How to motivate a 3.5 year old to go potty before getting his underpants wet?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2008
How to motivate a 3.5 year old to go potty before getting his underpants wet?
11
Fri, 09-02-2011 - 9:56pm

My son wasn't really interested when we started....so we went straight to underpants (no plastic pants).

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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-1999

Welcome to our board Dec31stmom.

My first question is,has he been checked out by his doctor to see if he has any blockedge that stops him from feeling when he needs to go.

If he is fine,then we can proceed to the next step.

At this age,it could very well be,that he is just to involved in his play time to notice,and realized he did not need to take time away from play to use the potty till he is ready as everyone will just change and clean him up when he has an accident.

Please let us know as soon as you get the doctors answer,then we can really get started.

mac

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2008
Thank you Mac!

I will call the Drs and see. I just don't want to do anything with Xrays etc unless he really needs it as he had a CT scan and Xrays in the past 12 months (a fall and pneumonia).

I forgot to clarify that since I work part time, he is only in daycare for 5 1/2 hours 4 days a week, so most of the time he is at home, with bathrooms he is familiar with and in underpants.

He is also extremely stubborn. When this started, he would poop in his underpants and keep playing like nothing happened. We tried bribary, etc, but he didn't start to tell us until we took away his trains and he could not have them back until he told us when he pooped. We had to take them away off and on for about a week, and then he was telling us consistently. I know all the books say not to punish, but rewards have not motivated him at all...

Even after having him put on his underpants himself for months, when given a pair in the correct direction, in his hands properly, he goofs around and doesn't put them on right unless I tell him step by step. There is definitely some rebellion involved. Sigh.

He almost never has an accident that requires anything more than new underpants, but as I said, he usually does not go if you ask him if he needs to, and never initiates until he has had a leak.

And every time we have a busy weekend, he backslides. Not sure if this means I need to be a hermit for the next 6 months, or if we should start taking him more places so he is more used to going in unfamiliar toilets?

Are the plastic pants over underwear just as effective at stopping messes as pullups? That would be a good alternative for when we do have to go shopping, or out.

I just want to figure out how to get him to care and not rebel every step of the way. I was so fed up the other day I asked him if he'd rather wear diapers all day like a baby and he said yes. I told him tough luck, he was a little boy and he needs to do this himself.

I knew this would be hard, but I never imagined it would be so frustrating.

Thanks for your help!
Tamar
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-1999

Hello Tamar.

Ok,this does sound more like him going after more attention,there are a couple of old time methods I have used for years to handle this,they may sound harsh,but they are more of a consequence than punishment.

The first is the three strikes method,but is a last resort method,the first one to try is,when ever he goes in his pants,take him to the bathroom and into the tub,stip him down (even for minor "accidents") then wash both him and his pants in cool water(not cold) telling him he could be playing if he had let you know,and gone in the potty.

I know this may take some extra time from you,but I don't think you will have to do so for long.

If this does not work after no more than a week,let me know,and we will go for the three strikes method.

I have never had any problems using plastic pants on any child,I actually am fully against disposables of any kind under normal activities.

Good luck.

mac

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2008

Thanks Mac!

Usually he only has a wet spot the size of quarter when he realizes he has to pee.....so that is a trip to the tub too?

I will need to get a handheld shower head, but I wanted to do that anyway.....it would be easier for the poos.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-1999

Hi Tamar,any time you think his underwear will need cleaning,then do so with him in them in the tub,and as he does not like the shower,all the better.

The sticker charts are great so long as he is interested,and as for the books,I am afraid I am not much of a fan of most of them,I offer what I have found to work over the last 40 years,I do agree that things do change,but most of what I see,is the kids have not.

See if you can find a time of when he goes and set the kitchen timer for that length of time and let him know he must go and at least try to use the potty when it goes off,adjust it as he improves or degresses.

personnaly I would like to find out why he does not know when he needs to go.

If this is medical,then nothing we do will correct it without the doctors help and may only hold things back.

if it is the 2 to 3 year old pushing his limits,then we do need to halt it quick.

I hope this helps.

I do have last resort system if he is just being stubborn.

mac

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2008

Do you know of a good source for plastsic pants?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-1999

As I have a great many from years ago,If I need to replace any,I normally go to E-Bay.

when you go in,search for vintage plastic pants,this way you will not get all the adult sizes.

You can usually get some very nice patterned ones for a couple of dollars each.

If you keep having problems,let me know,and I will see what I have to spare.

mac

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2007
I've found them at my local Wal-mart in the Gerber brand too I believe. I use them sometimes to save diapers when he's playing in the pool in the back yard. Also plan on using them when we start potty training (again, after the holidays :P)
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iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-1999

:smileyhappy:Way to go Sara,going on holidays huh?good for you.

Love your idea of using the plastic pants for swimwear,lol

Have a great holiday and please let us know when you are back at potty training.

mac

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-08-2007
Are you from "across the pond" Mac? The holidays I'm referring to are Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years :) And his birthday and Halloween if you wanna be picky, hehe. I tried at the end of August and I'm gonna give it another go in January.
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