of Hell

We are still not having much luck potty training Mr. Leelo. Now the excitement centers around his stool witholding sessions. He is not constipated (the end product is still soft), but he will sometimes withhold for up to 24 hours, and is having increasingly dramatic tantrums in refusing to leave the toilet when a BM is coming. For some reason he cannot produce while on the toilet, even though the whole time he is howling and crying, "I want to go poo-poo in the potty, Mommy."

I forgot to communicate to Babysitter A that we have a three-minute limit for these tantrums, so she sat with him for an hour on Saturday (we were out of the house, or I would have advised her differently). I think this session made matters worse--she said it was as though he was trying to "pull it out of his body." The 24 hour withholding session followed.

Supervisor M has suggested that we let Leelo sit on the potty in a pullup on, but our boy flat-out refuses. The only thing that is working right now is to give him space to go sit in the corner and do his business in his pullup. If you even look at him sideways during such an episode, he will yell, "No potty!"

I have heard many stories from parents whose typical children ended up with encopresis or other constipation issues. The parents all seem to think that they unwittingly caused the conditions by forcing their children to train their bowels before the kids were ready. I don't know if I entirely agree with this, but I do think that if Leelo is overall more like a 2 1/2 year old, then he may be going through a stage that we can let him deal with in his own way, to get comfortable with the fact that he has to take a shit at some point and that it's much nicer if he can control and anticipate it.

But then again, we are trying to schedule train him since he never goes to the toilet on his own initiative, even to pee (although he is very good at holding his bladder for 90 minutes and lately has been in a good pattern of coming up dry in the mornings). So, bleh.

At this point for me the most important thing is to avoid a pattern of withholding. Any advice is welcome.

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