3 1/2 Year Old Son Will Not Go to the Potty at All!

Updated on May 05, 2008
T.C. asks from Arcadia, CA
63 answers

I have a three and 1/2 year son who will not go to the potty at all. He will sit on the toilet and get off and pee in his pants. We have tried everything: bribery, juice and candy in the bathroom, praise, having him only in underwear, etc. He will even hold his pee until he knows it's close to bedtime and he will be wearing pull-ups. I am concerned that if he holds his pee, he will get a bladder inflection. Is he just not ready or am I just working with an extremely strong will? Any suggestions or words of encouragement will be greatly appreciated!

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So What Happened?

Wow! Thank you for all of your responses. I took a huge step back and just waited for my son to be ready. We had lots of discussions about what "big boys" do. Once he decided he was ready, he put on big boy underwear. We're still practicing but he now will let me know when he has to sit in the chair. He is actually peeing (and pooping!) in the toilet. I don't put him on a schedule but he actually tells me when he has to go! Thanks for all of your reassurances and advice. It really helped me to see things in perspective!

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J.W.

answers from San Diego on

I left potty chairs out in the middle of a large room we had. (I have twins) He may be fearful of the big toilet in some way. Part of him going down the drain or something.

Regards, Jacque

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L.T.

answers from Los Angeles on

My son Gage was the same way! He refused to go for me so 2 months before his 4th Birthday my mother in law took him for 4 days and told him every time he goes in the toilet he would get a present so she had a few goodies in the house but after a few times they went to Target and he got to pick his very own present. He was potty trained in 4 days!!! We think it was me, I give into him a lot and he loves to show off for others.
Hope this helps.

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M.C.

answers from Honolulu on

Give the control back to him. He probably knows what to do, just tell him that when he is ready , he can start to wear his bob-the-builder underpants and go in the potty. But keep him in diapers. He is not ready.

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H.L.

answers from Los Angeles on

Back off...he's not ready. If it makes you feel any better, my daughter who is an only child, didn't use the potty until she was four years, three months. I KNOW how hard it is and how frustrating it is to carry the diaper bag around but let it go. You're making yourself and your son upset and it's not worth it. Also, a friend of mine is a school psychologist and he's told me that some children do not potty train until 4 or 5 and they're fine. Be patient and hang in there.

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N.K.

answers from Honolulu on

Hi! Just here to tell you not to worry...my daughter who is now 12 refused to go the conventional route till she was almost 4 and a half. I too tried everything with no luck...I even remember telling her doctor that I have this fear that she will go from Pampers to Depends...she just laughed and told me to have patience and not worry. I know it is hard to do just that, but I was able to find a preschool that would take her without her being potty trained. They too told me to relax and that by seeing her classmates going to the bathroom the conventional way she more than likely would get with the program. She did just that. AND she never had an accident after that...SHE knew when she was ready. When we would talk about her difficulties I found that her reluctance had a lot to do with the toilet...the sound...the fact that things seemed to disappear down this hole. Till this day she is uncomfortable with the automatic flush toilets...I know where every non-automatic flushing toilet is located at our local mall! The whole ordeal taught me about how no two kids are alike and that a lot of times we as parents fall victim to everyone elses expectations. Believe me you will look back at this and wonder why you ever worried. Good luck and Hang in there!
Aloha,
N.

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S.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I know this is a little hard to hear, but your 3-1/2 year old might not be ready to be potty trained yet. Try the book suggestions (the library has lots of good ones) and also look into their movie rentals. My library has about 3 or 4 really good ones made for kids about potty training-they're in the educational section and totally free to rent. Also, have you talked to him about "big boy underwear" and taken him shopping for ones he thinks are really cool? Ask him if he's ready to give up his pull-ups or diapers or whatever he's wearing and begin wearing the "really cool big boy underwear". If he says he's not, smile and say "okay, we'll talk about it again in a few weeks" back off for 3-4 weeks and ask again. In the meantime, read some of the books to him and watch the videos occasionally. Don't add in any editorial comments. Try it every 3-4 weeks. He'll say "yes" before you know it, unless this has become a control issue already. If he says he is ready, explain to him that means he needs to go potty in the toilet or he'll make his new "big boy" underwear messy. Tie this all in w/the videos and books, put your potty chair in your family room where he can see it, put him in the big boy underwear, and every few hours ask him if he needs to go. If he says "no", let it go at that. When he gets messy, clean him up and put him in dry clothes w/another pair of the "really cool big boy u.w.". Talk about how cool they are when you're helping him get dressed---"look at Scooby" kind of comments. You get the picture! I would say don't make him help you clean him up yet---he's still in the learning curve. Remember that 1-1/2 years ago he was still a baby, and he's barely out of toddlerhood now! Don't be upset at all--more like "OOPS! you had an accident, remember you need to go potty in the toilet now!" And he will have accidents--especially the first day. Moms forget that they've been accustomed to going in their diaper their entire life---all of a sudden we expect them to remember to go in a potty chair and get frustrated if he/she doesn't do it as fast as we think they should. If he's ready, he won't like the feeling of the wet clothes and will associate that w/going on the potty. Be busy when he's wet and say something very nicely to procrastinate a minute or two. You're right in the middle of making coffee or whatever, so that he's wearing the wet clothes for a just a short time--a minute or two. Give him a couple days to see if there is any improvement. I did this with both of my boys and they were completely PT in 3 or 4 days. But I let them tell me when they were ready to "give up" their diapers and both were between 3 1/2 and 4 years old. If he still doesn't "get it" after 2 or 3 days, he might not be ready. Believe it or not, diapers/pull-ups can represent a form of security or comfort for them. It's all they know and they're not always ready to make this change. Back off and give him some more time. You can't force your child to become potty trained and this is not an area to try to impose your time table. You can set your child and you up for a world of frustration and problems. Good luck and be patient---he'll be PT before you know it---even if it's in 3 months and not right now!

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D.P.

answers from Honolulu on

I have two children a 19 yr. old son and a 10 yr. old daughter. I didn't "potty train" either of my children at all, no rewards, no bribes, nothing. All I did was follow their lead, provide a potty chair that was comfortable for them and offer my support as they requested. What that means is that if they were holding themselves and trying to get to the potty I helped them get there as fast as I could. I let them wear diapers as long as they wanted and pull-ups. My son was out of diapers by the age of three w/no accidents during the day, he stayed dry at night by age 4. My daughter was in panties at 2 1/2, no accidents during the day but couldn't stay dry at night for along time, around 8 yrs old. And she will sometimes still have accidents at night if she is really tired, she get's really upset when she wets at night and I just reassure her that it happens and help her clean up. Children naturally want to grow up and do things the way grown ups do things. Problems arise when we make it about power and control. Using the toliet is a natural progression in the development of a childs life, just like walking and talking and will naturally occur when the child is ready if it is treated naturally. No rewards are required, the reward is nice dry skin. Think about it how would you like being wet or soiled, it doesn't feel good.

My advice is to step back and take the power out of this natural process. Children have control over very little in their lifes and this can be one way the little one can exert control over a parent.

Worked for me, D.

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M.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T. C. I too have been in your position (three times). I have three boy's ages ranging from 12yrs to 5. My youngest was like this with potty training too. I learned that even though, according to society, he should be trained already, he simply was not ready. He started going at age 4. All children are different and learn at different stages. You may also want to suggest to your husband that your son can't learn how to go "properly" unless he show's him how boy's go. It may help him think he IS a big boy for going like Daddy. I hope this helps you. Good luck!

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D.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T.,
Boy, do I remember those days! I know how determined a 3 year old can be, so I won't claim to have a sure cure. But eventually it WILL self-cure, don't worry.

But I did want to ask if you'd tried potty target practice? We used colored ice cubes, tiny marshmallows, even a face drawn on TP -- seriously -- anything that you can flush, he can aim at. Ice was the most fun: we'd use food coloring and put two or three in at once; he'd get points based on how many he could melt in one go.

Also, this sounds weird, but you know how when women go out they sometimes use the bathroom as a place to chat? Start having your husband do a similar thing with your son. It made peeing kind of a 'guy thing' for our son. Dad would say he had to 'go' and my son would toddle along right after him; they'd be chatting away about football or fixing the car or whatever and Dad would just do his business as they chatted. Then he'd look at our son like, "Well? Your turn..." It seemed to make a real difference. And as dopey as it sounds, it was kind of cute to see big guy and little guy striding off into the sunset to do their manly thing: pee standing up. lol

Meanwhile, hang in there -- eventually he will choose to use the toilet. Honest.

Hope something in here helps!

:-)

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C.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T.,
I also have a 3 1/2 year old boy. I started potty training at age 3 and he was a little reluctant. First I tried a timer and I told him every time the timer went off he had to use the potty. It took the pressure off him and me. We started at 15 min. and gradually increased the time up to 40-60 min. (by about 5 min a day). I tried him in just underwear and naked. He did better naked from the waist down and I devoted 1-2 weeks to this with no pull ups or diapers except at sleep time. We spent a lot of time at home!
Then I got rid of the timmer and had a "pee-pee party". My 5 year old went to grandma's for the day and my 3 year old and I made special kool-aid "pee pee punch". I told him today we learned to use the potty and we had a cupcake he got to decorate and eat after several successful potty trips. He had fun and got lots of practice all day long. I was fortunate that he had learned to go #2 in the 2 weeks prior and only needed help to get the potty ready. It took him about 3 months after the pee pee party before he would be able to go #1 without being reminded. He would go on his own, but often a little would get in his pants or underware before he made it in time. I tried to keep a sense of humor about it and remember that he will not have accidents forever. He started preschool during this time 3 hours a day, 3 days a week and did great there. I think seeing other kids his age do it too helps. Hope some of these ideas work for you!

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R.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T., hang in there as a mother of 4 I know it's tough. Have you though abought taking him out of pull ups at night? He's obviously smart enough to hang on til bedtime. It will be more messes and work for at first, but maybe if there is no chance for a pull up at all he will realize he has n choices.

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T.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Get some cherrios, ceral have dad go pee to put some in the big toilet, have him and dad play shoot the cherrios, you might need to get him a little stool to step up on to reach his targets, make it a game with dad. This is a battle of control his control, if dad isnt home during the day mom buy a squirt gun you aim with the squirt gun while your son aims with ..... well you get the idea. Let him flush them ... also buy the crackeers gold fish put them in the toilet, tell your boy time to feed the fish, poor fish so hungrey .....

( Giggles ) what parents will do to get the kid to potty.
its pay back time !!! LOL

T Miles

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L.K.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

T.,
I have a just turned 4 year old son. I worried so much about him potty training that I made it a chore for him and me! So I just put him in his undies, pullups were confusing. And when he went we just changed them and went to sit on the toilet. Eventually he hated the whole being wet. I threw out the ones that were really gross and just kept at it....he eventually got used to being dry.
Good luck.
L. K.

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J.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T.,
My sister has boys and she used these things called toilet time targets by Quabbin. They are animal shape tissues you put in the toilet for him to aim at for potty training. They are pediatrician recommended. Hope this helps.

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T.B.

answers from Visalia on

My goodness. I am a single mom, 46 yrs old, of a teenager(15,girl)and a baby(2,girl).
My girls were really easy to potty train, though the baby took a bit longer, and did the same thing your son did in a way. She was doing just fine and then went into a phase of wetting and mostly pooping her panties again. She would tell me instantly. Getting mad does no good, but stern is OK. I started all over again. Being as your toddler is a boy, maybe have your husband do it....
Every 35 minutes, without fail, go to the bathroom, have them do their business on a little potty and you do it on the big potty simultaneously. This repitition works every time. They love the praise, and get tired of doing this real fast, so they resume going correctly. Insist on it, EVERY 35 MIINUTES. Tell them they have to learn to do it right.
Good luck to you. It took me only 2 days to train my oldest. I took the diapers off and that was it...it's like it reminded her to use the bathroom because no one likes to go in their pants!

Wendy

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K.R.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Have you tried to not let him wear underwear? When I was trying to train my son with autism (a difficult task) what worked finally was not having him where undies when we were home. He'd go on to the pot when he had to go. Just a thought...

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B.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

www.thepottytrainer.com

I just downloaded her book last night. It cost just 7 dollars to get it. I have been reading it all day on and off between soccer games with my older child. I am convinced that this is the way to go even without trying it yet. She makes so much sence.
I too have a hard headed stubborn 3 year old boy.
Good luck!!
B.

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J.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Don't freak out!! both my son and my daughter did this and weren't potty trained till they were four. They will go eventually. By the time they're 8 or 11 (the ages of mine) you see you did a lot of worrying for nothing. They are who they are and all kids develop at a different rate. Don't let yourself feel bad because other kids are going potty sooner and stuff like that, you'll only drive yourself nuts and believe me, this is going to be the least of your problems!! For some advice... get him on playdates with some kids who are trained, maybe spending some time with kids who wear big boy pants and use the big boy potty will be a good influence on him.
good luck and don't worry!

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L.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

I don't think it's a problem and be careful not to make it one. I let my son wear diapers until he was four and took a natural interest in being like his peers. He's 16 now, and doesn't have potty issues. I think the less attention you give it is the best.

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J.C.

answers from San Diego on

Hi...I am going through potty training with my 3 year old son also. It sounds like yours is the same...stubborn...understands when he needs to go and just won't. There is a book at the library by Dr. Sears for kids that is called "You can go to the potty." or something like that. (The cover is purple.) It is a children's story that talks about going to the potty. Between reading him that when he sits on the potty and using role play with one of his stuffed animals (making his stuffed animal wear a pull up like he does and going through the motions with the stuffed animal for about 1-2 days...this is how we pull down our pants, sit on potty, etc. you can put water in a syringe and when he is not looking, squirt the syringe in toilet and say the stuffed animal went to the potty. I did this after reading some information about it online and it helped him understand concept of going to potty. Also, a sticker chart on the refrigerator helps. It takes a long time for the child to be consistent...just be patient and deal with accidents like they are no big deal. Make him help you clean them up. My son is more consistent now, and will go pee in the potty everyday but not poo in potty consistently yet. Still trying for that. Good luck to you with this. I know it is frustrating.

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C.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hello T.. My 4 1/2 year old was going through a similar phase when he was three. He would wait until he got to preschool and then pee in his pants and laugh about it. It was a total control issue. He was controlling me and the situation. It sounds like your son is ready since he can hold it for long periods of time knowing he will be getting a pull up in the evening. The only thing that worked for my son was to take his leapster game away and we told him he could not play on the computer or play xbox with daddy until he stopped going in his pants. The reason we gave him is that video games and computers are for big boys and big boys do not go potty in their pants. We told him if he did not have an accident for one week, we would give the leapster back and his restriction would end. If he resumed going in his pants at that point, we would go back on restriction. He has not had an accident since. Good luck. Chrissie J.

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S.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Try the book; "Everyone Poops". I have heard reading this book has worked miracles on those stubborn boys. Also have you read Jame Dobsons, "The New Strong Willed Child"? Again this is a helpful book. Good Luck!!

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M.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T.,
I have yet to expierence potty trianing with my own child yet (she's 11 months old) But, my sister who has a 3 1/2 year old was having problems as well. For about 2 weeks she let him walk around in the house with no underware, pull ups (she never used them) or diaper. Yes, he peed on the carpet in the beginning (only a few times) but, it seemed to work for him.
Now he is 100% potty trained, even during the night time. He will yell for his mom to meet him in the bathroom.
He was just over 3 years old when this all took place.
Hope it helps.
take care!

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T.B.

answers from Las Vegas on

We recently had the same problem with my grandson. The difference is his mom was a single mom. It seems that one really needs another guy to show a little boy how to do this. Have you heard of shooting Fruit Loops? You (or preferably Daddy ) drop some Fruit loops in the toidy and then Daddy shows the little guy how to aim and "shoot" them. We mom's just don't have the equipment to do this gracefully with our little boys, but most of us have a Grandpa or a brother if not a daddy.You can suggest this to the daddy in your house. Get a step stool for your son, leave this to the man of the house, and get out of the way, Mom! Our little one has not had an accident in four days now and is So Proud of himself! Good Luck !

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C.K.

answers from San Diego on

You're right, he's not ready or he's enjoying this area of manipulation. I would keep him in diapers (not pull-ups) until he seems ready. It will happen, be patient.
good luck

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R.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am a mother of 4 children, 21, 17, 6 and 5. Two of my boys didn't want to sit down on the potty they preferred to stand up and pee in the toilet. I would use the bottome of Fisher Price potty chair flip it over and make it a stool for them to stand on. They felt like big boys.
The fact that he is holding it tells me he has control of his bladder and that is usually the indicator that they are ready.
Good Luck

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R.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

I know this may sound crazy, but I saw it on a movie once, and it seemed like a sane idea. You can put a few Cheerios or Fruit Loops or something like that into the toilet and tell him to "sink them" (or at least hit/aim at them)! That way it becomes a game and is fun! Plus, at 3-1/2 years old, he should be able to potty standing up. This is something that his father (or some male influence) can help with.

Not sure if it will work, but it sure couldn't hurt!

Hope this helps! Good Luck!

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M.G.

answers from San Diego on

Boys always do things on their own time. Probably he has the 'pressure' on, and is holding it in. I think, if you ease off the pressure a little and try to make a routine, even if it doesnt work out..like trying to make him pee before or after bedtime, at least it will establish a routine.

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P.L.

answers from San Diego on

I am probably not going to be the popular advice here but my son showed interest in going pee in the toilet very early. He would not go in his pullups or diapers for the most part at all after 14 months. I know that is early but true. He also never peed at night at all either, this kid has a HUGE bladder. Anyway, I was so frustrated as he would not poop in the toilet AT ALL! I mean if ever I put him on there and camped him out with a book he may poop but he generally told me "it's too stinky" and then proceed to poop in his pullup and then bring me another to change him. Finally I bribed him, Disneyland when you have gone poop in the toilet all the time. This did not even make him do it. Talk about frustration and lots of advice from others. As I am a fairly easy going mom I just finally came to the conclusion that he would not be going to kindergarten with pullups and just gave up. Pulled down the charts, the stickers all the "stuff." Finally a month before he turned 4 something clicked and he just got it. He has only had 1 accident since then and that was when he had the flu and just didn't make it. Never has peed the bed at night. So, after all of that. I think that sometimes boys just have to have their own time. I would encourage you to just stop the pressure on him and let him come to you. Like I say.. not popular opinion but he won't go to kindergarten in pullups! :)

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M.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T.-
Keep up the encouragement and positive outlook. You just have to find the right motivation and tools that will work for your child. We used potty training reward cards and they worked like a charm. Because they worked so great with our son, I made a business out of them. Check out www.kiddykudos.com. We are currently writing books to go along with the cards, but the cards were so great for builing self esteem and for building to get/do something special. My son loved collecting them, putting them on the fridge and couting up to 10 to reach his goal. We used them as an educational counting game and the potty training just happened to come along with it. Check out the website and if I can be further assistance, let me know.

M.
[email protected]____.com
www.kiddykudos.com

PS. This isn't a sales ploy. The cards really worked for us so I just want other moms to have the same success we had.

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B.F.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T.,

I know how frustrating it can be to get a son to pee in the potty and not in his pants. Can he use the big potty to pee in? If so you might try this unusual tactic. Actually I got this from a therapist as I was having the same trouble with my son. She suggested Cheerios. I looked at her with a puzzled look. She said to throw a few Cheerios in to the toilet bowl and then let him aim at them when he goes to the bathroom. I was very skeptical, but I went home and tried it and it worked. From then on he wanted to go in the potty. This little game did not work for my younger son, but he didn't have the same issues with the potty that my older son did.

Hang in there T.. God bless!
B.

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R.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

HI T.!
I struggled with the same thing. My son , now 4 and a half was going through a stubborn phase about a year ago too. Tried everything you've done, but the best thing I ever did was to buy a really cool potty book for boys wioth sound effects of flushing the toilette, I think there's even a little "toot" in there somewhere that gets you giggling. I would bring the book everytime we went to the bathroom. I made a habit of only using that book to read while he was on the toilette. it trained him to look forward to going there. Now. he's been fine and goes on his own. It took a good 3-4 weeks.
Best Retgards,
R.

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L.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

The Spring and Summer months are the best for potty training.
As a mother of three, I took this advice from my mom, a mother of Ten, yes ten!!
Give him water, juice, etc, be patient, it will take about 20 minutes to a half an hour for bladder to fill up, then into the potty we go, turn on music, even potty in front of him, then do a little potty dance celebrating the big event.
In time, he will associate potty time as a fun thing.
In the meantime, consult your pediatrian and get advice, that is what they are there for.
Good Luck!!

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M.V.

answers from San Diego on

Hello T.-
I am a mom of 5...4 boys & a girl. Potty training can be a frustrating & an embarrassing time for your son & you. My best tip was monitoring the liquid intake of my sons and making sure to enforce a potty break every hour or so; just until they get the hang of things. Boys really get busy playing and lose all track of time. You have to admit bathrooms breaks are not the funnest of events. I also used a rather interesting tactic to make my sons WANT to use the potty. My great grandmother told me "throw 6-7 cherrio's into the toilet right before the potty trip". Strange I thought; but what the heck, after all it wasn't going to hurt anything. Believe it or not it worked, turns out it seemed like a game to them. They got to aim & hit the cheerio's and it made the trip more exciting than it really was. A bonus to this exercise they learned to use the potty correctly. Which meant fewer "Hit & Misses" on the toilet seat!!! With boys you need them be entertained and if this simple thing worked for me, it may also help you. Lastly if you haven't done so already, visit your Pediatrician, to rule out any other issue's or conditions that you may not be aware of.

Best of luck.

M.

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P.K.

answers from San Diego on

That's the one area where they actually hold the cards. As difficult as it is, you have to let go and just deal with the accidents as they occur without making a big deal about it. If you are worried about a bladder infection just make sure he's getting enough liquid (water and/or cranberry juice if he'll drink it). Don't know if you've seen the potty "targets" but that might make it interesting for him too. Trying to "sink" a square of toilet paper works just as well. Also, try offering him control in another area (what to watch on tv or choosing to extend his bedtime) when he chooses to use the potty.

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S.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

If he has pretty good language skills then you may want to tell him that he's going to have to change his own pants from now on. Just leave his clothes for him in the bathroom and walk away. Here you go I guess you had an accident. Your such a big boy now you'll have to change yourself. He may get sick of changing his clothing all the time.

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L.E.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi, T.,

I agree with most of the advice already offered. I respectfully disagree with one bit of advice a couple of people gave. (They said, 'Give cranberrry juice.') Recently, several doctors and nurses told me, someone who has had many bladder infections, that giving cranberry juice is NOT helpful and may be even somewhat counterproductive. The reason people used to advise taking cranberry juice was because scientists had noticed that the bladders of people who had bladder infections were short acid. The scientists thought that these people had infections because they were short acid and therefore prescribed cranberry juice, which contains a lot of acid. Later, scientists learned that bladder infection-causing bacteria actually thrive on and are fueled by acid. That's why sufferers of bladder infections have less than normal amounts of acid. Thus, drinking cranberry juice will not help get rid of a bladder infection and could, if consumed in very large amounts, actually exacerbate the infection. Take the bacteria-killing medications prescribed by a doctor to get rid of this type of infection.

Good luck,
Lynne E

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G.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

if you can't wait it out then try the 15 min. schedule as someone else mentioned. every 15 min set a timer. even let him set the timer. he has to sit on the potty for 1 minute. if he does nothing, he still gets a sweettart, m&m, whatever. next 15 min. - same. if you do it every 15 min he'll literally HAVE to go at some point. took us 2 days for each child. you'll need to take off a few days for this and literally just do this and nothing else. good luck

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M.J.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T.,
I can relate to your situation. My son refused to go to the potty until about 3.5 years old as well despite all the techniques we tried. Finally, we took some of the pressure off and just had my husband take him to the restroom everytime he needed to pee and one day he decided to go by himself.

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J.T.

answers from San Diego on

Hi T.,
Both of my sons were 3 1/2 to 4 years old before they would go potty on the toilet. And, I have to say, they both pretty much changed on their own. (They both are very strong willed!) I would say, just let him take his time. He'll go when he's ready. I know its frustrating AND expensive! But, rest assured, he won't be going on his first date with a pull up! ;o) I found, with my two, that I didn't push them after awhile. I got too frustrated, which made them frustrated. Finally, I just figured, they'll go when they go. I hope this helps.
Good luck!

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N.F.

answers from San Diego on

Probably all the stuff he is getting makes it worth his effort to hold it until he gets off the potty. Keep him in a diaper without saying a word about "big boy potty". Give him a couple of weeks. He should also see a man use the potty if he hasn't already.
N. F

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M.A.

answers from San Diego on

I had problems with my daughter too, so I decided to take the potty training class through parent connection (free) and it was very helpful. Eventually all kids will be potty trained but what changed my approach was that the teacher at this class told me " when your child is learning to walk and falls down on the floor do you get mad at her and ask her why she fell down and why she can't learn to walk?" Of course we don't, when our kids fall we help them get up and teach them how to walk and praise them and potty training is no different. What also helped was sticker charts by the bathroom and once she realized she got a sticker for each job and after a certain amount of stickers we took a trip to a toy store she was finally potty trained. Make sure the flushing is not bothering him either. Also take the class its only an hour or two long and it it free.

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M.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

Let it go. It seems like he receives alot of attention from this. I would suggest keeping him in his pull ups and not making a big deal of it. I bet if you do he'll be toilet trained by the summer. I have a boy and didn't make a big deal out of it and he was was trained at around the same age.
Good luck, M.

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J.P.

answers from Los Angeles on

My son was three and trying new things was not for him. But this is what I did.

First thing when he wakes up, put him on the little potty in front of the TV. You can't hold that morning pee forever. (He does wake up dry right)Then you need to be quick about getting up the minute he does and sit him on the potty. He can watch tv, play game boy, read books, what ever you want him to do. But he can't get up until he goes. That means no breakfast until he goes. Keep those undies on all day and keep that potty in the room that he plays in so that it's convinent. When he has an accident he has to clean the carpet (where he pee'd) and wash his undies out in the potty while you watch him to make sure he doesn't make a bigger mess. After they clean this up a few times they realize it's easier to pee in the potty quickly and be done because cleaning up the mess takes time from the tv or play time. Also when he has an accident take one of his favorite toys away, when he acts big he can have it back. Let him do big boy things, you decide what that can be. Painting, play dough, shaving cream on the table to draw pictures or right their name in, help you make his favorite cookies. After a couple weeks when he pee's in the potty move the potty a little closer to the bathroom then in another 2 weeks but it in the bathroom, after a few months but a stool infront of the big potty and tell him to use the big one when he has to go number 2 because it's less work for you, and if he won't go in their then you tell him he needs to empty the little potty out when he is done.

It's Okay to be tough on your kids, you need to show them who is the boss, if you always give into them even at 2 & 3 they will learn to walk all over you when they are bigger. What you allow them to get away with now isn't helping you. Pick your battles he's 3, and he is not the boss you are. Make his life tougher until he gives in.

Good Luck! JP

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A.D.

answers from Los Angeles on

Have you asked him what he thinks about the potty? Is he afraid of it? Is there a monster in there? Kids usually have a very good reason (to them) for doing or not doing something, so I would try to pull the string and see what his ideas are on the subject.

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G.B.

answers from Los Angeles on

I have a 3 year old daughter who acts the same way. I have finally made some progress by doing the following routine:

1. First and foremost do not force the issue. Children know their bodies and will do what feels right to them; when it feels right. Forcing the issue brings about the strong will and then nobody wins.

2. Make the potty a routine. I take my daughter every hour to sit on the potty whether she goes or not. Sometimes she even fought that but when I kept the routine she got used to it.

3. Give them their privacy. I don't stand over her while she is going. I either turn away or pretend I am doing something else. Believe it or not she was not comfortable with me watching her. But who can blame her?

4. Give them time. They are not on a schedule and we should not be in a hurry to fit them into a milestone. Once I backed off on meeting MY deadline. Everything fell into place

5. Adjust as needed. Lately, I have been missing my daughter's potty time by 30 min. So now we have adjusted the routine to every 30mins. and she now tells me if she doesn't have to go.

Good luck!

-G

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M.A.

answers from San Luis Obispo on

This may sound odd but a friend of mine did this and it seemed to work. She took a weekend off from Everything. She had her boy wear nothing but a long T-shirt all weekend. So when he had to go, he HAD to go in the toilet. By the end of the weekend he was potty trained.

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T.A.

answers from Los Angeles on

I remember using a book about potty training in one day, I can't recall the name or author but I do know it was written originally to potty train children w/mental challenges. There were some questions to ask the child so you were sure they understood you and could follow directions. We talked about the day like it was going to be a real fun day just the 2 of us, made a real big deal of it. We put it on the calendar and talked about it each day as we x'd out the days on the calendar leading up to the "Big day" (I didn't try and train him leading up to the big day, I just kept playing up the "Big day". In a nut shell it was that you had a place (I used the kitchen) where the two of you could be undisturbed and easy clean up. You put together all his favorite snacks and fluids (lots of his favorite drinks), put a sign on the door "do not disturb" sent my other son off to Grandma's, shut off the phone and told all my friends and family I was not available that day. You need a doll that wets, a potty chair, some books to read him and plenty of underpants (preferably something cool, that he really likes) and lots of patience. It is an intensive one on one potty training day. So once you pick your day and get together all your tools the two of you just stay in the kitchen (or whatever area you've chosen). talking about going potty in the potty. You have the doll wet their pants and say something like "oh look she wet her pants, if only she had told us we could have put her on the potty" etc. Involve him in training the "Babydoll",setting it on the pot, discussing the benefits, etc. Then you set the baby doll on the pot and when she wets in the potty you of course praise her and make a real big deal about it and give her or him their favorite snacks as a reward. The doll I used had to be sitting on the pot when I gave it the liquids because it went right through it. The most difficult thing was getting Ian to drink enough fluids so he had to pee a lot the second challenge was keeping the subject interesting enough to keep him focused. Of course you want to do the same with your son praise and reward him when he pees in the pot but keep playing until he pees a couple times in the pot. You don't have to keep him sitting on the pot the entire time but it's convenient if he sits on the pot part of the time (you can read him books about being a big boy for going potty in the pot while he's sitting on the pot). After he drinks down a couple glasses you want to have him sit on the pot, it betters his chances of success. Make a real big deal, tell him we're going to call Daddy and tell him what a big boy he is etc. (and anyone else that he wants to tell). It is hours of intensive one on one potty training. You only talk about peeing in the pot, the benefits for him (think of different benefits to him ahead of time). There are some books in the library for you to read him when he's sitting on the pot. I think it took about 4 hrs (it might take you more or less) and 3x's of him going in the pot. That was it, he actually never peed in his pants again and I did not put pull ups on him at night. Again, the most challenging thing was getting him to drink a LOT of fluids and making sure there are absolutely no interruptions, it's just you and him! Good luck.

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T.K.

answers from Honolulu on

I am the oldest of 11, and for a few of my brothers the ONLY thing that worked was to not let them wear ANYTHING from the waist down until they got it (usually 3 days). What we did was to keep them in the kitchen which had a bathroom attached. They had no problem wetting their pants but it bothered them when they were doing it into the air and on to the floor.
Best of luck to you!

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M.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

Take a break, at least 2-3 mos. He isn't ready right now.
M.

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L.J.

answers from Las Vegas on

Do not make it a battle, he will win. Take him to the doctor first and make sure there is nothing wrong physcally. Then let nature take its course. He will not go to college in Diapers.

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M.R.

answers from Los Angeles on

T.,
Oh how I feel for you. My son now 8 did the same thing. He wore pull ups at night until he was 7. You just have to stay strong. He may just not be ready. I know people used to tell me that all the time. It didn't make me feel any better, but its the truth. Just be patient. There is no need stressing yourself out. I ended up giving up when he was three. Finally when he was about 31/2 I tried again. He kind of got the hang of it. You just need to give him time. The other thing that really helped is when his father took him to the restroom when he went. He saw daddy doing it so he decided to try it. Good Luck

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V.A.

answers from Santa Barbara on

Boys are generally later to train than girls. Just relax and keep him in pull-ups for a while longer. Maybe even step back a ways from the potty training (i.e., don't bother putting him on the toilet). I guarantee he'll be potty trained by the time he's dating.

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A.B.

answers from San Diego on

I'd this is the "one area" of resistance on his part, then it is not defiance on his part but something else. You did not mention whether he poops in the potty? Either way, I'd see a pediatrician and have him evaluated. Good luck.

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S.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

I am a former preschool teacher & mother of 3 (18,19 & 20). Each one of my children (& students) were ready at different times. I know that it is frustrating for you right now, but he may decide in a week, two weeks or a month that he is ready & will just do it. It is obvious that you have tried several incentives, but he isn't interested. My suggestion is to back off for a week or two & see what happens. One thing that worked for me was making a "potty calendar" & having the child pick a sticker to put on that day each time he/she went in the toilet. Reward him with an "outing" or book after he gets a "required" amount of stickers. My cousin's son wanted to go to Disneyland, so she told him that they would only go once he was going in the toilet ALL the time. I would say that if he is going consistently for 2-3 weeks that this is ALL the time.

If you are worried about bladder infections, try giving him cranberry juice or a cranberry extract tablet (sold in a natural foods store - Whole Foods, Trader Joe's) in a spoonful of applesauce or yogurt. If it is in a capsule form you can put it into a smoothie for him.

Hope this helps!

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C.S.

answers from San Diego on

Hi T. - I feel your pain! My 3 1/2 year old son still won't poop on the potty. Here is what I did. I got a video called "No More Diapers". It had been highly recommended to me by a friend. She had her son watch it over and over and it worked. For my son, we got together with his best friend and had them both put on underwear and watch the video together. Both boys were potty trained (minus a few accidents and the poop part) from that day on. I think the combination of the movie and the peer pressure is what did it. I am thinking about getting him together with a friend who is also having trouble with the poop part to watch the movie together again, but any other suggestions are always welcome. Thanks T. - take care!
C.

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J.C.

answers from San Diego on

Now that the weather is warm, let him "water" your plants. My son never wet his pants when the reward was that he got to go outside. It got him over the initial stubborness. Also, I would use diapers at night (since they are more babyish than pullups, more incentive to get out of them) and only use underwear during the day, even if it means always carrying some spares and ziplock bags for accidents. Lucky thing with boys is, like dogs you can always find a place for them to go!

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J.L.

answers from Honolulu on

My oldest son did the same thing. We would put him in big boy undies and he would pee in them. After nap time he would wake up wet and say it was sweat. It was a horrible struggle. I finally took him to the dr and he said don't push he will go on his own. When he did we did something special for him, made him feel like a real big boy. A few weeks before his 4th birthday he was going in the potty everytime he had to go. Good luck.

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E.M.

answers from Los Angeles on

T.,

I read most of your responses and just wanted to add a bit.

Set a date that the diaper will be gone out your home forever. Don't wait until you run out, just look at your calendar and pick a date that gives you a couple days of extra time with him. Make a bit of drama and excitement around going out and buying about 1-2 doz big boy pants that HE loves and waking up that morning and telling him that he will not be wearing diapers again.
(night time pull ups can be used longer at night. My younger son took about 1 month before I realized he had stopped wetting during the night. I also had an older son who took much longer. it varies)
You need to be prepared for clean up. Have a bucket of stuff on the ready. Be with your son as much as possible these days so you can watch his behavior and if you feel necessary remind him that the toilet makes a great place to shoot into. (cheerios also worked great)
You will need to know where every bathroom in town is. When you take him somewhere, show him where the bathroom is every time at first. Don't ask him if he needs to use it just point out that this is where it is and if he needs to go while you are there, he is to let you know. DO NOT shame him if he has a mistake. Be ready with something to wipe things up if he does have a accident and leave, go home clean him up and change him and don't go back out that day with him.
If you feel that after all this he is still holding back just to cause problems, then you need to discuss him losing something that he likes to do if he is not going to choose the toilet. TV loss was planned for my youngest son but he actually ended up having one accident and not liking the feeling so all my planning was not needed for him. He was also 3 and 1/2 years old.
Be creative as to how you communicate that you have more time for fun things with him when you don't have to spend the day cleaning up accidents. Let him come to the decision that it is more comfortable to go on the potty.
I took my son out of preschool to do this and we never looked back. If you have any questions about a specific situation, feel free to ask.

Hope this helps,

Evelyn

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H.S.

answers from Los Angeles on

hi there!
I have a 3 1/2 year old girl who had the same issue. She wanted to keep the diapers because she liked being treated like a baby because babies get all the attention, right? So I was at my wits end when she turned three and I felt like it would never happen. My sister said, "just take them away". At this point anything was worth a try! So, away went the diapers and we had about two weeks of 2-3 accidents per day including one in the dressing room at a Kohls store! After that I learned that when she says mommy I have to go potty you don't say in a minute...you run! It takes a while to gauge how quickly you need to get yourself to the potty. But since those first 2 weeks she hasn't had one accident, it's been 9 months! So, sometimes with the real stubborn ones you have to go to extremes to get them out of there comfort zones to get them to change. And I wouldn't worry too much about the bladder infection, my daughter did that for a while too during this very long process and she never had a problem...Good Luck!!!

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M.Y.

answers from Los Angeles on

Oh T., welcome to my world!!! Our son was SOOOOOOOO obstinate about potty training, we finally pretty much gave up and it was the best thing we could have done. For several months he would look me in the eye and tell me he didn't have to go. He would then promptly go and pee on the floor. It became a HUGE fight and control struggle. It's hard to do when your'e frustrated with him, but try shifting your focus from, "You need to do this" to "Good job" for EVERYTHING he does right in the potty arena (flushing, washing, aiming).
Nothing big, no confetti, just, "Nice job," and an occasional, "I'm proud of you."

We too tried the rewards,and various kinds of bribery to no avail. Our boy just wanted to be in control of the situation. Untimately, they ARE! My husband and I were at a loss and finally decided that our three-year-old would just have to be in charge of this area despite all our reading and college degrees. The ONLY thing you can do is BACK OFF. It's been a hard road back to potty success and we're still on it. Our son turned 4 this month and has been dry for 5 consecutive days now. YIPPEE! He's been mostly dry with maybe one accident per day (usually when he's too busy and doesn't want to stop what he's doing to go)for many months now. We let him wear a diaper ("Sleep diapers" we call them) for naps and nightime. Recently he's decided he doesn't want to wear one for his nap and has started to get up to go at night. SUPER YIPPEE!!!

We realize now that we just needed to back off and let him do it. Hard heads will prevail. Fortunately, your son will eventually decide he wants to use the potty. Try to be patient. It's certainly not my strong suit but it's necessary. GOOD LUCK!!

M.

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K.C.

answers from Los Angeles on

Hi T. - I feel your pain! I am mom to twins - a boy and a girl. They just turned three last week. My daughter has been potty trained for six months. My son flat out refuses to use the potty or wear underwear. I bring it up from time to time, then just let it go. I am frustrated because I want them to go to pre-school and they need to be potty trained for it. I thought seeing his sister using the potty would motivate him - it didn't. I thought special "Thomas the Train" and "Cars" underwear would motivate him - it didn't. I comfort myself with the knowledge that most kids are potty trained by age 4, and at some point he will decide he is ready and do it.

PS: Like you I am over 40.

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J.G.

answers from Los Angeles on

I can sympathize with you! I have boy/girl twins. My daughter was potty-trained right before their 3rd birthday and there was NOTHING I could do to interest my son. I eventually gave up in trying to bribe and convince him to potty-train. Finally, at 3 years and 8 months he decided he was ready. I really believe that they do it when they are ready. I would still ask him, but just not push him. In fact, he became potty-trained thru the night immediately after as well.
Good luck- I know it seems like it will never happen, but it will!

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