3 1/2 year old won't go potty help pleas

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2008
3 1/2 year old won't go potty help pleas
Mon, 08-10-2009 - 5:52pm

Please please help me. I have read many books, tried countless dvd's to no avail. My daughter will sit on the potty only if I put her on there. She has never told me she has to pee or poo no matter how many times I ask. She can sit in a wet or dirty diaper and it doesn't seem to even phase her. My little girl will be starting pre-k in September. I have let her pick her own underwear out and even tried many many rewards, nothing works. She is very stubbern little girl, she is the same with food will stick with only what she has eaten in the past, nothing new! I have even tried cold turkey having her throw out the diapers and putting her in underwear. I tried telling her that she won't be able to go with her friends to big girl school. I am such a bad mom and a failure please help. Thanks.


Lilypie Kids Birthday tickers
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-10-2009
Mon, 08-10-2009 - 7:31pm

My 3 year old son is the exact same way!!! I feel your pain.

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2005
Tue, 08-11-2009 - 7:17pm

Does your dd seem to know when she needs to pee/poop, or is she only aware after she's peed or pooped?

My now 10yo ds has some sensory issues that made it difficult for him to potty train until he was closer to 4yo. He saw his older brother use the toilet and wanted to try, too, but he just had no sensory awareness to let him know when he needed to use the toilet.

Because of ds sensory issues, it also made very little impact to him when he was wet/dirty 'cus his low sensory awareness made it so he didn't feel the sensations of being wet/soiled, so it didn't bother him.

The reason I bring this up as a possibility is 'cus you mentioned that the sensation of being wet/dirty doesn't bother your dd and 'cus she also has eating issues (which are often sensory related).

Whether the problem is due to sensory issues or being stubborn, there ARE some methods you can use to try to gain progress with your dd potty training.

First, get some of the thick training underpants with plastic or vinyl covers over them (you can get the plastic pants separate or built in). Diapers are designed to pull the moisture away from a child's skin. That's good for an infant but it's not good for potty training. You need the wetness to stay against the child's skin, so they can learn cause-and-effect as well as so they can feel discomfort to help them learn to stay dry. The plastic covers will help reduce messes.

When your dd has an accident, don't make a big deal of it, but have your dd change her own clothes and clean up after herself, incl if she poops in her pants (she helps wash them out by hand in the sink). It uses natural consequences and makes wetting/accidents a more tedious and unpleasant experience than using the toilet and staying dry.

Don't expect your dd to be dry during naps or at night. That is a different process and requires your dd body to first develop the hormone that alerts the kidneys to slow urine production when the body is asleep. You can't control that.

If your dd withholds her poop, you can begin giving her a non-stimulant laxative (stool softener) such as Miralax, Benefiber, Milk of Magnesia, Fiber Choice (with inulin) or mineral oil to keep her poop soft and difficult to withhold. Alternatively, you can let your dd ask for a diaper to poop in. After she is well pee-trained, you can begin poop training by taking your dd to the toilet when she asks for a diaper.

Finally, if it seems that your dd just isn't ready, there's nothing wrong with waiting awhile before trying again. I have four children. Two of them trained late 'cus they had sensory issues and it took awhile for them to learn. One trained semi-late 'cus he was stubborn, but once he was ready, he trained really fast. My last dd trained comparatively young, but it was only 'cus SHE was ready. Some children are ready to train young. Some take longer, and that's okay, too. Every child is different.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-19-2009
Wed, 08-19-2009 - 9:57pm

Hello Ladies,

I too have a 3 1/2 yr old who has sensory issues and is becoming very difficult to potty train.