14 answers

HELP 34 Month Old Refuses Potty Training

HELP. I am getting head spins from reading books, potty charts, candy, stickers, potty surprise bag you name it. Nothing is working and I have backed off of him but my son knows the potty but refuses to pee or poop in it. Last night he pooped in the bath tub. So I asked him Christian where does poop go and he said the potty. I put it in the potty and he starts saying Bye Bye Poop. So then I told him next time you get that feeling don't panic don't fret you can use the potty because you can. He wants the big potty and wants nothing to do with his potty, which is fine. I tried to put him on a regular schedule in the morning to sit on it but he doesn't want to go near it. And believe me I don't force him or even pick him up to go to the potty. I always say okay next time. I tell him we are practicing I don't expect pee or poop and if he does he can get the potty surprise bag. I figure okay don't stress but what is his problem. M & M worked for awhile. I tell him I have to potty and ask him should mommy pee in her pants or go to the potty and he will say potty. he gets the whole idea. I put him in underwear everyday until he wants them off and I don't force it on him and he wants his diaper on. Mind you he keeps them dry. He gets upset if he has to go and he wants the diaper.
I am expecting another child in December and wondering maybe he has a brain over load with potty training and the baby. The nursery has been up since July so its not that. I know it freaked him out when he had his hand on my belly and the baby kicked because he moved his hand really fast and had a confused look on his face. Has anyone faced this problem? I know I will have 2 kids in diapers (so I am over that about getting him out of diapers) but my dilemma is how do I get him to want to use the potty. He is so stubborn and strong will. His Uncle the other day was over and asked him about the potty and sure enough he ran to it and did the motions for him. This kids is a character I tell you. I do feel when he does start it won't be training he will just know to do it. he has been like that with everything crawling, walking and even talking. Has anyone had this experience?

What can I do next?

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You're letting him control the situation. YOU have to control it and put fear in him if he does it in his pants. No, I'm not talking about corporal punishment. You're the mother. He's the child. You don't give him control.You must take away the diapers and tell him, "no more diapers". Maybe say, Mommy can buy other things if she doens't have to spend it on diapers. The way I did it is that I took the diapers away, and yes, my son, 2 1/2 year years old, got upset and looked for his diapers but you know what, the world did not come to an end. Now, he does not want to poop or pee in his big boy underwear. Keep this in mind when you're talking to him, that he's a big boy now, not a baby. It's going to be hard and you're going to have to get tough but if you don't you're going to be sending a pooper to pre-school.

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Hi, M.!
I just wanted you to know you are not alone. My son is also 34 months old and treats the potty like a game...only going here and there if he wants and never pooping on it. He is also very strong willed :). I have decided to go the underwear only route once he get over his foot injury (he strained his arch on one foot). Then it will be all or nothing (he wears pull ups now). I just have to get ready myself...that is usually how it is. I stress about things (going off bottle, going to big bed...ect) and he does things just fine right away as if he could do them all along :)!! Keep us posted how things go!!
Good luck to us all....

HI M.,

My oldest daughter was similar to this. She didn't really resist the idea of going potty she was just too "busy" doing her own thing to go. We took her to the store and let her pick out her own "big girl" panties, but then she couldn't wear them until she had stayed dry for one whole day. She stayed dry that day and then refused to wear a diaper to bed that night. She never had another accident after that.

My nephew who is now almost 3 1/2 was very similar. However, for some reason he takes what the doctor tells him as "law". My sister in law had the doctor tell him he was a big boy now and "had" to use the potty. It worked. Since your son seems to listen to his uncle maybe uncle could take him out for a day or even just for a walk and have a "man to man" talk about how he is a big boy now and needs to use the potty instead of the diapers. Might help hearing it from someone besides mom.

Good luck!!!!


You might be right. He probably will just one day decide to use it and there will be very little if any "training" left to do. I have heard of kids that do that sort of thing.. like yours, that don't test out things, they just observe a long time then begin with a complete command of whatever it is: words, walking, etc. The potty might be the same thing. Perhaps he doesn't want to "try".. he wants to wait until he is confident that he is able to do it all by himself.
I wouldn't push him though. Maybe just drop the whole issue. Don't even "quiz" him about where it goes when you are dumping the diaper in the potty. Just say, "well, we need to put this in the potty" then do it. Wash up. Move on. Not a word to him asking what needs to be done.
He might surprise you. Many "potty training stories" go this route... "we tried EVERYTHING and nothing worked, then one day he just decided he was ready and that was it". Not all of them, many also work for months at learning all the urges and practicing learning through small steps and everything. But kids are different and you might have one of those that just, overnight, is fully trained...
Congrats on the darling you are expecting in December... I have a boy and girl 3 yrs apart myself, and they play wonderfully together.
God Bless!

My now almost 5 year old was resistant too. We gave it up completely. Didn't say a word about anything but left the potty accessible for him. Two weeks before he turned three he got up and decided he wanted to go in the potty. He came out of his room telling me "off" and pulling at his pants and diaper. So I took them off and let him go into the bathroom by himself and he peed. I about hit the roof!!! Sinking stubborn little thing! Anyway, you may just have to be patient and try not to say anything about it and if he does say he wants to go just ask him if he needs help getting out of his clothes and diapers and let him go to the bathroom by himself - as scary as that may seem.
Best of luck to you!
Mom of three - 4.5 yrs, 2 yrs, 8 months

Hi M.,

I had the same issue with my son. Going pee wasn't so difficult though. I just let him run around the house naked for about two weeks and that worked great. The pooping issue was worst. I don't think we got that tackled till he was almost 3 1/2. He always wanted the pull up to go poop. We used a reward chart that we put stickers on and made a huge deal when he did good. We also started telling him if he went a little bit on the potty first, then he could get a pull up to go more. Of course, he would end up just going on the potty and didn't need the pull up to go.
Just try to be patient and very positive. It's frustrating, but it will happen. I think boys just take longer. Maybe you could tell him that the baby's going to need the diapers soon and that he's a big boy now so he shouldn't need the diapers as much. Not sure if that would work or not, but you could try and see what his reaction is. If he's competitive, it may work.

Good luck,
L. Della Bella
Peadab Designs

what I remembered, my husband showed my little boy how he does use the big potty. You can ask your husband and his uncles to show him how to use it so he will have the idea that it is just but ok and not be afraid.

I am in the same boat!!! My daughter knows all the things just like you are describing, but won't go on the potty. I keep reminding myself that she did all the other things on her own, why should this be any different?

My little girl was the same way for a while. She knew what to do but wouldn't do it. She was all about The Little Mermaid and so we went and got the panties with Mermaid and her 'friends' and the potty ring with Mermaid's friends on it and finally she started. She wouldn't use the little potty. She was 35 months before she started really doing it. We are now just getting the poo poo down. (She would ask for a diaper or wait till bed time) I would just be patient and one day it will be like 'Finally!!!" and he will have it. Good Luck!

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