If you’ve raised or cared for a child on the autism spectrum, you may have had your share of dealing with autism and bathroom issues such as incontinence and other toileting issues. The causes are diverse and complicated, many of them predicated on problematic gut issues and/or psychological issues. Please note: this post is a paid collaboration with Aeroflow UROLOGY.
But this is no reason to despair! There is hope and a way through this issue.
Let’s learn more about how you can help your child affordably.
Some Causes of Autism Bathroom Issues
Autism and bathroom issues that come along with it can have numerous causes:
Delayed Potty Training
Many kids on the autism spectrum have sensory processing issues. That means they can’t always tell when they have to go which, of course, makes potty training extraordinary difficult. One of the best ways to deal with this is to try to put your child on the toilet regularly, especially 20 minutes or so after eating a meal. Of course, you should also try to work to reduce their sensory issues.
If potty training is not resolved for poop, it can lead to encopresis. Also known as stooling or stool soiling, this is when your child involuntary poops in his or her pants. It’s often caused by chronic long-term constipation, something which often plagues kids with ASD.
This is something you should address right away as it can have serious health implications. Obviously, it will be difficult for your child to hold. Additionally, some kids on the spectrum will bounce back and forth between diarrhea and constipation, so you must be on the lookout for this.
Bed Wetting / Accidents
Note that this can happen to any child but should be addressed if it becomes chronic. If this only/always happens at night or there is some other consistent trigger, it will most likely have a root cause.
Regression Following Puberty
Some of us have found our children regressing on poop issues directly the following puberty. To me, this is a medical issue and it’s possibly linked to candida, which can also lead to parasites. Check out Whole Intentions for a comprehensive list of candida symptoms. It’s also a particularly nasty and difficult issue to combat and can take a long process of healing. Seek out a nutritionist and GI specialist. You’re best off finding someone who understands gut health in autism.
Regression Following Stress or Trauma
Your child can also regress from stress. If your child is nonverbal, this will be challenging to determine but there psychological issues that can come into play.
One way or another, your child ends up unable to use the toilet in the standard way. This can be a long-term problem, but it’s very likely there is an underlying health issue. Unfortunately, in addition to the standard unpleasant hygiene issues and the isolation and other difficulties this will cause your child, their muscles can be impacted as well, and proper toilet training gets further & further out of reach as time goes on.
My recommendation is to find a doctor or an MD with some sort of holistic or nutritional training that can help.
What To Do If Your Child Has Autism and Bathroom Issues
So how can you help your child combat difficult toileting issues? Here is what you should do:
Determine the cause of the problem.
Consider when this issue started or if it’s one that’s never been resolved. Was there a trigger or related incident that changed? Was there exposure to a toxin? Was there a traumatic incident? Puberty?
Find a specialist that understands autism and toileting difficulties.
You most likely will need a specialist and it may be an out-of-pocket expense. We’ve had the most success with M.D.s trained in nutrition, gut health, and/or holistic health (naturopath, homeopath). However, you might benefit from a gastroenterologist, a certified nutritionist, a psychologist, etc.
Create a plan for your child.
Whether your child is bed wetting, soiling his or her underwear, not using the toilet or toilet paper, irritated, or whatever, you need a plan in place. This plan should take into account:
- Creating hygiene measures that are safe for the whole family (using gloves, cleaners that remove biofilm, disposal system, etc.)
- When possible, an eye towards toileting independence for your child.
- Making sure you DON’T scold or blame your child for this issue. It cannot be helped yet. If you do, be sure to apologize and remind your child that he or she is not to blame.
- Set up routines as much as possible. You might want to do this one item at a time if this involves multiple issues. For example, work on using toilet paper rather than pooping in pants, before you address sitting on the toilet.
- A way to deal with your own stress. I don’t know about you, but poop accidents make me tense. After you deal with the situation, take a few minutes to de-stress and relax before moving on with your day.
- Here are more tips on autism and bathroom issues, specifically incontinence, from Aeroflow.
Get Support for Autism and Incontinence
Now, while you are working with your child, it becomes important, at least from time to time, to get support for your child’s incontinence. You may need to put your child – or older child – back into diapers or into diapers that fit him or her. The good news is that in many states, these diapers are covered by Medicaid as medical supply.
The downside is that while you are probably already laying out a lot of money for doctors, therapies, special diets and more, you don’t need the added – and extremely high – cost of diapers that fit for long-term use.
As we learned many years ago, however, it’s not that easy to find a place that will cover diapers – just like it’s not that easy to find diapers for an older children. That’s where Aeroflow comes in! They can help you learn how to receive diapers through Medicaid. Medicaid can cover diapers, briefs, pull-ups, lingers and underpads for children older than age 3 with a prescription from your doctor, nurse practitioner or physician within the last 3 months. Learn more about what you need to get a script for diapers for incontinence in autism.
If your child has incontinence, you can help your child affordably and you can manage this issue calmly with a proper plan in place. You’ve got this!