How do you potty train an almost 4 yr old who just won't use the potty no matter the incentive?

Shawna - posted on 01/05/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )

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He has Scooby, Spiderman and Batman underwear, he had toys he specifically chose which were offered for using the potty for an entire day. He has had stickers with special posters, candy, and now even a puppy or gerbil offered if he will start using the potty. He has been home with just me for almost a year now, and I think it would help if he were around other kids who is the potty (but who knows). He is an only child and likes being a baby. He was told he will always be our baby even when he wears underwear. He might wear underwear for one, or once two, visits to the potty. But then he doesn't want them anymore. We tried pull-ups, he treated them like a diaper. He will wear the diaper until it is leaking and still not care, so the wet feel of pull-ups doesn't phase him. And he is in no hurry to let you change a stinky diaper. They say wait until he is ready. But he is tall kid and I feel foolish putting a diaper on him. I've tried letting him run around naked, because he likes to take all of his clothes off to use the potty. But just yesterday he peed on the carpet and then I asked if he had any more and wanted to use the potty and he said no. I asked again a short while later because it looked like he had to go and he again said no. Then after a bit he starts peeing on the floor again...a lot. What can I do? I am so tired of the diapers thing.

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Susan - posted on 01/07/2011

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honey ur husband needs to take him to the bathroom and show him how big guys do it and when hes home needs to keep it up taking him to the bathroom and i no its hard but let him no hes not a baby anymore hes a big boy and big boys go to the bathroom and dont wear diapers. im not slamming anyone for how they treat thr kids but im a single widowed mom and had to figure out different techniques that would work and my 2 babies r big boys now

Franny - posted on 01/05/2011

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Hmmm... this is a tough one. It sounds like you are trying all the incentives. our daughter knew how to use the potty, and did it successfully at 18 months. but then she never....used it. she opted to just go in her diaper (or panties). for more than a year - past her third b-day - she would only randomly use it, like maybe once a week, if that. by 3 we were starting to get desperate - i read on some blog about someone using candy and even though i hated the idea at first - well, after a few more weeks of big-kid diaper changes (uck) i was ready to try anything. she had just had marshmallows for the first time at auntie's house, and so i told her she would get a marshmallow (the mini kind!) everytime she used the potty. that worked! after a few weeks we showed her that the mms were almost gone, and that once they were gone there wouldn't be any more, and that was fine.
but if incentives and positive reinforcement aren't working - well, it sounds like the one thing you haven't done is tell him that it is no longer acceptable for him to not use the potty. my daughter used to laugh when she had "accidents", except her accidents were usually the result of her not wanting to bother making the trip to the bathroom. she thought this was funny. we had to stress the negative in these instances - that we were disappointed and unhappy when she had accidents. it was happening once every couple of days or so, even at care (and in one embarassing hectic moment, christmas shopping at target!) we had to tell her that these accidents were not OK and we put on very straight faces and frowned when we talked about it (always at a calm time, when she was not sleepy or hungry and would be able to listen to us). we didn't really use consequences, and I don't know what consequences would be appropriate in that case, but when she realized we took it seriously and did not see using the potty as "optional" any more, the accidents stopped. now she is starting to resist putting a diaper on at night, saying she is big enough to just wear panties to bed. so she wants out of diapers herself- finally.
i feel for you - this is so frustrating! i hope you can figure it out!

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