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Toilet training a 3 year old

(100 Posts)
numberplease Sun 22-Jan-12 23:15:13

I, and my son and DIL, urgently need some advice on toilet training my 3 and a half year old grandson. We`ve followed all the advice from the health visitor and the nursery, all to no avail. He`s so bright and intelligent in every other way but this, so if he could only crack it, things would be brilliant. He`s quite happy to sit on the toilet, but never does anything, then a few minutes later he comes and says "all wet again", or "dirty boy" if he`s done number 2. We`ve followed advice and put him in proper underpants instead of trainer pants, and we take him to the toilet every half hour, but DIL`s washbasket is still full of underpants and trousers, plus I`m also washing several pairs a day when he`s here, which is every day Mon to Fri. I never had thios problem with my kids, so just don`t know what to do next!

numberplease Sun 22-Jan-12 23:17:58

I`ve just realised that I`ve put the above topic in the wrong place. Is it possible to move it, or do I have to type it out again?

glassortwo Sun 22-Jan-12 23:31:30

Boys are so much harder than girls to train, but it does eventually click. I think you just have to be patient and it will fall into place.
You could try a chart, DD made her own on the computer choosing dinosaurs which GS was interested in and he had to achieve three small dinosaurs and on the 4th he received a reward something small. She then moved the goal posts to 3 to the next small reward etc etc, and if he got to the end of the chart she said he could have the airplane he had been desperate for .... it worked and by the time he had got to the end of the chart he was clean.

number dont worry about where you have put it, I never read the section things are placed in, just the topic title.

Greatnan Mon 23-Jan-12 02:05:05

My great nephew , although quite normally intelligent, refused to have a bowel movement in the lavatory until he was five. My nephew and his wife would have to put on a nappy just for him to dirty it. This continued even when he started school - he became very constipated because he would not tell the teacher.
Finally, the child psychologist decided that this was the child's way of getting control of part of his life - just as some children use food as a means.
The only treatment seemed to be 'wait and see and don't make a fuss about it'. Eventually, the problem did end but I know his parents were frantic for a time. His mother is rather cold and does not easily show affection - when my sister and her own mother, both first time grans, visited her in hospital after the birth, she would not let either of them hold him, saying she had just got him off to sleep. She left most of the parenting to my nephew, preferring to concentrate on her successful career - she is a manager in charge of Health Visitors, which seemed ironic. We did wonder if the little boy was trying to get her to show more interest in him.
I am sure your grandson's problem will sort itself out in time - the reward for doing well seems a good idea.

bagitha Mon 23-Jan-12 06:38:27

numberplease, I also know someone who had this problem with her little boy. He was her third child. She'd had two girls already and they hadn't presented a potty-training problem, but the little boy didn't want to perform in the potty or toilet. He started school at the age of four-and-a-half and he was fine by then. I think it's one of those things you just have to grin and bear. confused

Carol Mon 23-Jan-12 08:15:26

Yes, grin and bear it, let him see that it really isn't a big issue and give lots of praise when he shows any positive behaviour around toilet training, in a context of affection shown to him just because he's a lovely little boy. If he doesn't have to work to get control, there'll be no point hanging on to the developing habit (he'll find something else to wind you up instead!!)

susiecb Mon 23-Jan-12 09:46:18

My grandson now 7 was fully toilet trained until he started school at four and a half. I despaired my daughter didn't - she kept saying they all do it eventually. She used a ball in the loo to try to get him to enjoy urinating and to improve his aim and a chart for everything else with rewards at the end of the week for success. I don't know know whether it worked and he still has the odd accident but usually when he is too lazy to stop what he is doing and go to the loo. Its easy to say try not too worry but it did concern me as did his two front teeth taking a year to come in. i think I worry more as a grandma than I did as a mother.

Mishap Mon 23-Jan-12 11:09:44

Just use bribery!! - it works like a charm. Ignore all the HVs who say you shouldn't.

He has no incentive to go to the loo - it is boring; you have to leave off an exciting game; it carries no punishment (and indeed should not) if you do it in your pants. He just needs an incentive. I did this with all mine - they had one jelly tot or one dolly mixture if they did it in the right place - no problem! And sometimes if I could see they needed to go and they were putting it off I would say "Let's go and choose which colour jelly tot you are going to have - sit on the pot and we can look through the packet." To those who were horrified I would say "Don't worry, I am sure that they will have left off the jelly tot by the time they get married!"

Happy child, dry pants - what more could you want. I took care to clean their teeth well after each meal.

We have done this with GS and he is happily dry and clean and has been for a long time - he is just 3 now.

The only proviso is that if they are having trouble pooing in pot and seem to be holding on to it, they may have passed a hard stool which hurt and this has put them off the whole thing - and who can blame them! A small dose of paediatric Movicol in a drink makes the traffic more friendly and can often break the cycle.

bagitha Mon 23-Jan-12 11:37:07

Love it, mishap! I'm all for that kind of bribery except I call it positive reinforcement – same as for training dogs. smile

Carol Mon 23-Jan-12 11:40:12

bagitha smile

harrigran Mon 23-Jan-12 12:23:20

They all get the hang of potty training eventually but it is worrying when they are getting to nursery and school age. I think the problem lies with disposable nappies, no discomfort to prompt the toddler.
My GDs are complete opposites, first went into panties as soon as she turned 2 and was fine with only rare accidents. Second GD at almost two and a half will not use potty.

numberplease Mon 23-Jan-12 17:15:44

He`s not constipated at all, just doesn`t do anything till he gets his pants back on, he`s quite happy to sit on the toilet, which we do every 30 minutes. I have wondered whether he actually feels when he needs to go, or just doesn`t recognize the feeling. We do try not to make a fuss over it, but my husband, who isn`t the most patient person on earth, tells him off, even though I`ve asked him not to. The nursery say that if he`s no different in another week or so, then the health visitor will be speaking to his parents, although what good that`ll do, I don`t know. Thank you for all your replies. x

JessM Mon 23-Jan-12 17:38:53

Boys can be slow. It can be hard for them to notice the sensation of a full bowel and recognise it.
I agree re positive reinforcement. Claps, cheers etc can also work.
Do not promise a big reward in the future because he is too young. Positive reinforcement works when it follows immediately from the behaviour.
My DS2 would not use the loo when he was 3.5
He would wee standing up happily. He would even nip outside take his pants down and do a poo in the garden or something. He never consented to sit on a potty.
He was scared of falling down the loo. I remember (I must have been about that age) being scared I would go down the plughole of the bath when the plug was removed.
I was living in a residential school for kids with cerebral palsy at the time and we borrowed a kind of horrible wooden throne that they used, that fitted over the toilet. He consented to use this with his big brother in attendance one day. Success. Few more goes and it was all sorted.

ANyway does he get to see daddy wee?
And is he allowed to run around without pants to see himself weeing on the floor ? At least a few times? (easier in the summer...)
Cos at the moment you haven't got anything to reward have you.

Anyway - suggest you tackle one thing at a time. Weeing, standing up, into the potty so he can see the results and get everyone else to admire them.
Suggest clearing a day, preparing lots of drinks, getting your reward plans lined up (cheering, stars, sweets or whatever) and really concentrating. If you offer the pot every 20 mins and give him lots of apple juice or something, I guess sooner or later you will start to get a few wins that you can reward.
Keep us posted!

Greatnan Tue 24-Jan-12 07:27:06

I am sure this is rare,but one of my GD's had the most terrible time passing a stool and would hold it in until it oozed out. The first doctor dismissed her mother as being an OAP but a lovely woman doctor made a proper investigation and found GD had a pouch at the end of her rectum where the faeces were trapped and hardened. She had suffered so much pain in trying to pass them that she just held it in. Liquid 'softener' did the trick and she seemed to grow out of the problem by the time she started school, but it was terrible to see her in so much pain. I wish all doctors would accept that mothers sometimes know their own children better than even the most experienced professional.

numberplease Tue 24-Jan-12 17:10:05

A slight (very slight) breakthrough today. When I collected him from nursery this afternoon, he got a stamp on his hand for staying dry all afternoon, then after we got back here he did 2 wees on the toilet, so we`ve been praising him to the heavens!

JessM Tue 24-Jan-12 17:54:48

Hurrah! Hip hip Hurrah. Once you have something to praise then you have a chance. Hope no one is telling him off for being wet etc.

Carol Tue 24-Jan-12 20:47:21

It's work in progress numberplease. Sounds like he's going in the right direction.

numberplease Tue 24-Jan-12 21:20:42

JessM, that`s one of my problems, my not very patient hubby tells him off, despite us asking him not to.

JessM Tue 24-Jan-12 21:35:56

Ah I see. Gag needed. Tell him from me that this is counter productive. I used to teach child development to health visitors. That makes me an expert doesn't it. Feel free to say "my friend said... praise when he gets it right and say nothing when he doesn't"
I found with my GS at that age, when doing potty training boot camp, along with bad behaviour boot camp ( i fly 12000 miles and they hand him over with a range of stroppy habits and a request to get him trained in a month) that lots of positivity helped. he was saying no no no a lot. So i banned the N word from my vocabulary. Went cross eyed trying to think of positive ways to put things. But he did want to be a big boy, that was a help.

bagitha Tue 24-Jan-12 21:43:09

Gaffer tape over the hubby's gob might help.

bagitha Tue 24-Jan-12 21:43:26

Sorry. Couldn't resist.

numberplease Tue 24-Jan-12 22:06:23

Bagitha, feel free! You`re welcome to gag him anytime, PLEASE!!

MDougall Tue 24-Jan-12 22:12:38

Bagitha, I have the same urge when my husband interferes with the positive approach!!

We have nine grandchildren ranging from 2 to 10. The mothers have all had different approaches but I have to say the reward system seems to work best - smarties are the favourite. All the girls trained faster and the boys seem to hold onto their poo more!!! As soon as they disappear in the corner or behind the sofa it was time to get the smarties out and get them to the bathroom!!!!

I agree that the disposable nappies do not help at all. My three children and those of my friends in the days when we used terry nappies - well the children could not wait to get out of them!!! They were horrible when they were soggy and toilet training seemed to come as a huge relief to them - so perhaps Mums should go back to terry nappies just for the toilet training time!!!!

I also agree with the principle of toilet training in a concentrated effort. I decided that on the second birthday with each child, the week after was the week when we toilet trained!!! This mean't staying indoors (if it was winter) or out in the garden with the potty very nearby, no pants (just let them feel the water running down their legs) (bucket and cloth on standby for the floor!!) lots of fluids to drink and lots of rewards. Worked a treat and was cracked by the end of the week. Also helps them to join you in the bathroom and allow them to see what is happening to your own functions. We used to have "inspections" as to who could do the biggest wee etc.etc. Sounds very funny when I write all this down but it all seemed very natural at the time.Must have passed this onto the grandchildren as well because they delight in letting you inspect their outputs - my husband thinks it is "awful" - but it does mean that they think of their toilet visits as something very healthy and not to be frightened about!!!

i think it also helped that I always "changed" nappies in the bathroom from Day one on a special wooden and padded changing table my husband built and fitted over the bath. That way the children always thought that bodily functions were always dealt with "in the bathroom" - including hand washing etc.etc. I am always surprised when young women visit our home now and change their young babies in the living room - for everyone to see and then although they use baby wipes etc. they never seem to go and wash their hands straightaway after they have finished. This seems totally wrong and I think the bathroom is the best - I always offer them a mat and towel for the baby to lie on so they can do it in the bathroom but they look as me as if I am mad!!!!!

Greatnan Wed 25-Jan-12 01:03:11

I have seen a woman changing her baby on the table in a cafe!

JessM Wed 25-Jan-12 07:56:09

OMG! need that YUK emoticon right now.