Super Stubborn 3 year old boy + Pottying - Mothering Forums

Thread Tools
#1 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 02:40 PM - Thread Starter
GuavaGirl's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

My son seems fully capable of using the potty and I kept hearing to wait until he's interested, but I felt like...I know my son, and if I waited until he was interested, to do things that were good for him, he would never take a nap or rinse shampoo out of his hair so I thought I should try getting a little more serious about it.  The reward method seemed to work really well and I sort of thought after the excitement of that wore off that he would just be in the habit of pottying and everything would go about it's merry way.  But! we stopped with the sticker charts (that resulted in a new Thomas train after so many successes)  ...and now it's a yelling "No! I don't want to!"  to just get him to sit on the potty (when I know he has to go)....and then he refuses to try and just pees his pants and act like nothing happened.  


I have him in underwear at home and pull ups when we're out.


I guess I just don't know what to do.  I don't know if we should go back to the charts.  I feel like if we just go back to diapers that's just quitting and taking the easy way out, because I just feel like I know he can do it.  I think he would benefit and enjoy preschool so much and it's just frustrating that this is standing in the way.  Also, I don't want to change diapers anymore.  And mostly, I just feel like I know he can do it and I don't want to sell him short.  I feel like if I don't teach him this I'm basically making him pee and poo in his pants all day.


Any advice for a frustrated mom?  Hopefully from someone who's been there, not someone who has a daughter who practically taught themselves how.  ;)  (sorry)

GuavaGirl is offline  
Sponsored Links
#2 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 03:53 PM
Asiago's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1,910
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 21 Post(s)

Sorry mama, but what I hear is that he is telling you he is not ready. He will potty train with little to no effort on your behalf when he is sticker charts, rewards or anything. I would not rush him and just let him come to this conclusion all on his own, when he is mentally and physically ready. Hugs, sorry you are going through a rough time.

Asiago is offline  
#3 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 04:17 PM
crunchy_mommy's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 6,460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Hmm do you think it's because you stopped the sticker charts? We didn't use rewards for potty-learning so I'm not sure exactly how that affects things but iIf you're not interested in going back to diapers, you could try the sticker chart again... maybe once he gets the hang of it again, make the reward smaller and don't reward every time -- kind of taper off rather than stopping cold turkey.

DS struggled with potty-learning quite a bit but he just turned 4yo and I am calling it a success finally. We gave up diapers around 2.5 years because of rashes etc. and for a long time I just brought him to the potty every 20mins or so and cleaned up lots of messes and brought spare pants everywhere. He never even seemed bothered by accidents or being wet until a couple months ago! So for 1.5 years it was basically me bringing him to the potty constantly and slowly I backed off as he took charge more. He has sensory issues and anxiety and I think that was a big part of the problem. As those issues have improved (with therapy) in the last couple months, pottying just kind of fell into place.

He was always pretty good about pooping in the potty, although we had to stay nearby and tell him stories. Peeing he often refused but we just brought him to the potty and made a pssss sound and he'd go. He didn't sit on the potty to pee -- he went standing, and when he was too short to reach we just held him up or he'd kneel on the seat. When we tried teaching him to pee sitting down it was pretty much a disaster.

OK not sure if any of that was remotely helpful but that was how it went for us...

Co-sleeping is really wonderful when your child actually SLEEPS!! familybed1.gif
crunchy_mommy is offline  
#4 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 06:17 PM
Peony's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 15,952
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 14 Post(s)

I've had kids potty train in a day and then others that took 1.5 years before they got it. In the end I've learned that no matter their age, if they aren't both mentally and physically ready, it isn't going to happen no matter what you do. Which really bites when you are in the middle of it, you just want to be done! I'm already dreading potty training DS2 because it was such a nightmare with DS1. I'm hoping he will go easy on me but only time will tell. eyesroll.gif

There is no way to happiness, happiness is the way.
Peony is offline  
#5 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 07:14 PM
Snapdragon's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,561
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6 Post(s)

is he newly three or an older three?just curious. my son will be three in a couple of months and he is still in diapers. He is getting better at peeing in the potty but still won't poop in the potty at all ever. I am trying not to stress. It comfors me that other boys I know his age, many are also still in diapers. I also hear people say- oh my daughters were both fully trained by 2 and all t took was patience and gentle encouragement- sometimes said in condescedning superior tones- ugh! good for them, right?


I would say just do what feels most peaceful to you. If it feels more peaceful to you to try to get it done maybe you could try the three day potty training type of method. I bought that book and was prepared to do it but it didn' resonate with me somehow- I couldn't being myself to do it and I am not sure why!!

My son will be startug preschhol at 3 and a 1/2 so I have a little while longer.

For now we are offering rewards and it is working well for peeing but he still cant relax enough to poop in the potty.

I just try to tell him that pretty soon he will poop in the potty, encourage him to pee in the potty when he can, and try not to stress about it!

If it feels more peaceful to you to relax and let it happen then do that, I guess there is no one right way- it is however it works for you.

so in other words no advice really as I am in the same boat! I am ready for him to be more potty trained but at the same time I Am not really stressing about it now. If he is stll not doing it this summer and I am trying to get him ready to go to preschool then I will stress! Because I know a couple mornings a wk in preschool will be great for him and for me. I am just gonna try to keep encouragiing it and offering rewards- which I never thuoght I would do-- but it is the only thing that has worked so far at least for peeing in the potty.

Snapdragon is offline  
#6 of 12 Old 01-28-2013, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
GuavaGirl's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,445
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)

Snapdragon:  He'll actually just be 3 in one month from now.  I know I never thought I would do the reward thing either!   

GuavaGirl is offline  
#7 of 12 Old 01-29-2013, 04:37 AM
sageowl's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Oregon
Posts: 722
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)

Glad to hear I'm not the only one dealing with this. 

leahjoy likes this.
sageowl is offline  
#8 of 12 Old 01-29-2013, 04:54 AM
mamazee's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: US midwest
Posts: 7,246
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
I would back off and try again in a couple of months. You've introduced the idea, and the familiarity wtih that will help, but if he's digging in his heels, you're going backward. There are three things kids control: input (eating), output (potty), and sleep. You can't make someone eat, pee/poop, or fall asleep if they aren't tired. If a kid is fighting on one of those things, trying to force it will create a power stuggle you can't win, and it's best IMO to be thankful for whatever progress you've gotten (ie familiarity with the potty) and back off for a bit. Since he isn't quite 3 yet, it seems very normal to me that this is where he's at.

One of mine took a long time to potty train, but the problen was reading her body's signals, not a power struggle. I think you can keep working with a kid who wants to use the potty but has a hard time telling when it's time.

The other one was potty trained within a couple of days, without having any accidents even overnight. Oh wait, maybe she had one accident. I wish they all potty trained like that but, they're all different. I think it's more up to them than us how well and when it happens.
mamazee is offline  
#9 of 12 Old 01-29-2013, 06:02 AM
sarafi's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 467
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Originally Posted by GuavaGirl View Post

My son seems fully capable of using the potty and I kept hearing to wait until he's interested, but I felt like...

He probably is very capable, but think about how super annoying it is when you are interested in something and need to use the bathroom and multiply it by 1000 for the kid. It's just not fun to stop playing and run off to use the toilet for anyone when something cool is going on.


We FINALLY trained our very special almost four year old by:

  1. Putting a potty seat in every room he frequents (much like multiple litter boxes with cats ROTFLMAO.gif)
  2. Around noon-ish each day I "couldn't find" any new underwear. Mine would happily poop in any underwear, but was easily distracted and would forget about being mad about "no panties" but would then run for the potty when he felt he needed to poop without underwear on. At which point the undies magically appeared again and all was well.


For my DS, he was just super fearful of anything new or different. He actually did #2 in the toilet just fine for a few weeks but would pee everywhere and then switched it up entirely. These are big changes, for kiddos are are honestly more trouble for them that getting a diaper change every so often.


I would honestly stick with it, and not go back to diapers. Be gentle, let him help you clean up messes and just talk about it a lot. One thing that helped mine was to know that we were borrowing a potty-seat from a boy he knows who is younger than he was--he just really still felt like using a toilet was something that much older kids did, not kids like him. Some kids are harder than others to train--my first two (girl and a boy) were ready years before this one was.

sarafi is offline  
#10 of 12 Old 01-29-2013, 06:48 AM
akat's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 557
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

My boy is days away from turning 3.  We brought out the potty, I don't know, when he was somewhere between 2 and 2.5. 


He definitely has the whole, "*I* can do it MYSELF!" and "I don't need you!!" going on, with getting dressed and many other tasks, he usually vehemently won't wear the clothes we suggest but wants to choose his own, usually dirty ones lol.  So, stubborn.


With the potty, we showed it to him and we are VERY enthusiastic, "Wow, you sat on the potty, that's amazing, let's go tell Daddy!"  and then whenever someone would come over or come home from work or school, we'd say, "Guess what little guy did today?  He went in the potty!!!"  and then they would go on about it.  "What a big boy you are, wow!  You are so impressive!"


When he refused or didn't want to, we just didn't make a big deal.  When he had an accident, we didn't make a federal case but ocassionally let him know it was a bit annoying to have to clean up, especially once he had a lot of success under his belt.  [At first, we were very reassuring about accidents.]


Every day we let him choose diaper, pullup, or underwear.  For sleep or going out, we insist on pullup or diaper, but he can wear the underwear over them if he wants.


For about 2-3 months, he really went back and forth.  He would be in underwear with no accidents for 2 weeks, and then suddenly have an accident and then choose diapers every day for a week.  He's also still a bit nervous about public bathrooms, but he's getting pretty good about it. 


Anyway, I guess my point is, how long has he been refusing?  A week, 2 months?  If it's a week, I would maybe just give him subtle opportunities but pretty much back off and let him ebb and flow a bit with the process.  I mean, even if it's been 2 months, I would probably do the same thing, but if it's only been a week I would say don't get too worried about it.


Also, this part is important, a few times throughout I would talk to him, if he was refusing to sit on the potty.  "Are you nervous, are you scared?  Are you scared you'll fall in?  Are you scared you'll miss and pee on the floor?  Are you scared of the loud noise of the flush? [public toilets with automatic flushes are the worst!]"  I think that really helped him get through the problem a few times, just hearing me speak his fears to him and reassure him.

akat is offline  
#11 of 12 Old 01-29-2013, 07:22 AM
ThreeTwoFive's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Posts: 193
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I think there's a normal phase where they start refusing to go.  We got out of it by doing a sticker chart for "All by Myself".  Getting dressed, using the potty, cleaning up toys (not that he ever did that one), brushing teeth.  The key was that it had to be his idea.  If I remind him to go, then he doesn't get the sticker.  We did a lot of, "Is there something you could do now all by yourself?"  He was learning numbers up to 20 at that point, so I made the chart with 12 spaces to start, then the next chart had 13 spaces, on up to about 18 before we stopped doing the charts -- they just phased themselves out.  He was getting 4 or 5 stickers a day, so the charts went pretty fast.  His preferred reward was a lollipop.  Total cost of plan: 50 cents of Halloween clearance lollipops and one book of Thomas the train stickers.  

ThreeTwoFive is offline  
#12 of 12 Old 03-06-2013, 12:30 PM
leahjoy's Avatar
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 7
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Glad I'm not the only one. My son is 3.5
leahjoy is offline  

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off

Online Users: 8,525

13 members and 8,512 guests
BirthFree , Chelsea59 , Childrenareawesome , girlspn , GotProbs , jaho.lore , jamesmorrow , katelove , lisak1234 , manyhatsmom , nikkyj , Springshowers
Most users ever online was 449,755, 06-25-2014 at 12:21 PM.