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I feel like such a failure over potty training

(7 Posts)
Blackvarnish Mon 10-Mar-14 12:18:08

My son is 3 and a half and is still not using a potty. What makes this even more hard for me is that my friends son is exactly a year younger to the day and has been potty trained for a few months. I have tried every method, bribes, different potties, toilet seats, iPad, new pants, different pants and I simply have run out of ideas. I don't get how two children can be that different. I've tried potty training him for around a year now, last one a week indoors, naked from waist down. Nothing. It's honestly like he can't be bothered, won't stop what he's doing. I'm so patient with him over it and have never told him off for an accident, just next time on the potty etc. The last time he stopped drinking so made that connection and was holding his wee in and then had tummy ache so put him back in nappies. What do I do? I feel such a failure and receive so many digs from family etc. Are other kids like this? I don't feel there are any developmental issues with him, not behind, not advanced, improving speech everyday. Any suggestions please? I'm baffled...

crazy88 Mon 10-Mar-14 14:45:50

Sounds like you are both very stressed! 3 year olds are a beggar to get to do anything they are not keen on ime. Doea he go to preschool? How do they deal with it? I only ask because sometimes they will perform for others more willingly and if he senses pressure from you he may be more likely to resist.

Some on here will tell you to leave it until he asks to do it himself, but if like me you don't relish the prospect of cleaning up a 4 year old daily, I would persevere. How you approach potty training is all linked to a child's self esteem and it sounds like you are doing admirably not losing your rag! It might help to really focus on the things he DOES do well rather than giving so much attention to this one area where he is struggling. If he feels good about himself in other ways he is more likely to co-operate with you in this.

I think stopping and starting can be confusing for children so I honestly would stay consistent and just go for it. He clearly has the physical control if he is able to hold it in so you can probably rule out any physical cause. Fwiw my second was very resistant to the whole thing but I needed him to do it as I had my third dc on the way and bribery did work in the end as it made him feel he had a reason to do it.

Oh and try not to compare to other children. My first was three and a bit when he finally cracked it and my third has just done it in three days at the age of 2.1 so you may be luckier next time around! grin

Blackvarnish Mon 10-Mar-14 16:21:39

Thanks for your reply. He's not at preschool until September as our local one hasn't any places until then. I guess in my head I'm thinking he needs to be PT by September. What makes it more frustrating is the fact he can hold it, at least 2 hours between wees so I have all the signs he's ready but nothing to finally push him to think if I have a wee on the potty I get a chocolate. I've read so many 'the older they are, the quicker it is' type threads so I feel like it should just click but it's not at all. It's by far the hardest parenting challenge I've faced.

crazy88 Mon 10-Mar-14 16:40:40

Yes I remember being told that as well and felt quite cheated when I realised it was not necessarily the case! You will find many people on here in the same boat so it's nothing unusual. smile

I do remember feeling like a complete failure, completely unexpectedly, at this stage as well. I was so smug that I had this child who slept and ate and behaved well and then it was like, woah! Didn't see this one coming!

Try to take some pressure off yourself and don't let this damage your relationship with your son. If he senses your anxiety it will only make things worse. Try to ignore it as you would other undesirable behaviour and just ladle on the praise for the things he is doing well and he might just decide to indulge you! Also, I don't think pre schools are allowed to not accept him even if he is not trained so try not to set yourself deadlines smile

ooerrmissus Mon 10-Mar-14 16:41:12

OP don't worry, some kids are like this, especially boys I'm afraid. It will happen eventually; it is probably that he just hasn't got his head round it. My DS1 wasn't potty trained until he was 4; I'd tried everything just like you but the truth was he just didn't 'get' it. One day something clicked and a week later it was all over.
Like PP says I would keep at it. What worked for mine in the end was the 'potty clock'. I got a kitchen timer and set it to go off every 20 minutes. When it went off he would sit on the potty. He wouldn't wee every time but it got him thinking about stopping what he was doing and thinking about whether he needed to go.
Oh also try getting the dvd of Big Bear in the Blue House with the potty training episode on. If nothing else it's hilarious.

HappyHippyChick Mon 10-Mar-14 16:44:42

I feel your pain! Ds3 was 3 in September but just will not use the potty/ toilet at all. My other two trained fairly easily in a few days so I know it's him not me, but that doesn't stop me feeling like a terrible parent sad. Good luck!

shabbadab Mon 10-Mar-14 20:30:54

This could have been my post a little more than a month ago in fact I did post then and got some great support so I totally understand how you are feeling but finally we have made massive progress so I don't know if any of this will help.
DS is now 3.5 and we'd had 2 other serious attempts lasting a few days (last before Christmas) and failed and ended back in nappies. My DS hates change and if he knows there is an option to get out of something he will be stubborn and refuse to comply bigtime. Well, this time I told him we were running out of nappies. I had been talking about for a week or so occasionally and more and more until the day before we went and picked special pants (we had tried the special pant buy about a year ago to no avail). For the first 4 days he would sit on the toilet when prompted most of the time but was occasionally non compliant due to mood. He would sit and have a book or watch a peppa pig on my tablet!! (skipped potty due to size - his choice). All wees and poos over this 4 days were accidents - we didn't even catch one! I was using bribery of a choc button to get him to just sit on toilet and a choc button for telling me when he had wee or pooed (accident). Then in despair I rang the HV who advised bribery for trying or telling he's done a wee or a poo for accident wasn't good as it was no incentive for a DC who might be a bit lazy to actually get one in the toilet!! So we started with choc button onlt for wee and poo in the toilet (1 for wee, 2 for poo!). We als followed advice to have a bigger carrot present (in our case an icecream van) in sight but out of reach and tell him he could have it for first wee or poo in the toilet. It worked a treat and then things have got increasingly better from there (with some hiccups, like 'not today mummy' for one day last week!?). At the end of the week we offered a trip to MD's if he tried all week (emphasised accidents didn't matter just wanted him to try) and now need for bribes seem to have died He is now having rare accidents and seems motivated to tell us and manages 90% to take/sort himself.

I would say although he def wasn't ready on previous trials, I do believe in my case he would have laways needed a fairly stern push force to kick start the process and lots of bribery. good luck xx

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