Potty training my 3 year old son, am I close?

Brittanie - posted on 10/26/2015 ( 7 moms have responded )

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My son is 3 and is indifferent about potty training. We have changed from diapers to pull ups and are just starting only underpants at home. He will go to the potty if I take him, but he will not tell me when he has to go. If he is in a pull up he won't tell me when he is wet unless he is REALLY wet but he will tell me when he poops. Although it's more of just alerting me to the problem rather than asking me to change him. I have a potty timer app that reminds me to take him every 45 minutes and that helps cut down on accidents but he isn't interested in going by himself without me making him go. Am I close to a breakthrough or am I pushing too much?

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Sarah - posted on 10/26/2015

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Toddlers don't have control over much. What they can control is what they eat and where they toilet. If you really push, he may resist even harder. Let him lead you, and you follow with praise, rewards and encouragement. He will train, I promise, he will train as soon as he knows it is up to him to do it! Good luck!

ETA: James was my first so I was very sensitive to the eye rolls and the comments like "he is really still in diapers" from my family and my friends whose kids were trained at two! I felt like a failure. Then I saw my son fail at holding his urine and the dismay on his face....that is all it took for me to stand up to my parents, my sisters and friends and say "no he is not trained yet, and yes he is three years and 3 months, no I am not worried" Once I took the pressure off both of us, he did it all on his own. Relax, both of you need to relax. Tell him the potty is here for him when he is ready and when he has a success make a huge deal out of it! The mistakes; blow those off, "oh well well all make mistakes and have accidents, just today mommy spilled her coffee"

Sarah - posted on 10/26/2015

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When my first was 3 years and 2 months, my sisters decided over a Christmas visit to try to potty train him. Until then he just was not interested. I already had my second baby and was busy with her as well. They got Cheerios to float in the potty, stickers, M&Ms and set timers and talked about big boy underpants etc. After about 36 hours of everyone doing nothing but pushing my son to use the toilet I put my foot down and said, no more. I threw everything away and made the awkward announcement that I was his mother and I would decide the potty training plan. I knew my sisters only wanted to help (neither were mothers at the time) but I had to trust my gut. He just was not ready. Why? Who knows? What I do know is three months later he trained in one day! Poop, pee, day and night. He simply said, "OK I will use the potty". I tell this story to let you know that it will happen and unless you have pressure from daycare or preschool, maybe take a break and let him lead. Yes my first son did not train until he was 3 1/2! He's 19 now and you'd never know by looking at him that he was late to the potty. There are so many other things to enjoy and work on, this is just not a battle I chose to win. I am glad I let him lead, it took all of the stress out the the situation. I knew in my heart he would not head off to kindergarten in diapers!

Ev - posted on 10/26/2015

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It is normal for 3 year olds to sit and play or be occupied to the point that they just do not get up and go. My daughter was a stubborn one who knew fully she had to go but would instead sit and play. Just keep doing what you are doing and he will get it. My son was 3.5 years of age when he finally fully trained. He took longer not because of being stubborn but it was a slow process. He would go sit on the regular toilet because he hated the pottty chair. I finally taught him to stand to pee because he was above average height for one for his age and two he loved it better than sitting. As for the BM, we went to meet sis at the bus and he saw cow plops in the field as we walked by. He said "ewwww". I replied, "they should have used the toilet huh?" He said yes. When we got back to the house that started him pooing in the potty like he should. Strange but true. Since you waited to start training to six weeks or so ago, that is not much time. Some kids need more than a few weeks to get it and others do not. Just take your cues from him.

Ev - posted on 10/26/2015

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All you can do at this point is keep on taking him to the potty, use the cloth underwear, and if you "discover the accidents" then just take him potty and clean up and go on with the day. You did not say how long ago that you started this so if it was not too long ago , it may not have been enough time for him to get it all down. Kids urinary and bowel systems are still in development up to three and even four years of age. Most are trained by three but a few do not make it until four. It just depends on when the child is really ready and he sounds like he is in the ball park. Potty training does not happen over night like a lot of people make it sound. Each child is different and so they will train in their own time.

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Brittanie - posted on 10/26/2015

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Thanks, that is what I have been saying to my mom and anyone else that feels the need to push me about potty training him. One day he will be potty trained and it will be fine, until then I am the one changing him so just don't worry about it. But just a few minutes ago he came in and told me that he had to pee pee about two minutes before the potty timer went off!! Maybe we are on the right track!! I will keep in mind that this might be a fluke and make sure to still be very patient. Thank you ladies for your advice. This is such a difficult time when it comes to raising kids because each and every one is different and you never know when your's will be ready.

Brittanie - posted on 10/26/2015

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We have been working on potty training longer than 6 weeks but I decided 6 weeks ago to no longer buy diapers (I told my son that he was a big boy and diapers are for babies) But I have been working on potty training for MUCH longer than that. Only recently with the potty timer and switching to only pull ups have I felt like we are getting anywhere with it. But I wasn't sure if he was learning to go or just relying on me to take him. My mom has been pushing for a while about potty training him and she says he isn't potty trained because of my inconsistency. My son is very smart and has been ahead on all developmental milestones except for this one.

Brittanie - posted on 10/26/2015

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Thanks for responding. We have been doing only pull ups for about 6 weeks as well as the potty timer (although we just had a 3 week vacation and I did not stick to it very well). I just decided today to switch to only cloth underpants at home but I wanted to get an opinion on his development with potty training before I really pushed the subject with him. I talked with him this morning (AGAIN) about making sure to tell me when he has to go pee pee or poo poo and that he can only go in the potty not in his underpants. He seems to understand what I am saying and can repeat back to me at any time that pee pee and poo poo go in the potty, so he knows where it is suppose to go, it just seems like he doesn't want to stop playing or watching tv or whatever he is doing in that moment, to get up and go potty. I don't want to keep pushing if he isn't ready but I'm really hoping that what I am seeing are signs that he is close. He will be 3 and a half in about a week and my husband and I really want to put him in a good preschool but we can't unless he is fully potty trained.

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