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4yo will not use toilet or potty

(40 Posts)
Imgettingcheesefries Wed 26-Jun-19 14:37:14

Really struggling with this, I don't know what to do. I'm not really sure where to begin it's quite a long story.

Bought dd a Peppa Pig potty when she was 2 and a half, she was happy to sit on it fully clothed but cried and screamed when we talked about what it's for and how to use it etc. I kept putting it off and waiting for the day she would want to use it, since all the things I had read about potty training said when your child is ready to potty train they will want to, but the day never came.

Then when she was 3 and a half I decided the day wasn't arriving so I would just go for it and see what happened. She cried and screamed all day for 3 days, had maybe one or two wees in the potty, when I made her stay there despite the crying, and waiting for her bedtime nappy to poo. The health Visitor said to keep going, that's the only advice she gave. I gave up, the day long tantrums were just too much, I know this was probably a mistake but she was so miserable and everyone else in the house was too.

So now she's recently turned 4, she's starting school in September and she has her taster days in 2 weeks so I'm trying again. We're bypassing the potty this time and bought a toilet seat thing so she wasn't scared of falling in. We started on Saturday morning so we're on day 5 now. Everyday has been the same, she holds everything in and when I put her on the toilet she repeatedly says she doesn't need to go and she wants to get off and nothing ever comes. Last night we got the closest to anything happening, just before bedtime (just before bedtime nappy and pjs on) she said she needed a wee, I said okay let's go, we went upstairs, got on the toilet, she said she didn't need it she wanted to get off. She cried and screamed for 10 minutes on the toilet until she came back downstairs. Same again 10 minutes later when I could see she needed it. Eventually it got to bedtime so she had her nappy on and used it straight away and was calm and happy again.

So she's holding everything in for about 11 hours everyday and then using her nappy as soon as she can. She's miserable, I'm miserable. She won't answer me if I ask why she doesn't want to do it, if pushed she'll say she's scared but won't tell me what of.

Wow that was a long story, has anyone else had a similar experience?

We've tried stickers, charts, chocolate buttons, praise, leaving her to do it in private so not 'watching' she would rather have none of those things and just wear a nappy so they haven't helped

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Imgettingcheesefries Wed 26-Jun-19 14:39:36

Just re read that and just want to make it clear that I mean if pushed for an answer, not that I've physically pushed her 😂

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Lairydea Wed 26-Jun-19 14:47:52

I highly recommend the "oh crap! potty training" book, they've got a chapter on older toddlers that you may find helpful.

Lairydea Wed 26-Jun-19 14:48:36

(Sorry id give more info but I've lent my copy to my friend and don't have it to hand, it's great though!)

Imgettingcheesefries Wed 26-Jun-19 14:54:03

Thanks for replying, I read a few potty training books at the beginning but they all seemed to suggest that she would be ready when she wanted to use it so didn't really work for me. I'll definitely have a look for that one though, thanks

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Lairydea Wed 26-Jun-19 15:21:34

This book is a little different, suggests that when they meet certain criteria then they're ready - seems a bit less airy-fairy that way.
The basic premise is not going anywhere for a few days and having your child wear no knickers/pants. Then watching like a hawk and putting them straight on the potty at the first sign.
However your daughter can hold her bladder/bowel and she's definitely past this stage, as I say there's a chapter for older kids but I can't recall the detail (two friends have borrowed my copy to train their 3+yo though and had success with it), hopefully this'll bump your post again for someone to give further advice though

Orchidflower1 Wed 26-Jun-19 15:25:00

How about ditching the night time nappy and going for sleep pads instead?

Also I’d fill her with as much liquid as possible- she will go for a wee then.

Good luck and do stick with it.

BoudiccaKate Wed 26-Jun-19 15:36:37

One of my sister's had this problem with her eldest. He was about 3.5 when she tried to start him on the potty and he refused point blank. Our mother advised sister to stop putting pressure on him and to only suggest and encourage gently. And to let him see daddy using the loo - sitting down to pee - and, more importantly, other children.

It took about a week of him being around other children who were using a potty or the loo for him to be asking to use it himself.

Bluerussian Wed 26-Jun-19 15:47:44

You could tell her that she won't be able to go to or do some things (that she is keen on), because of not being able to use the toilet. She is old enough to understand that. When something comes up say that it is a shame she can't go and that when she does poo and wee in the toilet, she'll be able to.

Another thing is a bit of bribery: you will be so proud of her when she overcomes this that she will get a reward of something she will really want and like.

Being in the company of children her age who do use the toilet will help.

I sympathise with you, I'mgettingcheesefries, but it will happen, honestly.

FatandSassy Wed 26-Jun-19 15:51:54

You could try giving up the potty. Use the loo instead? Perhaps let her go on a tablet or something while she's sat on it so she's distracted and comfortable and don't worry if she doesn't go. Your first step will be to stop the fear she's got over going in any place other than her nappy. So get used to sitting in the bathroom with her for a bit, it could help.

Imgettingcheesefries Wed 26-Jun-19 15:56:07

Thanks everyone. I've just ordered that book from amazon so fingers crossed that's helps us.

I thought peer pressure would help as she's at nursery 3 days a week but it's made no difference at all really, she knows she's there only one in her class still in pull ups but she doesn't seem to care. She's very stubborn and doesn't really 'follow the crowd' which in one way is a good way to be but is making toilet training very difficult

Wondering if starting potty training her little sister (was 2 in april) will help things along a bit, and definitely don't want to leave it much longer and be potty training a 4 year old again 😂

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PaddyF0dder Wed 26-Jun-19 16:02:25

That is quite delayed.

Are there other developmental concerns?

marvik Wed 26-Jun-19 16:06:43

You could try putting her in cloth/terry nappies instead. As they're not absorbent to the same extent, the feeling of weeing/producing solids would be less pleasant - and be an incentive to use the loo.

This could be sold as being something which is good for the planet - after using disposables for a few years now it's time to go green.

Imgettingcheesefries Wed 26-Jun-19 16:28:50

Have no idea how to tag people, sorry.

No other developmental concerns, just very stubborn and doesn't like change.

Thank you, that's a good idea. She wearing knickers all day and hasn't had any accidents, I know it's because she's purposely holding it in but still, so I'm not sure if that might be a step backwards maybe.

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Oceanbliss Wed 26-Jun-19 16:31:06

Here's some things that worked for my dd. I read her story books while she sat on the toilet. Bought lots of small toys I knew she would like, then gift wrapped each toy and put them all in a bag for lucky dip. She got to reach in the bag and choose one present each time she did a wee on the toilet and was allowed two presents if she did a poo. I also bought a story book with a panda going to the potty and the story helped her not worry. Also, made sure I was relaxed and not anxious. Try not to feel the pressure. She will definitely get there, it's ok.

HeadDeskk Wed 26-Jun-19 16:34:42

I also second the "Oh Crap!" book. The book has chapters on older childen and a troubleshooting section that runs through a lot of the issues you're having. My DD was stubborn too, and I found it such a relief when I got to the sections of the book that helped me figure out what is normal potty worries and simply bad behaviour, and what to do about behaviour. I followed the book exactly and it worked like a charm. The book even addresses regressions, so I felt confident in trusting her advice. It was spot on even when my DD had a regression. The "Oh Crap" author knows her stuff. smile

picklesticks Wed 26-Jun-19 16:40:05

My DD is 3y 9mo and we've cracked potty training in the last few weeks after several false starts over the last year. The only thing I did differently this time was framing. We've talked a lot recently about how we mustn't be wasteful and we've changed the way we buy food and household items etc so that we reduce waste from plastic and packaging etc. She'd definitely picked up on all of that so when it came to potty training we talked about how wasteful nappies are compared to using the toilet. Of course she could just have been ready this time around, but I think it helped her buy into it a bit more.

Oceanbliss Wed 26-Jun-19 16:41:55

My dd is very stubborn too. If she senses that I really want her to do something she will dig her heals in hard and find all kinds of ways to refuse or do the opposite. Try to be casual about it so she doesn't sense how much you want her to do wees on the toilet.

anon812 Wed 26-Jun-19 16:52:32

I would stop the nappy at bedtime and do what was suggested and use pads and ensure waterproof bedding etc. It will be totally disgusting for a few nights but I'm sure once she understands that the only way to go is on the toilet then she would rather do this that get it all over her. If she knows she gets a nappy at night then she will hold it in for the nappy, but once she realises she doesn't get a nappy anymore she might start going when she needs it.

Imgettingcheesefries Wed 26-Jun-19 17:06:33

Thanks for all the advice. I've just rang visitor for some help too, new to the area so haven't met mine yet.

The advice about no bedtime nappy makes sense, she is holding on waiting for it so if it was taken away surely she would have to go.

She's just had her first accident, she told me it was coming when she was already doing it so no time to get upstairs, she cried and said it felt gross so hopefully next time she will say she needs to go.

Thanks for everyone's replies, I've felt really alone with this and almost too embarrassed to say we need some help

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Teddyreddy Wed 26-Jun-19 17:24:18

If you are going straight to the toilet, have you got toilet steps so she can get on and off independently and doesn't feel stranded on it? My friend had a lot of trouble with her daughter at age 3.5, the health visitor told her to get steps high enough she could rest her feet on them while pooing - something like these ones .

Only other thing you could do to force the issue is ply her with huge amount of liquids during the day (e.g. as ice pops, jelly, cucumber if she won't drink) to try and force the issue. I think withholding there is a high risks of UTIs so you definitely want to talk to your health visitor - my friend found hers very helpful.

Imgettingcheesefries Wed 26-Jun-19 18:35:31

Hi, we have a step but it's not quite tall enough for her feet to rest on when she's sitting, didn't know they existed that tall so I'll get one of those. I was starting to worry about her possibly getting an infection or something from holding it in that long, I'll definitely try more liquids tomorrow, thanks

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lorisparkle Wed 26-Jun-19 19:03:43

There is a charity called ERIC which has a very useful website with information about all aspects of toilet training- particularly when it is not as straightforward.

Just as an aside I worked in a nursery and we had a little girl who refused to be toilet trained. One day she walked into her Mums room with a pair of knickers said 'I am wearing these now' and was dry from then onwards!

gailwalls Wed 26-Jun-19 19:07:21

Just thinking outside the box here, has she seen you struggle on the toilet, periods/ constipation? She might be scared of it. I used to do the wee wee dance and be over the top about having a wee. Like wow look at how much wee I’ve had then sing wee wee on the potty, wese wee on the potty...

I feel for you, potty training is hard at the best of times, I can’t imagine how frustrated you are x

Imgettingcheesefries Wed 26-Jun-19 19:38:28

Hi, no she hasn't seen anything like that, she didn't actually see me on the toilet much at all until she was about 3 (moved house and had a downstairs one!) so I've been wondering if that's where I went wrong, by not letting her see earlier.

Thanks for the website advice, I'll have a look tonight. I really hope the day comes where it just clicks and she wants to do it, there are tears every morning when I ask her to go choose some knickers to put on

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