29 answers

My 3 Year Old Can't Talk and Is Not Potty Trained Yet. Please Help Me!!

Can someone please help me My son is 3 and is not potty trained but worst of all can not talk.. He says little things like open the door, what are you doin?, book, car,. Really that's about it. I just don't know what to do. He started speech therapy like two weeks ago and no progress.. i have bought him a small potty and tried different things. It just seems that he doesn't understand whats going on... does anyone have a son like mine??????

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

Speech therapy can takes months to years... so patience, patience.

I would HIGHLY recommend NOT potty training right at the moment. He's got a lot of mental / emotional stuff going on with the speech therapy. My advice would be to wait 3-6 months, when the speech therapy is just part of the daily routine, instead of brand new. Also, older kids tend to train in no time flat. (Like a week, instead of months). So save the 2 of you some stress. :)

3 moms found this helpful

The speech therapy is not going to help with just 2 weeks. My youngest has been going for about 18 months and the first 6 weeks or so was mostly about him getting used to and trusting the therapist. I just pay attention to the therapist and try to do the same things with my son at home that she will do in the office.

2 moms found this helpful

I've had similar issues with my children (speech problems and late potty training.) My oldest was 4, the second was 5, the third was 4, and my youngest is nearly three and WAS potty training but has regressed.

Anyway, be patient and continue looking to therapists for help. You should take him to a specialist that can diagnose him, if you think that knowing the WHYs would help.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Speech therapy can takes months to years... so patience, patience.

I would HIGHLY recommend NOT potty training right at the moment. He's got a lot of mental / emotional stuff going on with the speech therapy. My advice would be to wait 3-6 months, when the speech therapy is just part of the daily routine, instead of brand new. Also, older kids tend to train in no time flat. (Like a week, instead of months). So save the 2 of you some stress. :)

3 moms found this helpful

The speech therapy is not going to help with just 2 weeks. My youngest has been going for about 18 months and the first 6 weeks or so was mostly about him getting used to and trusting the therapist. I just pay attention to the therapist and try to do the same things with my son at home that she will do in the office.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi M.,
You are wise to ask. It is possible that there is something that is not integrated in his brain sensory pathways causing all of this. I am a an occupational therapist (not a doctor) but it sounds like asking your pediatrician for a pediatric/developmental occupational therapy (one who also specializes in sensory integration issues) evaluation could be a good next step. When I was treating kids, the combination of speech therapy and OT often helped speech improve more quickly than speech therapy alone. The OT will also address other developmental issues. Good luck.
Blessings,
K.

2 moms found this helpful

I read all the other answers before I wrote mine. I had same problem with my 2.5y old daughter 10 years ago(lol) seems like yesterday. She had older siblings and I now know in my case(looking back)it was due to just what someone else wrote, why bother when someone is doing it for you. One thing I didn't see in any other reply's is what I ended up doing before I know what I know now. Has your child had a hearing test?(you never know) I had to go to many hearing tests to finally be told she is ok and can hear correctly. Can't hear in the right way can't speak in the right way. FYI it seemed that the next month she started talking and then never shut up....lol

2 moms found this helpful

As for potty training, I wouldn't worry. Every boy I know was 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 before they even started! Boys ALWAYS tend to get it later.

As for the not talking, you say that he is saying some things... perhaps its the environment. Does he have to ask in order to get something? Or are there older siblings that do all of the talking and assuming for him?

If your fixing dinner, and automatically put things in front of him, or anticipate what he's going to need before he asks or motions for it, then he doesn't need to try and ask for it.

My babysitter has cards on EVERYTHING in her house. - door, sink, cold, hot, potty, chair, fridge, table, etc. Then throughout the day, as the kids go around, they have to recite the words.

M.

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My daughter had a primary language delay and did not start talking until age 3.5 years old. I suggest you find an excellent speech therapist who is trained specifically in pediatrics and have them do some home training with you, because you are the one with your son the majority of the time!! I'd also look up Thomas Sowell's "Natural Late Talkers" for some more information. I also recommend the book "It Takes Two to Talk" as an invaluable reference for parents to help their kids facilitate language.

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Everything is probably fine. You are doing what you can by taking him to speech therapy. I'm guessing if the speech therapist notices other issues that indicate other problems, he or she will discuss them with you. It's also certainly okay to talk to your ped. about your concerns. Sometimes kids pick up on parents anxiety and act accordingly. Not to say you're to blame, just be aware he likely understands a lot more than you think. Take deep breaths, be patient and enjoy him being little. If he needs additional help everything is still going to be okay.

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Did you got through Early Intervention for an evaluation? Maybe he needs additional speech and/or other therapies?

1 mom found this helpful

I've had similar issues with my children (speech problems and late potty training.) My oldest was 4, the second was 5, the third was 4, and my youngest is nearly three and WAS potty training but has regressed.

Anyway, be patient and continue looking to therapists for help. You should take him to a specialist that can diagnose him, if you think that knowing the WHYs would help.

1 mom found this helpful

My son is only 8 months old so I haven't worked with a boy yet, but I have done the potty training thing with 2 girls and once I put up diapers, pull ups, etc and let them go naked in the house they were totally potty trained in a matter of days. They didn't mind doing it in a pull up or diaper, but they didn't want to do it on the floor! Something about this worked wonders on my girls!

1 mom found this helpful

If you're worried about it, talk to his doctor and get him evaluated for developmental delays and speech. On the potty training, I think kids are just training later these days and in general, boys hit milestones and do things later than girls. There are plenty of 3 year olds who aren't potty trained, or are only partly potty trained. My best to you!

G.
http://centraljersey.citymommy.com/

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,

Hope there has been some kind of relief since your question. Just wanted to let you know, my second child did not speak until he was about 3 years old. We were lucky to put him into speech therapy that the district offered. He started out at an elementary school at age 3 in a special class and then entered into pre-k at the same school. He is now in 1st grade, still taking speech therapy, but is doing very well. Being the youngest in his class, he has adjusted very well with his peers as well as his studies. I have another boy, he is now 3 1/2 and still doesn't want anything to do with the potty. It will all work out. Hope these words of encouragement help.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M. A.,

Parent Coach J. B here. Kids develop at different rates and learn new things when they are ready. Boys do tend to potty train later than girls. If you look for older posts I've done on potty training, you'll see more on that.

Many kids benefit from a bit of speech therapy at this age and go on to live great lives. Since you've got your son in speech therapy, you've taken him to trained professionals who should be able to help. As other folks have advised, it can take time to see results. Give him several months and see if you notice a difference. Ask the therapist what she or he observes.

I'd encourage you to watch for signs of potty training readiness, give the speech therapy awhile to help and then see where you are. As your child's advocate, you want to love him unconditionally, give him the time and space to develop, and seek additional help if you feel it necessary in a few months. Meanwhile, relax and enjoy all the great things about having a wonderful three year old boy.

Good luck,
Parent Coach J. B

1 mom found this helpful

I agree with you and everyone else about the speech therapy! You are doing what you can and these things take time. Its a lsow process and you need to be patient - however, in the meantime - work with him on your own when you are home. Use all types of devices like flashcards and Dora shows and leap frog and so forth. VTECH is another good one.
I bought my daughter all of these as she was growing up to challenge her and even though she was frustrated in the beginning - she learned to enjoy them and eventually got so good we went to the next level.

As far as potty training - even my daughter wasnt the easiest - I was ready when I was 14 - 16 months and did it easily - however, my daughter didnt want anything to do with it publicly. Surprise - on her 3rd birthday we had a party and she decided - Momma Im a big girl now - Im 3 I want big girl panties - no pull ups anymore. And that was it. no matter how hard I pushed (without pushing too hard) I wanted it to be when she wa ready as well and I didnt believe in punishing her if she wasnt ready for it... It was a mtter of fact decision for her.
good luck - remember to be patient and just try to get on his level and keep trying!
We are here to help if and when we can!

1 mom found this helpful

It's great that you have him in speech therapy. I have had several friend's who's children have come leaps and bounds from ST. Totally caught up. My son was in ST as well but for articulation reasons. Give it time; you will not usually see immediate improvements but all of a sudden it will just click with him. Then he will start to improve more quickly.

As for the potty training, it's not too weird that he is making no progress. Frankly, I would drop it until you start to see some positive speech changes. It might be too much for him to take in at once. My son was not pee pee potty trained until he was nearly 3 and a half. Then it took another 4 months for him to poo potty train. ....and I have at least a couple of friends who's kids took even longer.

It's hard to recognize when your child might be feeling overwhelmed by life. My son was VERY difficult at 3 and we had all kinds of testing done, etc. He is now 5 and a perfectly normal and wonderful little boy. Looking back on it, he was indeed struggling, and my pushing was only causing him more anxiety (I had plenty of anxiety as well and I know this rubbed off on him). Now that my daughter is 2, I'm rolling with the punches much better and not as anxious. She seems like she's going to be easier, even though the tantrums are in full swing.

So, my advice is to show him a lot of positive attention right now. Lots, even if you have to force yourself. Focus on everything he is doing right in life and keep the negative to yourself. Even if the little things he does seem silly and you expect them from him anyway; still praise. Don't let him overhear you talking with others about your concerns with him. This will help reduce his anxiety. Drop the potty training for a couple of months. When you feel like he's in a "good place," try again. At the same time, go with your gut and continue to ask the therapist about how he is progressing; if they think it is just a speech concern or possibly anything else. Good for you for knowing your child and being concerned about his development. You are doing the right thing to have him in ST. Lastly, he sounds like a very normal little boy and the fact that he is saying some short sentences is a good sign. :)

1 mom found this helpful

Hi M.,
As long as he is doing other things like pointing, playing appropriately with toys, and is sociable and making eye contact that is great. Leave the potty training alone for at least another 6 months. It will happen when he is ready, and then you can start it. The speech takes a long time to develope, so just make a big applause when he us successful at learning his words. Do encourage him to use his words. Get him to say what he wants and make a game of it. Simon Says, guess the animal, who is hiding behind the door, those kind of things. My son has autism and was slow to talk, but it does not sound like the same thing as your son. A lot of kids are late talkers. All kids are different. It is if they don't do certain things like the other things that I mentioned that should send you running to a developemental pediatrician.
Good luck.
W.

1 mom found this helpful

My sons have been there; I've been there, done that.

My father used to joke (a little tease) that we were trying so hard to get our son(s) to talk and, just think, soon we would wish we could get him/them to shut up! ;)

I agree with a lot of the others who have posted: try to let the potty training wait. You may be stuck, though, if your son is in a child-care facility who only accept 3-yr-olds who are potty trained. It sure was a strain on me until I found other care (an in-home day care, for instance) who were willing to work with me and with my son.

As far as the talking, I could tell that hearing was not a problem, but getting your pediatrician to refer your son to an audiologist isn't a bad idea. At the least, the documentation will be there.

Also, I realized that I was anticipating almost all of his needs. I knew he would soon be hungry and would make a sandwich; I knew he liked cookies and would let him get some out of the pantry; and other little things. What the Early Intervention people told me was to ask him to ask for what he wanted; to start expressing that he was hungry, etc. Now, I didn't demand all of that all at once. Some sign language helped us get "over the hump" and I would suggest things.
For instance, saying something like, your body looks like it is getting hungry. Does your tummy feel like you might be hungry?
Or, letting him say "kee" for cookies but insist that he attempt to say it before giving him the cookies.
I stopped letting him get by with just grunting and pointing. Whenever I saw him trying to get my attention and pointing (I knew what he wanted), I would help him express what he wanted instead of just giving it to him. I might say "What is it? Do you want something to eat? Can you point to it for me? (sometimes I had to lift him up so he could point directly at the package of cookies and not at the package of crackers) Oh, those are cookies, say 'cookies'." That was when it was okay to say 'kee' for cookies, at least in the beginning.

I would also start asking him to make a choice; like to say cookies or to say crackers; water or milk; etc.

More will come as he continues the speech therapy and you continue to ask him to apply his verbal communication at home.
Take a deep breath and believe that all this will get better. He most certainly won't stay 3-yrs-old! ;)

D.

1 mom found this helpful

Did the Speech Therapist do an OVERALL developmental assessment on your son?
When my son had speech therapy, prior to services, they do an OVERALL assessment on the child, to see if there are developmental problems, versus it just being a "speech" thing.
My son was found to be on par and advanced in several areas. His late talking therefore was not a "delay" in the clinical sense, but he just needed encouragement and tips on "how" to form words. His cognizance was above par and he understood everything though he did not talk as much, then.

Only 2 weeks of speech therapy is not much. Depending on the child, it can take months. My son got his speech therapy, from 19 months old until about 2.5 years old. He is now the most talkative one in the family.

Perhaps... get an overall developmental assessment. That would then pinpoint his development, per his age, and what needs to be worked on, or any problem areas.

Or, try a Google Search on "late talking" children... and see what comes up. Often, a "delay" in 1 area, can mean delays in other areas, potty training included.

All the best,
Susan

1 mom found this helpful

I agree that 2 weeks may be too soon to see any progress. Did the speech therapist give you exercises to do with him at home? Just continue reading to him and encouraging him but don't stress about it. He will progress in his own time.

My pediatrician advised that boys potty train anywhere from age 3-4 so you still have plenty of time. First you need to make sure he is ready physically and emotionally. Just introduce the idea, and keep encouraging him. Here is a checklist that may help:

http://www.babycenter.com/0_potty-training-readiness-chec...

1 mom found this helpful

Good for you for getting out there and getting help for your kiddo. Make sure you take care of yourself too :) A friend one told me "Take care of your kid's mommy." It helped me put things in perspective.

I cannot say enough great things about PPCD. Seriously. I wish every kid could go through the program. I substitute in a PPCD class and the kids and teachers are amazing.

Good luck!

J.

1 mom found this helpful

Don't worry about the potty training yet. All my boys were slow to potty train. It was about 3 1/2 that they started to have interest.

And I would not work on the potty and the speech both---too much for a 3 year old.

My nephew was 3 and hardly talking. My sister took him to speech therapy and the therpist figured out on the 2 nd visit, that he could talk...he didn't have any reason to! He has an older brother and sister and grandparents that doted on him and spoiled him all the time. He would point to something and people would jump up and get it! He would shake his head and they'd go try again. And the older kids were always speaking for him. Look at his life carefully. Does he need to speak in order to get what he wants/ needs?

1 mom found this helpful

Has he been evaluated for Autism?

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter too went through speech therapy when she was two and I say keep with it I don't know what clicked but one day she was just talking non stop she just turned 3 a month ago! Boys are harder than girls so do the cherrios in the toilet m&m's for rewards maybe do a sticker chart and when he reaches so many he can get something from the dollar store.

1 mom found this helpful

I didn't read the other responses so...
I hope you are getting help through ECI, because YOU NEED IT!
Call them...or inbox me because YOUR SON NEEDS HELP ASAP.

Both of my boys didn't finish potty training until a few months before turning 4...boys can just be like that. The speech thing is concerning though...

My nephew had chronic ear infections and as soon as he got tubes in, his vocals and speech really picked up. Have you had his ears and hearing checked?

Here's some good info on potty training and some other related articles
http://blogs.goddardsystems.com/Cedar-Park-TX/2009/12/13/...

Breathe!!! Lots of parents have a "kid like yours" On top of doing private speech therapy you can talk him tot he local school district and they legally have to test him and if/when he qualifies the must provide whatever services he needs, which may be a half day pre-k class where they will work on talking and colors numbers letter all that good stuff and Potty training!!! My 3 yr old son is in a similar class and is making progress. it is going to be slow progress so you must be aptient otherwise your son will sense that u are tense and/or unhappy with him. The most important thing is to calm down and get him tested just to make sure that there is nothing else going on. Lots of Kiddos talk late and boys especially potty train late but isn't it better to know for sure and get him the help he needs now so he can have fun in kindergarten and not be stressed about not knowing what he needs to know?

After reading some of the responses, thought I'd add to some of it.

First of all, great job getting him a speech therapist! It takes time, but it will help.

It might not be enough, though. Your son is too old for ECI. That ends at age 3. I found this out the hard way. At 3, they can still get help through the school district. It's a program called PPCD. (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities)

I know that there are parents that get upset by that name. (The whole "disabilities" part.) You know what, if the program gives your child the help they need, who cares what they call it?!? I'd recommend that you go to you district and ask for an evaluation. It can only help your son. I know it helped my son a great deal. (And, being able to hop on a real school bus is SUPER cool to these little guys!)

Now, the other point is getting him evaluated by a developmental pediatrician. They are able to give answers that a pediatrician is unable to. My son was diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder. It's part of the Autism Spectrum. I was so scared of that diagnosis at first. Autism is a VERY scary word. It really is. However, after much studies, I figured out what a gift it is. These kids may have a hard time in many ways, but the brain compensates with incredible intelligence.

It is up to us as parents to do everything we can to get the help our children need. The help is there. You're on the right track. You've recognised that there might be an issue, and got him a speech therapist. Not all kids will just start talking "when they're ready". It doesn't work that way. So, good job.

I know this is a bit lengthy. Speech delay is something I'm a bit passionate about. It's the red flag that we didn't recognise as early as I wish we did.

Good luck, and keep up the good work!

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