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Any advice for a 4-year old with potty-training troubles?

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Delano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:40 AM
Original message
Any advice for a 4-year old with potty-training troubles?
Edited on Tue May-25-04 11:42 AM by Delano
My wife is at her wit's end with our just-turned 4-year-old boy's slow toilet-training progress. He has about an 80% average of peeing in the toilet, but he persists in going to hide somewhere when it's poop time, then comes and announces he's pooped.

He had just started to use the toilet for number 2 when we lived in Miami, but after the big move to SF 2 months ago we've had no luck.

His older brother was also a bit slow but pretty much mastered at this age.

I know you're supposed to be patient, but the wife is a bit on the hysterical side. She really wants him potty trained so he can go to pre-school.
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AlCzervik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:43 AM
Response to Original message
1. this may sound crazy but give it a try
Plan a weekend where you are staying home and breakout the drop clothes and take off the pullup, he'll figure it out himself pretty quickly. My sister had a similiar problem with her then 3 year old daughter and it worked in a day.
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trogdor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #1
6. Pull-ups are an abomination.
Edited on Tue May-25-04 11:56 AM by Why
They are a way for Kimberly-Clark to get parents to keep buying bales of diapers for a year or two longer for kids who are way too old to be wearing them. Nobody needed them before.

When my son was around two, they had just come out, but I put him in pants anyway. Cold turkey. Screw the corporate bastards. If he peed in them, then he peed in them, and I would take my time changing them. That part was easy. It lasted less than a week.

Pooping, OTOH, took a little longer. Eventually, the logic program in his head booted up and I was able to convince him that if he could go behind his bedroom door and poop, he could easily make it to the bathroom.
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candy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
13. 5 kids and 6 grandkids here-
Remove the pants completely and it will be solved in a couple of days.

Do NOT make hime clean up afterhimself,that's cruel.

He'll get it eventually and you'll wonder what you were so concerned about.
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vi5 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
2. Don't know what to do when their half way there....
My wife and I did the "potty training in a day" book/method for our 2 and a half year old and it worked like a charm. I was completely a skeptic but it really did work. Literally 24 hours. It's been two weeks and she's had 1 or 2 accidents but it got her 95% of the way within 24 hours. Not sure if it will work if he's half way there already and it may work differently for boys (we have a daughter). But if you're at your wits end, anything might help.
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notadmblnd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:44 AM
Response to Original message
3. Make him clean it up himself
once he figures out there is more work to it than just dropping it in his hiding spot. He'll put it where it needs to go.
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elfwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:45 AM
Response to Original message
4. try rewards...
Every time my son goes #1 or #2 we give him a sticker. We have a little poster tacked up next to the toilet so he can see how many he has gotten. He will do almost anything for a sticker.
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ScreamingMeemie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:48 AM
Response to Original message
5. Both of my children have done this to me... I took the,"I've never
seen a Kindergartner in diapers" approach. I kept them in normal cotton (i.e. not very comfy when full of poop) underpants and had them come in the bathroom with me to clean out the poop and rinse out the pants. It worked in about a week. They basically didn't want to spend the time doing the cleanup chore with me when they could have been playing so they decided to give the toilet a chance.

Best of Luck. I feel for your wife. I was hysterical too. :hi:


***On that note: Many, many children are not potty trained until after four....no matter what their parents later say. My sister in law swears both her kids were trained before two, and I distinctly remember my beloved niece peeing on the floor of my van at age three and a half. Mom was trained to put the kid on the pot, not the other way around.
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. This is very true!
***On that note: Many, many children are not potty trained until after four....no matter what their parents later say. My sister in law swears both her kids were trained before two, and I distinctly remember my beloved niece peeing on the floor of my van at age three and a half. Mom was trained to put the kid on the pot, not the other way around.

When I confided in friends that my 3 yo wasn't pt yet, I got many confessions from other moms in the same boat.
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The empressof all Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:49 AM
Response to Original message
7. Had the same problem with my brilliant child
I used a book called Prudence and the Potty-They probably have one for boys too. It worked like a charm. You also do need to get rid of the pull-up and make his hiding place less user friendly. My daughters was under the kitchen table. I removed the table for a week-end. Rewards also work well. I am a believer that bribery used in moderation is a great reinforcer. Get him something he really wants if he sticks to the bowl for a few days.
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BOHICA06 Donating Member (886 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:54 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. and sat and sat and sat .....
and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat and sat.

Thanks for memories & two girls that were no trouble.
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leftchick Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:53 AM
Response to Original message
8. let him walk around nude....
when the urge hits he will either mess the rug or go strait to the potty. I did it with my 2 1/2 year old and it worked like a charm!
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:55 AM
Response to Original message
10. Actually, Many children learn at 4 years old. And,
boys are slowert to master the potty from what I hear. My daughter was 4, course I didn't rush her at all. I waited for the signs of readiness. She was very bright and simply more interested in what task she was involved in then learning the potty.

One tip I heard, that worked for us was to use long shirts and nothing on the bottom, that way he has no choice but to use the potty. Of course you are limited as to where you can do this, but it was very effective.

Also you just moved, so I imagine he is a bit stressed and having a hard time adjusting. Regressing in potty learning is totally common for a time like this.

I honestly think when you take the pressure off of him and yourself, it will happen. But you can't rush it IMHO.

Also, to be frank, I'd say preschool is less important then being patient with him. You could explain that if he wants to attend preschool, he will have to poop in the potty while he is there, and try his best at home? Then ask him if he thinks he can do this.

My sister is a preschool teacher, and I am certain they have an occassional accident. ;)

Good luck!
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underpants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 11:58 AM
Response to Original message
12. Ask your parents to help you
:bounce:
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put out Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #12
35. I agree! You're only four years old, for crying out loud.
However, your computer skills and ability to write so well tells us that you should have few problems once you put your mind to it.

Good luck on achieving this major milestone! ;-)
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 04:57 PM
Response to Reply #12
36. That's funny...after I read the subject line again.
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Sticky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:02 PM
Response to Original message
14. Forget it for now....
Give yourselves a week off and start up again when the tension has subsided.

Sounds like the child may be suffering from performance anxiety, why not lower the expectations for now?

I wouldn't do anything to humiliate or shame the child, he's simply not ready and there's nothing unusual about that.

Good luck.
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radwriter0555 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. My mom made me go outside to play in my diaper, no pants.
That got me potty trained instantly.
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Timefortruth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:11 PM
Response to Original message
15. Could it be a power play?
Have you tried absolutely ignoring the problem? When he goes in his diaper don't immediately change him, wait a while and do it with no emotion whatsoever. Don't talk about it, nothing.

After a week talk to him about a reward for each accident free day, but make it seem like it's all up to him you don't care one way or another. Offer a special reward for 7 accident free days (Chucky Cheese big for him?).

Sometimes they like to remind you of who is really in charge, if he does it for a reward he can remain in control.
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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:25 PM
Response to Original message
17. I have a 3 1/2 year old boy
and so far we have had no luck with potty training. So I can sympathize.

As far as him refusing to use the potty since you moved, this is normal behavior. Big adjustments - moving, new sibling etc..- can cause a child to revert back in their behavior. Just give him time and he will be fine.

Good Luck.
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Pithlet Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #17
18. My boy is almost 3 1/2
And we're also in the same boat. No luck at all.
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elfwitch Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. try the sticker method..
Huggies pull-ups has a little potty training kit. It comes with a chart and stickers. My son went gaga for stickers. Every time he uses the potty he gets a sticker. We give him three for going #2. It is a great motivator and a great way for them to see their progress.
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trof Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #17
34. Yep, trauma.
Our daughter was completely housebroken ;-) at around three. Then our dog was hit by a car and killed. She started wetting the bed. It took about a month to get her out of it.
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Cheswick2.0 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
19. take the presure off of him
He knows it is an issue and he is feeling pressured. Rewards help and so does encouragement. The stickers are a good idea, but you must be consistant with whatever plan you chose.
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carpediem Donating Member (700 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 12:53 PM
Response to Original message
20. 2 down (trained) 1 to go (almost 2 years old)
ups and downs are common with potty training. Our first child was almost potty trained then majorly backtracked and started having lots of accident after a big event (like your recent move). After freaking out we backed off and put her back in diapers for a few weeks. she started showing signs of readiness and we let her try again and no problems.

Second child we waited longer to start and used a reward system. a small tattoo and sticker each time she went potty and a couple of m&m's each time she pooped - it was the hardest for her to do - but she loved m&m's.

One thing - be careful not to put too much pressure on him. My nephew got to the point where he would hold it for days and he ended up stretching out his colon and having some medical issues for a while because of it.
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SarahB Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:08 PM
Response to Original message
22. Peer pressure
I dealt with this with my oldest son. The only thing that finally worked was peer pressure. He pooped his pants at a friends house and the friend told him "that's what babies do". While I would never say it, somehow another kid his own age saying it knocked a bit of sense into him I think.
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proud patriot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:23 PM
Response to Original message
23. This is perfectly normal behavior (I'm a pre-school teacher)
lots of kids hide to poop when going through
the process of potty training .

It's time to make poop OK in your house :

get these to books
"Everyone poops"
and
"The little mole who went in search of whodunit" (My Favorite)

Use "learning time" experiences when you see snail poop
and other natural learning experiences including
Announcing that you are going to poop.

Also kids tend to only do this at home , when in a preschool
setting peer presure tends to override the reasons for hiding.
So I would let the child go to Pre-school with an extra set
of undies and pants , also make sure that the pants can be
managed by the child , nothing is more frustrating for a
child then having to ask for help with buttons , snaps and
zippers .

The bigger deal you make out of not going in the toilet
the longer it can take to accomplish your goal . No pressure
(I know that is difficult , but try to keep that in the back
of your mind)

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Guaranteed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:35 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. I'm a 24 y/o male with no kids, but that sounds like
good advice. :)
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cally Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
25. Mine was the same
My advice is just to relax.

My youngest potty trained herself before she was two. She would ask for a diaper to poop but otherwise used the toilet consistently. I thought this was great at two but it lasted until she was 4 and 1/2. She went to preschool and would just wait until she got home. One day I had to work late and was called to come get her because she was laying on the ground with intense abdominal pains. She was too embarassed to ask for a diaper. I tried everything I could think of and nothing worked.

One day I had close friends stop by from out of town. They had a baby and had no idea about our problem. The mother casually said as she was changing her baby's diaper that he used diapers because she wasn't a big girl like my 4 1/2 old. When the baby was old like my daughter than she wouldn't use diapers either. That's all it took. My daughter brought out all her diapers, handed them to the baby, and never used a diaper again.
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Misunderestimator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 01:51 PM
Response to Original message
26. I know there are some young posters here, but FOUR years old?
You're a f'ing genius!

:bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce: :bounce:
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geniph Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 02:06 PM
Response to Original message
27. Stick with positive reinforcement for doing it right
Skip the negative reinforcement stuff. The kid already knows he's not supposed to hide and crap in the corner. But do make him help with cleanup (not do it alone, but at least help). And no intermediate-pants...the idea is to make it uncomfortable to mess his pants and a pleasant experience to use the pot.
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k in IA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 02:21 PM
Response to Original message
28. OK, here's my son's story (still going on) we will see if it helps anyone.
I have a 6 yr old daughter - potty trained before 3, sleeping through the night and everything and a 2 year old (almost 3) also potty trained, even through the night. No high pressure, a few accidents, each had a period of regression and I didn't push it and within a month or two they were back to just using the potty.

My son, now 5, has some anxiety issues (my label,not diagnosed) and just refused to go in the potty. Patience, bribes, stickers, etc. nothing motivated him because the anxiety over doing in the potty is "overwhelming", he freaks out.

We only let him go in the bathroom (he was 3-4)and he would go in a pull-up. Small hole in the pull-up getting larger over months (it had to be so small he didn't even notice at first)until he was wearing the pull-up but peeing and pooping straight into the potty. He figured out it was no big deal and stopped wearing the pull-up to pee. (Happy, happy, joy, joy).

We are still dealing with the poop. Since it happens less, it is much harder to get him to relax about it. We got back (after months and months) of him pooping through the big hole in the pull-up (he regressed). He freaked. Started holding it and going in his pants (that is lovely to clean up - he takes it off immediately and makes an even bigger mess).

He holds it at preschool. Just waits to get home. Next fall is full day kindergarten (9:00 - 3:20). Wish me and him luck this summer.

(sorry so long)

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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 02:31 PM
Response to Reply #28
30. You might want to consider talking with your pediatrician.....
our younger boy had a similar problem and it turned out that he had developed constipation with a blockage. It's a vicious cycle. The child holds it in due to anxiety or whatever, it gets stuck, it's even more painful to have a bowel movement so they don't, the blockage gets bigger, and eventually there starts to be leakage. A lot of parents (including us at first) thought it was potty accidents, but it was totally involuntary. By the time that blockage is built up, the child can't have a normal bowel movement. The constant leaking seems like accidents. It leads to a humiliating and upsetting cycle of blame and guilt.

This can be treated easily at home with your pediatrician's advice, if it turns out to be the problem.

If your child is having such severe anxiety, there are meds that can help that as well. They have done wonders for our kids.
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k in IA Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 03:06 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. I talked to the Pediatrician when he turned 5 and he wasn't all that
concerned (a 5 year old boy not yet totally potty-trained must not be that unusual). He is not constipated (he didn't hold more than a couple of days 6 months ago), he is quite regular. A psychiatrist specializing in this issue is who gave me the expanding hole in the pull-up idea.

The anxiety is something we are dealing with and feeling our way through. He did get a full psych evaluation and wasn't diagnosed with anything but he has definitely got a few of his own "quirks". Kindergarten will be interesting (preschool teachers say he does great).
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 02:27 PM
Response to Original message
29. You say that you just moved across the country....
it's very common for children to have anxiety after a big move. Anything that upsets their schedule will delay developmental milestones like potty training.

I agree with those who say to relax, spend time doing fun things with your family, and if you really need to get the message across now, let him go bare around the house and yard for a few days.

As the mother of two boys who are now young teens, I suggest that you comfort yourself with the reflection that "this too shall pass."

And be replaced by some new problem or issue that drives you nuts!

Here's to parenthood!

But it's great, it's great. Really! Grin.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
31. It's a control issue. Mine did the same thing
Edited on Tue May-25-04 02:46 PM by GreenPartyVoter
(He'd had a very painful movement on the pot and then associated the toilet with serious pain.) I hate to admit it, but I bribed him with M n Ms as rewards for using the potty for #2. And it worked. Though I suppose time to forget that one bad experience didn't hurt either.

Now we just have to get him to the toilet faster for #1. (He's one of those kids who puts it off too long and then spots his underpants.)

But seriously, the M n Ms worked.
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2bfree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-25-04 03:33 PM
Response to Original message
33. Boys are the worst!
Both of mine were VERY late with their training. I empathize with you wife completely. Best advise is to take the boy shopping for "big boy" undies (with Spider man or whatever on the seat) and make a big deal out it. Have them help you wash them out when they have an accident and tell them that Spidey doesn't like poop and big boys go in the potty.....etc. Good luck and thank god I'm not in your shoes!
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