Refusing to Change a 3 1/2 yr old..

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2009
Refusing to Change a 3 1/2 yr old..
Thu, 05-13-2010 - 2:34pm

Is it wrong? My brother and his wife will not teach their 3 1/2 year old son how to use the toilet. One day

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-18-2003
Sat, 05-15-2010 - 2:00pm

Why don't you potty train him when he is with you? He is old enough to understand that you will not allow diapers when you are in charge (if his parents can't be bothered to tell him that, too). I know a 3 year old boy who is wearing diapers, but when he is with his aunt, he knows he can't. She took the time to show him the potty and she makes sure to take him there often (every 30-60 minutes) and he does fine with her. You should expect some accidents, but if you bring him to the toilet often enough, he will get it very quickly, I'm sure. He might even end up really liking to spend time with you, because you respect him enough to treat him like a big person.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2008
Sun, 05-16-2010 - 6:30pm
Welcome! I agree with coolsky. Potty train the little lamb while he is in your care. But yes, it would be considered wrong to not change him while he is in your care. Just be prepared if you go out, grab his diaper bag and a change of clothes. Malls and such have diaper changing stations, and sometimes, you can even find them stocked with diapers and wipes. When caring for children, sometimes we must go out of our comfort zone to get the job done, kwim? HTHs and Good Luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 06-25-2005
Sun, 05-16-2010 - 8:35pm

As a mom who had a couple of children who were not potty trained until 4yo, I can attest to the fact that some children truly are not ready to potty train until later. Two of my children have sensory issues and just did not know when they needed to use the toilet until it was too late. One ds really WANTED to potty train and tried to copy his big brother, but he just did not have the ability to do it until he was older.

I will also say that even if your nephew has the ability to potty train, it is not his fault if his parents do not do the job properly. It may be disgusting to change him, but he doesn't have a choice if no one teaches him differently. You need to be careful not to blame the child (or treat him poorly) for what he does not have control over (not his fault).

Additionally, a large percentage of children your nephew's age do not have the ability to adequately wipe themselves after pooping on the toilet. So, even if your nephew potty trains, you'll likely still be needed to help wipe him after he poops.

Since you often provide childcare, I think it's fair for you to raise the subject with your brother. Let him know that diaper changing has always been difficult for you and that the older your nephew is, the worse his dirty diapers are.

If you really feel like you cannot provide childcare for a child that uses diapers, then tell your brother. It's better that they find someone else to babysit than use a sitter who is so resentful that it affects the quality of care their child receives. My ex-SIL used to yell a lot at a child she babysat whom she didn't like. The best thing she ever did was finally tell the parents that she could no longer provide care. It was better for ex-SIL and it was definitely better for the child.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2008
Tue, 05-18-2010 - 11:29am
Excellent response! Thanks for sharing.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-21-2006
Thu, 05-27-2010 - 3:57pm

I'll be slightly less circumspect, LOL.

Cleaning the "crap" off of a toddler is not much different than cleaning it off an infant. If you honestly don't know how to change a poopy diaper, then perhaps you shouldn't be providing care to the child.

You seem angry about this, and perhaps it's justified. If the parents are really that lazy, I'd be annoyed, too. However, judging by your post I can't really fathom you being all sweetness and light with the little boy when you're arm-twisted into changing his diaper.

I reiterate the one suggestion that you tell them you're not going to watch him anymore, but I'll have to disagree with the suggestion that you potty train him in your care. I'm not sure you seem to have the patience threshold needed when working with toddlers.

No offense. But as a mother of a boy that turned three this month and is not yet comfortable on the potty, I either have to decide to keep him with me, or let him go to someone who has the experience and patience needed during this time. Fortunately, grandma lives nearby and is helping while I work.



Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket 


iVillage Member
Registered: 05-30-2008
Thu, 05-27-2010 - 8:35pm
Hi Devon, and welcome. Excellent post. Thanks for sharing advice.