L.M. asks from Roseville, CA on February 22, 2008
3 1/2 Year Old Refuses to Potty Train!
I am at the end of my rope! I feel like I have tried everything and my son will not sit on the potty for more than three seconds. He starts crying saying it won't work and lays in my lap. Does anyone have any pointers, I'd just like to start over again!
So What Happened?™
Thank you ALL for the ideas and advice! We have decided to "back off" and have him follow his older brother & dad in the bathroom when they pee pee in the potty so we can start over by first teaching him. I put the potty away for a little bit and I'm going to take it out again when he asks where it went. The idea of putting lotion on his legs was classic and he did sit on the potty and rub it in! Thank you all again. It really does "take a village!"
A.S. answers from Redding on February 28, 2008
Try making a game of it by putting a couple cheerios in the toilet and telling him to aim for them. Or if using a potty chair, try one that is fun. I got my daughter one that has Elmo on the front and when you push his hand he talks, she loves it and it keeps her amused and on the potty. They also have potty chairs that play music when it is used. And if that doesn't work and can try good old bribes. Tell he that if he goes the whole day using the potty that he can get a new toy or some ice cream etc. You can also try telling that if he uses the potty he can have "big boy" underwear.
K.S. answers from Sacramento on February 27, 2008
The more you push the more he will resist. He's just not ready. There is such a push to have children potty trained by a certain age. Some children for what ever reason are just not ready for that. Stop trying for a while. Let him know that you love him even if he is not potty trained yet. Let it be his decision when to start trying again. It will only cause a lot of stress and grief for the both of you to try to force it on him.
C.M. answers from San Francisco on February 26, 2008
My son was that age as well and he just wouldn't do it. A friend of mine told me to try and put a couple cheerios in the toilet and make it a game to see how many he could hit while peeing. Believe it or not it actually worked. Plus we lived on 10 acres so in the summer I would let him run around outside naked and he would pee on a tree. That worked too then we moved into an apartment complex and it didn't work so well. He's out of that now but you should try the cheerios thing just to see if he likes it.
D.L. answers from San Francisco on February 22, 2008
I feel for you!
My son started expressing interest in the potty at 18 months of age, we felt so lucky! Turns out it was all theoretical. Come 3-1/2 he rarely went and was crying and pitching fits when we tried to get him to use the potty. We backed off, but tried to give him as much time as we could with no diaper (plenty of 'accidents' happened, oh well) a few months before he turned four we started talking about how he would be a big boy when he turned four, and then he'd only use pull-ups for nap time and bed time. For him, I think having the emotional preparation happen over time, and having some control and 'buy in' from him made a big difference. On his fourth birthday he pretty much gave up pull-ups for all but sleep times and there have been very few accidents... One thing I have learned, when my son says he doesn't have to go, he doesn't have to go and it's best not to force him. I know that's not true for some kids, but at least for mine it is.
EXCEPT (and this is a biggie!) he won't go poop in the potty. (He's now 4 years 5 months) So, we are still working on that and honestly I don't know what to tell you. He saves it until evening, then goes poop in his pull-up. We have him sit on the potty for at least a few minutes every night and try to go poo. There have been a few successes, and we make a big deal out of them. As of a week ago he's no longer allowed to look at his poop in the pull up (he's fascinated by it) but we've told him he can look all he wants when it's in the potty. I've offered rewards - stickers, getting to use the real phone and call one of his favorite people... I suspect that we may just have another big boy step like "When you are 5, you won't need pull ups any more" and we'll just take them away altogether. My husband thinks we should consider doing it now... I'm scared to traumatize him, and he sure does seem awfully anxious about the whole thing. I really don't understand it, but I'm trying.
But I take comfort in the knowledge that eventually, no matter what he will be potty trained. (Or at some point he'll just be old enough to clean his own diapers!)
I would also recommend the chapter on potty training in the Girlfriends Guide to Toddlers.
S.R. answers from San Francisco on February 22, 2008
Be patient with him and keep at it. Make him realize that he needs to and you're the boss.
K.M. answers from San Francisco on February 23, 2008
Sorry you're going through this :( Sounds like you ahve the luxury so many moms dont have of being home to work on it gradually. My little guy is 3 1/2 and not yet trained. He sits on the potty (alone and sometimes crying) for two hours at a time, but wont go either . I guess it will happen eventually.
J.C. answers from Sacramento on February 22, 2008
My 4yr old boy FINALLY did it. I know it's tough. At 4 1/2, he only wears underwear - no pullups either. I tried every thing - toys, anger, candy, guilt, patience, etc. You know what worked? Time. That's it. When he was ready, he did it. Try as hard as you can to back off. It was one day that he decided, and the more pressure I put on him, the more resistent he became. & a few trips to target in the first week that he would use the potty was a good motivator. Good luck, I feel your pain. I too was at the end of my rope and tried what I thought was a crazy idea of giving him a pullup to put on his lap while he sat on the potty.
E.H. answers from San Francisco on February 23, 2008
Kids don't potty train for a reason. Leave him alone. Only use rewards if he is willing to sit on the potty. Don't make a big deal. He will do it when he's ready. My sons were 4 and 5 and they trained in one day - when they were ready. If you push too hard, your son will potentially be traumatized.
S.L. answers from Sacramento on February 23, 2008
I'm right there with you!! My youngest son is almost 3 1/2 and until recently, absoluetly refused to sit on the potty. I think he was afraid he'd fall in. Now he sits on the potty every night before bath/bed time. To get him to sit there long enough, we read him a potty themed book. He's only acutally peed once, but he's getting used to the idea. He also gets involved with flushing his poops from his diaper. I just keep in mind that he has ultimate control over his body and it'll happen when he is ready. Good luck!
J.S. answers from Stockton on February 23, 2008
my kids always learned better by watching their older brother. I have an older son that is 7 years older than one and 9 years older than the other one, and he helped a lot with showing them how to potty, and such. Do you think your older son would be willing to help out teaching him to sit down? Maybe try a timer and when it goes off he can get up? Starting it out for a real short time and gradually going up to a couple minutes?
also for my two younger ones, a good motivator was taking them and letting them pick out their new underwear once they started using the potty consistantly. :)
M.E. answers from Sacramento on February 23, 2008
Since you have an older son my guess is you have tried all the obvious-rewards, potty dance, be a big boy like your brother, etc.
My kids all pretty much potty trained themselves when they were ready (daughter at 3 sons at about 3 1/2)-I was not willing to fight with them about it. I have friends sho swear by the cold-turkey method-plan to stay home for a few days, bye-bye diapers (except at night-still fuguring that out). There are several good potty books, and the potty doll (i.e. have your son teach the doll to go potty).
But the only advice I can give from experience is back off-he will figure it out eventually (and probably more quickly when it is no longer a fight). Good luck.