help my 3 year old wont use the potty or toilet!!!

Sarah - posted on 05/29/2010 ( 8 moms have responded )

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my 3 year old son will not use the potty or toiet despite being in pullups for the last 12 months when we put pants on he just wets them what to do ??????????

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Tisha - posted on 05/29/2010

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I worked in daycare for 11 years and here a a few tips that I learned. By the time I potty-trained my son I managed to do it in 1 week, the week after he turned 2. But, as you know all children are different and develop at different rates.

1. Signs that he is ready to potty train:
- He tells you when he has wet or had a bm in his diaper or he takes his diaper off
when he has wet/bm in his diaper.
- His diaper stays dry for at least an hour at a time.
- He shows interest in the toilet (Watches you when you go, asks questions) Playing in the bathroom is not showing interest!

2. Tips to help it go faster:
- Avoid pull-ups at all costs!!!!! Pull-ups are no different than diapers and children are smarter than you think. They know that if they use the bathroom in a diaper/pull-up it won't make a mess! Try to only use them at bedtime.
- Put him in underwear when he wakes up and keep him in them until its time for bed. Do not give up!
- If he goes in the toilet give him a reward (one skittle for pee two skittles for poop) and praise him. Sticker charts really don't work for kids this age. They need instant gratification.
- If he has an accident don't punish him or scold him. Just say pee-pee/poop goes in the potty. Don't tell him it's ok that he had an accident because then he will think it's ok to have an accident.
- Whatever you do, don't ASK him if he needs to go. Set a timer for 20 - 30 min. TELL him "When the bell rings it will be time to go potty." Then when the bells rings TELL him " It's time to go potty." Asking him if he wants to gives him the option to say no and makes him feel as if he has an option.
- Put cheerios or fruit loops in the toilet for him to aim at. You can also tell him to make bubbles in the toilet. Boys like it when they pee and it makes the little bubbles for some reason!
- Also, you can give him incentives like if he sits on the toilet without giving you a hard time about it he gets to pick out of the treasure box. Once he gets comfortable with sitting on the toilet you can then "wean" him off the incentives. Move it to he gets them if he pees/poops, once he gets peeing down pat, then he only gets them if he poops. (Or if he's like my son he might get pooping down first!) Once he goes a week or so with no accidents, stop giving him incentives. You don't want to have a 5 year old that still wants skittles every time he uses the potty!
- Most people teach their boys to sit first then stand. I make my boys sit backwards (straddle) the toilet when they are in the sitting stage. When they sit like this it automatically aims it into the toilet, they can see what they are aiming at better, and they are already used to facing that direction when you start teaching them to stand. (Many boys will go stand at the toilet, facing away from it, and go)! They also don't fall in as easily when they sit like this and they can hold on to the tank for balance. The only downfall to this method is you have to take their bottoms off completely every time they go.
- Finally, it can take up to 3 weeks for it to click. If after 3 weeks he still hasn't progressed I would take a break for a month or two. Trying to force kids to potty train when they aren't ready burns them out and makes them not want to mess with it. It can also cause incontinence.

I hope this helps. Sorry it was so long!!!!

Carrie - posted on 05/29/2010

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wow! i think you've gotten some great advice...My only suggestion to you is that you stay consistent with whatever you choose to do. As with any other area in our child's life consistency is what gets the results...get your husband and parents and inlaws and your babysitters and your daycare providers on the same page with you by sharing with them what you are trying to do....I was a daycare provider for many years and I can tell you one of the most frustrating things for me was working with a child all week to use the potty and then have them come back the following monday with a pull-up on because mom and dad were too "busy" to keep up with the program. Also, remember it is called "potty training" for a reason ... you have to train them to use the potty. You can do it...we look forward to hearing of your success!!!

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Tielamwheeler - posted on 04/07/2014

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My daughter just flat out refuses to use the potty properly. I started training her at 18 months. By 2 I got her panties and stopped buying pullups. For OVER a year I was washing 3-5 pairs of pants A DAY trying to "stick with it." but her pants and panties were falling apart in the wash and she seemed no closer to using the potty instead of her pants. The feeling of being wet and poopy don't bother her at all, and I tried smarties and m&ms for encouragement and also taking away privileges and time outs for purposefully pottying her pants. Her daycare provider has tried to help as well, but no mater what we have tried she just doesn't WANT to use the potty. She knows how to do it and when she should, and doesn't go when we are out at the store or anything, but at home and especially at daycare she will just potty in her pants. After 3.5 I couldn't afford to keep buying new pants and washing over and over was so stressful I gave up and went back to pullups. She changes herself after going potty, and understands that babies use diapers not big girls but she just doesn't care. I asked her pediatrician about it and her pediatrician checked her for infections or anything that might medically be a problem and nothing came up. I have tried all of the tips and tricks suggested but its not working. It seems like the saying "you can bring a horse to water but cant make it drink" seems fitting for me. If anyone has any advice that hasn't already been offered that may help I would be so grateful. At this point I figure she will start using the potty appropriately when ready and there is nothing else I can do. Am I right in that mindset?

Carla - posted on 05/30/2010

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I forgot to say we have a hand-held Yahtzee that stays in the bathroom to 'entertain' the adults while occupied. It is only for the bathroom, it does not leave there. They liked being able to play the adult game while sitting on the potty. We also got a real cute pix of my grandson reading a magazine while sitting! Whatever they really like, if portable enough to go in the bathroom, use it! I was truly afraid I was going to have to go on my son's honeymoon with him to change his pants ;)

Elizabeth - posted on 05/29/2010

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This is going to sound a bit gross but trust me it worked with my youngest who didnt want to use the toilet because she had to leave what she was doing to do it. When she soiled herself I would leave her in it a little longer after she told me that way she would realise for herself that it was much more pleasent to be clean. Obviously not too long though. I also refered to people as being big because they did not wear a nappy. Try to discover why he is not using the toilet is he scared, does he like being so dependent . hope this helps

Robin - posted on 05/29/2010

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Does he like to sit and listen to music? If so, try playing his favorite music wherever ur training him. Its been many years since Ive used this method but it worked for many toddlers in my day. Good Luck!!!

Christine - posted on 05/29/2010

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Our son was almost 4 and refused to do his poos in a potty or the toilet, he wanted a nappy put on just to poo in. He was due to start Pre-school so we ressorted to bribery. Our son loves lights and has since he was a small baby, so we showed him a set of cherry lights that you can set so they flash in different patterns and said that if he did a poo in the toilet he could have the lights and we would string them up in his bedroom. He did his next poo in the toilet , got his lights and has never looked back!! Sometimes you just have to bribe them if all else fails!! Good luck!

Carla - posted on 05/29/2010

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Great advice, Tisha, I would add that you get a small stool and let him stand up to the toilet, like a big boy. My husband and son-in-law both took our grandson in and went together. They even played 'dueling streams' (I know, it's disgusting, but both seemed to enjoy it ;)).

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