How to encourage interest in the potty? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 5 Old 11-15-2012, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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My son will be 3yo this month, and he is not even a tiny bit interested in using either his potty, or the toilet. I guess I'm looking for "BTDT and it worked out fine" stories, advice or ideas.


Heres a little background info, I think some of these may be contributing to his avoidance of it.


*He does not care when his diaper is wet or poopy. He tells me he actually likes to wear a poopy diaper, and sometimes he gets upset when I change one.


*He was in cloth diapers from birth, but this summer we had to switch to disposables because he is a really BIG kid, and the diapers we had just wont fit him anymore. He tells me he likes the disposable more than the cloth diapers, but wont elaborate on why. ( I personally HATE the disposables, and its one of the main reasons I want him to start using the potty! )


*Sometime mid summer, he surprised me one night by asking me if he could pee in his potty. I ran as fast I could to grab it for him, and sat his butt on it and peed. I kept the potty out, and he kept peeing in it, but only at night, right before bed. He didn't want to pee in it any other time. He did this for about two weeks, and then stopped. Went back to no interest in the potty at all.


*He is a poop withholder. He does not like pooping, he says its because he hates me wiping the poop off of him when I change his butt. I have tried switching to different wipes, using different types of cloth, etc. I even tried just changing him in the bathroom and spraying his butt off in the tub instead of wiping, but he says he still hates it. We have to sneak him miralax occasionally (we did try many natural remedies first, but none of them worked) so he doesn't constipate himself.


*I tried using underwear as an incentive. He loves Thomas the Train, so I bought him some with Thomas on them. He does like them, but when I told him they are for when he starts using the potty instead of diapers, there was no deal. He informed me that he would rather pee in his  "white butts" (what he calls disposable diapers) than have the Thomas underwear.


*He was a very late talker, only started really talking this spring/summer, and may possibly be autistic. His dad is high functioning NOS, and there are some striking similarities already. I sometimes wonder if this has anything to do with the potty problem, and the poop withholding, but my husbands parents are both deceased and I cant ask him if my husband went through a stage like this.


We talked about the potty this morning. I asked him if he wanted to give it a try today, maybe it would be really fun. He is not going for it. He said, "No Mommy, no pee in potty EVER. White butt ONLY Mommy."  -SIGH-


I really really want him to want to use the potty. Help :(


If you made it through that, thanks!!

Mama to Xavian, born 11-24-09
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#2 of 5 Old 11-16-2012, 08:54 AM
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Aw big hugs to you mama! I don't have BTDT advice but want to offer a couple of ideas; take them or leave them, you know your kiddo best.

1) try to arrange playdates with potty trained kids. Some kids really aren't interested if they see adults using the potty but want to keep up with or copy their peers.

2) ditch the disposables. When this box runs out, tell him they are all gone. One trick other moms have had luck with is buying a small package that's a size too small and saying "uh oh. You outgrew the biggest diapers! Now you only have underwear and need to use the potty." the sposies are TERRIBLE for not feeling wet and being way too easy.

3) use the butt wiping aversion to your advantage. Tell him that as long as he uses a diaper, you need to wipe him because it's so messy BUT if he puts his pee and poo in the potty then he can wipe himself. Honestly I'd even let bad wiping slide for a while, I'd just bathe him each night.

I think the key here is to make undies and potty the better alternative. Make diapering as mundane as possible (with lots of wiping) and play up how easy and nice the potty is.

I hope something here is useful for you. I also heard good things about the book called "oh crap potty training". Good luck and let me know how it goes smile.gif
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#3 of 5 Old 11-16-2012, 09:10 AM
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Ok, I had a boy who was very stubborn about this too. He had all sorts of developmental delays, like speech too. Fine motor was always a challenge, so the wiping and getting dressed part was a problem. For him, one day it just clicked. That's how he is about everything else too. Some stuff came on time, other stuff came incredibly late. He was peeing in potty pretty well by 3 1/2 and pooping by about 4. Some of the things I tried were:


Videos. Bear in the big blue house has a pretty good potty video, and there is one called Potty Time I think that was really good.


Seeing others use the potty. We were pretty open about letting our kids come into the bathroom with us at times. My son also went to an ESE pre-k where some of the kids were starting to use the potty, so I think seeing other kids helped too.


Sticker charts or rewards. I tried this but it didn't work very well. My sister in law keeps a jar of M&Ms in the bathroom (gross) as reward (two for a pee, 4 for a poop, or something like that) and her boys both learned to use the potty pretty young.


The weird thing is, to this day, I don't my son wipes, unless it is a "messy" one. Not sure what the phobia is there. He still forgets to flush too..that's how I know he doesn't usually wipe. My daughter started going potty, wiping, flushing, washing hands, getting re-dressed, and even spraying air freshener when she was about two or three. My son is in 4th grade and still skips some of those steps! Every child is different, but I suspect girls are usually a bit more into cleanliness. 

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#4 of 5 Old 11-16-2012, 03:53 PM
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My son got started pretty late too.  He wasn't interested in using either his potty, or the toilet until just recently.


*He does not care when his diaper is wet or poopy. (My son is the same way, so it's kind of like "whatever" to him)


*He was in cloth diapers from birth, but this summer we had to switch to disposables because he is a really BIG kid (I had the same problem!)


*He says its because he hates me wiping the poop off of him when I change his butt. (Might be a sensory thing...that's common with kids with ASD/SPD)


*He was a very late talker (Yeah, it doesn't help when they can't communicate well...I have this problem too, so until we got to the point where he could communicate a bit better, it seemed futile to even try.)


*He may possibly be autistic  (For the record, kids with Autism are usually a lot later with potty training than normally developing children.  It usually depends on the severity of the autism, but even with kids who are still not potty trained at school age, there's always hope--they usually do get it at some point.  I see it over and over again.  Once I even had a student who finally got the hang of it at the age of 18!  If you do suspect autism, you may need to use a visual schedule, social stories, or videos to help the process along.)


Since he doesn't want to do it on his own, you may either need to back off...or come up with a really alluring incentive.  I had to do a bit of both before I could get my son moving forward on the potty training front.


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#5 of 5 Old 11-17-2012, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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skycheattraffic, I really love your idea about a playdate with one of his PLed friends! My goal this week will be to get together with some of his friends that would not be shy about using the toilet in front of him. DS has always been one of those kids that see another kid doing something, and then he wants to see if he can do it too. Thanks for the great idea!


jmarroq, I will be looking for those videos, thanks! We did try stickers at one point, but he really didn't care a whole bunch about them.


sageowl, I really appreciate your reply! I do think that this may have a lot to do with him possibly being autistic, and sensory issues. He tells me he LIKES his poopy diapers, that they feel good. I just don't even know what to say to him about that. I've been at a loss dealing with my husband at times because of different sensory problems, and now I just don't know how to handle this one with DS.


Well, here's hoping a few playdates and videos will help, thanks all :)

Mama to Xavian, born 11-24-09
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