my son is 3 1/2 and still isn't potty trained.i have been trying everything?can anyone help?

Natasha - posted on 12/21/2009 ( 27 moms have responded )

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i have tried several different reward programs,i have bought him 3 different potty chairs,we have put his potty in his room where he is at all the time,we tried just putting underwear on him. nothing is working. we have ben trying for the past year. his doctor says it is a control issue with him. i/m starting to feel like im failing as a mom. please help i will try anything

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Kristin - posted on 12/27/2009

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First off you're not failing as a Mom. All children are different and your little guy is just having a hard time. What I did with my son was, everytime he went potty on the potty he got a tattoo (temporary one of course) and when he went poop on the potty he got to pick out cool stickers that he liked and put them in a book. He loved doing both and also having the tattoos, we counted the 30 seconds that you are supposed to, to keep them on and it helped him learn to count to 30 at the age of 3. If you haven't already and think this might be something to try go for it. If not then there is something out there that will help you just haven't found it yet or he will eventually get it.

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Norene - posted on 12/22/2013

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I am a mom,I do know what your going through,I found that my girls were easier,my youngest daughter came out of diapers a little over 3,my middle daughter followed her footsteps and started going which she has cerebral palsy and was told she wouldn't be able to go on her own,my oldest was 2 but anyways my last two are boys and I have a 3yr. 8 month old son which he will be 4 in April and I ran out of option on potty training him just found out he's Autistic and was wondering if that might have something to do with why he's not potty trained.which I hear that by the time their 2 they show interest on wanting to go but my son shows know interest at all. But I keep trying but nothing seems to work.If you have any suggestions on potty training him let me know.My 9 month old I hope it won't be that hard on training him.

Michelle - posted on 12/30/2009

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My twins were one month shy of 4 and my "second" child was 3 yrs and a couple of months. I too tried everything with my first ones. What I found was just be positive, bring it up every once in awhile, go on a shopping expedition for big boy underwear, have him go with you &/or your husband, and try not to stress yourself out. He will eventually get potty trained. You don't want him to get stressed and hate it.

All my boys told me when they were ready. I mean that literally, too. They came and told me they were ready for their big boy underwear. They put it on and haven't had hardly any accidents. That's for day and night.

Jennifer - posted on 12/28/2009

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Some people may not be open to this, but you have tried letting him run around naked? When my son was clothed, he peed. No matter what he was wearing or doing. The minute his bottom was naked and exposed, he went to the toilet. And we never used a potty - we always used the regular toilet. Making him sit on the toilet was like pulling teeth. Standing on a stool in front of the bowl was the way to go.

Maybe try using grown-up words, instead of potty and pee-pee? We go to the bathroom, use the toilet, and point the penis - no baby words, and that makes him feel grown-up.

Babs - posted on 12/28/2009

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I had one at 3 not potty trained. I put Pull ups on him and stopped trying. I did put a few boards in front of the toilet so he could stand in front of it to pee and showed him how to do that. About 3 weeks later he was playing in the yard and came in went potty took his diaper off and put panties on. He never went again. He is trying to control the situation and You are too. LET IT GO! have you ever seen a kid in diapers at preschool?

Alana - posted on 12/28/2009

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try putting him on the potty when you and your hubby are in the bathroom seeing mommy and daddy going might get him to go on it too.............. have you let him decorate him potty tomake it his own??

Suzie - posted on 12/27/2009

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You are not a bad mom at all. Potty training is very hard especially when it comes to boys...from my experience with my 2 boys and daughter. My 2 boys were almost 4 when they were fully daytime trained (with several accidents afterwards) and daughter 3 &1/2 with a few accidents. We started the #1 process by drinking lots of water and juice and going to the bathroom together every hour to get him used to it and it worked after 4 days...with the help from hubby. He sat down to pee for about 2 years. Getting him to go #2 was a different story because he kept going in his underwear. Finally after 4 months he had to clean a pair of dirty underwear by himself and that did the trick. Plus, he started preschool and saw his friends going in the potty...that helped alot. Kids learn from their friends.



It takes alot of patience,persistence and sometimes tears on our part to train the boys. After they were trained, I still had to remind them to go potty every 2 hours otherwise they would have an accident. When they are having fun, they do not think about the potty. Make it fun for them. Boys love games and being competitive.



You are not alone. I've met so many moms going through what you are going through right now...including myself. I've tried videos, stickers, cheerios, potty in all parts of the house, M & M's, toys...etc. He will get it when he's ready.

Yvonne - posted on 12/27/2009

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My oldest son was 4 and my middle son was also almost 4 (and still has night time issues at 6) before they were potty trained! My daughter is now 3 1/2 and not interested at all! They all do it in their own time! They won't go to high school in diapers! Just be patient!!!

Sarah - posted on 12/27/2009

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YOU ARE NOT A BAD MOM! you have a strong willed child. have you thought about doing nothing?maybe letting it go for a while. one step forward, two steps back. I have one very similar to yours, and when I stopped caring where he 'went' it suddenly became his idea.
stop buying into the pressure that children have to do this or that by a certain age. you are fine and your son is fine, so everyone who says otherwise can stick it. just remember- this too shall pass ( and in your case, in more ways than one).

Emma - posted on 12/27/2009

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my son has just turned 3 and is fully toilet trained night as well we let him run about in just his undies and had his cousin come to play for a few days every time anyone went to the toilet they took him with them just to show him how it was done he wouldn't use the potty and definatly wouldn't sit down for a pee now he's a month over 3 and wakes in the night at about 3 comes down has a pee then go's back to bed alone we had an accident every day for a week and only 1 accident when in bed. just leave him alone and let him tell you when he's ready it save the stress for you and the reluctantness from him good luck and stop worrying it's all part of growing up xxx

Amber - posted on 12/27/2009

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The toilet is so intimidating to children! My youngest just turned 3. We tried for the longest to prepare him for the potty. We have 6 kids total. We bought pull ups so he could learn how to pull his bottoms up and down like undies. We tried sitting him on the potty every 10-15 minutes, but that failed. He would go in his pull up as soon as he got it back on. I tried this a few days at a time. One day, I took him to Wal-Mart and had him pick out some underwear. He loved this and finally caught on to the potty side of it. Of course, poopy takes longer to catch on. His interest began when the other kids started calling him 'stink bomb' when he would have a dirty diaper. He hated this! So after many different tries, I took him to the potty one day, told him to drop a bomb in the toilet and it worked!



The main thing to remember is if they aren't ready, they won't do it. Encouragement and tons of patience is the key. Try taking him to pick out his own underwear and let him know he can wear his favorite 'characters' but he can't get them dirty. (Of course, he will get them dirty during the trial runs...) I could go on and on all day....I have potty trained 3 other boys! Best of luck to you, and one day soon you will find the perfect method for your son! All kids are different!

Katherine - posted on 12/27/2009

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I had the same struggle with my three year old. Then one day a friend recommended getting a seat to put on the toilet, so he's using it like you, and a timer. At first you set the timer around 20 to 30 minutes and every time it goes off make him sit there. I also would set the timer when he'd sit there for around 10 to 15 minutes. But after a full day of keeping this up he started to catch on and was completely potty trained within a week. You just have to have patience and keep on him about it.

Rebecca - posted on 12/27/2009

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unless there are developmental or behavioural issues such as autism, persistence will win out. stick to a positive response approach ( a REALLY big positive response to any new breakthroughs). three and a half might seem quite late but many boys respond late to toilet training. so i know you're probably sick of hearing it, but when he's ready he'll use the toilet/potty. good luck

Jessica - posted on 12/26/2009

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You should never consider yourself a failure, because then a child gets the idea that they are in charge, or at least mine always seem to act that way, lol. When I was training my son, ( hard for a then-single mom) I would either put cheerios in the potty, or I would use blue food dye, and show him that when he went pee, the water changed from blue to green, that helped me get him trained quickly, since it made it fun to go potty. Best of luck, and just keep trying, he'll eventually figure it out, just give it time.

Alitha - posted on 12/26/2009

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All kids are different. My oldest son would not potty train at all. We finally had to sit him down and tell him that if he wanted to play with a new toy we bought him he had to potty. I know that bribery is not the best way to go but if it works it works. Every time he went to potty he got to play with that toy. I have friends who put cheerio's in the potty to encourage play by having their boys try to sink the cereal. I have been told to bring home a bunch of really cheap toys and give them one when they went. But remember its just a readiness issue with your child not a failure on your part. If they are not ready they are not ready. My oldest neice did not potty train until she was 4 and a half. You cant force it on them. They will do it when they igure it out. Just be a patient loving parent. I know you are because you are feeling like its your fault they wont potty.

April - posted on 12/26/2009

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have u tried to but a colored circle in the toilet bowel so it gives hime something to aim at like its a game?

Shasta - posted on 12/26/2009

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DON'T WORRY ITS NPORMAL MY SON IS SIX AN STILL HAS OOPSEYS EVERY NOW AND THEN. BOYS JUST TAKE LONGER TO POTTY TRAIN THAN GIRLS I THINK IT THERE SHORT ATTENTION SPAN.

Rachel - posted on 12/26/2009

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Don't worry! I just FINALLY got my son potty trained at night and he's 7! The miracle thing that worked for us was getting a bedwetting alarm. Its an alarm that has a sensor on his underwear and if it senses any wetness, it wakes him up. It trains the brain to recognize when the bladder is full and wake up. Took 2 months but finally worked. Got it at bedwettingstore.com

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you arent a failure as a mom!!! in fact, i think its awesome that your 3 and 1/2 year old has such a strong sense of himself that he knows what he wants and doesnt want!
in all honesty, my son was about that age when i finally got him potty trained.. he refused too. i know youve already tried the underwear thing, but i think it is the best way to do it. just get rid of the pullups or diapers keep the underwear on him. if he wets himself enough times, he will eventually want to stop doing it. just dont make a big deal out of it, be matter-of-fact that he is done with diapers and his choices are to either make a mess out of himself and ruin his favorite clothes, or use a potty like a big boy. but once you take them away, dont put diapers back on, even at night.... i think that by putting them back on at night, it teaches kids its ok to have accidents at night time... (no offense to anyone!) boys are hard to potty train.... good luck!

Cherie - posted on 12/26/2009

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My nephew was about 3 and a half when my sister finally got him trained. My son was just a brand new baby, and I was living close to my sister so my nephew saw my son and me taking care of him a lot. He was very proud of being a "big boy". When he refused to potty train, my sister told him he wasn't going to be treated like a big boy anymore and he would have to be treated like a baby because babies use diapers. She told him he would have to use a bottle and a binky and a crib again. That worked FAST for him because he wanted to be a big boy so bad. He is almost 4 now, and he rarely has accidents and I think she has him out of the pullup at night too! Good luck I hope you get your son trained soon!

Sarah - posted on 12/26/2009

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My son turned 3 in October and he still hated using the potty. Then his 41/2 year cousin visited and I let him see how his big boy cousin was using the potty on his own. A week after he was getting ready to do it in his diapers and I just looked at him and said in a serious tone that I was very tierd of changing his diaper and that he was a big boy and should be using the potty. I don't know what or how but next thing I know he asked me to put him on the potty and he actully used it. I guess he thought about how is cousin was a big boy and was using the potty and how he was a big boy and should be using the potty. He has been using the bathroom ever since. I also had tried everything from rewards to buying two different potty chairs. I guess just makeing him understand that he was a big boy and using another child as an example really got to him and made him understand. Hope this works for you, don't give up.

Alana - posted on 12/26/2009

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put underwear on him all the time instead of a diaper, with the feeling of the wetness well get him up set and want to go on the potty .

Holly - posted on 12/26/2009

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I had the Eater bunny swipe my younger son's diapers and leave cloth diapers and then told him they were out of his size at the store. yes, we were stuck at home for 3 or 4 days but NO he never had an accident after that.
B super patient and not over proud when he produces in his potty....if it is control he won't care about pleasing you!
Good luck, Holly

Amanda - posted on 12/21/2009

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I haven't started potty training my daughter yet since she's only 3 and a half months old but to potty train me my mom would say, " Mine's broken and I have to go really bad could you go for me." Worked like a charm. For my brother it took buying him spiderman underwear since that was his favorite cartoon character and telling him spiderman wouldn't like he if he got peed on. This one seems strange and some people might see it as wrong butfor my uncle my grandmother had to put him in girls underwear.. but not any girls underwear silky ones. He liked the way they felt and if he wet them he wouldn't be able to wear them, needless to say he did his best to keep them dry. As for it being a control issue, I've got no experience or advise. Hope this helps. Good luck, and if you're still trying you are NOT failing as a mother.

Courtney - posted on 12/21/2009

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Oh sweetheart.. ya know.. every childs learning maturity is different. Thats what I hate about schools. They think every child is ready to learn everything at the same time as their counterparts. Further more, if boys mature slower than girls, why is there not exceptions for that for them? My daughters were FOUR before they started going potty. I have a three year old right now who is still in diapers and not even beginning yet to try and go potty. Don't force the issue. Provide the means for your child to go if he wants. Provide the exposure. Let him go potty with the kids in daycare. Or if you have friends his age, let him go potty with them. I used to have a bestfriend who's child started goin potty at three, so everytime they'd go potty, I'd take my daughter in and set her on the lil potty chair and they'd go potty together. lol. They have to learn to associate the potties with what it is they are supposed to be doing. Let your son go with you, with his dad to the potty. lol.. my nephew learned how to go to the potty because my father and mother have custody of him and he'd always go potty with his papaw. It was awkward, but he started potty training near right away. And my nephew is autistic!! He just needed to make an association and see how it was done. lol. Best of luck chick.. and remember.. Not every kid is gonna mature and do things as fast as the next. Enjoy your kids and those times while they are still in diapers.

Erin - posted on 12/21/2009

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The only other thing that I can think of is have him sit on the potty and read him as book. Does he see you and other family going to the potty? Try putting him on the bigger potty with a seat ment for him. My son was very interested in that once he saw us doing it. I hope that this helps.

Amy - posted on 12/21/2009

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Have you tried showing no emotion when he goes in the diaper or has an accident? Then when he sits on the potty and/or goes in the potty you shower the praise. That way the only control you give him is impressing you with the desired behavior.

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