Nighttime Potty Training Your Autistic Child

This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs  over at AutismWonderland.

It’s the third week of the New Year and my son, Norrin, just turned eight years old. One of our goals for this year is to begin nighttime potty training. When Norrin was first born, I never thought that potty training was something I’d still be thinking about by eight years old. But having a child with autism, I’ve had to learn to let go of time tables and ignore the milestones of “typical” kids.

Recently I was provided with a copy of Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness and now that I’m done reading it, I believe that it’s time to begin. As with day time potty training, I already know what I need to keep in mind.

Like everything else in our autism journey, preparation is critical. Here are the 6 things I will need to begin:

Commitment. If I want Norrin to be successful, I need to be fully committed and consistent. This means, no more pull-ups. We just used our last one and I have no plans to buy any more.

Prepare/Protect the Mattress. We have a plastic cover over the mattress and then a water proof mattress pad on top. The plastic cover can be easily wiped down. I know a mom who used to add another layer of bedding so that if there was accident in the middle of the night, she could pull off the top layer.

Disposable Bed Mat. I purchased a pack of disposable bed mats to go under the sheets and over the mattress pad for extra protection. The ones I purchased come nine in a pack and have adhesive. You may also use washable bed mats.

Fitted Pajamas and Underwear. Along with the Seven Steps to Nighttime Dryness, I was sent a bedwetting alarm. The book suggests child wear fitting pajamas and underwear if you are using a wearable alarm. Make sure whatever your child wears to bed is something breathable and comfortable.

Reward System. Like all kids, Norrin loves to be rewarded. I really want him to feel proud about his accomplishments so I will give him a quarter (he likes coins) for every night he is dry. And at the end of each week we will take his change to the supermarket and he can use his money for the gum ball machine. Find something that really motivates your child.

Patience. It took us a few years for Norrin to achieve day time potty training, so I’m not expecting overnight success. I know it will be a process. I know there will be many nights of changing sheets and early morning laundry. But with everything else, Norrin has achieved – I am confident he will meet this milestone in his own time.

Have you had nighttime potty training success with your special needs child? Would love to hear about it!

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