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arb72's avatar

How do I get my son who is almost five to be potty trained?

Asked by arb72 (12points) June 26th, 2009

His pediatrician said I need to bring him to a psychologist. He will be 5 in October and still wears pull-ups. He refuses to use the potty.

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16 Answers

pats04fan's avatar

What have you tried to get him to the potty

sandystrachan's avatar

Leave the potty in the room, Take off the pull-ups during daylight. If he does have an accident laugh about it.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

At 5, I wouldn’t be laughing about it!!! He’s getting ready to go to school. Something’s gotta give here.

RedPowerLady's avatar

It seems like a psychologist could be quite helpful. From that perspective there might be issues in his life that cause this resistance. Following your Pediatrician’s advice seems like the right thing to do. And after reading your other post, I am so sorry for your loss, it seem’s like some therapy could be extremely helpful on many levels.

Here are some great tips:

If you go about half-way down there are some great reasons why children are resistant to potty-training (at the end it also has some helpful tips):

Randy's avatar

My mom gave me M&M’s when I used the toilet. Have you tried a similar reward system?

cak's avatar

Could your son be resistant to potty-training due to your husband’s sudden death? I do think that a psychologist is probably the way to go.

Children only have so many ways of controlling a situation, his refusal to go is a way for him to control a situation. He probably feels a bit lost, these days.

I’m so sorry for you, I know it’s a difficult time for you. My best wishes.

evolverevolve's avatar

Don’t know if you already do, but get tough with him, you may not like it but it could work. Doesn’t he have an idol or something? Be like, “hey, (insert name) doesn’t wear pull-ups, you want to be like him don’t you?”

Jeruba's avatar

How does he feel about going to school? Is he excited and looking forward to it?

My 4-year-old was always what they call a “divergent thinker,” intrinsically motivated and not particularly susceptible to peer pressure, social pressure, rewards and punishments, or any of the usual external motivators. One result was that he was perfectly fine with using his Pull-ups at his convenience and leaving us to clean him up. I was very sure he was able to exert control but he just didn’t feel like it. (Bringing this one up was not easy.)

Even though he didn’t care about stickers and treats, praise, promises, etc., he did want to go to school. I said, “You know, you can’t go to school unless you can use the potty like a big boy.” He said “Oh, okay,” and the next day he was using the bathroom properly. There was never any further issue about it.

I don’t know about your little guy, and it does sound like there might be other issues for him, but I know that if we’d tried to go the psych route with our son, he’d have known right away that he was being handled and would have turned it into a contest, with him holding the aces. Who knows how long it would have taken then, or at what cost?

RedPowerLady's avatar

I just want to mention that there are low-cost and sliding scale therapits. And if you find the right one they will understand how to work with children with all different learning styles. If you do go this route don’t be afraid to keep switching until you find the right fit for your family. I actually worked along with therapits to provide extra support for children in counseling. I saw what an amazing difference it makes in these children’s lives. I also saw their behaviors change, sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly but it was so great to see this change. And the kids mostly loved therapy because therapy with children is almost like playtime.

dalepetrie's avatar

Well, my son was (and in some ways still IS) difficult. Basically, when he was ready to pee, he managed to figure that one out himself, though he was a little later than most. It was the OTHER thing that he had a hard time with. Well, we broke him of the pacifier, which we called an “ookie” by telling him that when he gave up the ookie, the ookie fairy would give him a particular toy he was coveting above all else. So, when I felt he really needed to get over his fear of taking a crap outside his diaper, I took a page from my own playbook and told him about the “dookie fairy”. That worked well. We were a bit worried, but our pediatrician told us that when kids are ready, they’re ready…you just need to find the signs that they’re ready and give them the proper encouragement. However, we have never been able to achieve a dry overnight, and my son, nearly 8 now, nearly 100 pounds, still wears a night time pull up. We tried for 2 solid weeks just recently, he really, really wants to be out of diapers at night, it embarrasses him. I even told him there was another fairy of some sort that would give him his dream toy if he could go for a week with dry diapers. Over two weeks and enough laundry to nearly drive me insane later, not a dry night went by. He just is not able to wake himself up yet. He can make it most of the night, but it’s not really saving us that money if we get rid of diapers only to have an extra load of laundry every day. We keep trying, we keep encouraging him to get up if he has to go, but he can’t do it. And our doctor says when they’re ready, they’re ready.

Now maybe there’s a psychological reason, or maybe you have a doctor who is a diaper nazi. I’d get a second opinion before I’d assume there was something wrong with my child’s mind

dalepetrie's avatar

@arb72 – having just seen your OTHER question stating that your husband died suddenly last October, I rescind my answer to a degree. I would say that the two things (your child still not understanding where’s daddy), and his fear of change (think of the change that has already been forced upon him) are connected. It probably wouldn’t hurt, and I can tell you, that we had some concerns about my child and had a psych eval, and pretty much what they came up with was that the reason he is so boisterous and acts out so much is that his mind is simply incredible and it moves faster than the rest of his body or his ability to communicate. So basically he’s “too smart” for his age (which certainly isn’t what the unwashed masses would think when they see him freak out in the grocery store). Anyway, we talked to our doctor about it and our doctor referred us for a psych eval, so our insurance covered the whole thing. Sure doesn’t sound like your pediatrician would have a problem writing such a referral.

robmandu's avatar

@jbfletcherfan, I believe @sandystrachan‘s quip where he suggests laughing about accidents is intended as part of a larger framework.

That is, don’t scold the child or make a really big deal about it. Don’t put undue pressure or burden on the child as it might set unrealistic expectations of performance.

In short, just because you’re laughing to keep the child comfortable doesn’t mean it’s not serious business.

RedPowerLady's avatar

@dalepetrie Have you tried an alarm clock in the middle of the night? A bit annoying but after a couple of weeks of it you may be able to stop using it. If you go out and buy a really neat kid-friendly alarm clock and put it in your son’s room then it might help out with the night-time waking. Just set it for the middle of the night. Show him how to turn it off and let him know that each time it goes off he needs to get up and go to the bathroom whether he feels he needs to or not. And perhaps have a reward for doing so. If it doesn’t work at first you may need to try setting the alarm for a different time in the night.

dalepetrie's avatar

@RedPowerLady – you know, to be 100% honest there are things we could try, that might not be a bad idea actually, I had considered personally waking him up, but maybe next time we go diaper free, we’ll set the alarm clock for 4 hours before he gets up…if that works, then we’ll move it to 3 and if that works, we’ll move it to 2, then 1 1/2. Only big problem is going to be that last hour and a half. My wife and I are night owls and he’s an early riser, if he wakes up and it’s at all light outside, he won’t go back to bed. But thanks for the suggestion, I WILL try that.

babygalll's avatar

He is old enough to understand! I work in a daycare and we got 3 kids all ages 3 all trained in the same week! You have to take away the pull up completely! You may or may not get some accidents, but you have to take it away. He’s old enough to understand where pee goes and if he does have an accident he will knows it doesn’t feel too good to have wet pants. Tell him you don’t have anymore pull ups. You have to commit to stay home all day and do it! It will work! Be patient.

Blonderaven's avatar

this is kind of weird, but a Mother of 4 once told me that if he doesn’t see other people using the potty he won’t want to. it sounds like there are larger issues here too. Just a thought.

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