In this work, the effect of a non-resonant intense laser field on the optical rectification and second and third harmonic generation in a Poschl-Teller quantum well is theoretically investigated. In this regard, the coefficients of nonlinear optical rectification and second and third harmonic generation are obtained by using the compact-density matrix approach and an iterative method. Different values of the asymmetry parameters of the Poschl-Teller potential as well as intense laser field strength have been considered. Numerical results presented for a typical GaAs quantum wells show that higher-order optical effects are considerably sensitive to intense laser field and can be adjusted by a correct choice of asymmetry parameters of the potential. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.