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Please help....3.5yrold ds still potty training a year on!

(30 Posts)
SnookyWookyWooWoo Mon 18-Jan-16 17:32:19

I need some advice before I lose the will to live. Have been potty training since last March with my ds who was 2 yrs 8 months (he's now 3yr 5months) . He was starting to show signs of being ready before this but I held off until he was pretty much putting himself on the potty.
First week went great no accidents at all (seemed too good to be true)....then gradually once the novelty had worn off, he started to have accidents.
Fast forward to now, he started nursery two weeks ago and still will not use the potty unless told to. Will just hold it in and do little patches in his pants (which gradually get bigger unless he's forced to use the potty).
The reason for this is complete and utter laziness. He knows exactly how to pull his trousers and pants up and down. He knows he needs to go. He purposely ignores it and it's driving me mental.
We have now hit a patch where he is back to having accidents constantly and I'm going through clothes like in the beginning. I know he's capable as he stays dry outside the house and if he's not wearing anything he will use the potty completely reliably.
I've tried sticker and rewards, I've tried reasoning and explaining, ignoring the bad praising the good and I'm ashamed to say I've told him off this week and punished him as I'm at my wits end.
Has anyone ever been through the same? Is a year a reasonable amount of time to take and still be getting nowhere? Is it a boy thing? What can I do from here? I can't bear this at the moment especially with a 3 month old too

SnookyWookyWooWoo Mon 18-Jan-16 17:34:01

Should also say as he just does mornings he doesn't have accidents at nursery. He's totally capable he just doesn't care.

MigGril Mon 18-Jan-16 17:47:50

I think it can be a can't be bothered thing. My DS was very late to train 4 years and very stubborn. Took a lot of bribery. Has he actually been in plants for a year then.

Often they get distracted by what they are doing and is to much trouble to go. Where as at nursery he'll go as it's more trouble to have an accident and have them change him.

Do you change him if he had an accident? Make it more trouble for him if he has an accident make him change himself. This can help as then going to the toilet/potty is less trouble. Reward him when he does go, but don't punish him for accidents it can be counter productive as even negative attention can be attractive to small children. This but I found hard with DS as it was so frustrating but it did pay off in the end.

SnookyWookyWooWoo Mon 18-Jan-16 18:10:06

Thanks for responding.
He doesn't have accidents at nursery because he holds it in. He doesn't use their toilets at all. If he had a lot to drink in the morning I'm fairly certain it would cause him to have an accident because he'd do that sooner than take his pants off.

As for changing him yes I do. I've tried leaving him a while so he can feel the wet but he doesn't seem to care. So normally I go and get him clothes then have to battle to get his concentration to get him dressed. What you said makes complete sense maybe if it was more of a chore to change himself he wouldn't wet so much. He is very sneaky though....I know that's an odd word but it sums him up. The other day I was round my mum's and he'd been making them hold his willy when he went to the big toilet. They thought it was because he couldn't aim it himself.....which is not true at all. When I asked him why he was making grandad and Nanny hold his willy he said it was so that he wouldn't have to wash his hands and they would!! So naughty lol!

I'm grateful it's never a full on bladder full being leaked but it feels like this has been going on forever . He also will never poo in his pants so that's helpful. Definitely going to try that though MigGril

TheGingerBreadWoman Mon 18-Jan-16 18:10:09

It took over 18 months to get my son dry (he was almost 4 and about to start pre school). I was convinced he would be 25 and still in nappies!! He is now 8 and still wet most nights but that's a whole other issue!!

His brother was potty trained over a weekend at about 2 1/2!!

Keep persevering they will get there eventually.

SnookyWookyWooWoo Mon 18-Jan-16 18:16:32

I feel your pain. My ds goes through stages of being dry but more often than not we are changing his outfits frequently.
I'm scared his school won't let him start in September or he'll be the only one having accidents.
So good to hear you can come out of the other side

captainproton Mon 18-Jan-16 18:23:46

With my DD who was exactly the same, I'd get her to strip her clothes off and put them in a special laundry bucket for her wet/dirty clothes. Then we'd be up in the bathroom stood in the bath taking a very long and methodical time to wash her legs and bottom. then I would get her to dress herself. Then we'd have to clean the floor and furniture.

I didn't tell her off for the accidents or make a massive deal of it so as not to feed the attention. I read somewhere that if you make the consequences of wetting/soiling yourself so boring and annoying you eventually give in and realise just going to the toilet is better in the long run.

I also got her a 'big girl doll' she really wanted to play with it, but I told her the box said only big girls who use the toilet could play with it.

Finally I found (and still do now) that the more I remind her to use the loo, the more she rebels and refuses. I had to trust her to figure it out herself!!

MigGril Mon 18-Jan-16 20:40:19

Oh interesting what you say about him holding it while he is at nursery. My son would do exactly the same thing, he could go a while season including staying for lunch club and not go to the toilet. He's got amazing blades control, I wish mine was that good.

SnookyWookyWooWoo Fri 22-Jan-16 10:54:05

Hi all - sorry I took so long to reply (have been poorly with a stomach bug).

Im happy to report things have already improved since I started getting ds to get himself changed, it certainly is a pain for him and seems to be a deterrent.

He didnt have once accident yesterday (not a drop) and even told me when he needed to go in the supermarket, which shocked me as he never tells me he needs to go for a wee.

captain I did something really similar to what you said, got him to put his own clothes in the laundry (and more importantly take them off himself), made him help me wash himself off and help get himself re dressed.

I also have made a massive deal every time he went for a wee by himself, because before he was almost having an accident every time.

Am amazed at how quick this seems to have calmed down, its probably not going to be this way every day but changing things up really have made a difference so thanks so much for everyones comments flowers

bazzerfewi Sat 23-Jan-16 01:34:42

Hi I am the grandad and I have toilet trained all 4 of our grand children before they were 2. I am no expert but I thought toiilet training was one of the biggest milestones for a toddler. I alway gave praise when they did well and never made a big deal of it if they had an accident. When in doors the children only wore under clothes mainly because I found that they responded better because they felt the sensation of wetting straight away.

I didn't use trainer pants because I think it defeats the object and trains them to wet their pants, also I think it is a sales ploy on behalf of the nappy manufacturers. Make it fun shorten the intervals between going to the toilet if necessary. I personally never used a potty as again in my opinion the job needs doing twice. Maybe I was fortunate but all 4 grandchildren have the same dad but different mums and were dry day and night before they were 2 years old. They sometimes say it is hereditary but all the girls on my wifes side of the famly including her daughter wet at night until they were ten years old with no medical ailments.

Patience is needed at all times and make it fun from the very start, also let the children accompay both mum and dad where possible when going to the loo from a young age, sit them on the loo with the lid down and before long they will climb on themselves as they class it as a game, they then become familiar with he surroundings before they even start thinking about actually using the loo.

NutellaLawson Sat 23-Jan-16 02:24:18

My ds1 is exactly like yours. It's been almost a year of toilet training and at 3.4 years it's still wet pants multiple times a day.
Sometimes we get completely dry days but never more than 3 in a row.

We make him put his wet things in the washing machine, use praise and chocolate rewards for each wee but they stop working after three days. He stops caring about them.

He's stubborn about sitting on the potty or toilet, will insist he won't do a wee, proper shouting that he doesn't need to, but then will wet himself not three minutes later.

To the poster above smug about potty training all dgc before 2, well bully for you. I did all of the above and am still stuck here one year later. No one needs to hear how easy it was for you. OP (and I) need to hear about how others cracked a challenging case. Rest assured we did all the usual stuff to no avail.

In our case we bought pants he likes (and he will always choose pants over nappies) and he sees all family members use toilet. I also always explicitly tell him I'm going for a wee if I need to leave him so he understands we all interrupt our activities to go.

We praise wees highly, both prompted ones and especially those rare unprompted ones.

Accidents are met with a sigh, we ask him why he didn't use the potty. 'Wees go in the potty' (for the eleventy millionth time) and ask him to put his wet things in the washing machine.

Chocolate rewards work but never for more than 3 days.

We started to put him in a nappy if he had an accident and will earn his pants back if he wees in the potty next time. That also only worjs occasionally.

We sometimes get dry days at nursery and sometimes numerous accidents.

Poos are 99% reliable so I wonder whether he either has urge incontinence or can't always feel it. But he obviously does know what urge feels like as we sometimes get three days of perfection.

I share your frustration OP. I'm so envious of those whose dc potty trained with ease.

MigGril Mon 25-Jan-16 07:25:08

Nutella I agree you don't need people telling you how easy it can be. My first trained really easily, trust me is about having a cooperative child. Anyone who's not come across a difficult one won't understand.

I think with the bribing with DS we had to alternate what we bribe him with. He's very difficult to bribe anyway, isn't that motivated by it so it had to be something he found really exciting. I can see why bed get bored of chocolate after 3 days. See if you can mix it up a bit of rewarding in general is working. Maybe give him a longer term goal as well as he's older. This did help us, if he's stuck at 3 days give him a bigger reward after 4 maybe something he really likes to do. In my sons case it would be a trip to the park but yours maybe different.

SnookyWookyWooWoo Mon 25-Jan-16 22:15:17

Baz thanks for that. I've tried a fair few different tactics with my little one but not been quite so successful. I feel like some children are more geared up to it than others but agree with you about trainer pants, I don't use them as I think he needs to know what being wet feels like. Howe very he doesn't give a stuff if he's wet...it genuinely doesn't bother him. I think a lot of the things you said make sense to me. Perhaps I should just leave him in pants at home to make it easier to take them on and off. We definitely let him into the bathroom and make a deal of it if we go so he knows it's normal.
I'm unsure whether to prompt him or not? Should I keep making him go or let him wet himself (which he inevitably will)?
Nutella you have described my son to a tee! He will always respond that he doesn't need to go, then wet himself minutes later! Your approach seems brilliant. Hadn't thought of putting a nappy on him or training pants... would definitely annoy him but maybe that's what he needs? I suspect however he would enjoy not having to use the effort to pull his trousers down and it will fuel his laziness. He actually had an accident at nursery today so we are officially back to the drawing board.
Tried some spiderman pants to see if it would deter him from wetting them but he just persists in making little wee patches. He had 4 accidents between nursery this morning and bedtime by which time I'd let him run around pant less because i feel like there is no point trying anymore.
Migril I haven't tried changing the bribes yet....usually it's a treat at the end of the day (if he remains dry all day) or a sticker for a wee that was unprompted which results in 4 different rewards depending on how many stickers he gets. Usually swimming, trip to the park, magazine etc.

He just gets bored of things so fast. I will try to mix things up a bit and alternate what he gets everyday. Just wish he'd care about wetting himself. Suppose I should be grateful it's not poo grin could be much much worse!

Thanks for all your input!

MigGril Tue 26-Jan-16 00:20:44

It is hard work I know it took a lot of hard work and being consistent. We where suggested to try and get him to sit on the potty regardless of weather be needed to go. But I didn't find that worked for us.
He just got frustrated.

We did use training pants but not these modern pull ups that are like nappies. I used cloth type ones which meant he could tell he was wet, he would still need changing after an accident. But they just saved a big puddle on the floor which made things a bit easier. Nusery and preschool where willing to use them as well.

If it's any consolation my HV said DS getting board and being stubborn was a sign of intelligence.

SnookyWookyWooWoo Tue 26-Jan-16 14:14:39

We tried the leave him on the potty thing - had the same effect. Ds got really fed up of it. His problem is definitely laziness more than not feeling the cues. He can be dry sometimes - even today he managed to hold it until I finished the last of my shopping and paid for it - not a drip while were out normally, it just happens at home.

I didn't know you could get cloth training pants - although he never really does a full bladder worth of wee - its just a collection of wet patches which if left gets very very soggy. So that's not too bad with my little one - he just cannot be bothered, holds it and holds it letting out tiny little drips as he goes on. So good that nursery were helpful. Im unsure what happens at ds's nursery - they never seem to take him to the toilet (Im guessing they wont prompt the kids, only take them when they ask to be taken).

I'm guessing this is just one of those lovely phases that will eventually pass - I'm just hoping my sanity remains at the end of it wink

ps Health Visitor said my little one was very bright - and advised me not to even put him in nursery as he doesn't need it and she reckoned it would slow him down! I was a bit hmm to be honest, but to be fair he is a smarty pants lol....with that comes incredible manipulation on his part. I think it makes sense that they are sometimes more stubborn, he definitely makes his mind up quite quickly on things and then seems to stick to them. I can tell big school will be fun grin

bazzerfewi Tue 26-Jan-16 15:00:52

In my experience the best option is to take your son to the toilet every 15 minutes, I know it is a bind but this worked for me. Of the 4 grandchildren I have toilet trained there has been some very awkward moments and I fully understand your frustration. In my experience there are 2 major factors repeat repeat repeat and praise praise praise. What I mean by this is take your son to toilet (if potty place it in the bathroom) every 15 minutes it is a bind I know, encourage him to take along the toy he is playing with at the time this will be more accepting to him. In time he will not wet because he is visiting the toilet frequently enough not to need to wet in between. THIS WILL GO WRONG INITIALLY and it may take some time for him to change his habits but it worked for me and there is no reason why it won’t work for you.

PS you may feel that going to the bathroom is a long way for him to go and he may not be able to hold himself but this is not usually the case. The fact is it will be better for him because he is learning control and distinguishing between the bathroom and other parts of the house. The other thing that is worth mentioning is that all children LOVE PLAYING WITH WATER make a big thing of washing his hands make it fun and don't worry too much if he splashes water etc.

MigGril Tue 26-Jan-16 16:38:26

Hahaha sorry bazzer not to be rude but I can tell you've only train young toddlers who having been willing to train.

Op is describing a 3 1/2 year old who already has a good blader capacity. Who if isn't already may be dry at night as soon as he is in the day. Trying to take an intelligent older child to the toilet every 15 minutes really doesn't work. I see how it works for younger children and it worked for DD who trained at 2 1/2 years. But add another year and your looking at a totally different ball game.

Even the HV who help me was very clear that what works for younger children won't always work for older children as they think differently.

DS was operating at reception level according to our nursery, but they where fab and tailor things to children's needs. He needed the social interaction though so it was good for him in other ways.

bazzerfewi Tue 26-Jan-16 17:03:55

Why would any caring parent leave a child until they are 3 years old or even 2 years old for that matter before introducing them to the toilet. Obviously the older a child is the more they are aware of the outside world and of course they differently. In my view this is cruel as the child will be embarrassed and not want to go to the toilet because there are too many distraction..

MigGril Tue 26-Jan-16 21:48:00

Bazzer your comments are really not very helpful. Do you really think op has left it this long to potty train?

I'm sure like me she's had been doing this for months possibly years by now and had posted hear for support because she is frustrated that she finding it so difficult. Comments like that really aren't helpful at all.

My first DD I tried potty training from 18 months but she wasn't ready then. But she had the potty in the bathroom followed me to the toilet (let's face it what toddler doesn't) ect. Until she really got it at 2 1/2 years dry in 3 days job done boy did I think that was easy. And both mine where in cloth nappies from babies so always new what it felt like to be wet. Did the same with DS, but he really just didn't get it at all. Or was to stubborn for his own good and it took until he was old enough to unstand more who knows. He was actually 4 in fact before he was reliability dry I was worrying he'd be starting school not dry. But thanks to a lot of help from my HV we got there in the end.

Just because a mum is struggling with an older child doesn't mean she's not been trying for a long time to train them. Just because you've been lucky never to have a child that's been difficult to train doesn't mean it's not a real issue for some.

SnookyWookyWooWoo Tue 26-Jan-16 22:58:10

Mig again you are describing my child entirely! He is very intelligent and fiercely independent but maybe lacking in social skills which was why I pushed him to nursery to be honest (it's made it worse he's August born so complete youngest). He's done fab and fitted in very well. I just don't want him to be at a disadvantage because of the wetting. I'm sure it won't affect him but there are kids there a whole year ahead so he may well be a little behind in the bathroom stakes.

Rest assured Baz I haven't left it until he's 3 and a half, as I said in my original post I have been at this with him for a year almost. I tried at 2 and he wasn't ready so left it until he had control. My ds had other issues as an infant with that area and I wanted to be sure I didn't pressure him or put him under any stress. You cannot force them no matter how much you want them toilet trained. I could only offer the opportunity but he simply would wet himself. Constantly. He had zero control at 2.

As for now, I couldn't put him on a potty every 15 minutes he would start to refuse entirely at this point. He likes to feel independent and I feel we would be going backwards. Plus he just wouldn't. He will happily stand up to wee in the big toilet or sit down on a potty. There are several in our house so no excuse not to use one. He just would get fed up if he was made to sit there that often. He has control because he is able to hold it mostly and just let out small dribbles. He holds it IMHO for far too long. If he went every hour and a half I think we'd be OK.

Also ds doesn't like washing his hands and regularly tries to get out of it. He's just a lazy little urchin. I'm thinking I may contact the hv for some help with this as I'm worrying as you said mig that he'll be having accidents at school.

Have now been making a big deal of him getting himself changed and washed after an accident. Today he ran off upstairs repeatedly and told me he didn't want me to come up and that he would change himself. Which I thought was great except he wet his clothes a little, got changed but didn't bother actually going to the loo and then repeated this all day. He got through 5 pairs of bottoms...all the while not actually going to the toilet. I'm thinking it's a good thing that he's changing his bottoms hiself. But bit concerned he is now not letting me see the clothes as though he's scared. He put all the bits straight into the washing machine bless his heart.

Anyway at least I know others have been there and I'm not the only one confused

MigGril Tue 26-Jan-16 23:43:34

They are crafty aren't they. Just when you think your making progress they throw you another curve ball. You've got a smart little bit there.

I know you said the HV was That great at his review and I must admit to not having found them that helpful before either. But I didn't know what else to do so rang them up. I think they did ask me to take DS to the GP first just to check be didn't have anything medical going on. Then I got a HV in my hour for a while hour to myself just on this problem. We had several follow up visit to, and they did offer to transfer to the school nurse before he started school of be want dry by then but luckily need cracked it.

I don't think they have me a whole load of more information but the support when your struggling was really helpful. And there must have been one of two things that help or we wouldn't have cracked it.

MigGril Tue 26-Jan-16 23:44:32

Sorry that should be boy

SnookyWookyWooWoo Thu 28-Jan-16 21:57:17

They are too smart for their own good!

Hoping we are not still at this point when he starts school sad

Keep your fingers (and toes) crossed for us!!

Thanks for your wonderful advice Mig

mickywork Fri 29-Jan-16 16:06:03

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Dangermouse1 Mon 08-Feb-16 21:49:42

Thanks for this thread, am having exactly the same issues. DS is dry out of the house and at nursery and has been at home, but now just seems like he can't be bothered. He is the same with lots of other skills (e.g. perfected dressing himself - at his own instigation - but now does anything he can to attempt to get us to do it for him). I have no helpful advice but going to try some of Migs tips and see how it goes. Will maybe contact hv too.

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