Autism Resource: Potty Training Visual Schedule

Sunday, May 18, 2014



After much failure and desperation potty training my first son, I made this visual schedule. To my surprise and delight, it really helped him with the process planning. We were still in the midst of realizing he needed an autism diagnosis and running around trying to make that happen, so at the time, visual schedules were very new to me.

Unfortunately for us, his interoceptive sense is clearly impaired, so even though it helped him with the "how" he still sometimes struggles with the "when."

The reality is that it took over 4 years from when he first indicated interest in the potty to when we could mostly consider him able to know when he has to go during the day (nights are another thing).

Because of that, I pretty much hate anyone with a "my kid potty trained in a week" story. They can go right to hell. But on their way, if they could pick me up another package of pullups that would be great because I forgot them at the store today and I don't want to do the sheets again in the morning.

This came up because we're entering potty training hell with the little Dude. 

Although Dude doesn't seem to be as challenged by it from a sensory standpoint, he's giving it the full blown 2 year old treatment. Going on the potty was AWESOME when it was his idea - one weekend a while back he went 12 times and I was all OMG it might not take 4 years!!

And then he realized that the whole potty situation wasn't just his idea. He slammed on the brakes and I'm scrambling because not even M&Ms are working any more. Which is just maddening because see Exhibit A: full weekend of success when he felt like it.

Then I remembered Bear's visual schedule and stuck it back on the wall. So far, Dude's quite enthusiastic about it and keeps going into the bathroom to name the items on the list. He won't actually do them when I ask yet... but this is autism, people! It's a step in the right direction and I'm calling it progress.

If you think this might be helpful at your house, you can download a free printable PDF of this potty training visual schedule here.

It fits on a normal sheet of paper. I laminated mine because, well, I didn't laminate the first one and it got all mangled from enthusiastic hands pointing at the pictures halfway through the washing step.

Hopefully this will help your family's journey to potty independence as much as it's helped ours.  Here's to dry sheets and clean underpants...

This post is pinned to my Autism & Sensory Processing Disorder board.

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