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3 yo still in diapers, help me undestand - Page 2

post #21 of 201
My son started using the potty when he was about 18 months old, and I also have been occasionally babysitting 3-year-olds who still use diapers.

At the risk of inviting much displeasure (and knowing that my experience is unusual in our culture) I have to say that it seems that kids potty-learn much later these days then they used to. A day care provider I know who's been doing for 20 years says that kids start using the potty a year or two later than they did even 10 years ago--she blames disposable diapers and especially pull-ups, because they are so absorbent the kid can't really feel the 'outcome' of what they just did. Another problem is the day care environment--providers just aren't, in most cases, going to work on potty training because diapers are a lot easier that dealing with 'accidents'--and then when mom and dad come home from work, they are ALSO too tired to deal with accidents--so the diapers stay on.

A HUGE light went on when I understood the principles of EC, which I did use with my son to help him get out of diapers. (I didn't read about it in time to do it earlier.) The big one is that we *teach* kids to pee and poop in diapers--it's not just a natural thing that happens with all kids everywhere. There are millions of people in the world who do not use diapers--huge parts of India and China are an example. There kids learn to pee or poop in the appropriate spot from a very young age; baby clothes are often like long open shirts so they can just be lifted up--kids are naked underneath. The idea that kids muscles or whatever are not physicially capable of holding it before age 2 or so is just a myth, one that we value very much in our society. In societies without diapers, you learn one way of going from the time you are a baby--you don't have to suddenly make this huge conceptual leap from peeing/pooping wherever you happen to be standing or sitting (which is how it works with diapers) to going in the 'right' place in the house.

So--the reason potty training can be so hard is that we have to teach kids to poop and pee in a TOTALLY different way than we have been teaching them to go until that time. It's just a weird thing to do--like if we taught kids to eat at the table sitting down until suddenly, at age 2 we started telling them that really you are supposed to eat standing up outside. Kids who just seem to suddenly 'get it' have LEARNED to do it by watching other people--there isn't anything in a child's brain that suddenly says "Use the toilet" at a particular stage of development. (After all, no one had flush toilets until around 1900.)

I think most kids really do have to be taught to use the toilet, and yeah, I do think that a big reason so many kids train so late these days in the U.S. is because of this idea that they will do it when they're "ready" and because parents don't push it. This idea is very popular in AP circles partly because there WAS a horrible time in the U.S. when kids were expected to poop on a strict schedule (I have read baby care books from the 1940s that say to TIE THE CHILD TO THE POTTY AND LEAVE THEM THERE at specific hours of the day!!) and obviously that's not what I'm talking about.

But I personally think we have gone too far in the other direction and because of our fear of making our kids neurotic, have instead 3 and 4-year-olds who still poop in their pants--something that would be unheard of in many parts of the world. (and unheard of in 'tribal' societies like those APers like to emulate...)

Using a toilet is unnatural in many ways. (When they were first introduced, plenty of people thought it was very bizarre and unsanitary to poop inside your house.) Sitting down to poop is not the way people do it when they don't have toilets. The kid who goes outside to poop, who squats down on the ground, is behaving in a really natural, organic way!!

I don't know what the answer is, but I think that yes, there is something weird about a 3-year-old who still poops in his or her pants. But I don't think it is the fault of the individual parent (I think few parents of non-trained 3-year olds are happy about it)--I think it is a cultural thing we have going right now. So much of infant-rearing is based in culture, not biology--everything from sleeping arrangements to BF rates to how many people take care of the child. (For instance, I bet potty learning is a lot easier in an environment where more than one adult is primarily responsible for the kids). How kids learn to poop and pee is just a part of this.
post #22 of 201
There is always such harsh judgement on threads like these. Sometimes it's really subtle, but it's definitely there... the idea that it's "weird", "wrong" or "bad" if a child who is of the average age to PL is still PLing!
But I bet if someone had a child who was 6+ and having problems everyone would be very sympathetic and not think it was "Weird" and "bad"

My DD didn't have a bit of interest until about a week after her third birthday. Then she PL'd herself (pee) in a day. Poop took another two weeks. She's had one accident and so long as we wake her up once to use the potty at night, she has a dry bed 90-95% of the time. Although I personally think we're pushing the dry bed a little since we can't really expect that to follow immediately, kwim? That's much harder. So she has padding under her sheet just in case.
In reality she's only been using the potty since mid-August, so like... a month.
post #23 of 201
My son didn't train until 3yrs 8 mos -- what's that, 43, 44 mos?

My experience with him led me to a certain mantra:

You can lie down with them - but you can't make them sleep.
You can put food in front of them - but you can't make them eat.
You can put them on the potty - but you can't make them poop.

In other words, you can show them what YOU want them to do, but you cannot FORCE them to biological actions just because YOU want them to.

My son, it became clear, had a number of gross motor issues that were part of his potty delay. We got referred to a neurologist. I got every speech in the book, many from random strangers -- "watch for 'poop face' and put him on then," "try putting him on every 30 minutes...." Well, he never made 'poop face,' probably because he really had no idea of what was going on down there for the longest time. He could clamp down and hold, but he could *not* release of his own accord. And all the pressure on *me* led to some bad, bad places and power struggles.

When it clicked for him, it clicked overnight. He had maybe three accidents after the day he firstsat down on the potty and went.

When it came to his little sister, I determined to relax and not get stressed. When she showed interest, we got a little potty chair. She had free access to teh bathroom, and knew what was supposed to go on in there. We talked up using the potty and how fun it was to wear big girl underwear. ANd she decided at 3 years 1 mo that it was time. ANd she's had 2 accidents since then, both near misses and trouble undoing clothes. Yeah, "late" according to the definitions of several on this thread, but stress free for us both. We didn't leave it entirely to her - we let her know what the potty was, what it was for, and that we expected her to use it.

But you cannot *make* a child release wastes when and where you want. You can encourage them to *want* to do so, but that's a very different thing. Yes, later training may be a cultural thing - but different cultures have different approaches to it - and there are many things about American culture that make some of the early PL approaches not feasible for *most* people in this country - work schedules, childcare issues, the fact that we spend much of our days indoors on carpet...

One thing I'll say about the OP, though -- kids can pick up on being judged. And it doesn't help. Being judged and shamed will not make a child decide to start using the potty. I sometimes thing every stranger that made a comment to my son extended the time he stayed in diapers based on his reaction to their judgement.
post #24 of 201
It's really very common. Especially in boys. Irritating though, isn't it.

I wont wipe a child's bottom after about 4 &1/2. It makes me very uncomfortable. I have had six year olds ask me to wipe them.

Give him time, and slowly encourage him to be potty trained when he is ready.

BUT beware.... if you don't have boys in your house... BOYS ARE PIGS when they first learn. That little thing can squirt farther than you ever dreamed!!! You can hold it down, they can hold it down, and still it squirts UP. You will be amazed at where you will find pee.

So, don't encourage too hard.
post #25 of 201
I seem to have a different View of this subject. I have 3 boys and all were introduced to the potty from birth and I used cloth diapers. All of them were PL'ed at 23 mos but still wetting at night occasionaly. I think parents in our scociety teach their babies and toddlers to use their diapers as a potty and then wait for readyness and then begin changing behaivior by talking about potty and visiting the potty. I think this is the problem. I personally am uneasy when I see a 3 year old in a diaper. They should at least be able to pee in the potty or outside by this age and out of diapers. Underwear are not much harder to change if poop happens adn it sends the child a clear lesson. I would talk to the parents and say can you please bring a stack of underwear with the little boy because he may surprise them.
post #26 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2 View Post
At the risk of inviting much displeasure (and knowing that my experience is unusual in our culture) I have to say that it seems that kids potty-learn much later these days then they used to. A day care provider I know who's been doing for 20 years says that kids start using the potty a year or two later than they did even 10 years ago--she blames disposable diapers and especially pull-ups, because they are so absorbent the kid can't really feel the 'outcome' of what they just did.
That I totally agree with. I can potty train a cloth diapered child much faster than a disposable diapered child. The newer diapers are comfey even if they are wet.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2 View Post
Another problem is the day care environment--providers just aren't, in most cases, going to work on potty training because diapers are a lot easier that dealing with 'accidents'--and then when mom and dad come home from work, they are ALSO too tired to deal with accidents--so the diapers stay on.
I agree a LITTLE with this. I am willing to work with a child as long as his/her parents are working on it at home. But, sometimes we providers feel like it is only getting done at day care. I will send a child home in panties, only to have them come back in pullups. Or even worse, I will have them in undies, and before the parent leaves, they will put a diaper on the child.

So, in those cases I don't try so hard. But, eventually I will decide "I have changed your last diaper kiddo, you are potty trained as of today" and then we will switch to panties, and I won't put a diaper back on them again.

BUT, those kids are always ready. I already know that it will be successful before I say that.
post #27 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleteapot View Post
There is always such harsh judgement on threads like these. Sometimes it's really subtle, but it's definitely there... the idea that it's "weird", "wrong" or "bad" if a child who is of the average age to PL is still PLing!
But I bet if someone had a child who was 6+ and having problems everyone would be very sympathetic and not think it was "Weird" and "bad"


As the mother of an almost-4yo who still wears diapers about half the time, I can tell you I certainly feel judged and defensive when reading threads like this.
post #28 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
No child is going to wake up one day and decide to use the toilet. I really don't understand why parents would put that kind of responsibility on a child, anyways.
I disagree, plenty of children decide for themselves one day that they don't like wearing diapers anymore, or they see other children using the toilet and decide they want to do that too. I've seen it over and over with children I've nannied for, and just like every child will decide one day that it is time for them to stop nursing they will also decide when they want to stop wearing diapers if you can bear to wait long enough to allow them to.

This is not to say that we shouldn't encourage children if they seem ready however, just that no child will willingly go to college wearing diapers even if you never do anything about it.
post #29 of 201
I just want to say that I REALLY liked Fuller2's post.
post #30 of 201
My son is 37 months and he has shown intermittent interest in the potty but mostly he insists on wearing a diaper. he refuses any suggestions or direction from me so I just stay in the background and cheer on his sporadic efforts. He has just started preschool where they don't demand that the kids be out of diapers and it is their experience that there are always a number of the under four year olds still use diapers. They say that usually within a few months of school starting and watching other kids their age use the potty, they are ready to do it. This is not unusual, especially for boys. I'm glad you reached out for a reality check since this wasn't within your experience.
post #31 of 201
my daughter is 33 months old and doesn't really show any sign giving up her diapers. she has clear potty readiness signs, but is rather unwilling to "do the deed" as it were. it bothers me (mainly because she has FOUL poos), but i don't want her to fear her bodily functions.
what appears to be happening with k: she is stubborn. since she was in the WOMB, everything has had to be her way, HER idea before it's worth doing. i imagine, one day, after we all give up asking her about the potty and talking about it, she'll do it, no fuss, no muss, because, only then, will it be entirely her idea.
post #32 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2 View Post

A day care provider I know who's been doing for 20 years says that kids start using the potty a year or two later than they did even 10 years ago--she blames disposable diapers and especially pull-ups, because they are so absorbent the kid can't really feel the 'outcome' of what they just did. Another problem is the day care environment--providers just aren't, in most cases, going to work on potty training because diapers are a lot easier that dealing with 'accidents'--and then when mom and dad come home from work, they are ALSO too tired to deal with accidents--so the diapers stay on.
Well that broad generalization doesn't apply to my son who wears cloth diapers and doesn't go to day care.


Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2 View Post
This idea is very popular in AP circles partly because there WAS a horrible time in the U.S. when kids were expected to poop on a strict schedule (I have read baby care books from the 1940s that say to TIE THE CHILD TO THE POTTY AND LEAVE THEM THERE at specific hours of the day!!) and obviously that's not what I'm talking about.
That is what I would HAVE to do to get my child to use the potty regularly and of course I think it is counterproductive to how I want to raise my very stubborn son. Oh, and I would have to wrestle him to get him there.



Quote:
Originally Posted by fuller2 View Post
I don't know what the answer is, but I think that yes, there is something weird about a 3-year-old who still poops in his or her pants. But I don't think it is the fault of the individual parent (I think few parents of non-trained 3-year olds are happy about it)--I think it is a cultural thing we have going right now. So much of infant-rearing is based in culture, not biology--everything from sleeping arrangements to BF rates to how many people take care of the child. (For instance, I bet potty learning is a lot easier in an environment where more than one adult is primarily responsible for the kids). How kids learn to poop and pee is just a part of this.

Sorry, I just don't agree that it is weird. Kids learn to walk, talk, read, etc. at all different ages depending on some balance between their nature and their environment. Why is this any different?

Sure a lot of child rearing decisions are cultural, but that doesn't make it right or wrong in the case of using EC or letting your child take things at a pace that works best for him. Just because it worked for you doesn't mean it would work for everybody. I have provided as much encouragement and structure as my child will allow, but at 37 months he still uses the potty only a few days each week and continues to have accidents.
post #33 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by witchbaby View Post
my daughter is 33 months old and doesn't really show any sign giving up her diapers. she has clear potty readiness signs, but is rather unwilling to "do the deed" as it were. it bothers me (mainly because she has FOUL poos), but i don't want her to fear her bodily functions.
what appears to be happening with k: she is stubborn. since she was in the WOMB, everything has had to be her way, HER idea before it's worth doing. i imagine, one day, after we all give up asking her about the potty and talking about it, she'll do it, no fuss, no muss, because, only then, will it be entirely her idea.
You have described my son exactly!! Well except for the really foul poos...
post #34 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
If a child is truly not interested, there is not much one can do, IMO. My ds is 5 and today he used a toilet for poop for the third time in his life, the last time being over a year ago. He is not comfortable with the sitting position and prefers to stand with a diaper. He has not routinely worn diapers since he was 2 1/2. He tells me when he needs one for poop and I put one on at that time. I think that our relationship is more important than toilet training and would rather not coerce, manipulate, or bribe him (not that it would even be possible to bribe him. There is nothing he wants more than what he wants).
I hope you know, I think you're awesome! : This reminds me so much of how Joe was. He was 3 years nine months- no, I think he weaned at 3.9, & potty learned at 4.5. Yep, that's right. (How funny that I had to think about it, when he was that age & people were implying he would never be out of pullups, I thought I would never forget the date of such a "milestone!") Anyway, Joe had a phobia of pooping on the potty- he would go in the playroom, alone, lean on the bed, & poop in his pullup. So I knew he could tell when he had to go, & I also knew that when he was ready, he would move to the toilet- & he did!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MamaInTheBoonies View Post
No child is going to wake up one day and decide to use the toilet.
Mine did. & personally I think sitting a kid on the toilet before he is ready (like as soon as he can get up on it, as you said) is asking more of them than trusting them to KNOW when they are ready to make the transition. I know so many of the kids who are trained early have "accidents" for a year or more. I think if a kid has more than one accident every week or so, he is not really trained- his parents are- & not very well, at that. After Joe decided he was ready to wear underwear, he peed his pants ONCE, the first day. That was it, in his whole life. He never pooped his pants & he never peed the bed- ever. I don't know of any other child who has never peed the bed. (Not saying they don't exist, just that I have never known of one! ) If I could do it over I would not change a thing!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sylith View Post


As the mother of an almost-4yo who still wears diapers about half the time, I can tell you I certainly feel judged and defensive when reading threads like this.
Don't feel judged. Just know that you are doing what you know is best for your son, & know that one day he will be almost 8 years old & you will really have to think hard to remember how old he was when he was out of diapers! It'll happen mama!
post #35 of 201
I've been thinking about my use of the word 'weird' before. I think I mean it like this: I certainly don't think it's UNUSUAL for a 3-year-old to be pooping in their pants these days--so in that sense, no, it's not weird at all. (I think the OP and others here are looking for reassurance that their kids aren't the only ones who do it. It's obvious that they are not the only ones!)

On the other hand, when you compare what happens here with what happens in other societies (or even ours 30 years ago), then yes, it is unusual for a 3-year-old to not be potty trained. I remember reading some article about Jane Fonda (?) or someone protesting over in Vietnam with her kid who was I think about 2 years old, and a local woman there with whom they were staying being apalled at the fact that her kid still was in diapers. Apparently this woman got him with the program very quickly and he was totally trained before they went back to the states.

The comment about carpets was interesting too--how much of late potty training has to do with exactly things like that--the actual physical environment we live in? People who live without diapers tend to be in warm places where kids can easily be naked, or else in the country where they can spend the whole day outside. (Hmm--how do native people living in cold climates like northern Canada or Alaska potty train their kids?)

After reading the EC books (Infant Potty Training being one of them) it seemed to clear to me that the way we go about it is deeply, deeply cultural--and that many of our deepest assumptions about it are just not true. (ECers often go farther and say that to teach a child to poop in their pants at all is abusive. I don't know about that--when everyone does it, and no community standards are broken, is it abusive? It's similar to the BF debates. If you formula feed in a loving way because no one helped you BF, is that abusive?)

When you have learned to do something as everyday as pooping and peeing in a certain way, it is going to take a LOT to get you to change. Just arbitrarily changing the location and position has to seem totally weird to a toddler. I think by 3 a kid who has learned to poop in his/her pants is old enough to just not change until they want to change--which is what a lot of you are probably seeing when they suddenly decide to use the toilet. There must be some sense of social awareness that kicks in, some ability to see that other people don't do this in the same way they do, and that they would like to be with the others.

So I bet it has very little to do with muscles and a lot to do with the ability to pick up social cues and recognize what the rest of the group is doing. If it's true that girls are a lot better at social skills than boys, then I bet this is why boys seem to train later than girls do. (Whether they ACTUALLY train later is probably up for grabs, since that kind of gender-based observation is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. I have heard, though, that when men care for small children that boys learn faster. My son has always spent a lot of time with his dad, even as a baby. This is another difference in our society--here, men spend almost no time with small children, but this is not the case in nonindustrial societies where the men ALSO spend most of the day home or with the family group.)

Anyway. To clarify: In our society, no, a 3-year-old who poops in their pants is not weird. And at that point I would say that you are going to be about as able to 'force' them to use the toilet as you would be to force them to sleep in the bathtub--and that it makes sense to just let them do it when they're gonna do it. But I also think that it might be very interesting if everyone just ditched the diapers at about 3 months and took it from there--I bet you would see very few 3-year-olds pooping in their pants.
post #36 of 201
Fuller2,
I agree with the basics of what you are saying: if we all practiced EC hard and fast from the beginning, obviously we wouldn't have as many 3 year olds in diapers. I think that much is obvious. If we all practiced baby sign we'd have more babies who could use sign language, too.

What I hate seeing in these threads is how that tends to get a little twisted.
It's all well and good that MomA did EC from birth and her kid is saying "potty" before she says "mama", but what about MomB, and MomC, and the other 50% whose kids make up the other side of the average learning age in this culture? They are feeling pressured and upset at the notion that their children are somehow naturally defective, when in reality the issue may just be that they did not have the knowledge/ability/foresight/whatever to use EC three years ago.
How does this dialogue help them when OP's are starting threads trying to find reassurance that their kids are still normal?
How does turning one's nose up at these kids, sneering at the very idea that they are diapered, or going as far as to insult them or their parents... going to help? Is this AP? I'm not asking you directly, fuller, just a general question to the masses.

My DD is now potty learned, and I know full well she had the ability and knowledge to do it by 18 months but as you said there is no way you can force your child to do anything. Aside from the logistics, that's not very child-friendly, is it? And since I didn't start EC with her early on, I'm sure I could have tied her to a chair or forced her to soil herself time and time again and feel shamed or embarrassed just so I could have bragging rights, but I'd much rather go through the absolute horror of wiping a three year old bum.

EC is a learning process, so maybe instead of flinging out how incredibly weird the other 50% of children are, people could offer some suggestions to those who are seeking some kinship?



Hi, my name is Babs and I didn't practice EC. My hard-headed daughter knew her body's signals from early on and responded to them, but did not choose to use the actual potty until she was three and quite literally DID wake up one morning suddenly potty learned.
With the baby I'm about to have, I plan to EC, and if that child is fully potty learned at 14 months (or 20 months, or 30 months...) old I wouldn't feel either of them were 'ahead' nor 'behind' but rather a product of their upbringing, personalities, my responsiveness mixed in with a bit of respect to their individuality.
post #37 of 201
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kerry View Post
I just want to say that I REALLY liked Fuller2's post.
Me too.
post #38 of 201
My very bright dd was 5 years old before she ever used a toilet. Shortly after her birthday, she just decided to do it and within 1 month was in underwear day and night with no accidents.
I wasn't happy about using diapers or pull ups. I devoted a lot of time and energy and feel we tried everything though. Dd never ever gave any cues on when she was pooping or peeing. No grimaces, squating, or dancing around. Dd did not seem to mind if she sat in poop or pee all day or if it ran down her leg when she was naked. We tried motivation of all kinds. Nothing worked. It was incredibly frustrating and there was a lot of judgement from other adults. It had become a power struggle. She just wasn't ready and I think may have some issues with dairy that contributed to the problem. Dh was a late potty trainer too and MIL always tells me how much they are alike.

A 3 year old not being potty trained is not really abnormal in this culture these days even if your dd learned earlier. I don't know how you can get over your uncomfortable feelings. Maybe just repeat in your head each time that "each child is different and at least he isn't 5 like onlyzombiecat's dd". Feel better?
post #39 of 201
My four year old was nearly three before she caved and started going in the potty. She would freak out if you asked if she needed to go, wanted to wear panties, etc. etc. I finally realized that the root cause of her issue wasn't unwillingness to learn or readiness. There was another mom that we see fairly often (at the park, etc. - a casual acquaintance who's never watched my child or anything like that) who was really really pushing her little girl (about the same age) to potty train, and was constantly nagging her to keep her panties dry, tell Mommy when you need to go potty, etc. One day, at a playgroup, the little girl had an accident, and her mom stripped off her pants and undies right there in the middle of the play area at the mall, put dry clothes on her, and snapped at her to keep those dry. Turns out, MY daughter was terrified I'd humiliate her like that, and her refusal to learn had to do with using the same language that mom used. As soon as I started saying "underwear" and "bathroom" instead of "panties" and "potty", she didn't associate going to the bathroom with that mom and child, and PL was accomplished in about a week. A year and a half later, she's still uncomfortable with the term "potty" and will tell me she "has to use the bathroom".

I guess my point is, depending on how things are at home, previous daycare situatoins, etc., he may be very embarrassed and self-conscious about his diapers, or have heard/seen others embarrased for accidents, and not be interested in PL because of that. At that age, they do pick up a LOT more than we give them credit for sometimes. I still can't wrap my head around the fact that if I'd realized my dd didn't like the term "potty" she probably would have PL'd months earlier than she did!

Don't be afraid to try different language and see how he responds - he may be willing to try going for you if it's totally non-threatening and there's no pressure. He may also respond better to your efforts to encourage PL because you're not Mom and Dad. Another friend of mine runs a home daycare, and she's got a little boy right now who's done with diapers...at her house. His parents aren't real consistent with PL, and sometimes drop him off with a diaper on...and the first thing he does when he gets to her house is ask for his underwear. He might also come around after seeing your kids going. Just give it a little time, and see how things go.
post #40 of 201
DS was another child who just up and used the toilet one day. He was in diapers until just before his fourth birthday. When he was 2 we picked up a potty and read books about it and talked about friends who were trained. By three we were offering rewards and continued with books etc. Within two months of turning three DS started making it really clear to us he wasn't going to use the potty and he wanted us off his back. So we never bothered him again and if family asked him if he was going to use the potty he would respond with "some day."

And some day did in fact come. He decided to start using the toilet like us - never did use the potty ever - and he went straight to underwear even at night. He stood to pee right from the start and no messes from a wrong aim.

Kids do just up and start using the toilet the same way kids just up and start talking, walking, picking up a ball etc. These aren't things that need to be taught or they're missed by a certain age, barring a cognitive or physical challenge. Some take longer than others but there's no way kids growing up in this culture could miss the fact that most of the population uses a toilet and not diapers.
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