12 answers

How to Potty Train 3.5 Year-old Boy

My 3.5 year-old son is very smart but he just refuses to potty train. I've tried to bribe him with candy, potty prizes (little toys he can get if he uses the potty), and new underwear that I let him pick out. He is excited about the prizes and underwear but isn't motivated to use the potty. Please help. I have a 5-month old daughter and buying diapers for both kids is really draining our family budget.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Have you tried putting cheerios in the toilet and letting him try to sink them? Just a suggestion I heard works!

More Answers

I can feel for you, my son didn't start to use the potty till he was around that age...We had the same problems, we eventually just quit trying actually, because everyone was getting stressed about the whole process and it was making it harder...Take a break and he may surprise you like mine did, and just wake up one day and be completely trained...He has to want to do it, not be forced...Good luck!

Hi! I don't know if you've tried this yet, but my son just turned 2 on Xmas Eve, and he's already going in the potty for me sometimes. I actually take him with me when I have to use the restroom, and put his potty chair right next to mine. I know it sounds kindof silly, but it has really been working for us.

I know what your going through.My son was almost 4 when he was fully potty trained. What a chore it is. I had tried everything prizes,praise. I even got him a book just for potty time. Nothing seemed to work. So I just started putting him in underware and after a few times of wetting himself he didnt like it,so he started to use the potty. I had to still put him in pull-ups for the night but that didnt last long,no drinking after 7pm and no milk after 5pm they say milk makes you potty more. Dont give up It will happen. Boys are harder to potty train, my daughter was just shy of 2 when she got trained.

I just wanted to add another surprise for going potty. I had my dad call as Barney and tell him how proud he was that he went to the potty. Get someone to pretend to be his favorite cartoon character or hero. We also used the elmo potty training doll and had him show elmo how to go to the potty. He came with a sippy cup and a potty seat so they kinda get that drinking makes you go potty. And like others have said, I just didn't put him back in diapers except at night and then when he got it after a couple of days he didn't even wear the diapers to bed. He was not even 2 yet and I just told him no more diapers and he said ok and didn't have many accidents at all. He was always interested in the potty, so I would let him go with me. Just stick with it, consistency is the key.
Good Luck!!!

Have you tried putting cheerios in the toilet and letting him try to sink them? Just a suggestion I heard works!

My son wasn't fully trained until he was almost 5!!! I did all the praises, stickers, candy, rewards ... EVERYTHING! .. One thing that seemed to work that he just loved was I would put just a drop of dish soap (watered down, so it was an almost empty bottle) so when he went pee he made bubbles! He would be tickled, and it might have only been a coincidence, but he was trained within a couple of days. I had my husband show him how to make bubbles first and then he would take his turn. At first, it was a game to my son and he would come downstairs multiple times and ask dad to come and make bubbles for him, but once he realized that he could do it himself, he did! BIG BOY!!!! I would suggest not using the potty chair for pee pee because it can be a hard transition when it is time for him to start standing to pee. I don't know, as I didn't try, it was just something that was told to me, so I did it. So I'm passing it on! Good luck to you!!

I had a really hard time training my now almost 5 year old. It was 3 and half before he was potty trained on days and we still wear pull ups at night. I was greatly concerned b/c I had tried everything that I could think of and that people suggested between the ages of 2 and 3 to potty train him. I'm talking EVERYTHING. Potty charts for 2 months with prizes for 5 stickers, He picked out the prizes, letting him run around naked or only in underwear for 24 hours x2 days. Sitting him on the potty every hour for 2 weeks straight with underwear on, praises and punishments, talks about why he couldn't seem to do it and nothing helped. He was showing signs he was ready he just wouldn't go. He was a very routine child. He went to bed every night between 8 and 9, he brushed his teeth tried to potty, said his goodnights to everyone in the house in the same order. Would clean up his toys without being asked, vaccum his room daily, had to be at day care the same time every day so that his routine there would not get messed up too much (if he missed circle time he would be lost for the whole day!)By 3, I asked the doctor what the deal was. She said that they are seeing smarter children potty train much later than others because they have too much other stuff that they want to learn and too much stuff going on in their heads right now to learn how to potty train. Also, clean child have problems b/c with diapers mommy and daddy have to deal with that mess and the child does not.
So, we gave it a rest for a few months in the summer. Reminding him to sit on the potty but not forcing any issuse. Then we got back on the horse a month before school started. He remained having one accident a day and needed continuial reminders. He was still pooping in his pants. When we got back to school, I showed him that his best friend was going on the potty now all by herself! Along with all his other friends. That did it, he realized that the other kids were doing something he hadn't yet. The next day he asked for the first time to poop on the potty. Went in and did it all alone. He didn't have an accident for a long time after that. We still have accidents sometimes if he is in a strange place and gets really busy doing something or thinking about other stuff. He had one a day when he was at his new school this year for the first month. Pooping and peeing. He just doesn't adjust well to change, he thinks about everything, every what if, way too much and forgets to "listen to his body" as we say.
So, hints I can give you...the less stressed you get about it the better. If there is anyone around his age to use as a little bit of peer pressure it might just work. And a lot of times when new sibling is around children regress in order to get attention. So any amount of progress you had made pre baby probably went down the drain. Try explaining that he's a big boy now and he needs to go on the potty like big boys.
I wonder if "mailing" his diapers away to a daiper fairy who will give them to babies that need them would help him? Just a thought. Best of Luck! I've been there. Hang in there momma your doing great!!!

Sounds like you are doing prizes.

My son was potty trained about 3.5 years. It was very frustrating, as his peers were potty trained. I understand boys take longer. He hooked on the urinating in the potty better than pooping. At times, I would catch him filling his pants in the corner. I found myself practically yelling at him, then I re-thought my process. What worked for me was doing a "prize bucket." I bought a bunch of little toys (at the Dollar Store) and put them in a big bucket. I had him look at them, I popped in some of the favorites, like Spiderman and Transformer stuff. I told him that he could get a prize after he pooped in the potty. Initially, he was very interested and would pick out his toy in advance. When he did, we made a big deal out it. It actually worked, surprisingly. We kept the "prize bucket" filled enough where he could make choices. It cost me a little extra in the beginning, but in the long run I am not paying for pull-ups. I think sometimes, he "willed it" out of him to get a prize. Keep it cheap, Family Dollar and other discounted stores have a lot in stock for things cheap. Approach is key. Another parent friend did this too.

Good luck!

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.