I won’t go into explicit detail here, out of respect for Thomas, but I will provide enough detail for you to have some insight into how long this life skill can take to learn, if it is ever possible to learn.
Yes, I said “if it is ever possible”, because some kids with autism are never able to be potty trained. Most learn it eventually, some don’t.
Seven & a half years old: that’s how old he was when we could finally say he was fully potty trained – during the day. It was a LONG haul. And unlike many of the skills he has now (reading, adding & subtracting, tying his shoes, etc.), I taught him this. Granted it was with lots of help, but I – and Thomas – did this!
“Number one” was not so difficult a skill to learn. That being said, it was done by about age 6. However, BMs were another matter entirely. He absolutely did not want to poop in the toilet. I think perhaps it was scary. Again, I’m not going to go into great detail here – maybe I’ll leave that for this future book I’m being encouraged to write! Suffice it to say, while nowhere near as stressful as trying to brew my own goat milk yogurt (thank you to Wendy for commiserating with me today about that ridiculousness!), there was a point after about 2 years of sitting in the bathroom with him and encouraging him to go that I thought I was never, ever going to leave the bathroom. I was just going to stay in there for the rest of my life. Thankfully that was not the case, and by 7 ½ years of age, we no longer had to buy diapers for him during the day. Whew!
Nighttime was also a different matter, but by age 9 we no longer had to buy Huggies Goodnights anymore! We still have a few accidents, especially if he’s sick or really upset (or even occasionally if he is SO engrossed in his playtime downstairs that he forgets), but it is now the exception instead of the rule. Rock on, Thomas!