How do I potty train a VERY stubborn 3 year old boy?

Charity - posted on 02/12/2010 ( 31 moms have responded )

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I try to have Jack, my 3 yr. old, use his potty frequently throughout the day. Most of the time he tells me no he doesn't have to, and just argues with me about it, ut if I don't tell him to use it, he doesn't even try on his own. What can I do to get him to WANT to use the potty?

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Alwyn - posted on 05/17/2013

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Hi firstly this is for real. I am a single father my wife is in heaven. My little boy is 3 1/2 I am having a very hard time getting him to use a potty he just will not do it I have tried everything. Being widowed I'm the only working to earn money so I'm only here part times. He is my only child so I've never done it before I am 45 years old and my only other help is my mum who is 75years. Please how can I get my son to use the potty he is very stubbon and even though we are very close to each other if I force him th sit on the potty he then refuses to do his stuff............ HELP

Leanne - posted on 04/09/2013

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I have a 2.5 year old that is very stubborn and manipulative. And thinks it's his way or the highway, because of the precedence he has set with his mother that every-time he cries she picks him up and gives in. She has admitted to that, but won't stop. How am I suppose to help her potty train when he cries and every-time you put him on the potty, because he wants his own way.

Anna - posted on 03/28/2013

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My son was really stubborn to potty train, we tried EVERYTHING! Softly softly at first then bribes different pottys different pants different rewards. In the end it had turned into a power struggle when he stood there and wet himself when I told him he couldn't do something I decided enough was enough (he was 3 3/4) and said ok tomorrow that's it no more nappies and I'm not carrying a change of clothes when we go out. Miraculously he managed to become dry. There were a few embarrassing incidents for us both when out and about but only for a day or two and then we were there. Obviously they need to be ready and be aware of when they need to go, I think sometimes like in our case it was more a power thing. Worth a try ladies

Jamie - posted on 05/22/2012

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It makes me feel so much better that I am not the only mom out there who has an increadably stubborn 3 year old boy. My first son (now 9) was super easy to potty train. Shortly after his second birthday we let him run around the house for a weekend naked. He had a couple "oops" on the floor but for the most part was good. Now I have my 3 year old that for the life of him will not go into the bathroom. I have tried bribes, letting him pick out a toilet seat, step stool and smaller training potty. When he poops himself he just says "nope I farted". It's sooooooo frustrating and I just want him to learn. I am a stay at home mom so it's not like he has daycare or anything to watch other kids do it. He wont even go with brother. This child is going to make me gray before I am 35!

Nicki - posted on 02/18/2010

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One thing I have learned is to go straight from diapers to undies. My son who is 3 thought that pull ups were another version of diapers. We have been doing the sticker chart. I got a huge poster board from the dollar store and let him pick out a bunch of different stickers, and that seems to work well for the peeing part. We are still working on the pooping. Try the stickers and underware though. My best friend suggested (and this will take a lot of patience) to take books some games etc and just camp out in the bathroom. She got her son potty trained in a week, so it may work. I couldn't get our son to stay in the bathroom that long. Sticker chart (big one) works for us. Oh we taped it behind the door so he could see his accomplishment. I think the poster board worked best because it is big and you can really see if getting filled up.He filled the little one I made (from construction paper ) really fast. Also since my son likes books when he filled the little one up he got to go to the store and pick out a book. Incentives I think work, you have to find the one thing that interests them. Good luck...

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Estyer89 - posted on 12/28/2013

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Wow, boy am I in the same boat. My son's father agreed to help potty training him if I let him get his hair cut. So I did, all his beautiful curls gone. And guess what? His dad didn't even buy a potty chair and still sends him home in diapers. My son is 3 and gar beyond his age group intelligence wise, and he knows how to argue his way out of things. It's pretty hard to get things past him

Cdcolclasure81 - posted on 11/16/2013

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My son is 2 1/2 will be 3 the end of April. He has three older siblings 16 13 & 11. A year ago when we first started to introduce the potty to him he would only go if the 11 year old would take him. Only problem there his we only have him every other weekend (he lives with his mom). Peyton just decided he wasn't interested in the potty at all. So wee took some time way from it and started again. To this day he still isn't interested. We let him pick out a new potty and new underwear. The new last about a day. I want him potty trained. Rewards dont work and im getting frustrated which I know doesn't help.

Janet - posted on 03/27/2013

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I had the same problem but I take my 3yr old son to a toddler group where they were all goin on the loo nd potty and then one day out of the blue he asked to go on the toilet cos he needed a wee , e goes now on the potty or toilet but I'm stuck now how do I get him to progress to go on the toilet all the time ? - spouse that will come too . Good luck .

Tamika Daniella - posted on 03/24/2013

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play the potty dance video maybe it might encourage him to use the potty

Cecilia - posted on 01/29/2013

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My 2yr old wanted a potty so I got him the one he wanted and now it sits in the bathroom and he won' t sit on it not even if I try the candy method. He says No I don' t like it. Go away Ceci (he calls me by my name when he is mad). So now I have no clue on how to get him to use it and he will be turning 3 in March and I really want him to be trained by them. Does anybody have any effective tips?

Leeann - posted on 10/05/2012

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I have tried the candy method as well,also bought him his underwear,I've also let him run nude,He would use the potty in the morning's but after that he wouldn't tell me when he had to go,I know when he has to poo because he goes in his brother's room and sit in there and poop's,so I would ask him to go to the potty and he freaks out crying,He's 2 and a half now,my biggest problem is his dad,when hes home he doesn't help me because I also have a 1 year old,the dad still buys my 2 year old diapers and He comes home and screws up my routine and tells my 2 year old that he will use the potty when hes ready..lol so now I'm back to square one and the boy is back in diapers,the dad said pull ups are too expensive and why put him in under ware when he just pees and poos in them......What do I do??

User - posted on 05/02/2011

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Kylie's son sounds ALOT like mine! I know it is a power struggle. My little guy is also 3yrs and 4 months. He has been wetting in the potty for OVER a year, thanks to just putting him in undies, but due to frustration of his refusal to poop in the potty he is in pull-ups. Oh, and he started standing to go in the toilet not a potty within 2 weeks! However, when it comes to #2, He is def a hider. I caught on and would follow him and place him on the potty when I caught him but he proceeded to run to the Bathroom, no less, and LOCK the door so that I could not put him on the toilet. I removed the lock from the door recently. He has went poop iin the potty 3 times in the last year but not at all since August, he tells me he just wants to mess in his pants. I have started having him clean himself up, and he seems to be enjoying it, so still no encouragement to the possibility of ending going in his pants! My only concern besides the power struggle is the fact that he does have occasional constipation and is not regular, but the pediatrician did not express any major concern over that at this time! I have tried treats, stickers, charts, special rewards; I have also taken away favorite movies, toys or snacks....I am Honestly, out of ideas!!! I did try in January to just drop it for a few weeks but I couldn't get everyone who interacts with us on board so they kept bringing it up, very frustrating!!!

Does anyone have any other ideas??? OH, and I have been recently keeping him naked on the bottom or using pants with nothing underneath as someone suggested...he screams or pitches a fit wanting me to put a pull-up or something on him, so this may be working, I'm going to keep at it, but I'm def. open for more suggestions!! He is supposed to start head start this fall!!!

Elizabeth - posted on 04/10/2011

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Sarah,



Poop can take so much longer than pee. The fact that he is having accidents still tells me that he may not even have much control over #1 yet..his little body hasn't matured yet.



I learned the hard way that potty training can actually be an easy enjoyable experience for both of you..if you wait until he/she is ready. I learned that after a 3 year struggle with my oldest..power struggle...and just not ready..but I didn't realize at the time that it wasn't up to ME when she was ready...it was only up to HER.



Finally at 4 1/2 she was fully trained #1 and #2.

Sarah - posted on 04/10/2011

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I have a ridiculously stubborn 3.75 year old... Ridiculous about the potty training. When he started putting up a fight, we made it more casual and tried to not to put a focus on it and he goes without issue much of the time. We can't get him to poop in the potty yet, but he pees more often then not... I am anxious to read everyone's responses since I haven't had much luck on our end for full switch over. I hate potty training.

Elizabeth - posted on 04/09/2011

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Sounds like you have a power struggle happening. You won't win this one ..because it is HIS body. I know how frustrating this can be.

Here's how to start fresh. Drop the potty training issue completely for a few weeks.

Then start preparing him again mentally...talking about things like "did you know that mommy and daddy use the potty?" "do you know where pee pee goes?" "do you know where poop goes?>"

-bring him in the bathroom with you when you use it...and have a potty available IF he wants to use it...even if he just sits with clothes on ..that's progress but do not push.

Once he is showing more than one of hte following signs...it might be time to try undies:

-stays dry for several hours
-shows interest in potty
-can pull own pants down

*don't stress..you wont have a 10 year old wearing diapers...know that the pediatrician will tell you the average age of a full potty trained child is 4 1/2 years old (that's #1 and #2)

It will happen.

Kylie - posted on 04/09/2011

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My son is 3y 4m and we have been working on potty training for nearly a year. When we first started he did great! Even if we were at someone else's house he would go to the potty. I was sure he was ready for underwear, but then all of a sudden he stopped using the potty and went back to going in his pull-ups. It is 9 months later and I have tried sitting in the bathroom with him, leaving him in there by himself, giving him treats, praise, stickers, toys, nearly everything I can think of. He refuses to use the toilet unless it gets him out of bedtime. He knows when it is time to use the potty because he will crouch down or hide. We can ask him if he is "making water" as he calls it or pooping, but he will say no even if he clearly is. As soon as he is done he will say he needs to be changed. I ask him why he didn't use the potty like a big boy and he says "Cause I just want you to change me." He is in daycare and we are working with them to get him trained, but even there he is stubborn. He came home one day and told me his classmates didn't like him cause he pooped in his pull-ups. I am at my wits end here. He will sit on the pot for half an hour and then go in his pants as soon as he is off of it. Tonight he was standing next to the potty brushing his teeth and he peed on the floor, hid behind the door, and pooped in his new Buzz Lightyear underwear that he was so excited to buy and wear... He doesn't care that he's dirty, he doesn't care that he is getting rashes, he doesn't care that we aren't happy when he doesn't go, or that we are happy when he does, and he doesn't care that the other kids won't play with him when he doesn't use the toilet.

It's nice to know my son isn't the only one being so stubborn, but it is still beyond frustrating.

Kaci - posted on 02/25/2010

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i have tried alomst evertyhing, i tfeels like. i tried goin cold turkey by puttin underwear on him and letting him poop and pee and have to feel it and maybe he won't like it but it doens't bother him one bit. he will just walk around forever with poo and pee in his underwear and have wet pants. i have tried bribing him with candy and he just throws a fit when he doesn't ge the candy whenever he wants. he'll turn 4 this october and i don't know what to do. i sit him on the toliet and he will just sit there and scream. my mom telss me to just be patient that he will go to the potty when he is ready...i would like him to be ready bow because diapers are expensive

Neveen - posted on 02/25/2010

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I have the same problem with my son, he is 3y and 5 months, he freaks out every time he see potty or toilet! and always asks him to go to the toilet, he refuse. it become a big problem now, with having a 8 months baby he just imitate the baby- if baby can do it in nappies, then i should do! - this what he told me!
i tried treats still no good, any suggestions?

best of luck 4 u too charity

Heather - posted on 02/24/2010

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Well I tried all these little tricks with nothing happening. So I had to do the tough love and stayed at home for 5 days straight. We started with every half an hour setting the timeron the stove and when it dinged everything stopped TV went off it was on and we both went and sat on the potty for 10 mins. The first day around 7 he finally went. Did the same thing but bumped it to 45 min. No pull ups just big boy pants, except at night. By the end of the 5 days he was pottying all day long, BUT not pooping. We now wear pull ups going out, he refuses to use the potty elsewhere and sometimes I don't blame him. We are not through the night yet but right now I am happy just to at least hae made it through the day!!! I have made progress when I was about to pull my hair out! Good luck and stay strong against the sweet subborn little boys.....

Tatia - posted on 02/21/2010

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This sounds terrible but I bribed mine into using it.LOL I sat a candy jar on the back of the toilet with Starbursts in it for my youngest and Tooties Rolls for my oldest boy.(the youngest got to hyper with chocolate)Then they could have one any time they used the toilet.(they got two for going poop in it)Another thing that works great with little boys is putting a cheerio in the water and tell him to try to sink it.It's fun for them and teaches them how to aim for the center of the bowl:0)(works with old men too LOL)

Heather - posted on 02/20/2010

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My boy is 3 1/2 anytime I ask him if he has to go all he says is "No I fine." He then will go into his play room to poop in either is pull ups or underwear (it doesn't matter which). He will go on the potty if we take him and so we're trying to do so every 1-2 hours. I've heard boys take a bit longer than girls to potty train... this thought helps me not beat myself up when I think that my daughter was trained and only having occasional accidents at night only BY age 3.

Darcy - posted on 02/19/2010

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I've got one of those stubborn boys too! He does pretty good at daycare (usually), but when he gets home, he would go the whole night without telling us he needs to go potty if we let him. I try to take him every hour or so, but even then, he ends up wet a lot of the time. We've tried the incentives too. He gets a sticker for going potty. PLUS, if he's dry, he gets 1 M&M for peeing and 2 for pooping (which only happened once and it was a coincidence).

Any other thoughts??

Jennifer - posted on 02/17/2010

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A method I used with both my kids my girl who is now 3 and a half and now working on my 20month old! I try to make it fun! I have a candy dish filled with m&ms! My kids don't get alot of sweet stuff so it works great! When he goes i praise him alot with hugs and kisses! then we dance into the kitchen and he gets one m&m for going potty! And the three other kids and I get into a circle holding hand and do a potty dance! Just singing gavin went pee pee or poo poo in the potty! over and over! which ever he did! then at the end we all say yeah gavin! and clap! everyone then gives him high fives and tell him good job!! he loves it! then I got potty books for him! and I just make it a big deal! so when his dad gets home from work I ask gavin did you tell daddy what you did today! and he get excited all over again! and wants to go use the potty again! If the M&ms are not a favorite then use a different candy or stickers! or give him a quarter or dime everytime he goes then when theres a good amount let him go buy something with the potty money! thats what I did with my daughter when she started getting the hang of it! my daughter was trained by two! so hopefully this will be of some help to you! hopefully it works on my 20month old too! also go into the bathroom with him! and don't force him to go then he will really not want to go! I had that problem with my daughter! good luck and let us know what method works best! jennifer

Kayla - posted on 02/17/2010

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My son is 2 going on 3 yrs old and i just now got him potty trained, granted having trouble with the night time thing, but i just had to stay onto my son about using the potty and how it makes him a big boy like his dad. We tryed the hole giving a peice of candy after using the potty, that didnt go very far. So when i would put underwear on him i let him pick out what kind he liked and make him promise that he wouldnt us the potty in his pants, if he did it was time out! But when he does use the potty chair i would just tell him how big of a boy he was and just make him feel good about using the potty! Just have to stay on him about it! So we just stopped buying pull-ups because he thought it was ok to pee in them so those just had to go! Putting underwear on him let him feel his accidents and he didnt like that at all so he would say i need to potty! But good luck i know every child is different and go about things there own way!

Charity - posted on 02/17/2010

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Thank you everyone for your advice. I greatly appreciate it. We tried the presents behind the potty, in the living room. It didn't work. Anytime I left the room for anything he would just steal a present and open it, sneaky boy! So I'm trying the incentives, which isn't really working either. I don't know why he just refuses to use the potty. He will pretend to go in the bathroom and use it, but when it comes to actually peeing or pooping in it, he absolutely refuses! I do feel like just giving up sometimes, because I'm so tired of him arguing with me, but I know I have to stay strong. Please keep the suggestions coming, when one thing fails, I will try another!!! Thank you again, Charity

Karin - posted on 02/14/2010

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If you figure it out, let me know. haha!
My 3 year old son is still mostly uninterested. I started him on pull-ups about a week and a half ago, and the first 5 days he did awesome! I was SO excited. I thought we were finally getting the hang of things, but then he started just going in the pull-ups. He'll pee in the potty, but not every time. He hasn't pooped in the potty now, in 4 days :(
I'm getting frustrated and it's very hard for me to not get angry with him. He knows how to use it. When he was in daycare/preschool a few months back, he used it regularly there.
I don't know what else I am supposed to do, other than just going cold turkey; but then I'd have to do laundry every day, because I don't think it would bother him to be wet or dirty. Ugh. I'll keep you guys posted if there's any change, and I'll let you know what works. So far, he gets a sticker for peeing and a few m&ms for pooping, and those aren't even enough incentive for him.
Keep us posted, Charity! Good luck!

Natasha - posted on 02/14/2010

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my son is younger, almost 2, but the most stuborn toddler i have ever seen. i started by taking him with me to the bathroom everytime i need to go. id sit him on his potty with a sucker and told him that i would take the sucker away if he got off the potty. of course he got up probably 10 times before he relized i wasnt going to give in. ha actually went the very first day that we did this. he was sooo proude of himself for what he did and we praised him and i gave him another peice of candy for being a good boy. we are still potty training, but its only been a month and now he's going pee everytime i take him. maybe if you dont like the idea of giving candy everytime than you could give a lil toy or stickers. i am going to try buying a toy that he only gets to play with when he's a big boy. when he pees in the potty he can play with it, but if he pees in his pull-up it gets put away til he uses the potty next time. when you start dont give up as much as you might want too. my son did really good for the first 3 days and then we had about a week that he would fight me everytime that i tried to sit him on his potty chair, but i still took him to the bathroom with me everytime i needed to go and tried to make him sit there. after about a week he started going again and has been doing so ever since. i wish i could give you some advice about going poop, but martins even more stubborn about that one, lol. good luck and dont give up. it'll happen!

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Besides what Marcy said just stay consistent. And just smile because you are mom and you are going to win this battle:) Good Luck and God Bless!

Marcy - posted on 02/12/2010

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Is he is pull ups? My son was the same way. His school was ready to move him from nursery to pre school but he needed to be potty trained. Here is what we did. I bought him a bunch of new big boy undies. The I went to the dollar store and bought a ton of cheap toys. When he was sleeping I wrapped them all up individually and put them behind the potty. When he got up and saw them he was blown away. Of course (and you probably are thinking this as I am typing it) he spent almost 2 days running back and forth to the potty so that he could go to the bathroom and get a prize. After about 5 days, the gifts ran out. He immediately went in his pants (this is how stubborn he is) so I told him that now that he had the hang of it, we were going to practice everyday so that we could go to Disney (we lives 30 minutes away). We have been doing this for 4 months and we are offically going to Disney mid March. He has moved up to pre school and just yesterday, he had an accident..oh well! Another thing that helped also was moving his potty in to the living room so he was closer to it. Good luck!

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