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How to get a 3 1/2 year old to potty train??? He flat refuses

12 answers
My son is very smart, but refuses to potty train. He is 3 1/12, we have tried everything...charts..rewards-change for his piggy, special treats, m&m's, stickers, etc...Nothing works. He wants to wear big boy underwear sometimes and we keep him in them all day, but he goes to the bathroom in them every time and doesnt even care that he is dirty. We have to chase him to clean him up after he dirties himself! I am at a loss for additional ways to get him trained...His pediatrician is upset that he wont train and advised giving him a smal (half dose) of chocolatye exlax to make the "mess" more uncomfortable and predictable to make him sit on the potty, but I tried it once and didnt feel comfortable doing that with him. If I make him sit on the potty until he goes or for example, he can't go outside with the other kids, we are there for 45 minutes with no results, almost like a standoff of wills....He's the second of three and Im feeling helpless! HEEELLLPPP! He is too smart!!!!!

answers (12)

my daugter is 22 months. brilliant kid! but she also refuses to train. my sister in law told me to just make her. i too put her in underwear, not pull ups. she still pees and poops in them, and seems to be uncomfortable, but i know she can do it. she has managed to pee on the potty over 20 times. she just doesn't want to. i make her sit for atleast 3 minutes, and set a kitchen timer for 20 minutes. when the timer goes off, i yell, "potty time!", and just take her in there. she has to get it done this time around, i'm 9 weeks pregnant. there's no way i'm having 2 kids in diapers, unlesss my some miraculous chance i end up with twins.
Make him run around naked.  For the longest time I could not get my daughter to pee on the potty either, but as soon as I stopped fighter her and made her be naked all day things became A LOT easier and I didnt' need to do it for very long either.  We have have issues with pooping, but that will come with time.  Good luck he will figure it out just dont get frustrated with him!
He sounds like my 3 year old. We tried everything but in the end it really just takes time and patience, lots and lots of patience. No diapers, no pull ups, no rewards or punishments, we just had to commit ourselves to working with him. So we sat him on the potty every 15 minutes for five minutes. If he went great, if he didn't that was ok also. The key is to stay consistent with whatever routine you decide and stick to it. He'll catch on eventually.
tamysha, i agree. no rewards! i don't believe in giving kids a reward for something they have to do. would you give your kid an m&m because they brushed their teeth without having to be told? hell no! potty training is something they have to do, like it or not. it's just part of growing up.
I agree with the every 15 minutes bring them to the potty. If you can tell he is holding it so he doesn't have to go in the potty, bring him in every ten minutes. Encouraging words may help too. And I don't believe in giving them treats. (Always made me think people were rewarding them like a dog, but that is just an opinion.)
I have no problem with treats.  If they work, so much the better!  They worked with my granddaughter, but my grandson is 3 1/2 yrs old, too, and won't SIT on the potty!  He'll stand and problem!  But sit down and poop?  nope nope nope!  I put him in big boy pants, and he'll poop in them, take them off, goes into the bathroom and swishes them around in the toilet, to get the poop off them!  Then he'll wipe himself and put on other pants <sigh>  If I have pull-ups on him, he'll take them off, collect the poop that's dropped on the floor and flush it down the toilet.  But, if I try to sit him on the toilet, he runs away, so I have to catch him, and then screams and hits me while I try to sit him down.  I know he can do this point, it's become a battle of wills (and not just with me, but with his mom and dad too!)   
wow, i have never heard of a three year old almost four year old that ain't potty trained. if he was introduced to his potty earlier and knew what it was for then he should have gravitated toward it. you may be changing diapers for a long time.
Let him pee outside...I know it sounds weird but that is what some of my friends have had to do. You can also put cheerios in the toilet so he has something to aim at. They sell things at Babies R Us and other places but cereal is cheaper and works just as well. My daughter was fine with going to the bathroom to pee but wouldnt poop in it. We sat a container of her favorite candy (m & m's) on the back of the toilet and the ONLY time she got candy from ANYONE was if she pooped in the potty. I don't agree with putting a diaper or pullup on them at night it confuses them and they figure out that they can poop or pee in it when you put it on. Helpful article I just found :)
We had a hard time too, just bought a program to help us. Here's a review of the most common ones, good luck!


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