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Diaper changing etiquette for 3.75 year old

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
My almost 4 year old is not interested in the potty AT ALL. We have introduced it gently, we have ignored the issue completely for weeks, but he has never urinated much less defecated in the potty. Lately, when we change his diaper, he moves around wildly, kicking legs & refusing to be wiped. This can result in a messy mommy or daddy. I just don't know what to do. I'm tired of getting poop on me because my almost 4 year old thinks it's funny to gyrate on the changing table. It sounds like attention getting behavior to me, so we've both tried giving him extra attention, and it's just not doing anything. I'm thinking about telling him to change his own diaper. I think the late potty learning is the combination of being incredibly slow to warm up to change and feeling like diaper changing is more attention getting than using the potty. I really don't mind changing his diaper when he helps in that he's not kicking and making a mess, but I am tired of combative diaper changes.
post #2 of 4
I think teaching him to change his own diaper is a great idea. I taught my 4yo cousin to change her diaper while I was watching her and two other high-needs kids, and just didn't have the time or patience to change her any more. She had to change herself in the bathroom and wash her hands afterwards. She got pretty good at using the wipes, and flushing them down the toilet (I had her do this so that flushing was part of her routine--I wanted the diaper change to be as much like using the toilet as possible). I did bathe her every night while I was there, though, to make sure she was clean.

She did eventually use the toilet, of course, but unfortunately I didn't have the satisfaction of being there--her parents were back from their vacation by then. so I can't say if this tactic helped. But it definitely helped me!
post #3 of 4
Put him in the bathtub (not full of water, just to contain the mess), hand him the wipes, and let him clean himself. You'll have to instruct him the first few times, but he's old enough to be able. He'll figure out that the toilet is more convenient. He's in diapers because it's easy.

Also, he should clean any mess he makes in the bathroom/tub, as well. Natural consequences. . . we make a mess, we clean it up.
post #4 of 4
My dd was just over age 4 when she first started using the potty. I remember feeling all of the things you are feeling now--

IdahoMom: Put him in the bathtub (not full of water, just to contain the mess), hand him the wipes, and let him clean himself. You'll have to instruct him the first few times, but he's old enough to be able. He'll figure out that the toilet is more convenient. He's in diapers because it's easy.

Also, he should clean any mess he makes in the bathroom/tub, as well. Natural consequences. . . we make a mess, we clean it up.


This idea sounds good on paper. But when I think about applying it to my 3.3 yr old, it would be extremely punitive. I did try this method with my DD when she was close to 4. She really wasn't able to do a proper job of cleaning herself up, for one thing, and this just made the whole diaper/toilet thing more emotionally charged. It sure didn't encourage her to use the toilet, just made her more upset about the whole thing. She needed me to be utterly loving, patient and understanding with her. She needed me to be OK with her not being quite ready for this huge change. When she turned 4, we began going without diapers full time. (this was her choice) She didn't use the toilet at all, just wet or soiled herself wherever she was. She didn't care. But she still needed me to be ok with that. After one month of constant cleaning and laundry, I told her we'd be going back to diapers because I didn't want to do it anymore. I said if she'd just TRY to make it to the potty when she had to go, that we'd keep doing it this way. So she did. That day she used the potty 5 times and within a week she was always using it. There were a lot of accidents. I'm pretty sure she had/has a difficulty in knowing when she has to go--she still isn't able to hold for long--when she has to go, she has to go right that second. I learned so much from this experience.

So that's my story...now for your diaper-changing issue. My DS is just over 3 and hates diaper changes too. Sometimes I let him go, waiting around until he's ready to lay still. Sometimes if DH is around he'll help by distracting/holding him while I change him. Sometimes I get very frustrated and yell. And we know that doesn't help! Is there any special toy that will keep him distracted while you do the job? We have this plastic recorder that DS can play only when he's having his diaper changed.

I find the worst behaviours go through cycles--it seems so bad and like he'll never stop doing it, and then it suddenly gets better.
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