25 answers

Help with Potty Training a 3 1/2 Year Old Boy

I am the mother a 3 1/2 year old boy who has no interest in potty training. He has started a mothers-day-out program that if he has poop diapers I have to go up and change him. He will go pee on the potty with resistance if prompted, but no poop yet. Also he does not want to be without his diaper. He freaks out if I try to put pullups or underwear on him. He wants his diapers. I know he should be potty training by now and I keep thinking it will click and he will get it, but no luck yet. He cries a lot when we try to get him to use the potty to the point of almost making himself sick. I do not want to totally freak him out with potty training, but I know he needs to start. Help!!!!!!

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Potty training can be really scary for children. I have read in several places that children feel like their BMs are part of their bodies. Therefore they feel like they are losing something when they go on the potty but that in a diaper keeps it with them. I know that it sounds strange, but it was true with my little boy too. He would go tee tee on the potty but not poo poo.
I was able to potty train my little one by 2 1/2 by letting him pick out underwear of a favorite character. Elmo worked for us. We also read lots of books about going potty.
Good Luck! Don't give up! He will get it!

I don't know, but I honestly don't think he's ready. Give it time. He may be ready in a couple of months and it could go by quickly. I know that is hard with the MDO program, but you don't want to freak him out.

Have you spoken to the pedi about this? S/he might be able to give you some insight as well and explore the issue.

Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news.... but you should just put underpants on him whether he likes it or not. It might be messy at first, but soon enough he will not like the feeling of the wet and/or messy underwear enough to motivate him to using the potty.

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Hi there K.,

I'll probably get flamed for this one; but why does your son have to be potty trained now? Yes, it'd definitely more convenient; but is it possible that he's just not quite ready yet? Have you asked him why he doesn't want to wear underwear or pullups? Personally, I'd skip the pullup and go straight to underwear when he's open to the idea of wearing them.

1 mom found this helpful

My opinion, which you can probably do with out, is to find another Mothers Day Out. For any facility such as this to NOT change poopy diapers is absolutely rediculous. I mean really, where do they come up with this. They are little kids. Believe me, as the mother of many, with lots of experience in this - HE WILL POTTY TRAIN WHEN HE'S READY - not when MDO is ready. None of my boys were trained before 3 1/2. When THEY decided they were ready, they were done with no accidents. It will happen when HE is ready. I feel your pain though, just so you know I am not insensitive to your plight - I have one that will be 3 on Christmas Day and she has NO interest in potty training either. She'll change her mind sooner or later. God only knows when / if my 1 yr old will EVER have an interst. They tell me she is most likely autistic. But then, drs. don't know everything. LOL

1 mom found this helpful

Have you considered that he is resisting letting go of diapers because he wants to share the attention given to the baby...? If you can figure out what the diapers mean to him, you might be able to redirect his security blanket on another object.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

I have two girls and one boy, which is about your son's age. I hate to say this but you can't force potty training. That is one thing that they have full control of. My daughter was like that and we had accidents for quite some time. It is totaly up to them when they finish with diapers.I had to relize this the hard way. You might try to reward him with stickers or time just for you and him play if he poops in the potty. I remind my son where the poop and pee go before I leave the sitters house or Mother's day out and I let him answer the questions. LIke: Where does the pee go? Where does the poop go? Depending on what underwears he is waering I ask him if spiderman likes to be peed on? I hope this helps.

dear K.,
i actually started potty training my daughter vigorously at that age. i was told by another mom to put her on the pot a whole 15 min every 2 hours if possible. especially around the time she normally poops and praise her. but i also made her go around without under pants so she would run to her potty if she had to go. shes almost 4 now and it worked really well. she did hate sitting there but finally got use to it. i had to make an effort to let her know, i knew what i was doing, and not looked so concerned as she sits there.

You probably need to get rid of the diaper all together. It sounds like it's become a security to him and if he thinks he's going to loose it by doing good in the potty he might not go potty on purpose. Move him to underwear except at night. He will have accidents, but they always do, it helps them to understand what happens when they don't stop playing and go potty. If it's a security issue give him something else to let him feel safe, a certain toy or blanket. Take him to the store and let him pick out which kind of underwear he wants it will be fun for him and if likes the underwear he will be proud to show them off. As far as pooping that is always the last thing for them to learn. My 3 and 5 yr old both had trouble pooping in the potty, but they would gladly go in their diaper. You have to take that option away, it's more tramatic for you to see them upset than for them to poop without their diaper! Good luck, it's never an easy thing!

I took my son to Target and let him pick out his "big-boy" underwear. I never used a pull-up when training, have had better luck when the child feels the outcome.

For urination, I used M&M's and stickers. Even for sitting he could earn an M&M. Once we got that down, I took him to the Dollar Store. He picked out several little things, mostly bubble type things because he loves bubbles. I put them in 2 different baskets, the bigger prizes separated out. If he urinated like 3 or 4 times he could choose from one bag. If he went poop once, he could choose out of the big bag item. Oh, and the little potty never worked. My son liked the insert for the regular toilet. Be sure and provide stool.

Good luck, just remember what works for one doesn't always work for you. It just takes time to find out what works for your child. Being in the preschool should help by seeing others. You might have the teachers praise another child who went infront of your child.

I work in a church child care program and we have to change poop diapers no matter what the age. We have also had to do some unpleasant things (missing the potty, pooping in the urinal) That comes with working with children. I will say this though, you don't want to have the big kid that has to be changed, when they are that big its pretty yucky, especially when its not your kiddo. The only thing I worry about is that at that age is when they start to learn that only mommies and doctors can see their private parts. We had to take a looong class about what is appropriate or not and we are not allowed to go into the bathroom with the kids, or change them anywhere other than in the room with everyone else (which I think is a good rule) so I would hate for your son to feel embarrassed. Its ridiculous you have to go change him. By the way in order to help with the potty training at the daycare when they are 3 and up (around there) they have to help clean themselves up, they can do it and they say its yucky, and we usually say something like 'that's why poopy belongs in the potty.' It works well.

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