Potty Training Trouble with Almost 4 Year Old Boy

Updated on March 25, 2009
K.R. asks from Windsor Heights, IA
7 answers

My cousin is going to be 4 in may and still will not go #2 in the toilet. He can tell when he has to go because he asks if he can have a pull up to go in. If no one is watching he will go get one out of the closet and put it on himself and go poop. When they put him on the toilet he yells and screams and says it won't work. He acts afraid of it. He pees in the toilet just fine and never has accidents or even has to be reminded to go try. I was wondering if anyone had any good ideas for my aunt because she is having a terrible time. He goes to a sitter and won't even potty there. He holds it all day and waits till he gets home (which we all find very disturbing). He also has never used a potty chair and is never home on the weekends to really have time to practice. So, any ideas to not make it scary would be great.


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answers from Minneapolis on

Here's something you can try....

Tell him that he can go in a pull-up, but he has to be standing in the bathroom when he goes. He can be anywhere in the bathroom, but the deal is, he has to be in there.

Once he has that down for several weeks, then change it to he has to sit on the toilet. He can still have the pull-up on, but he has to sit on the toilet. Then you graduate up to no pull-up, and him actually pooping in the toilet.

I know many ADULTS who absolutely will not go poop anywhere but home. I agree that it's disturbing, but it's very common IME.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

Couple of ideas:
- find out what his 'currency' is and promise him a special something if he uses the toilet. That may be a treat, small gift, outing, etc. Just something he really wants as a reward.
- has he been in the bathroom when mommy or daddy goes in the toilet so he can see that it is normal?
- eliminate the pull ups all together. It may be miserable for mom or dad for a while, but if he doesn't have that option anymore, he may decide to use the toilet.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

My friend had the same issue. She took her son to the store and let him pick out a special toy. It sat in the box, out where he could see it, until he went poop in the toilet on his own accord. He then got the toy. If he went poop in his underwear, the toy went back up out of reach until the next morning. He ALWAYS got it back in the morning. He would only lose it if he pooped in his pants. She said this only happened a few days and then it never happened again. She had been struggling with him for quite awhile until she tried this.

With my girls, it just took them doing it once and then they got it. Getting them to do it the first time took some convincing. For mine, it just took an extra incentive - like a Nestle Crunch Ice Cream Bar - if they did it.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Madison on

2 months before my son turned 4 I finally just took all the diapers and pullups away and said my son's only option was pooping in the toilet. I had tried everything else, every from of bribery and threat. He carried on the first time but finally went in the toilet. The second time he was a little hesistant but did it pretty easily. He hasn't had any problems since then.



answers from Minneapolis on

hide the pullups or get rid of them. he may have a few accidents, but wont have the crutch of the pullup anymore. my daughter did the same thing, but she was 2. we used a lot of encouragement and praise. she too was totally potty trained, but wouldnt poop. finally just started doing it herself. hopefully they can fix it soon, because you dont want him to have poop issues as he gets bigger...holding all day is not good!



answers from Sheboygan on

maybe he needs his feet supported on the floor to be able to bear down to go?? Is there a way they can get a stool or box that's tall enough for his feet to reach while he's sitting?



answers from Wausau on

I've read something similar to Cassandra's suggestion. Let him go in the pullup but he has to sit on the toilet. After he is comfortable with that (my son did not like this because his bm squished all over his but so it was an easy transition) then cut a whole in the pullup so the poop goes in the toilet. My son would poop in his little potty chair and then we moved to the big toilet. He also got a sticker when he pooped on the potty and we high fived and hooted and hollered making it really exciting. Good Luck. Oh yeah, some kids will hold their poop for so long they get really constipated and need suppositories to help so be careful. If you take the pull ups away completely and it's been 3 days since a BM you might have a problem. So make sure you are giving him enough fiber. Especially so it is soft when he does go. If it hurts he will never want to try again.

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