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How can I get my son to stop waiting until the last second to use the potty?

He is 4 yrs old and has been potty trained for almost 2 yrs now. I will see that he has to go (grabbing his crotch dancing around, etc) and tell him he has to go and he denies it and refuses to go. If I pursue it than it turns into a big "yes-no" fight between us. I have more of a laid back style. So I tell him to go when he needs to go and then drop it. I try not to pressure and be on his back about it and let him make the decision of when it is time to go. Time and time again he waits too long and pees his pants or he makes it to the bathroom and pees all over the floor or toilet seat. DH's approach is to tell him he has to go and then get angry when DS says "no". We both must not be taking the right approach because it hasn't gotten better. He goes fine at preschool (there have been a few accidents though) and when he has gone to friend's houses. He does fine in public, but at home it turns into a big ordeal.

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Asked by Anonymous at 11:31 PM on Dec. 28, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (9)
  • This sounds EXACTLY like I could have written it about one of my 3 yr olds. I'm in the same boat. He has gotten better since we've ignored it and started cheering on his twin brother when he went. It worked good, but since I'm assuming that he isn't a twin, I dunno. Sorry lol

    Answer by threeeunder3 at 11:33 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • No unfortunately he is the oldest so there is no one to be the example for him. We have tried doing a lot of positive reinforcement (still do). When he makes it on time I try to make a big deal about it and tell him what a big boy he is. We also have a chart set up. Everytime he does it right he gets a Thomas the Train sticker and after a certain amount he gets a reward. I have been doing this for 2 months now and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:38 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • I wish I knew that answer to that too! Mine is 4 and we are having the same type problem. She does ok at preschool and daycare but anywhere else she can go through the underwear like they are meant to be changed every hour. Treats seemed to work for a while but it seems like that isn't working anymore. I hope you are able to find a way to get him to go. If so let me know what you did so I can try it too. At this point I am just hoping to get my 4 yr old trained before my 1 yr old is.

    Answer by Katysmom at 11:42 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • Well, talk to him when it's not happening. Tell him that mommy needs him to go when he feels like it's potty time. Let him know you will give him one "reminder." And if he doesn't go within a few minutes you will take him to the potty yourself. At which point just go to him, take his hand, silently, walk him to the bathroom and tell him it's time for a potty break. Don't lose your cool and don't back down. Be consistant. I know at this age it's kinda like when they were training, they are putting on the brakes, but now it's because they just can't stand to stop playing even though they know how and what to do. Good Luck.

    Answer by mom2BOYZnDad at 11:43 PM on Dec. 28, 2009

  • READ books by John Rosemond. Get some right now. He has examples of this sort of thing in his books and how to handel them. I have four of his books and I really really love them. All of the ways to get your kids to be the best they can be and all the ideas are simple, direct and effective. Good luck!!!

    Answer by Noble_One at 12:35 AM on Dec. 29, 2009

  • He says "No" and that's OK? Not in my house. When I know he needs to go, he says, invariably, that he doesn't need to. I tell him, "Go anyway" and he does. If he's insistent, the rule here is that he has to sit on the potty and count to 5. If no pee comes out, he can get up. Pee always comes out.

    Answer by Pnukey at 9:05 AM on Dec. 29, 2009

  • Some children at that age don't like going to the bathroom alone. Periodically ask him if he has to go. If he is doing the "p" dance then just say "let's go p" and take him. He does ok at daycare bc they go together.

    Answer by admckenzie at 12:23 PM on Dec. 29, 2009

  • Pnukey, it is ok because I am trying to get him to be self suffiecient in potty training. I don't want to always have to be chasing him around telling him when it is time to go. I want him to decide what his body needs and when it needs it. Also when I do insist that he goes it turns into a HUGE temper tantrum. He screams that he doesn't need to go and I get on him about not screaming at me. Then it turns into a huge battle of the wills. When I finally force him onto the toliet so he doesn't pee his pants, nothing good comes of it. That is the way my husband deals with it every time and it only makes things worse.
    admckenzie. He goes to preschool 3 hours a da 3 times a week. I think he does well there because most days he doesn't even use the potty since it is a short amount of time. Plus when he does, like you said, it is with a group of kids. But that is what I am trying to avoid. He will be 5 soon. cont

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:26 PM on Dec. 29, 2009

  • I don't want to still have to be taking him everytime to the bathroom. He has to do it on his own. We are weaning off of me or DH helping him go and this is what has come of it. I also have a one yr old so usually when my 4 yr old has to go I can't just drop everything to take him pee.

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:28 PM on Dec. 29, 2009

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