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DD's boyfriend's nephew has issues and I am hoping someone has a clue

The boy is 4. I have never met him but he is happy but very "shy". He is not in anyway potty trained. DD says he goes into a corner and makes sounds like he is in pain and messes his pants. But does not seem to care if they are changed.

The other issue is water. not just taking a bath but washing hands. It does not make a difference if it is a small amount of water in a sink or running water.

With the little that she has said, I am wondering if he is autistic. The mother is a SAHM and her other chid is two and does not seem to be having these issues. My understanding is that the pediatrician is angry with her because he should be potty trained and cleaner. I am guessing she avoids the hassles with the bath.

my feeling from the boyfriend is that she is afraid of her child being labeled as having a mental issue and so refuses to try to find out what the problems are but denying them.

DD asked what she can do to help and my answer is that there isn;t much if she won;t listen to the Dr. or family.
I am hoping someone has an idea of what thses symptoms might point to and any tips on talking to the parent.


Asked by Dardenella at 3:28 AM on Jan. 22, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 47 (265,492 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (10)
  • I'd start by changing to a new pedi. Any pedi who expects all 4 year olds to be potty trained is seriouly lacking experience (or common sense or children of her/his own). It would help if she could find someone who has experience with sensory processing issues.

    I think that the best approach with the mother would be to explain that the sooner she finds out what is at the root of these issues, the sooner something can be done to help the child. This is a case where ignorance is not bliss, ignorance just wastes time. Life could be so much simpler and comfortable for all concerned ...


    Answer by winterglow at 3:39 AM on Jan. 22, 2013

  • It could be a developmental delay or it could be nothing.  At this age he should be evaluated by a developmental specialist.  Kids aren't labeled in school the same way we were when I was younger.  There is a lot of help available. However, many kids are not potty trained by 4, especially some boys.  He might be perfectly happy with the way things are now because it's what he's used to.


    Answer by RyansMom001 at 6:26 AM on Jan. 22, 2013

  • I wonder if the pedi is upset because he's evaluated the child and determined there's no reason for any of this? I mean, what you describe sounds like something that should be evaluated, but if she doesn't do her job as a parent, to an outsider like us it might look like he's got autism or something, but it's really just that she's lazy and he's suffering the consequences.

    But if she won't listen to her child's doctor or her family, I don't really think that there's anything you or your daughter could do. The only thing I can think of is to call CPS if she's neglecting the kid, but I'm not sure you could say that at this point. Maybe you or your daughter could talk to the mother and try to get her to see that the label (if there is indeed one) isn't a bad thing if it means he gets help?

    Answer by wendythewriter at 8:27 AM on Jan. 22, 2013

  • Sensory issues maybe, but unless he's got other things going on, I wouldn't say autism on those two things alone. Encourage some water play by allowing him to pour water from cups,bowls, water guns (or spray bottles), and sponges. I'm not going to offer potty training advice at this point in time since my oldest wasn't fully traiined until he was11 years old. (Yes he has autism. All three of my boys do.) But if you see him going to the corner to do his business take him to the potty. I do encourage an evaluation be done by a developmental pediatrician. Denying issues is not going to do anyone any favors. Mom needs to put on her mommy panties and deal with the child now before he outgrows her and things get worse.

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 8:44 AM on Jan. 22, 2013

  • Oh and find a new pediatrician. Seriously, boys not being trained at 4 is not uncommon. He should be offering his advice rather than getting annoyed that he isn't there yet.

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 8:49 AM on Jan. 22, 2013

  • Having a doctor get "angry" over a issue like potty training raises flags for me... If that's accurate, then there's a problem somewhere. Either an inept doctor, or one very frustrated with a mom who should be addressing an issue she is too lazy to address. Either way this bothers me because a 4 year old not being potty trained should not anger anyone... maybe frustrate a mom who's really been trying but that's all.

    Answer by Nimue930 at 6:49 PM on Jan. 22, 2013

  • Yeah introducing him to water that's not running out of a tap is usually easiest because he may not like the sound. My oldest had water issues when he was younger so we had to start small. He still won't take a bath until the tub is full and ready for him to get in. Hairwashing is still a little tricky with him too,but we manange. There is a toileting technique, but it involves taking the child to the potty every 15-30 minutes. don't know if she has time to work with him on it.

    Answer by 2autisticsmom at 6:30 PM on Jan. 22, 2013

  • Ages and stages would be a good place to start. It lays out very clearly behavior and developmental milestones. No judgement. They have a website. Maybe this will help her arrive at the right conclusion. Also a new doc would be a good idea.

    Answer by booklover545 at 7:48 PM on Jan. 22, 2013

  • Thanks for the advice. I will pass it on to DD

    Comment by Dardenella (original poster) at 1:07 PM on Jan. 22, 2013

  • It could also be a hygene issue with the Dr.
    I will forward all o this to DD.
    It soulds as theought the sister is going to leave him for 2 weeks with her mother now and her mother said she will have all the problems (potty and water) fixed in that time. I am interested to see how this pans out.


    Comment by Dardenella (original poster) at 11:45 PM on Jan. 22, 2013