WFMW - Potty Training Advice please


Alright, I’m quite excited about this weeks edition of Works for Me Wednesday as I am completely out of ideas on this subject. I don’t know what to do with my stubborn 4 year old. Yes, you read that right. He’s FOUR and he’s not potty trained. What I’ve tried:

1. Incentives such as but not limited to, chocolate, candy, new toys and Ninja Turtle Underwear.

2. Making him sit on the toilet for up to 40 minutes at a time while I read to him, hoping that something might come out.

3. His big brother has given him demonstrations on how to pee standing up. Big brother is his “bess fwend” so I really thought big brother’s encouragement might work.

He tells me as soon as he has pooped and lately when he has peed as well. He knows what the toilet is all about. I’ve dumped diaper contents in there and he loves to flush but he REFUSES to use it. He often tells me “Not working” when I sit him on there.
I have seen him stop peeing mid stream when I shouted at him as he was doing it on the carpet after bath one day. But when I proceeded to put him on the toilet for 20 minutes to finish the job, he wouldn’t. As soon as I put him back in his diaper he peed the rest out.



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17 Responses to “WFMW - Potty Training Advice please”

  1. Deb - Mom of 3 GirlsNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 9:39 am

    This sounds a lot like my WFMW post… Hannah is mostly potty trained though, but keeps wetting her pants at almost 5 years old.

    The only thing I can think of for you to maybe try is to take the diapers away all together… It would probably make for a stressful few days, but if he had no choice he might start using the potty.

    Good luck!! :)

  2. AmyNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 10:28 am

    My DD turned four in April, and was FINALLY around the same time… so I feel your pain. It seemed like she could care less if she was sitting in a wet diaper or pull=up. It was very frustrating.

    In the beginning, we’d sit her on the potty and do what my mother-in-law suggested…. make a game out of waiting for “tinkle noises” in the potty. We even made up songs (to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star… LOL!).

    I didn’t think we’d resort to bribes, but we did. She was begging for a toy from the dollar aisle at Target one day, so I told her we’d buy it, but she couldn’t have it until she stayed dry all day. It took a few days, but she earned it. Then I put a basket on top of the fridge and we filled it with dollar-store items, and for each day she stayed dry, she got to pick a “potty prize”. It finally worked… eventually she was getting a prize a day. So then we bought a few bigger prizes, and she had to stay dry a week for those. Then we just “ran out” of prizes.

    Good luck!

  3. HeatherNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 10:41 am

    Persistence. The other suggestions are very good. I worked on my now 3.5 yo boy for over 3 months to potty train him. He ran around naked in the house many many days, mostly because when I did dress him he would wet or soil himself. He has done his “business” all over the house — I cleaned up more messes than I care to remember. He was my hardest by far to get trained. He’s only been “fully trained” for about 4 days at this point. It will happen — just have to be persistent. We did the toy reward too — and if he made a mistake the newest toy had to go in “potty time out”. That way if he earned it, he could loose it too.

    Persistence is the name of this game.

  4. CeeNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 11:15 am

    Hi there

    My son was three when i finally got him trained. My trick which you may not want to do.. a mouse! We got him a mouse and a tiny cage one of those plastic cages that cost like $6 and we kept this mouse right next to the toilet and he was only able to see it you talk to it when he was using the potty. BAM! It worked… then we let the mouse go in a field!!!

    Good Luck


  5. MarieNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 11:18 am

    OMG I have so been there! And under the mouth-breathing of in-laws who believe that if a child is not PT’d by 18 months they must be retarded, I kid you not!

    Max didn’t potty train until just before he turned four.I had read every magazine article and interent tip and tried them all. Bribery, cute underwear, potty parties, whatever. Then it was time to move from FL to NM by way of CA. We decided to be happy he wasn’t PT’d because it meant very few stops on a very long drive. Basically we backed off entirely and actually encouraged him to go in the pants.

    When we got to our new place in NM, he was fed up with pants and has been fully PT’d ever since. My 2 year old, seeing this, followed suit and PT’d herself.

  6. SAHMmy SaysNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 11:58 am

    Loving the mouse idea! Wish I’d thought of it! Review your son’s diet–more fiber and whole foods, less sugar and processed stuff. Track when he poops for a week, noting the time and what he was doing (car ride? nap? just after eating?) When you have a feel for when he might go, sit him on the potty (you already do this, but with the data you’ve collected now you may hit on the right time.) You have to be really brave to switch to underwear–at some point you’ll be ready to jump in. I let my son know that pooped-in underwear would be cut off (so you don’t have to slide everything down his legs, frosting him with poop) and thrown away. Then I followed through. After a few favorites got thrown out, he got the point. Good luck! Potty training is a nasty stage!

  7. MelissaNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 12:35 pm

    I have to echo the persistance… for me it was more training myself to take my son every hour for that first little while. And I got rid of every diaper so that it just wasn’t an option. Good luck… potty training is never any fun!

  8. TracyMicheleNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 12:35 pm

    I haven’t been in your shoes but I thought I would throw out some ideas….

    1) Get the toilet drop-in cleaners that turn and keep the water blue. Show him how if he pees, it turns green.
    2) Drop some cheerios in the bowl and see if he can aim and hit them.
    3) Throw out the diapers. Graduate to big boy pants and use pull-ups at night time. If there are no diapers in the house, maybe he won’t be inclined to hold it?

    I dunno. I’m probably giving poor advice because I haven’t dealt with this issue but I thought you needed some support. :) Keep us posted.

  9. Not the QueenNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 1:48 pm

    The mouse is a great idea!
    Be consistent, not matter what you choose to do.
    We bought a special potty for our daughter and left it in the kitchen. I put her on it every hour for a few days, just in case she had to go. Once she got used to peeing in it on accident, she started doing so on purpose. After getting used to the special potty, we put the seat part on the big toilet. It worked for us. That and the candy.
    Good luck!

  10. MelindaNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 2:16 pm

    My idea was plastic pants over training pants. My ds hated them! The plastic pants went off when he used the potty and was dry and back on when he had an “accident” (read: when he didn’t want to take time to use the potty!). Also, be sure your child’s diet does include plenty of fiber. My 3yo was very constipated because he just didn’t want to take the time to go. It was a very unpleasant time.

  11. SandraNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 3:23 pm

    try dressing him the pants under his diaper. it will get really sticky and disgusting feeling if he pees or whatever in it, might serve as an incentive not to do it.
    i also agree that completely remove the diapers and letting him know they are not coming back ever again because he is a big boy now might be even better

    oh btw, i’ve never pottytrained a kid, i got these tips at rocks in my dryer in the comments section of the posts shannon wrote when she started pottytraining her youngest.
    good luck and god’s speed

  12. chrissyNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 3:47 pm

    Don’t make him sit on the toilet. It just sets up a control battle you can’t win.

    I usually would say things like, “It’s time to go potty, do you want to go first or can I?” and many times the answer would be “ME FIRST!!!”

    I recommend that you “run out” of diapers and make him wear the big boy underwear. That way he experiences the natural consequences of peeing in his pants. Unfortunately, so do you, but just tell yourself this too shall pass. Just accept that you will need to bring a change of clothes and wipes everywhere you go for a few weeks, but don’t let him have the choice of wearing a diaper or he will choose it (except at night, of course).

    Good luck!

  13. RebekahNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 4:14 pm

    Okay, this is probably not very politically correct, but does he have any older friends or cousins that he plays with? Dress him without the diaper and then have him play with them for a few days. Probably the negative reinforcement he will get from them will encourage him to use the bathroom. It sounds like he knows when he needs to go, but just doesn’t want to.

    And GET RID OF THE DIAPERS! We just put our daughter in panties, and she was potty trained in no time. My son went to pre-school, so he wore diapers/pull-ups and was much harder to potty train.

    It sounds harsh to use other kids (don’t ask them to say anything to him or anything), but our parents did it with us, and we turned out alright.

  14. MelissaNo Gravatar on October 3rd, 2007 5:02 pm

    My son was a bit stubborn about the potty training. He didnt have a problem with going pee, but refused to go poop. I did two things that helped once it got ridiculous after he would get himself all constipated and then he was scared to go.

    1) his most favorite possession in the world are his blankets. Once I KNEW that he was able to go potty and knew when he needed to go but was just being lazy or stubborn and going in his pants (no diapers, just underwear, with pullups over underwear at night time), whenever he would poop or pee in his underwear I would take away his blankets until he had a successful trip to the potty. So if he pooped in his underwear, no blankets until he pooped in the potty. This got his attention

    2) Since he didnt want to poop on the potty he would hold it in and wait… sometime days, and then it would be bad cause the poor kid was so backed up. So, I talked to some doctors I work with and they said it was ok to give him some Milk of Magnesia, about a tablespoon every day to keep things “flowing”. So I bought some, and double checked with the pharmacist on the dosage and came home and announced that every morning we would have our poop medicine. I got the cherry flavored kind so they loved it and basically my son could no longer just hold it in. It didnt give him diarrhea, but when he had to go HE HAD TO GO NOW. He only had two accidents where he preferred to continue playing outside at daycare rather than go inside and poop. Both times I took blankets away and he got them back the next day when he pooped on the potty.

    It took less than a week I think for him to be totally PT’d after this. I kept up the poop medicine for a few months just for back up incase he reverted to being lazy again.

    It worked for me!

  15. PamNo Gravatar on October 4th, 2007 9:07 am

    Ben had a hard time. I discussed it with my mother-in-law and she suggested he may have a milk allergy. I took him off milk and he was using the potty within 24-48 hours. There could be an underlying cause.

    Verbally reward his efforts no matter how small. When he tells you he has gone poo or pee, tell him how great that is.

    Now that I am out about being a stalker, maybe I’ll comment with my real name.

    Love, Pam

  16. AndreaNo Gravatar on October 4th, 2007 9:07 pm

    I’m totally going through the same thing with my 3 1/2 year old boy, so while I don’t have any advice for you, I can feel your pain!! And I think a lot of these ideas are worth trying - I think I’ll grab a few myself! Good luck!

  17. xboxwifeNo Gravatar on October 5th, 2007 2:40 pm

    One of our children needed complete total privacy to the point of pulling the shower curtain close to the commode and then wrapping it around to form a curtain around the commode. It was crazy, but it worked!

    Good luck!

    Mrs. Brownstone @ XBOX Wife

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