stymied by 3 years and 8 month old boy

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-16-2004
stymied by 3 years and 8 month old boy
Wed, 05-27-2009 - 1:51pm

I am very frustrated by my son's apparent lack of toilet training interest. He is 3 years 8 months old. His sister was born right before his third birthday and derailed the potty training efforts we had going (which was just sitting on the potty at bathtime, when he would usually pee.)
In February we started again, and went cold turkey to underwear. We had five days in a row where he never anticipated a single time. We backed off again until earlier this month. I took him to Target and let him pick out a toy he wanted. THen I told he he could get it after a week of successful potty use three times each day (he got a star each time, so he needed three stars/day for a week.) He did it, and way more than three times per day, too. Both No. 1 and No. 2, though more so No. 1. He needed to be prompted, but he did it with little resistance, both at home and daycare. We used a combination of diapers, pull ups and underwear, asking him what he wanted to wear and going with that.
Since he'd had greater success with peeing we decided to switch the reward to emphasize No. 2. We got a big jar of M&Ms, his favorite candy, and a small scoop. If he pees he gets one scoop, for poop he gets two. That worked for about a week. Still hardly any initiation on his part, it's mostly us knowing his routine and getting him there on time.
We went away over the holiday weekend, which I know can throw things off, but I thought he did OK. We brought his potty seat and he wore mostly underwear. had a couple accidents w/No. 2 but no peeing accidents.
Today, however, he's had two peeing accidents, which he hasn't had in about a week. He's also totally resisting going upon prompting. He appears indifferent to rewards (I offered to skip rest time if he'd go, that didn't do it.) Right now he's in a diaper in his room for rest time.
Thoughts or suggestions? We were about to go to the next level and do another toy store excursion for him to pick out a reward that would be given after he'd earned stickers for going by himself (without us prompting). But now I feel like we've totally slid backwards. I hear to give it a rest when things like this happen, but I don't want to slide further. How to get him back on track?

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-11-2004
Mon, 06-01-2009 - 11:10am

Cari, Hi and welcome to the Toilet Teaching board.

My suggestion would be to find what will give your DS the extra motivation he needs to take the next step. Some ideas would be give me some coins each time he uses the potty that he can put into his bank, money can be a great motivator, is there a toy or movie that he really wants, or is there somewhere that he really enjoys going? Sometimes finding the motivator that works can take some time, but once it is found it can become easier. I hope that works. Please keep us updated on your DS progress.


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Tue, 06-02-2009 - 12:30am

Hello Cari.

Try Christina's reward system first.

You can also try the naked method,it does sound like he is just not getting the connection of the feelings and the actually going.

Let him run around the house,or pick a room that you are comfortable with naked for a few hours a day and let him see what happens when he get those feelings.

If after a week of no improvement,take a break for a week and let me know,if needed,we will institute the three strikes method,if needed,I will explain it in detail to you.

Many Blessings.