Potty training at a stand still....any thoughts?

@foxyfire33 (10009)
United States
May 24, 2007 12:16am CST
My second son turned 4 in March and he still will not use the potty. I feel like we've tried everything...stickers, rewards, praise, keeping a potty chair where he spends a lot of his time, reminding him frequently, taking him to the bathroom and having him sit there, putting regular underwear on him and letting him feels what it's like to have an accident.... He just won't do it. Yesterday he had accidents in every single pair of underwear he has but he didn't care. Two weeks ago we actually had to take him to the ER because he'd gotten so constipated. He's so terrified of going potty that he holds it in as long as he can and then can't make it to the bathroom or his potty chair. sometimes he holds it to the point of having cramps, two weeks ago was the worst it's been. I don't know why he's scared or how to help him get over it. Have any of you gone through this or have an advice on what to do about it? Besides being worried about more ER trips, he's supposed to start preschool in the fall but can't go unless he's fully trained by then. I really need to figure something out.
6 people like this
9 responses
• Canada
24 May 07
My son is almost 5 and I still have problems getting him to use the bathroom. I had done alot of research to find out why kids won't go #2 on the potty and one of the things I found out was that kids sometime feel like they are losing a part of them and its theirs so they dont' want to get rid of it. With my son I figured maybe thats what it was(I still dont' know for sure) So I talked to him and explained that it has to be done and he will have more of it everyday. Lately I have told him that if he doesn't go I will have to take him to the hospital and they will have to take it out for him. He will sit where I can't see him and hold it until the feeling goes away so when I catch him I tell him he needs to go potty and if he says not the hospital thing has been workin. I would try talkin to him about it and try to figure out what he is scared of. Ask him if it hurts him to go and if thats the case there is a fibre drink you can get for kids to help them go normally. You should also maybe talk to your doctor about this and see if they know of anything you can do. Have you tried telling your son that if he doesn't go on the potty all the time he won't be able to go to school???
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
25 May 07
That's exactly what mine does. He'll run off and sit down holding his knees until it's over. The hospital thing didn't work for us since he did have to go and have them help get it all out so he knows what that is like. The doctor doesn't want to start him on anything "artificial" to get him to go yet. He said it would program his body to not recognize the normal signs of needing to go and we'd be back to square one with him when the time came to have him go naturally. It makes since in a way but I'd rather take the chance and get him so he's not scared to go and hope it doesn't affect him later on. I might just have to start being that pushy mom that tells doctors how to do their jobs LOL!
1 person likes this
• Canada
25 May 07
yea it seems alot of us mother have to do that nowadays. Doctors just seem like they are too old and stuck in the past to try new things. well anyhoo good luck I hope he grows outta this soon for ya
• United States
24 May 07
Is there anything that he likes or is he looking forward to pre-school? If he does, then probably it will be a good thing to tell him that unless he goes to the potty, the pre-school will not take anybody with diapers on. Or probably martial art class, or anything that will perked his interest. My toddler is 3 and mentioning school or ballet class will make her run to the potty twice as fast. My only mistake is using pull-ups..it took me as long until now rather than going to underwear right from the beginning. She is getting good but some days when I am so busy with work and I will just put on diaper for her, she will still pee on it. But if she will wear underwear all day, she will go to the potty all the time. Hopefully your son will be interested in something that will motivate him to go to the potty. Also try having music in the bathroom, nintendo games where he can hold while he is sitting in the potty...or anything that will occupy his mind and he won't realize that he is doing potty. Last resort, have a portable DVD player in the bathroom while he is sitting down and will be engrossed in a movie. Also, take note of his fluid intake coz if he is prone to constipation that is why he hates going to the potty. My toddler was like that too. I don't let her eat lots of bananas coz it is a major thing for constipation, lots of apple sauce and oatmeal and plenty of juice and water...thank God it works. She never had any more constipation after I watched what she is eating. Goodluck and hopefully no more ER trips.
1 person likes this
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
25 May 07
He is excited about preschool. We just found out the other day that he was definitely going so we haven't really had much time to use that as an incentive yet. I tried it today but didn't get very far. I am so against pull ups (with him at least) but it seems like I'm the only one. I could go off about the issues I have with the other family members involved and pull ups but that would a whole separate discussion or two! Having something to distract him while he's sitting on the potty is a great idea, I'll have to get him to sit on it first though! He had been doing good with peeing frequently but since his ER visit he won't go near it and screams bloody murder if I put him on it. We've been watching his fluids and diet much better but haven't made a difference yet. Well we sort of have, he's peeing a lot more and he isn't constipated in a hard way but he's still holding it. The way he's been about it over the past few days I'm thinking more fluids isn't enough, he's only "let out" 3-4 small blobs since Monday.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 May 07
It really breaks my heart before knowing that my toddler more or less refused the potty because she gets constipated. Sometimes, I have to stuck her in the tub so more or less the water helps, or anything that will make it easier. That is why even if she loves some food but will make her constipate, I will minimize the amount and let her have lots of apple sauce, oatmeal and water. I can just understand. Hopefully with your son's diet, etc, he will be having less constipation. Goodluck with everything.
1 person likes this
• Philippines
25 May 07
As a nurse, its best to take note of a child's behavior before a parent starts toilet training. There are signs in which a child is said to be prepared for toilet training when he/she: starts walking, stating he/she needs to urinate (hold on-let go response seen in toddlers), and able to communicate with parents (even if on single words, short phrases: "poo-poo".) But its not only the child who needs to be prepared for toilet training, the parents should also be prepared emotionally, during this crucial times of toddlers. This is the time that a toddler seeks acceptance from caregivers or parents. And from this acceptance determines how they develop psychologically and emotionally. I understand though, at times there are parents who become frustrated when their child is not yet ready for this potty training even if all measures have been exhausted. I advice them to give their child some time, because we never can tell what that child is feeling and when the child is ready. What the parents can do is to show some more love and more acceptance. Never make them feel neglected when they did use the potty. For toddlers, communication is the best key. Use simple words and phrases, that way they will understand. They will feel love. Eventually, they will feel more accepted and prepared for the big task.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
25 May 07
Those are all the things we looked for and did when we started this a year and a half ago. It just didn't work with this one. Hopefully something will soon.
1 person likes this
@soadnot (1606)
• Canada
24 May 07
any change is hard to go through as a kid, dont rush them, encourage them with rewarding comments and "big boy" attitude. school is the hardest part.
1 person likes this
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
25 May 07
Normally I would completely agree. I had a very relaxed attitude with my older 3 children and they all trained easily when they were ready at around age 3. But with this one we have been "relaxed" for a year and a half. We praised him and talked about him being a big boy when he would go but none of that is working anymore. He hasn't started school yet and won't be able to if he's not trained withing the next 3 months. Thanks for the great reminders though.
1 person likes this
@wmaharper (2316)
• United States
24 May 07
I have a friend whose daughter was terrified to put her b.m.'s in the potty, she became constipated, making it even MORE scary for her. THey finally, haulted the potty training until she was having regular bm's again, in her diaper. Once her b.m.'s were normal, and not painful, they reintroduced the potty, and it went much more smoothly. THe problem lies in when they become scared, and hold in the poop, then they get consitpated, so when they do finally go, it's painful, confirming thier fear, that putting poop in the potty hurts, then it's a vicious cycle. I'd suggest dealing with the constipation, then trying to work on the potty training. What worked best for my son, was to put underwear on him, if he peed or pooped in them, he had to stop what he was doing, change his clothes, and help clean up the mess, eventually (after a week or so) he decided that he'd much rather take a few seconds to go in the potty, then to have to spend all of that time cleaning up! Good luck to you!
1 person likes this
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
25 May 07
I really hope we can get him straightened out soon. He'll get himself constipated even if we don't try to get him to do it on the potty. I think he's just plain scared of pooping in general. We're definitely in a vicious cycle! It's getting so frustrating when he has goes in his pants. If he's in a pull up he'll run away and I have to chase him down and it's a huge struggle to get him to let me change him, if he's in underwear he'll ask to be cleaned up right away but then will do it again in 5 minutes. He's got a drawer full of underwear and he can go through every pair in a day. But that's only IF I can get him in the underwear in the first place. Usually he just cries and won't wear them. I have to hide his pull ups. I would love to take a really firm stance and just let him cry and scream until he realizes that I'm not going to give in but his dad and grandfather both work nights and have to sleep during the day. It's a small house and his screaming about underwear wakes them up. For some reason he WOULD rather spend all that time pitching a fit than just going potty and getting it over with.
1 person likes this
@wdiong (1817)
• Singapore
24 May 07
I am having similar problem with my 2 year old son. He just does not seem interested in sitting or going to the potty to pee or poo. I did not have a problem with my daughter as she was exposed to the potty pretty early by my mum,at around 5 months old. Sigh, I hope that he will take an interest in being potty trained soon.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
25 May 07
That seems too young to me but I have heard of it working. My 2 year old is starting to be interested so hopefully he will train much more easily.
1 person likes this
@rapolu_cs (1184)
• India
24 May 07
I can understand your problem,me too is travelling in the same boat as you but my son is still 2yrs and i want him to train potty at any cost now only but iam unsucced in every plan and i just left the practising him thinging that he will learn it from his teacher when he joins school. May God help such type of parents from their kids,have a good time.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
25 May 07
I'm hoping we can figure it out soon too. He absolutely can't wait and learn it at preschool from the other children or his teachers there because this is a preschool for older children so they must be fully trained before they can start.
1 person likes this
@tinamwhite (3255)
• United States
24 May 07
When my son experienced the same thing last year....I was catching so much flack from my other choldren because I allowed him to wear pull-ups with causing extreme embarrassment to me...so I took him to see his pediatrician....she adviced me that maybe we were putting too much pressure on him....I do not believe in making him feel badly abot himself or punishing him for this...I would still ask him if he needed to go...but did not complain when he said no....whithin a couple of months he broke himself....he has only had 1-2 accidents since then and they were both in his bed while sleeping..... I know that this works on your nerves...it is stressful when you are trying to teach your child something that they need to know and they rebel against it for whatever reason.....he feels this stress as well.... I would try to "back-off" and see what happens for a few weeks....desensize the situation....and try again... Thanks the best advice I can give, my friend. I wish you the best of luck in dealing with this. Please keep me updated....I care.
@foxyfire33 (10009)
• United States
25 May 07
Thanks for the support. It is frustrating. I've been relaxed but supportive with him for about for a year and a half. Every time he starts making gains with it, it's like he breaks and completely regresses. I think his biggest problem has been a "too many cooks in the kitchen" syndrome, meaning me, his dad, his grandmother and his aunt all have differing views on how to go about it and no one will give in to anyone else's opinion (except me a lot of times) I really feel like if I could be with him all day every day he would be fine and trained soon but...that's a whole nother issue that I could really go off about right now! We have 3 months before he's supposed to start preschool so I'll just keep crossing my fingers!
1 person likes this
@speedy1279 (2667)
• United States
19 Jun 07
Have you had any luck? If not you are not alone on this one. My son is 4 1/2 years old and won't use the potty at all. He knows how but just refuses to use it. I have tried everything imaginable and nothing has worked. So I asked his doctor about it and he told me not to worry about it until he turns 5. He said that if he still doesn't show an interest by the time he is 5 then its a problem. He also said that some kids are just late in doing this but it will happen. I am not sure if the rules are different where you are as far as preschool goes but where I live my son will be starting prek and the preschool he will be going to said they would take him even though he is not potty trained. The director basically said that they are not going to turn a kid away from learning just because he won't use the potty. She said that is almost like punishing them which is something you shouldn't do when trying to potty train. Well I hope you have had some success in this and if not hang in there. I'm sure it will happen sooner or later.