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Potty training a 4 y/o

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Crushed1 posted 1/5/2014 23:01 PM

Well, it's been about 17 years since I potty trained a child. I talked to a friend yesterday, she and her H are in their late 60's and are raising their grandson, he has always lived in the house with them. His father and mother (both early 20's) moved out last year and the grandparents have custody of the child.

The child turned four last month. He will urinate in the toilet (and they have two children's toilets for him to use as well) but he will not poop in any of the toilets. He knows when he needs to go and will tell them afterward "I pooped". They have him wearing 'big boy' diapers and are worried as they wanted to put him in Pre-K this year but said they won't if he doesn't learn to use the toilet.

Is this unusual? I never had this problem with my three children, and I am wondering if anyone else has had this issue and/or if you have any suggestions.

I think I can posted 1/6/2014 07:30 AM

I recommend a book called something like "potty training in less than a day." I can't remember the exact title. It's a long day, but it works.

simplydevastated posted 1/6/2014 08:53 AM

There's a story book out called "The Potty Book: For boys." It's a cute story about a boy graduating from diapers to the potty. It's on Amazon and you can read a portion of it. That might help him.

When my son was in daycare the director told me to just switch him from diapers to underwear. She said that he knows he needs to go but doesn't want to stop playing. If he feels it against his skin he'll stop going in his pants and start using the potty right away.

Once I switched him he didn't have any accidents at all because he already knew what he had to do. Maybe they could try that with him? Just switch him completely from diapers to underwear.

I hope some of this helps.

Good luck.

DeadMumWalking posted 1/6/2014 08:58 AM

DS 2 (now 18) was like this, except he was 3 instead of 4.

What we did with him was took him to the store to look at ordinary underwear (we called them 'toilet pants', as opposed to diapers or pullups - you couldn't pee or poop in them, they were to wear for when all of you pee and poop goes in the toilet). He was totally into construction machines in those days, and found some toilet pants, I mean underwear, with machines on them. He REALLY WANTED those underwear.

So we made a calendar chart for him, and told him that if he pooped in the toilet for the next 2 weeks then we would make a special shopping trip to go buy him those machine toilet pants. We let him pick out a sticker to put on the chart for each day that he pooped only in the toilet.

Starting the NEXT DAY, he would poop in the toilet, and did that for 13 out of the 14 days. Well in our book that was good enough.

We still remember that shopping trip, it was a very special occasion, he was SO PROUD and felt like such a BIG BOY. So I gave him the money so that he could pay for them himself when it was our turn at the caisse.

So long story short - is there something he wants to have that they can bribe, I mean reward him with? Because it sounds like he's physiologically ready if he knows when he has to go and when he went, it's now mainly a psychological leap.

They might also see if there is something about the toilet that he is afraid of. Two of our boys used a seat that goes on top of the regular seat (we never used a separate 'potty'), the other one preferred to hold onto the regular toilet seat to prevent him from falling in.

Anyway, good luck! He will start going in the toilet at some point, I promise!!

Crushed1 posted 1/6/2014 10:24 AM

She said they and a family member have tried to bribe him with a "big present" as well as outings but he isn't motivated by anything.

Another family member is concerned that maybe he has been molested and this is why he's refusing to poop in the pot. Now I am worried about him too.

EvenKeel posted 1/6/2014 10:55 AM

I know he is looking forward to pre-K, but is he is any sort of preschool program? DS was in in-home care and not potty-training. My Ped said he thought he needed a more structured program and to try a preschool program.

I talked to the staff ahead of time and they told me to bring him in big-boy pants and they would do extra group 'bathroom line-ups' so he would not feel targeted.

I took lots of extra clothes but he never had an accident - the Ped was right, he just needed a change in venue.

As for molestation - his Ped can do a special exam to confirm or rule this out. I also had to do that for my child at one point. Turned out he was not molested but other children in that household were.

If he was molested, the earlier you can get him help, the better.

My stab at this 4-yr olds problem is it sounds like he had some mega changes in his life with is parents leaving and the grandparents getting custody. The potty is probably the one area he feels he has control over so he is exercising that control. I bet the more everyone tries, the more he is going to hang-tight to this.

k94ever posted 1/6/2014 11:03 AM

My son was 3 and knew how to use the toilet, but he was basically lazy and didn't want to interrupt what he was doing and use the toilet.

It finally happened I was PMSing big time and I WATCHED him poop in his diaper while standing and watching Barney on TV.

That did it.

I told him from now on he was wearing Big Boy underwear and he just needed to use the toilet.

He had one incident and then nothing.

Never mess with a Mom who's PMSing.


gahurts posted 1/6/2014 15:08 PM

We had trouble potty training DS 14 when he was 4. We were convinced he would be in depends before he went to kindergarten. One week xWW and I went on a trip and MIL watched the kids. They let them runaround with no p[ants on for the week. By the end of the week both boys (4 year old and 3 year old) were both potty trained during the day. It still took a little while before he got the hang of it at night but the daytime issue was solved.

dameia posted 1/6/2014 20:09 PM

My DS3 does the same thing. He has actually pooped in the potty a few times, but has decided it's "scary" and won't do it, no matter what the bribe.

The difference is that my DS3 wears underwear during the day and never has accidents. He apparently has a colon of steel. He still wears diapers at night, because he cannot hold it all night. So he waits all day until he gets his nighttime diaper, we tuck him in, and then he poops.

It drives me crazy, and I brought it up to the doctor at his 3 year we'll check and she just shrugged and said, "He's not ready."

They should try underwear and see what happens. A diaper is not helping.

jrc1963 posted 1/6/2014 20:46 PM

Just another thought...

My DS12 had issues with pooping in the toilet or potty. I never got the psychological root of the problem but the physiological problem eventually manifested as encopresis.

Encopresis is defined as solid accidents (pooping). For whatever reason, DS refused to use the toilet until he got to the point that he was impacted and passing extremely hard stool, which lead to a tear and pain, which lead to more reluctance to pass stool.

We finally got it under control just this last year with a lot of medical intervention.

Your friends may want to have their DGS looked at by his Ped. If nothing else, but to rule this out.

Crushed1 posted 1/7/2014 00:18 AM

Thank you for the tips and ideas! I will pass them on to her.

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