Autism and Potty Training

I had a long discussion with Cooper’s therapy team this week about potty training. They know him well obviously. He is almost seven. He is pee trained and has been since he was four. If he is not wearing a diaper he will use the toilet completely on his own. He recognizes he has to pee, drops his pants wherever he is in the house, penguin walks to the toilet, and pees. He does not have accidents even if we are away from our home. And a week or so ago he used a public restroom for the first place. These are all HUGE MILESTONES for any child but for an autistic child they are monumental.

We all believe he is ready to be potty trained. He is very smart. He is physically able to use the toilet.

For The Love Of Diapers

But. Yes, I have a but, and it’s a huge but.

Cooper is in love with his diapers. He loves wearing them. He loves knowing where they are in our house. He loves peeing and pooping in them. The love is real I tell ya. If he is not wearing a diaper he will demand it from us until we eventually give in. Every weekend we say we are going to be strong. Today is the day we aren’t going to give into his screams and demands for a diaper.And by 10 am every Saturday I give in.

It’s the hardest for me as his mama. I am his favorite target. He will hang on me, fall to the ground, hold onto my ankles, and scream until I give in. I like to think I am tough. I birthed nine pound babies. But I am powerless after 10 minutes of his dramatics. Especially when I have to get ready for work or make dinner.

Poop Is My Life

Cooper also had SEVERE constipation issues. Years of dietary and sensory struggles have destroyed his understanding of poop and ability to poop. He has been on Miralax for years. I can’t remember a time when he wasn’t on it to be honest. He has been constipated since he stopped nursing at 12 months.

Yes, poop is my life. We spent years vising GI doctors and trying every single thing we could think of to help him poop. Nothing worked. Finally, six months ago, after another painful impaction surgery, a GI doctor said Cooper was a good candidate for a colostomy bag. I lost my mind people. I refused to believe that my seemingly healthy boy would need that level of medical intervention. And I made it my mission to help him.

Gluten, Dairy, Supplements And Water

We have spent the last five months of our lives completely focused on fixing Cooper’s digestive struggles. We visited a Naturopath. We removed gluten and dairy. We give him nine supplements every single day. Some days it’s easy. Some days it takes seven hours. We added in fiber powder, fruits and water. This has controlled our life for far too long. In the beginning these dietary modifications took hours. Now, drinking water is natural for him. Some days he cries when I show him fruit…but he eats it.

After all that I am excited to say that for the past four months Cooper has been pooping on his own. The excitement is real.

Team Super Cooper firmly believes Cooper is smart enough AND able to be fully potty trained. I believe he is playing us. And for lack of better words, he is lazy. He loves diapers. He likes not having to sit on the toilet. And he likes the routine of them.

I also like to share the struggles for mom and dad. We are so tired of changing poopy diapers. A poop diaper for a newborn is small. A poop diaper for a seven year old is huge. Our couches smell like poop. Our bedding and mattresses smell like poop. It’s pretty defeating.

A Change In Scenery

And in perfect timing Cooper is starting at an ABA Center full time on Monday. They are going to work with him daily on potty training. They are amazing. Having a unified, consistent team is the most important part. Just to note, when Cooper was four he was diaperless all day at his autism program but lost the skill in kindergarten and when his constipation ramped up. Bottom line, Cooper is smart. He is able. And breaking the diaper habit is going to be harder at home than at his ABA program. And this mama appreciates all the help she can get.

Operation No More Diapers

Today is the day. It’s time. This morning Cooper and I walked through the house and threw out three packs of diapers. We talked about how the garbage man was taking them away and how he was going to use the toilet going forward. He honestly seemed excited. He understood. We found a pair of underwear in his drawer…which he immediately threw at me. He hates the feeling of them. Which is fine. I honestly could care less if he wears underwear. He then put his LuLuRoe’s on willingly and sat down to watch his movie.

Five minutes later a naked Cooper ran from his room to the bathroom screaming. He has a flair for the dramatics. I chuckled and joined him in the bathroom. He peed. He giggled. He got up and went to the closet to grab a diaper. And he lost his mind when he saw that they were gone.

This is going to be a long day. I know that. I’m putting in the time though. The reward will be huge. Having Cooper potty trained is our number one goal. Six months ago I knew he was smart enough but also knew he wasn’t physically able to poop on the toilet. Now he is and I couldn’t be more excited.

As I’m typing this Cooper is screaming in front of me stark naked. It’s safe to say he is mad at me.

Wish me luck. I will be strong. I will be brave. I will be resilient. I will not give up. I will not yell at my partner. I will not drink wine before 5 pm. I will not cry. I will remind myself of the great reward when we succeed. 

Am I going to war? Nope. Just potty training my autistic seven year old. I will report from the bunkers later.

Want to know how I pee trained Cooper at age four???!! CLICK HERE for that wild ride.



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  • Ann Carolyn

    August 5, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Hello! I hope your potty training was a success! I have tried everything for my daughter's constipation and the only miracle product that worked and […] Read MoreHello! I hope your potty training was a success! I have tried everything for my daughter's constipation and the only miracle product that worked and still works (I now give her 2 capsules before bedtime) is Nat Colon CLR by Physica Energetics (your natural health care practitioner should be able to order for you)... I gave her a bigger dose at first (Morning before breakfast and at night 2x2 capsules) and now she is stable on 2 before bedtime and since then she has a flat stomach, happier and goes regularly - it can give a little liquid poo to empty... Anyways...wanted to share this with you in case it could help you out! Have a fabulous day!! Ann Carolyn Read Less

  • Lizzie Cammarata

    August 5, 2017 at 3:50 pm

    How did it go today? You're doing awesome, mama!!

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Finding Cooper's Voice is a safe, humorous, caring and honest place where you can celebrate the unique challenges of parenting a special needs child. Because you're never alone in the struggles you face. And once you find your people, your allies, your village....all the challenges and struggles will seem just a little bit easier. Welcome to my page!


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When my son was first diagnosed with autism no one was talking about it. Autism was hidden. I vow to change that.

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