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I'm at My Wit's End Potty Training My Son! Any Advice??

So my little one, who is generally very interested in following the rules, well-behaved etc., and seems to catch on to most things rather quickly is having tremendous issues potty training. We've been working on it for 6 months now, and he's 3 and a half years to the day.

I've tried keeping him in underwear all weekend, and not ONCE has he informed me he has to pee/poop without it happening in his underpants first--we've tried this about 3-4 weekends, and all it seems to do is stress him out, but nothing improves. We are back to pull-ups again, which he treats like diapers.

He will go pee in the toilet when prompted (i.e. when he wakes up in the morning, etc.), but he will never tell me he has to go until after it's already happened. Not once. It literally has never happened. He has never made #2 in the toilet.

I have him in pull-ups, and he just treats them like diapers. But I've also tried just keeping him in underwear for days, and all I end up with is piles of wet/poopy underwear and worse, soiled carpet, couches etc.

I'm really trying not to get upset (or use punitive tactics), but I'm really at wit's end. Bribery (which we don't do much of in our house) doesn't work at all. If you offer him cookies, for instance, if he goes, then he sort of acts like if he gets them, cool, but if not, no big deal (in other words, he doesn't work to get the reward whatsoever). If I offer him a special toy to play with, he just plays with the toy and makes no effort to go, and then the minute I decide we are done, he goes in his pull-ups--literally it's on cue, the minute he is off the toilet, he has a BM in his pull up. If I let him watch TV or read to him or play a game with him on his personal potty, he just gets fully involved in the game until 45 minutes later, and I'm out of the room for something, he goes everywhere BUT the potty.

I'm starting to think it's on purpose, but I also know that I'm at wit's end and not thinking clearly about it probably. Shouldn't we be done by now?? 3.5 years old to the day, and 6 months of trying...this is getting exasperating...

edit: Just to clarify, no, I'm not only trying on the weekends. I am trying all day every day, as is he, but during the week, I can't let him jaunt around in his undies (which he LOVES to wear by the way) because he and I are in and out all day, preschool, shopping, playdates, etc....so he's mostly in pull-ups during the week. On the weekends, when my wife is home to help and are we are generally at home more often, we've been trying different things, such as underwear, letting him play naked near his potty, hanging out in the bathroom, etc., and of course we are prompting him constantly.

edit: also, when I say "punitive", I don't mean like some bad punishment--heck, I don't even do time-outs and almost always a good eye-to-eye talk will do the trick--really, he is a very well behaved child, remarkably so. But obviosly my tactics are not working in this case, possibly because he is simply unable to comply. So today, for instance, after we hung out on the potty for about 30 minutes, and he immediately went upon getting his pull-up back on, I told him I wasn't going to read him a story before naptime. And trust me, that's enough. He was very upset. And to be honest, that's kind of why I wrote this post, because I wasn't sure if that was fair or not, or if it seemed like it would be good idea to motivate him in that way. My gut is telling me no.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

So I want to first thank you to all the helpful moms, the 95% of you who gave me quite a lot of useful advice. One thing I noticed is that it's a pretty even split between "He'll go when he's ready" to "Get him out of diapers/pull-ups right now and train him". THAT is the whole reason for my post, because I'm not sure which direction I'm leaning toward, and I want to make sure my approach is, at the very least, consistent. I'm going to lean toward "He'll go when he's ready," because one thing in particular stood out to me, the person(s) who said the only three things a toddler can control are eating, sleeping, and potty. I'm not used to power struggles with my boy, and this is perhaps what it looks like, or perhaps he just ins't ready yet, or perhaps its some combination in between. I do put him on the potty diligently every half-hour (when we are home), and then he goes immediately after he gets off. I'm not expecting him to run up to me and politely ask where the toilet paper is, but I'm not sure what his refusal to potty until the moment after he gets off the toilet means.

That said, to the few respondents who were, in some cases, extremely sanctimonious and judgmental (and part of me absolutely wonders if you would have been a bit more, uhm, friendly, if I were posting on my wife's acct.), I suggest you digest the previous and realize that this is NOT a cut and dry issue.

Some quotes for those who didn't read all the responses: "Geez, your poor child...have a nice cup of chill-the-hell-out" "your post is exhausting" "your child is probably exasperated with you"

Are these types of judgement calls at all productive or necessary? Do you really think you can judge my parenting based on one desperate plea for help? Quite troubling, and quite surprising, but it is the internet after all. I didn't really know what all these blog posts meant by "mommy wars", but I think I have a clearer idea now, so thank you, at least, for illuminating that strange term I keep hearing about. Ironically, it was my wife's idea for me to ask this forum.

Yes, this is my first go 'round with this. No, I don't have all (any of) the answers. And yes, I am human, and like anyone else, I can get frustrated and exasperated. That doesn't mean that I'm not trying constantly to learn, improve, and do what's best for my son, even if I stumble along the way. So to the ones that got me a step closer to that goal by sharing your experience and wisdom, I thank you.

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Children are not machines. This is not a matter of being a good boy or following the rules. It is a matter of muscle control. It sounds as though he doesn't have the muscle control yet.

I would get some diapers and try again in a week or two. The bigger deal you make it the harder it will become.

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You sound frustrated and I'm sorry for that ~ potty training sucks.

My youngest was a lot like this. I finally put it in his hands. I told him that I wasn't going to beg, bribe or ask him to go on the potty anymore and that when he was ready to use the big boy potty to let me know. He said "Ok, Mom" and looked at me for a few moments and then said "I'll do it on Tuesday". Well...Tuesday came around and when I woke him up I told him it was Tuesday and he said "ok, let's go potty". From there it took us 1 week. It was amazing. No battles, no frustration, very few accidents and one proud little boy. That's all it took for him ~ he needed it to be his decision. He was 3.5

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If it makes you feel any better my son is 3 1/2 also and we been fighting with the "potty issue" also. Right before his 3rd birthday in June he was doing so good. He would run around in his underwear without peeing and pooping in them. He would tell us etc when he had to go. Right in august as soon as his sisters started back to school everything change. He started using the bathroom in his underwear and he stop telling us when he needed to go. I think he went/going threw a phrase where he doing this out for some reason. He understand's everything about going/using the potty but is being hard-headed right now. We just gave up right now. We'll try in a few more months. My daughters wasn't fully potty trained to almost in pre-k(at age 4). Some kids want to be "big kids" and some don't. It takes time.

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There are two things that children can control in their little lives. One is toileting and one is eating. If you demand and push and stress him, he will fight you by not giving in to toileting.

The more exasperated you are, the harder it's going to be. Stop being exasperated.

Talk to your son's ped. Don't talk about it in front of him.

You know, he's not going to go to college in a pullup. Stop being upset about it. He WILL eventually potty train. The question is, how long are you going to be stressed about it so that your son feels stressed too?

Get to the ped to get advice. Your ped knows your son and can give you good ideas.


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I have a question, are you getting stressed out because you are getting stressed about it, or are you getting so stressed out because of other people commenting on it and their expectations?

My family was driving me crazy about my daughter not being potty trained by 2 years old. Then, again by the time she wasn't fully potty trained by 2.5. Now she's 3 and mostly trained, but we still have our battles.

When other people were stressing me out, I caught myself passing that stress onto my daughter which only made things worse. I talked to her ped who told me not to worry about it, and to just let her do it when she was ready. I put her back in pull ups and as soon as I calmed down about it, she was ready. I also made a potty chart with her to make it fun, and she got a sticker every time she went to the potty. I kept track even when we weren't home and that worked like a charm. Every time she starts going on herself again, we start the potty chart stickers back up and that gets her back on track pretty quickly.

I also notice that my daughter does it for attention. When I start getting busy with other things and not paying as much attention to her, she starts doing it because negative attention is better than no attention. The other day in time out, she said, "mommy, can you come talk to me about why I'm in time-out now" and it broke my heart. Maybe try spending more time with him just having fun and talking. Then the potty training may come easier.

Intelligent children are more work because they know how to work us lol. It's a great thing though, it just needs to be nurtured.

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3 things kids can control... sleeping eating, toileting. Your "little one, who is generally very interested in following the rules" is using his control of using the potty to make you nutty. My best advice is let it go. Tell him that he is the only one that can make pee and poop on the potty and you know that when he's ready he will do that.
The I would put him in underwear and plastic pants. When he has an "accident" be matter of fact and unemotional about it and tell him... "Oh, it looks like you had an peed/pooped in your pants. Better go change." Take him to the bathroom 1 time and show him how to take off his clothes and what to do with them, and let him do it. If you feel like he needs assistance getting cleaned up completely, help him, but make no comments about it. No shaming, no disappointment, just taking care of the mess without emotion attached to it.

He'll get it. He gets so much attention for not going in the potty now. Let him have control and I bet he does it in no time.

ETA: Get rid of the pull-ups. Either stop completely and put him in diapers or go with underwear and plastic pants except for naps or bedtime. (Sleep training is completely different than day training. Don't expect that to happen just because he becomes day trained.)

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Children are not machines. This is not a matter of being a good boy or following the rules. It is a matter of muscle control. It sounds as though he doesn't have the muscle control yet.

I would get some diapers and try again in a week or two. The bigger deal you make it the harder it will become.

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I used bribery - but the usual rewards did not work. Stickers. M&Ms. Small toys. Special toys he could only play with after he used the potty. My son could have cared less.

He was 3 and 1/4. I had to get him potty trained for the little nursery program he was starting. The director of the program was shocked, SHOCKED, that he wasn't potty trained yet. Looking back now, I realize how ridiculous that was.

I decided to get him potty trained in a week. By the end of the week, he was peeing in the potty just fine. Poop, on the other hand, turned into a 4-month struggle. Same stuff you're describing. After sitting on the potty for a while, the minute he was in a pull-up or undies he would poop. Drove me bonkers.

One day I decided I'd had it. I drove him to KMart, took him down the toy aisle and told him he could have ANY toy he wanted as long as he pooped on the potty. After much deliberation, he chose a pricey Transformers set with Bumblebee and Satellite. I bought it, we drove home, and I promptly put the box on the top shelf of my closet. I told my son he could have ONE of the Transformers when he pooped on the potty. He asked after it several times and I repeated my mantra - when you poop on the potty, you may have one of the Transformers.

The next morning he asked me again and I gave the same answer. About half an hour later, I heard him go into the bathroom and sit on the potty. 5 minutes later, magic presto! "Mommy, I pooped in the potty!" He did it perfectly, like he had known how to do it all along (I'm sure he did). I praised him and gave him Bumblebee.

A bit later he asked after the second Transformer. Same routine - when you poop on the potty, yada, yada, yada. Next morning, once again, he did it perfectly and got his second Transformer.

After that, I told him if he pooped on the potty for the rest of the week, I would take him to McDonalds. We did that for a couple weeks and then I was able to drop the bribes altogether. He never had a single accident after that.

We still have Bumblebee and Satellite - my favorite toys ever!

Not sure if this method will work for you, but it really was like a miracle for me. Best of luck!

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This is exhausting, your post was absolutely exhausting.

Give it up for 3 months at MINIMUM

Don't let him wear any underwear
Don't give him a pull up, ONLY diapers

When he notices his friends going potty, he will want to do it too. And who cares if he is 4 or 4 1/2 or 5.......I promise you he will NOT want to go to kindergarten wearing diapers. He knows what to do but this is a big power struggle that HE WON.......why don't parents ever get that they will NEVER win this battle

My daughter responded with the car seat. She wanted to be in a booster seat sooooo bad. That was how I got her out of diapers. She new what she was doing and I knew she had total control. So I asked her what it would take for her to go potty like a big girl; she wanted a booster sear. As soon as I let her pick out her booster seat, she was potty trained, never one accident, and she did it 2 weeks before her 3rd birthday. Now she is 7 and still a devious little girl.

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Eh, neither one of my boys were consistently potty trained til their 4th birthday. Still neither one walked across the stage at their hs graduation in diapers. So turns out, there was no real need for the rush.

Maybe just put the whole thing down entirely for a couple weeks?


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after reading your post and your swh: i see NOTHING wrong with your question. you seem to be intelligent and have a good deal of common sense and empathy for your child.

from what you have described you are doing it about like i did. my son was well past age 3 when he "got it" too. we tried several false starts - and i would give up after a few weeks when it was obvious it wasn't happening. i didn't have anywhere near 6 months worth of fortitude in me lol. but then both my husband and myself were working full time too, and there is just so much time in a day.

the only thing i had left to offer was the every-30-minutes thing, and i saw you did mention that at the end. SO my verdict is, back off of it for a bit. take the pressure off. try again in a few months. yes, not the easiest. but it does seem as though you have tried everything. and it's not from not sticking with it! possibly after 6 months, he's just really stressed out and resistant to it now. my advice then, is to take a break. let him off the hook for awhile, don't talk about it, mention it, or ask him about it. if he asks why he's only wearing pullups, just tell him that there's no more potty training right now. he will either scamper off happy with that, or his little gears will get to spinning and he'll decide he IS ready, since the pressure will be off. but take a vacation, and give him one as well :) then try again. good luck - and don't forget, he WILL get it. be patient!

and um...ignore the holier-than-thou types. seriously. they will happen on most posts. there was a time they didn't know everything too, believe it or not.

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You sound frustrated and I'm sorry for that ~ potty training sucks.

My youngest was a lot like this. I finally put it in his hands. I told him that I wasn't going to beg, bribe or ask him to go on the potty anymore and that when he was ready to use the big boy potty to let me know. He said "Ok, Mom" and looked at me for a few moments and then said "I'll do it on Tuesday". Well...Tuesday came around and when I woke him up I told him it was Tuesday and he said "ok, let's go potty". From there it took us 1 week. It was amazing. No battles, no frustration, very few accidents and one proud little boy. That's all it took for him ~ he needed it to be his decision. He was 3.5

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A child isn't ready until his bladder is ready, end of story. There is no magic age or solution to get a child potty trained. The fact that after 6 months he's still not potty trained, pretty much gives you your answer. If it's difficult, stressful, and a negative experience, then he's not only not ready, but it's also very counter productive and a waste of time.

Take a break for a few months & revisit it then. Good luck!

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# 1 mistake.. you have to tell him it is time to go.. he doesnt know what it feels like befroe he has to go.. that is much much later.

i trained my kids like this.. put htem in cotton underwear.. the thick trainers. take them potty every 30 minutes.. they get a m&m if they go. when they are successfully dry going every 30 minutes.. you add time so it is every 45 minutes. the child will not tell you he has to go. youu take him to the potty. set a timer so you dont forget. do not go on playdates.. stay home. till he is trained at least a bit.

once you are training.. the child is in underwear all day.. everyday except for sleeping times.. do not go back and forth between pull ups and underwear.

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My opinion -- keep him in the pull-ups until he get it, or chooses to use the potty, whichever it is. This is one area where kids have all the control, and they often like to exercise it. This is one battle that's not worth it, IMO.

I say give yourselves a break and stop battling this issue. Especially if you're going to start getting punitive. He won't graduate high school in diapers, and although you'll hear plenty of other opinions on this, boys often take till their 4's to be fully potty trained.

What's a few more months?

Like in most other things, boys/men are much more immature than girls/women.

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This happened to me with my oldest, except she wanted to be in "big girl underwear" and I would ask her if she needed to pee, she would say no, and literally 2 second later pee right on the floor. I would put him back in diapers and wait until the summer. He is obviously not ready. I put my girls in dresses without underwear and put a potty right next to them. So when watching tv, potty right next to the chair. When in the playroom, carry the potty over and leave it right next to them. Upstairs reading books, potty right next to them. And I made them sit on it every 15 minutes or so, plus they only wore dresses and no underwear. Your son could wear a long t-shirt without underwear. But after a month of washing way too much laundry I put my daughter back in diapers and when we tried again 6 months later she was ready. Plus I hear boys are slower, so just give him time, and give yourself a break from washing. What is another 6 months?

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Trust your gut. That is the #1 thing I have learned from being a parent (I have special needs daughters- ages 12 and 5.) It sounds like you practice attachment parenting or, at least, gentle discipline as your "style" and those foster greater independence and security, in the end.

Your gut is telling you that he isn't ready- trust it! It's hard to do as a first-time parent, especially when it feels like you are going against the grain of "mainstream" parenting, but it's what's right for YOUR child, and isn't that the point? That doesn't mean you should let him rule the roost or that you don't discipline, but it means you don't force, you don't punish, and you listen and respect your child as a human being!

It sounds like you are a truly caring and compassionate dad who is trying to do the right thing for your child. It sounds like your child is simply not physically ready. I don't think he is holding his potties on purpose- if so, you would see him struggling NOT to go while on the potty. Remember, you have two things going on- being psychologically ready (understanding cause/effect, consequences, rewards, etc.) and being physically ready (much like how some children just absolutely can't sleep through the night because their brains aren't ready to do that yet.)

Hang in there- you won't be changing diapers forever! Keep the potty out and available, and you can continue to put him on it for morning pees, etc. if you want, but act like it's no big deal, and he'll gravitate to it when he's ready.

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Most kids, when they are learning...don't just tell you. You have to take steps. Set a timer, sit him on the potty every 30 minutes to an hour. Do you only try to potty train on the weekends? That can be hugely confusing. He can't differentiate between the week, and the weekend. He will ALWAYS revert back to what he is used to, if this isn't daily and consistent. If you are just doing this on the weekends, you might as well not do it at all.

You can't make a child do something they aren't ready for. He simply could just not be ready. Why don't you take a break from all things potty training a few weeks, cool off, and then revisit? EVERY DAY. He might feel more ready, and not so confused. Oh, and there is no "shouldn't." Trust me, he can tell you think this should just be done, and the pressure. He will never do this, if he feels he HAS to for YOU. Kids learn at their own pace, there is no one mold. He quite well, could be more exasperated with you.

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Oh I remember those days! I swore my daughter was doing it on purpose.

The first thing you have to do is relax and realize this is 100% in their control and 0% in yours. Your little guy senses your frustration and that frustration is working against you. Keep him in pull-ups and put away the underwear for now.

Next, stop trying to train him. Casually mention trying to use the potty but if he refuses, act bored, just say "ok" and LET IT GO. If he uses it and is successful, get really excited! Let him call Grandma and tell her. Make a point of bragging it up later at the dinner table. You get the idea. Change your focus to only his successes and ignore the failures. Eventually he'll get the idea.

Lastly, understand that some kids have a really hard time sitting to have a BM. I've know several kids who mastered peeing in the toilet but took a while to get the BM part.

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If it makes you feel any better my son is 3 1/2 also and we been fighting with the "potty issue" also. Right before his 3rd birthday in June he was doing so good. He would run around in his underwear without peeing and pooping in them. He would tell us etc when he had to go. Right in august as soon as his sisters started back to school everything change. He started using the bathroom in his underwear and he stop telling us when he needed to go. I think he went/going threw a phrase where he doing this out for some reason. He understand's everything about going/using the potty but is being hard-headed right now. We just gave up right now. We'll try in a few more months. My daughters wasn't fully potty trained to almost in pre-k(at age 4). Some kids want to be "big kids" and some don't. It takes time.

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I totally agree with the last post. Stick with the pull ups and remember this is only temporary. I would probably set a timer on my phone and try to be really encouraging about having him go when it goes off. Other than that, not much you can do to force it. He'll get it.

My mom potty trained my brother by making him wash is own mess up, no yelling, she was just matter of fact that he would be cleaning his pants if he messes in them. She thinks that's what turned him around to going in the potty. So, that's a second option. ;)

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I tried potty training a couple times after my son turned three without any real success. I even used rubber pants over undies and still accidents. I gave it up and bought him some cool Spider-Man undies we kept in the drawer. I told him he could have them when he was ready to use the potty. At 3 1/2 he told me he wanted to wear them and that was it, he was ready. Success finally and he went on to use pull ups at night for couple weeks, then he was dry at night pretty consistently . I would give this battle up for now and try to make it fun at a later time. Who cares if he's trained now or in a few months. It will happen so try not to stress over it

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My son, compared to my daughter, started "late." But common, for boys.
When my son was about 3, he began... to warm up to the potty.
For us, we used a potty chair. Kept it out wherever he was playing or whatever room he was in. Didn't nag him about it. He knew what it was for. Left him naked on the bottom. Gradually in time, HE... would go and sit on it. Sometimes drops came out, sometimes not. But he was happy and proud. Gradually in time, he'd sit on it more frequently... and then gradually in time, an actual full pee load would come out. He was happy and proud. We gave him verbal compliments. No prizes or bribes.
In time, he then mastered, peeing on the potty. Then in time, he was able to be in underwear... and hold it for longer. At home. Then in time, he was able to go out... in underwear and be able to tell me "I have to pee" and then be able to hold it... while at the mall and we had to sprint walk to the public bathroom. Then in time, he could hold it longer, and control it more and his bladder and his body's CUES... for going.

They are not experts yet. It takes practice and lots of errors. Normal.
In time, they get more control over their body and their cues.

But nighttime dryness is something entirely different and does not occur even until 7 year old and is normal, and until then, nighttime diapers are used as well as waterproof bed pads.

When a child is ready, and their physiological maturation is ready, they are ready. It takes time, for some kids.
And it takes lots of trial and error and lots of mistakes.
EVEN for kids that are fully potty trained for pee and poop... they will STILL have accidents. Even my daughter's Teachers in Preschool and Kindergarten and 1st grade, said that. Normal. Common. It is childhood.

Again, my son was a late bloomer in the potty training department. But again, he was normal. AND the Preschool Teachers had no problems about it either. I did NOT stress over it nor did I make it a battle!
Because I knew... that my son would not go to Kindergarten in a diaper.
And he was, fine.
He would even tell me "Mommy, it is my body." And he was right.

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get rid of the pull ups. put him back in a diaper and back to baby stuff. so no computer/video type stuff at all those are big boy things. no drinking out of regular cup thats a big boy thing. he is old enough to get what is going on. you do need to be more proactive in the timeing. when you start again. I would wait til summer and shorts myself lol. but then get him up and go pee. play for an hour and go pee. give him a lot of real fruit juice and watch him when he looks like he has to go then you sit on the edge of the tub while he goes. no video games, nothing distracting. just go poop. at preschool / daycares they have set times for going potty. and it is about every 2 hours. so take him that often and stand there while he goes. he goes he gets a sticker. when he has a bunch of stickers he gets a treat. he definitly does not get the treat first. right now it is a power struggle and he is winning. give it up for a couple months and then try again. (I have raised 3 boys so I have been there its a pain in the patoot but he will get it eventually)

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Yes, there are generally two camps on matters related to potty training. The "it's time" camp, and the "they will go when ready" camp. With my son, I was more in the "it's time" camp. He showed some readiness, so I encouraged him, and he got it pretty quickly and was trained around 30 months old. With my daughter, I never got to decide what camp I was in, because she was so interested and ready that she was trained by her 2nd birthday and it was a non-issue completely.

So, with that in mind, that I haven't personally dealt with exactly what you are going through, I offer my sincerest sympathy. It's a tough call. However, the biggest issue I am seeing is lack of consistency. I understand completely the reasons for it. (during the week it is busy---believe me, when my daughter was training, son was 4 1/2 and we were always on the go for one reason or another). However, busy or not, convenient or not, it still IS going to affect the training process. So, regardless of which camp you ultimately decide on, you should recognize that inconsistency is going to be a problem.

Yes, 3 year olds are rather limited in what they can control. Have you considered a middle of the road approach, whereby you give him some control? A common way to approach it is to eliminate the pull-ups (diapers) completely and give them the undies (which your son likes, correct?) all the time (daytime anyway). But, rather than putting him on the potty by a timer (every 30 minutes) maybe let him be the one in charge of that. He's 3 1/2. You can talk to him about this.
"Look, you are ready to wear underwear, but the pee/poop has to go in the potty and not in the undies. So, it is up to you to make it happen. I'll be glad to help whenever you need it. If you decide not to go in the potty, you will be responsible to clean up the mess."
(Maybe not quite so in your face, but you get the idea)

And follow through. Sure, you will have to help with the cleanup (for sanitary reasons), but he should be doing the bulk of it. And he won't like it. Usually kids decide pretty quickly at that point, that THEY prefer the mess going directly into the potty so they don't have to clean it up after. It is still their choice.

I would also look at the actual potty. Did/does he get a choice about what he uses? Both of my kids had potty chairs (handed-down wooden one made by an uncle of mine that my brothers and I trained on almost 50 years ago, and brand new plastic from Walmart), and neither of them used them more than a handful of times. They both really preferred using the actual toilet. But they preferred using it with an attachment on the toilet seat (so they felt less like they would fall in) and with a step stool so their feet could touch while they were seated. Every kid is different in what they will choose. So, here again is a way to let him have some control.

I wish you the best and lots of patience. Whether you give up for now and readdress it a few months from now, or change up your tactics and continue working toward success NOW, you will need patience.

Good luck.

ETA: Just wanted to throw in that when I was training my son, he was our first child and I didn't read tons of "how to potty train your child" information. So I didn't have a lot of confusing directions about how things were "supposed" to go. I just followed my instincts. I never used a timer with him. I was cognizant that it had "been awhile" since he had peed, for example, but I didn't have a timer going. I encouraged him to try shortly after a meal or a lot of milk/water had been consumed. I required he try before we left in the car or he took a nap, etc. But I never used a timer. Not sure if that is of any value to you or not. Sometimes, I think, if we can shut out all the "noise" of what everyone else thinks "ought" to happen, we can feel our way through things and listen to our kids and what might work best for them a little better. What works for my kid or my neighbor's kid, may not work for yours. But you are going to be more in tune with your kid, if you let yourself stop worrying and comparing to everyone else's. (not saying you are doing that, but it is easy to start 2nd guessing ourselves, ya know?).

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You need to stop making this so much fun for him. It has become a game. What is tediuos and terrible to you is good fun for him Not only is it a game but it is a game that he gets to control his grownup. He enjoys this power. I also think it is force of habit too. He has been in diapers for a long time and is very used to them and their convenience. My favorite child psychologist and author John Rosemond-who is all about old fashioned parenting-has this to say:

And yes, so-called “pull-ups” will only delay a child's success. Bulky fabric around the pelvic area is associated with permission to release at will, without regard to time or place. At this point, the solution to your problem lies in what I call the “potty bell.” Put your son in thin cotton underwear when he's at home. Set the stove timer to ring every hour. When it rings, the rule is that he has to go to the bathroom and use the potty, and he can't come out until he's had success. This procedure will slowly but surely train him to pay attention to the need to go when he's wearing clothing.
If you do this I would doit very matter of factly. No disappointment shown if he messes up and not too much praise if he does it right.

Lastly-at his age he IS ready. He is more than ready. Not sure why so many posters don't believe a healthy 3.5 year old child should be ready to use the bathroom.

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Whenever I read potty training/learning posts, I have major flashbacks. I can completely relate to your frustration and aggravation. My son was dry at night by age 3, but during the day was a whole other issue that wasn't resolved until he was 4. I remember his preschool teachers telling me not to worry...that he would see other kids using the potty and do it too (NOT!). I read all the advice/technique books and watched videos. The part that was most frustrating was he was very, very interested in the potty at age 2, but then decided he wanted nothing to do with it. He was very strong willed so no amount of scheduling or structure worked, he just fought it more and more (and let's be honest here, you can't make someone go to the bathroom).

What finally worked? I backed off for a month. No mention of anything potty related. I kept him in diapers during that time. Then I figured out a treat that he was never allowed to have normally (in our case Rolos worked). At first I told him, he could have a Rolo if he sat on the potty and tried. After a few days of that, I explained that now he could get one if he actually peed. Once he started experiencing success, he started being more motivated to go on his own.

Pretty soon he stopped asking for the Rolos. Then we started on the pooping part which is much harder for some kids to sense. Think about it. It is often a very fine line between poop being ready to come out easily or not and it is a much more complex set of muscle controls. If there is a regular time in the day when your kid normally poops, then time things around that (I didn't have that luxury). Or if their are certain activities that trigger a bowel movement use that to your advantage (for my kid it was a bath or playing at a table of wooden trains). Talk to him about what his butt feels like right before he poops. Get him to be more conscious of the sensations and the muscles he is using. Then use the treats to encourage him to try it on the toilet.

Note: the key to using treats is it has to be something they really want but can never have any other time. Best of luck and remember that "This too shall pass"

BTW, my theory is that there are 2 general types of kids/babies. Ones who hate being soiled. They cry as babies as soon as their diaper is wet or dirty. Then there are kids who never care if they are wet or dry. My theory is that the first type learn the potty much faster because they sense more. (And I don't buy into the cloth diaper vs. disposable argument, my kid was in cloth except at preschool and he never cared if he was soaking wet or dirty).

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My son was 4 (and we tried for about a year on and off) and only bribery worked (stickers and hershey kisses)...take a break and leave him in his pull ups...don't worry, he won't be going off to college in them...

Good luck

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I haven' t read the other responses, but if he is not ready, he is not ready. It sounds like you might need a break, since he is not cooperating.

Maybe say " i don't think you are ready for underwear/pull up because you can't hear your body telling you it is time to pee and poo. When you can hear your body tell you , let us know and you can wear underwear again."

And you can say "now some things are just for underwear boys, so we will take away the ____,____, and ____ until you show us you can get pee and poo in the potty. Lets make a sticker chart for the day when you are ready. maybe it will be soon. When you get so many stickers, then you can have some of those things back What would you like to get after # stickers back?" . Of course, you might have to spread out the talk so he hears everything you have to say.

Personally, I don't think getting too punitive will help your situation. Also, I have never heard anything positive about pull-ups and training. Training pants may be better.

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I don't have any great advice for you. Just wanted to let you know you aren't alone. I asked a VERY similar question a little while ago...and got the same 50/50 responses. It's very confusing when YOU don't know what to do...and therefore don't know what to do with the kid, isn't it!

I can only tell you what I did. And that is...

I just gave up lol. I had had it with potty training...threw her back in diapers and actually taped them on (we had issues with smearing poo, pretty much disgusting). After a month I stopped taping them, and we just diapered for another month. I figured I would wait another 6 months (she was 2.5 at the time) and if she wasn't potty trained by then, I would try pushing more. To my absolute amazement, one day she just told me she had to go...and has pretty much gone ever since.

I can assure you I'm not bragging. I honestly thought this would NEVER happen...not to my kid. I can say that I am now 100% in the "they'll do it when they're ready" boat. Some kids may do fine with a little pushing...some just don't.

After all the tears and frustration and anger at the potty training process I had felt when I tried to force it...this was all it took. Time . I wish I would've just saved myself the headache and wait until she was ready.

After we 'went back to diapers' I did still let her try every now and then and let her still come to the bathroom with me, etc. We still watch Potty Power and read potty books every now and then. And if she wanted to try great...if not, even easier. If she wanted to wear undies for a day, I let her...if she had one accident..diaper went back on.

Not sure if it's helpful, but will also say we went straight to a potty seat on the toilet (for some reason she just never took to the potty chair...but hey, easier for me to clean). Also, we did go to pull ups for a while. I was very skeptical that she was going to continue to tell me when she had to go. So despite all the negativity surrounding pull-ups, I bought some...and they worked out pretty great for us. On the rare occassion she had an accident, I didn't worry about it.

I think while wearing the pull-ups MY attitude about accidents changed, which is probably the genius of pull-ups. They don't really help the kid...they help the parent to not end up in a fit of tears after the 20th accident. She also didn't treat them as a diaper, as I had quite often read. It's because her mindset had changed about using the potty (all on her own)...had nothing to do with what was on her bum.

Trust me...I know the waiting game sucks...but that's my vote. Sorry for the long story...just had to throw it out there that not all kids are easy to train (especially if you don't wait for them to be ready)...and that many of us were/are ready to pull our hair out too!

Best of luck to you!

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I have twin boys and they weren't trained until 3.5 years (or a little later).

It took a while before they would go without being prompted even after effectively being day-trained. And even though we lucked out and also got night time potty trained quickly, there are still times we have to prompt them to go. They could be doing the potty dance and still not want to go.

First, the child does need to get how to make the pee come out on demand. It took one of mine a while to get that aspect. He'd sit on the potty and get all frustrated because the pee wasn't coming.

Second, we used a timer. Initially, we were going to the potty every 20 minutes. Then we stretched it to 30 minutes, then up to an hour. After an hour, we'd just ask and if it seemed like it had been a while, we would urge/direct them to go potty. If they had an accident, then we'd go back to using the timer. The advantage of the timer is that it takes some of the power struggle away. It's not you telling him to go...it's the timer. Oh, and the first day we did underwear only, we fed them lots of fluids so that they'd get a lot of success.

I'd say we had many, many dry underwear days before we got to the point where they would consistently say, "I have to go potty." instead of us prompting them.

BTW, I did not do the naked thing. I had one child that was withholding poop and started off letting him just poop in a pull-up, but pee in the potty. I was very casual and started with just letting them try if they wanted, otherwise I wouldn't push it....basically, it was very casual. And when I saw signs that they could stay dry for periods of time and got the hang of going potty more regularly, then I tried the "okay, let's do underwear." and then I started with the timer. And for each kid, I had a false start where the stress level for the child got too high and I stopped and tried again 2 weeks later.

So, I did a lot of things that people say don't do...and it worked for me. Yeah maybe their friends were already daytime trained, but I didn't want the stress of forcing it on them.

Rewards did work for us but it had to be something they did not otherwise get. So if he gets cookies at other times, then the reward may not work because he can get a cookie other times. Or if he could care less if he doesn't get a cookie, then it won't work either. For us, iPad time was the reward and the only way they got to play was if they peed or pooped in the potty. If you do rewards, you need to find out what his "money" is and only give him that "money" when he goes on the potty. Also, we got much better traction when they got star stickers to put on a poster by the bathroom when they went. It was like it was suddenly a way to visually see their progress.

If you aren't already doing this, take him with you to the bathroom so he sees what is supposed to happen. Also pooping in the toilet can be traumatic for little kids so that may take longer than peeing.

If he really is doing it on purpose, then make the act of soiling his clothes more troublesome than if he had just gone on the potty. If he pees or poops his pants, have him help you clean the underwear and the floor and himself. You don't need to show anger...just make it matter-of-fact. Oh, you soiled yourself....this is what we have to do now. Make it take a long time so he doesn't get back to playing and suggest that maybe he could go in the potty next time so that you and he can get back to playing (or whatever) sooner.

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My first hated to be wet/poopy- at 15 months she was bringing me diapers to change her. Her Dr said to wait til 18 months to train - so the day she turned 18 months, I trained her- completely trained in 1 week. Wow, was I good . .. I couldn't understand parents with a question like yours. Just train them, it's easy - 18 months just do it.

Then came along my second one - she could have cared less is she was wet or dirty. She turns 18 months and I get out the potty and she wanted nothing to do with it. I tried treats - nothing worked. My nanny was training her daughter 6 months older at the same time. For 6 months I was frustrated with all the accidents. So we quit. At 2.5 - she decided she was ready and she trained very quickly. So, I felt bad for thinking my first actually trained because of me!!!!

My third is 15 months and when she peeps, she grabs her crotch and says "aack" and when she poops, she will get a diaper and wipes and wave her hand infront of her nose and make this weird noise "shewww" haha. I'm thinking she'll train early like my oldest - but I will NOT hold my breath nor place any bets - it's all up to her :-) Altough, I may bet my first born (she's 16 and that's a bet somedays I wouldn't mind losing) . . . just kidding.

Good luck - don't apply pressure - it'll happen when he's ready...unless there's something he really wants that you could use as bribery - I'm not above that.

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let it be his idea-don't bring it up again-it's the last thing to let go of that he can control-he is trying to conform to what you want in so many other ways-try to let it go-as difficult as it may be-put yourself in his place.

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I am fifty five years old. My grandma did the punitive thing. Guess it worked. Not saying you should do it, just saying. Perhaps yelling? P.S. I wasn't hurt. Just used the toilet after that. Not advising this you know, just mentioning it.By the way, just so no one is thinking I am condoning doing anything mean, I didn't have to do anything like that with my kids, and didn't use m and m's like my sister. I just know my grandmother had about had it with me and remember that that was the end of that. Good luck. Believe me they do not like to have full pants in kindergarten...very uncomfortable and in later years, they are very embarrassed.

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Looks like you have a lot of advice - and as you can see, it varies. People only know what works with their own kids, and you're right, it's about 50-50. You do your best. Sorry you had some nasty replies. Just try to ignore those and realize that some people are judgmental or think these things are easy. They aren't, and every child is different. I don't have any new potty advice for you - just a word of support.

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First of all, when you're potty training you have to stay home for a few days. You can't put him back and forth in pull-ups - too confusing. You have to pick a week and STAY HOME. Also, you have to ask HIM if he has to go or better yet, just tell him it's time to go. He may not yet fully grasp the feeling of having to go yet. It takes a while before they connect the feeling of having to go with going potty.

Also, try putting cheerios in the toilet and then you and he see who can pee in the cheerio hole. Boys usually like that game.

Also, if you're putting him on the big toilet, get something for him to put his feet on so he can feel more secure on the toilet.

It's not unusual at all for kids to not want to poop in the toilet. They just have thing about it. The stool under his feet will help with that.

All in all, he just may not really be ready yet. This has turned into a stressful thing for him. I suggest you back off for a month or so and then start again fresh. At this point, it's become something he wants no part of.

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Pull ups ARE diapers. That's why he treats them like that.

I think your basic premise is good, with keeping him in underwear (no pants), but I'd take it a step further and just have him naked from the waist down. This will make him immediately aware if he starts to pee.

The other thing I'll point out is that YOU have to train him. There's a trend these days of people saying, "Oh, he's just not ready!" - but here's the thing. HE is ready, but HE doesn't really know what to do, and he needs your help. You have to train him. Think about other skills he has learned - like putting on his shirt. I bet the first time he tried to do that on his own, he failed. You had to show him again and again how to do it, and over time, with less and less help, he did it. Right? Same thing with potty training. It's just a skill you have to teach him. So when YOU know he has to go - run him to the potty. Put him on the potty chair (or have him stand in front of the big potty - whatever you do with him) and tell him it's time to go. When he does it, great! Celebrate! If he pees on the living room floor, calmly clean it up, and tell him, "You will make it next time." And then you have to make sure he does make it next time! When you know he has to poop, run him to the potty. Celebrate his successes, be calm about his failures. Keep going. This isn't the world's easiest thing to teach, but you can do it!

Throw away the Pull Ups. Those are just confusing him. You have to be very clear with him AND with yourself on this - the diaper days are over (during the daytime, anyway - night time is a whole different thing). No turning back! Make it happen, Papa!

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a child will not train if you only do it on the weekends, it's not possible. You need to take a week and commit to only undies except if he's sleeping. DO NOT give him any options, no more pull ups just undies. Yes he will pee and poop in them for the first 3 days, then day 4 he'll make it to the potty more and by day 7 he will be dry mostly and by day 10 you will be done. Maybe sooner. Do not be afraid to tell him you are mad at him for making messes in his pants. Go ahead and tell him to stay in the bathroom until he poops or pees in the potty. Take him to the potty every hour, set a timer and don't make it optional, timer goes off, you sit on the potty. Just commit to it and do it.

If your daycare provider won't do it with you, for you, then you may have to use a week of vacation time to do it.

Been there... you have my sympathy because I know how frustrating it is.

I think your 2 options are to 1) quick with him entirely and put him back in diapers, or 2) find the one thing he really really wants and use that as a motivator.

We did end up putting DS back into diapers after one failed attempt (I didn't last 6 months, though... I would've gone insane). Then we used this article and bought him specific toys he was hankering for (cars from the movie Cars, which he was allowed to play with for X minutes (usually 15) after he pooped or peed). We did also use treats (skittles) for each poop/pee).

We used this article to help guide us:
For incentives and helping us figure out the incentive, we read the section "Using incentives to motivate your child"
It's a little long, but well worth the read.

If you find yourself wanting to punish, and you are frustrated, (and I don't blame you for being), then it's time to back off, either physically by putting him back in diapers or mentally by letting go of what's going on and stopping trying to control.

My mantra was "this is a process" and "it takes time." Good luck!

My word of advice mom of 3 boys---when THEY are ready, it will just click! My first I tried at 28 months the first time, he literally just was getting it. And for some reason my 2 older boys can careless if their pants are wet or dirty so the whole notion of just put them in underwear (no pulls or the like so they can feel it) was absolutely useless.and ya the whole cleaning up the mess was fun for him. So he was intentionally peeing on the floor so he can clean up his 'mess' ....smh....Oh and he was not motivated with treats/candy or the like at all. I tried for a good whole 2 weeks with him constantly wetting and pooping in his pants. And like your son when prompted he'd go, but on his own NEVER.

I stopped all of it went back to pull ups and let it go. Tried it again a month later it was night and day. I tried on a weekend told him he's a big boy needs to go potty on the toilet all by himself and his pants need to stay dry. I only rewarded/praised if his pants were dry. If they were wet, simply changed and said we can try again. No emotion, no disappointment. From that weekend on, no accidents. 2 weeks later I was confident enough to send him to preschool with no pull up. I was shocked at how easy it was, when he was ready.

My 2nd son showed signs of being ready at about 20 months I thought about training then but I was preggo with #3 and decided to hold of. He followed the same suit as my oldest, with the exception the whole staying dry thing wasn't his motivation- he was only motivated with a treat of some kind. He was truly 'ready' at about 3 yrs. At 3.5 yrs we have some accidents but its just because he's too lazy/engaged to stop what he's doing and go. But he is also night trained where my 5 yr old isnt? My point being, he's obviously not 'ready' right now.

Truly truly give it a break don't even mention it and try again in a month or so and see if you see any improvement. BTW my best friends boy would not poop on the potty until closer to 4.5 yrs.....so kids just take longer :)

I may be late at responding..but first of all potty training is so difficult so don't beat yourself up!! Every kids is different, we have potty trained 3 so far and each on needed a different approach. Our girls were much easier and in all honesty we started earlier with them. But our son, our oldest was much harder, he was almost 3.5 years to the date exactly. Here is my only advice..potty training is a stuck in the house type of thing. You can't do if your running errands, taking to school and play dates. I think the best suggestion is to continue trying but on spring break plan absolutely nothing. It's tough I know but maybe you can explain that you are not leaving the house until he uses the potty. Obviously that's a bit extreme but it takes consistency over all. With our oldest running around underwear less worked...he would pee in underwear and pants but with nothing on he knew he had to get to the nearest potty. It was tough to transistion back to underwear but it worked eventually. Keep your head up, dad!! You are doing a great job, especially not loosing your cool...I found that to be the toughest part for me at times!

You don't need him to tell you he needs to go. You just need to have him go in the toilet. If he is going when he gets up and after meals he pretty much has it. My son trained at 25 months. He was dry after a week - meaning we took him to the bathroom when he woke up, after each meal and if he had not been in 2-3 hours. If he didn't go in maybe 5 minutes were were done until next time. He did not get up and spontaneously run off to the bathroom until he was four. He went to the bathroom when we told him it was time to go. And I didn't have to change any more diapers. I would just stop expecting him to let you know and start telling him when it it time to go. I would also get rid of the pull ups altogether and just go with underwear. Once he is sitting on the toilet regularly and peeing, he will likely start pooping on his own. We did not do rewards or punishment. We just told DS that pee and poop go in the potty. We also read Everyone Poops by Tari Gomi som G*d awful number of times.

Also - we used a seat cover (not a potty) and a step stool. Both made him much more secure while sitting which could be an issue.

I am late to the party as usual, but I will throw my two cents in...

I am in the camp of you are going to have to pack an emergency potty bag. With the stuff to clean him up, extra clothes, clorox wipes, etc. Then put him in the underwear and leave them on...no more pull-ups.

What I used in the car seat and in the grocery cart was two very large beach towels for my son to sit on because they were absorbent and could be put into a plastic shopping bag if they got wet.

My son would use his underwear to have a BM more than anything. So the big break through for my son was when I stood him in the bath tub and had him clean himself up. He had to take off his own soiled pants and under wear...then I handed him wet wipe after wet wipe and he had to clean himself up. He cried and gagged that it was gross. (Every time before I would change him like I would a diaper. I was taking care of the mess.) Once he had to do it himself it was not so okay to go in his undies...he had one more accident after that incident...and cried while I let him clean himself up again. Then no more going in his pants.

I will tell you though...I had a girl friend who's son was 4 years and 4 months before he went poop on the potty. With him it was a super control issue...one day she walked by the bathroom and he was using the toilet...she asked what was going on, and he answered that it was time. Up to then he brought her a pull up to go in.

So good luck...it is frustrating...

This can be very frustrating...especially with boys. My boy is3.5 and still will not poop on the potty. He will pee and has done this since the summer but will not do a number 2. Like many have said, sometimes these things just can't be rushed. Best to just take a step back and let him do it when he is ready.

Also, a sticker chart worked great for my son. Every time he went to the potty he got to pick out a sticker and it just gave him the extra confidence that he needed.

Good luck!

Children have to be both physically and mentally ready to use the bathroom of their own accord in a regular fashion, and asking him to do that before he is developmentally ready will probably yield nothing more than a headache, sorry to say. He WILL get there. There are a few things you can do to help him along:

Have him change his own pull-ups. I mean, you'll have to help him with the soiled ones, but he can do the soaked ones on his own. It's a pain; he'll likely get tired of it.

Bring him to the bathroom every 30-45 minutes, and have him 'try.' Be both positive and matter-of-fact.

Tell him that you are sure that he'll do it when he's ready. Knowing you believe it will happen will be a confidence booster and might get him closer sooner.

You know, some kids learn things gradually, and some kids master things in one fell swoop. My guess is that if he is showing no interest now, then he will surprise you by all the sudden being totally trained. (Probably when you are least invested! ;)

Best of luck!

Pull-ups are a giant No, No. You are telling him, "it's OK to pee in your pants," and then expecting him to use a toilet. They are diapers, end of story.

Hell on Heels has lots of good suggestions. I'm with her. Potty training is a skill, and they have to learn all the different parts --recognizing the sensation, relaxing enough to then go in the toilet, etc. It takes time, and patience, but most of all, they need naked time and no diapers. He is plenty old enough. Do a full on boot camp and throw out the pull-ups. Get training pants to help contain the messes, and put him in thick pants everyday --that way he can have accidents without peeing on the floor.

I know you've already had a lot of responses. Some good, others not so much. But I thought I'd go ahead and put my 2 cents in also. I have 3 kids and all 3 were different with potty training. My oldest literally was trained in 1 day around his 2.5 "birthday". No accidents after the first day, no diaper or pull ups either. My younger 2 weren't nearly as easy. Both were between 2.5 and 3. Both took several attempts to finally succeed.

One thing I did with all 3 kids was NO pull ups. I have always thought that pull-ups are glorified diapers. If you're really serious about training, it has to be underwear only. I also agree with Nora, you need to take a week and stay at home with only undies. Some times kids gets confused or frustrated going back and forth between undies and pull-ups/diapers.

One last thing, It sounds like your son has good bladder control. If he's holding it until you put a diaper back on, then that's a good sign. I think he's old enough to talk to and explain that he's too big for diapers now. (I have a 4 year old so I often explain things to him. He usually understands, may not be happy about it but he gets it.) Try to talk him, see how he takes it. Good luck!


I know you've already had a lot of responses. Some good, others not so much. But I thought I'd go ahead and put my 2 cents in also. I have 3 kids and all 3 were different with potty training. My oldest literally was trained in 1 day around his 2.5 "birthday". No accidents after the first day, no diaper or pull ups either. My younger 2 weren't nearly as easy. Both were between 2.5 and 3. Both took several attempts to finally succeed.

One thing I did with all 3 kids was NO pull ups. I have always thought that pull-ups are glorified diapers. If you're really serious about training, it has to be underwear only. I also agree with Nora, you need to take a week and stay at home with only undies. Some times kids gets confused or frustrated going back and forth between undies and pull-ups/diapers.

One last thing, It sounds like your son has good bladder control. If he's holding it until you put a diaper back on, then that's a good sign. I think he's old enough to talk to and explain that he's too big for diapers now. (I have a 4 year old so I often explain things to him. He usually understands, may not be happy about it but he gets it.) Try to talk him, see how he takes it. Good luck!

Sorry about all the Captain Obvious and judgy judgersons. Couldn't bear to read through all the answers.

First, both my kids were 3 1/2 when trained and they were motivated by very different things. You know your kid best. My daughter sounds more like your son, just didn't care if she made a mess, in fact one day, peed on the kitchen floor, stomped in it, splashing it all over then laughed in my face and walked off. Nice, huh?

Couple ideas; again, you know him best, explain why he needs to stop using diapers (big boy, more freedom, special privileges, saving the earth, super heroes don't poop their pants, etc) then both of you look at the calendar and let him pick a day (in the next month or so) when he is going to commit to being trained. Let him circle it in his favorite color. In the meantime, have you noticed #2 on any type of schedule? The only thing that worked for my daughter was every two hours, sit on the toilet, and when she went, she got a small piece of candy. For our next door neighbor, matchbox cars worked(they attached a basket of them high on the bathroom door where he could see but not reach) No judgement, ok, bribery works when you want a really difficult kid to get into a schedule.

In the meantime, I'd suggest keeping him in rooms with easily cleanable surfaces until he's pooped each day, "pooping has its privileges". Good luck my friend, my husband is a stay at home and I think we can all agree stay at home parent is a rough job.

Just seeing this, I feel for you. My guy was super stubborn about poop training, the helpful tips I found on this site literally had him running to poop on the potty in a little over a day, and he was about a year younger than your son. It helped me take the power struggle out of the potty training equation. Oh, and if your son wants to poop in his pull-up, there's a plan for that :)

My guy was not into treats and rewards, either, what worked for him was the "power incentive," which is detailed in the site but in short is something you retain ownership of, your son earns the privelege of using it 30-60 minutes when he uses the potty instead of his pants. For us it was watching a certain DVD he'd been wanting. Hope this helps!

My nephew was over 4 years old before he was potty trained. Normal? I don't think so. Here is the thing with him....he would refuse to go for his parents. I had him for one weekend. I told him, "Auntie doesn't want to change stinky diapers, so you are going to go to the potty when I tell you, okay?" He just looked at me and nodded. Every 30 minutes I took him and made him try until he went. Then we made a big fuss over it. After a few tries he was telling me he had to go. By the end of the first day he was trained. He went home and proceeded to play the "I don't know how to go" for him parents again. A few months later they finally wised up and he was trained again.

My son and daughter were both trained at 3 years old. For both of them, I had to find a time when I knew they were filled to the brim with liquids and bursting to go. I stuck my daughter in the kitchen and told her that I didn't want pee on my carpet. She could leave the kitchen after she went potty. After about 10 minutes of pouting, she grabbed the potty, slammed it down, went in it, and looked at me and said "fine, I did it! Happy??" she called her dad and got prizes. I think at that moment she had the Aha moment and figured out what it felt like when you had to go. It was a similar situation with my son.

So, fill him up with liquids and then after a few minutes stick him on the pot. No punishments for not going, but lots of punishments for going. And find the reward he wants...it differs for each child. My daughter wanted tasty cakes. My son liked to pick a piece of candy out of a candy jar.

I sooooo feel your pain! My son is 3 yrs 4 months and still wears diapers too. We go potty in the mornings and when HE feels like it. I've tried a reward system but he lost interest in that. He knows when he wants to go but plain and simple, chooses not to go. He would rather keep playing. And, poop in the potty? He won't even try that! Good luck...gonna read these replies and see if there any good suggestions! :)

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