Child Behavior Community
14.2k Members
Avatar universal

potty training 3.7 year old boy

My 3.7 year old boy has never used the toilet.  He holds it all night, and often for a long time after that.  He doesn't like to sit on the toilet, but will.  I've had him sit and read books, watch t.v., eat a snack, etc.  He has sat there for 45 minutes without going.  I think that's long enough to leave him on the toilet.  He usually goes in his pullup soon after letting him up.  We recently have tried just putting underwear on him and let him get "uncomfortable".  He wet himself 3 times that afternoon and never seemed concerned.  My big question is this:  If he has never "released" on the potty, could it be that he just hasn't connected how to make it come out?  (He obviously knows how to hold it).  Cognitively, he is probably above average for his age, but his motor skills seem to be a little delayed.  He walked at 1 year of age, but couldn't jump until he turned 3.  He had trouble walking up stairs without holding on to a rail until just recently.  He runs, but not very coordinated.  So could it be delay, or just strong willed?

This discussion is related to 3.6 year old boy refuses all potty training tactics.  Best way to proceed?.
9 Responses
Avatar universal
If he's cognitively w/in normal range and is 3.7 yrs., I doubt it's an issue of "connecting" - although that's always a possibility, esp. with younger kids. By 3.7 yrs., he "knows where it goes". He's seen you use the potty... he knows what's happening.

My son is 3.8 yrs. and we're still totally, totally struggling with the potty training. It's going soooo poorly. It's hard not to get really angry with him. Today, I just tried to let go of my anger and just have fun with him (which is hard, since I have a very demanding daughter who just turned one year). Every time I felt mad, I just hugged him instead and said, "I love you." At least it made ME feel better... and I think it helped him, too.

But the potty thing is KILLING ME. I think we're going to take him to a psychologist. We've tried every method, consistently (as consistently as you can with a baby in the house), for at least two to three months each (except for going bottomless/half-naked, because he knows that that's not socially acceptable, and won't do it).

Avatar universal
I, too am having an extremely dificult time with potty training my 4 year old son :(   My daughter is 12 and was fully potty trained  by 15 months of age...we had a few accidents here and there but still, for the most part, it was done!  I always heard that boys were harder and took longer but this is crazy!  He turned 4 on Jan 21 and we have tried EVERYTHING....leaving it go, rewards, toys, stickers...you name it!  He wants to go to school, but we told him he can't go until he learns to go in the potty....didn't work.  I've tried bribes (Chuck E. Cheese, etc)....didn't work.  I keep toys on top of the cabinet over the toilet and every time he goes he gets a car...that works but only for a while, then he gets the cars he wants and goes back to going in his pants.  We've tried letting him go naked, pull ups, cloth training pants......nothing works!  he'll say he doesnt' have to go or he'll sit on the potty and not go, but as soon as he gets off....he pees!  I'm seriously at my witts end with it, but I know that yelling at  him will not help and that in a sense..if I do yell at him, he knows he's getting one over on me and he's winning the battle.  He's an extremely smart boy.....sometimes amazingly smart...too much for  his own good...he knows what he's supposed to do, he just chooses not to do it,or rather beleives that its easier just to go whenever or where ever he feels like it.    His Dr says its normal for little  boys and not to worry, but sheesh....I"m about to lose my mind!  He's just about grown out of the largest size diaper they make (he's over 36" tall and weighs just about 50lbs so he's not a "little boy" though he insists he's a little boy and does not want to be called a big boy no matter what!  he'll say NO, I'M JUST LITTLE if you ask him if he wants to be a big boy and go on the potty, etc.  

I dont' know what to do anymore :(  If anyone can give me any advice, I'd GREATLY appreciate it!!  I don't know what to put on him once he's grown out of everything  :(  Even the potty  training pants only go up to 4T and he's wearing a 5 in pants already....he's just tall and built like a football player :(  He's also extremely STRONG willed.  

How he accepted to potty train finally? I’m in the same boat with my daughter.
Avatar universal
I too have a 3.6 year old boy had he could care less if he is wet or "dirty".  I have tried just about every trick i have heard of at this point.  This last week my mother suggested that i just put him in underware and let him go.  He doesn't care!!! He is going to drive me crazy.  I dont know what to do.
306455 tn?1288865671
My son is potty trained and has been for about 31 years now....lol.. But it sounds to me like your son is not interested in being a big boy. For some reason he feels using the potty means being a big boy and that is not a good thing. I would suggest withholding certain privileges, toys, treats, TV shows, etc that you can say are reserved for big boys, but not in a punishing way..., along with the promise of all the wonderful things to come when he becomes a big boy.  He needs to understand in his own head that being a "big boy" comes with special privileges and responsibilities, that it's a good thing to grow up. He needs to feel happy about it.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the suggestions!  Unfortunately, we've tried all of those things already LOL  

We recently started trying the bribe scenario again and its working to a point.  Every time he goes on the potty, he gets a car.  I went to the dollar store and got 8 packs of little die cast cars for $1.  He's also starting to like money...change specifically, so we're also going to try pennies, quarters, etc.  

The only time we put him in a diaper is at night and he's ok with that now...before he would not wear anything but diapers, so we're slowly getting somewhere with him.  I''m washing probably 8 to 12 pairs of underwear a day, but its much cheaper than diapers LOL  He does have lots of accidents, but we're not yelling at him at all....even when I asked him if he had to go potty 3 times today and each time I took him in and he did not pee, then proceeded to walk into the living room and squat and pee on my carpet....I kept my cool (no idea how I did it though)  I got some cheap waterproof potty training underwear that are plain white.  Our next step is take the fun underwear away and tell him that those are only for boys that don't pee & Poo in their underwear in hopes that it will give him more reasons to NOT go in his underwear :)  I'm grasping at straws here LOL  but considering that a couple weeks ago he had absolutely no interest at all in going on the potty..to now where he's actually going on his own a few times a day without having to be reminded is a HUGE difference so I'm guessing its gonna take some time and A LOT of patience and MAYBE I'll have him fully potty trained by summer...at least I'm hoping!!!!!
Avatar universal
i forgot to add that he is EXTREMELY against being a big boy!  He wants to remain the baby for sure!  My daughter is 12 and he's the baby of the family and I think that this is a huge step for him in his eyes and in a way he thinks that he needs to remain the baby.  
306455 tn?1288865671
Here's another suggestion, and it'll be a hard one.  Turn over the responsiblity of washing his soiled underware to him.  You can then re-wash them later, without his knowledge.  It will be unpleasant for him and take time away from doing more fun things, but you can explain to him, if he goes in his pants...he has to wash them.....but if he goes in the potty, there will be no soiled clothes to wash. Do this without being judgmental, be as "matter of fact" about it as possible. Show him how to wash them and set a place he can hang them. This actually worked for my Mother......when she was a child. We may have to do this to her again soon...LOL.
Good luck!
Avatar universal
wow! And I thought I was the only parent going crazy with the potty training process. My son is 3 yrs and 3mos old and my daughter just turned 2. My 3 yr old could care less about the potty. We've tried rewards and bribes. I've put cheerios in the toilet, and also have spent plenty money on small potties that make the flushing noise, sing to you, cheer for you and all! After exhausting all thinkable stategies, I finally just put underwear on him in hopes that he would go on himself and feel yucky. The plan was that he would eventually start telling me when he has to go. I even ask him every 15 min if he has to go potty and even force him to sit on it and read books very often. The terrible part of it is he knows when he has to go because if he has a bowel movement in his underwear, I will ask him when and why did he go on himself and he will tell me the exact place he was and what toy he was playing with when he did it.  I'm getting really stressed about it and his pediatrician keeps telling me to be patient, it will happen! My 2 yr old daughter does okay but she's still quite young. I have noticed that she won't go on the potty sometimes bc her big brother won't and that worrys me that his not wanting to potty train will rub off on her. HELP!
Avatar universal
This could be my same story.  My son is 3.6 and we've been trying for quite awhile to train.  He has told me he wants to be a baby not a big boy.  I have tried incentives, encouragement, being firm, taking away cartoons and toys, to no avail.  We've even had to switch daycares b/c his old daycare wouldn't take him back unless trained!  He has been seeing a GI ped since he was a year old for constipation issues, both the GI ped and his regular ped say don't worry, it will happen, back off for awhile.  My family is putting extreme pressure on me as if I can control this!  The only progress we have made is that he likes to stand in the bathtub and pee and I hold the little potty in the tub to catch his pee.  This is ridiculous!  I wish I knew the secret to getting him trained!  BTW, have you had any progress since the post?
Have an Answer?
Top Children's Health Answerers
189897 tn?1441130118
San Pedro, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Fearing autism, many parents aren't vaccinating their kids. Can doctors reverse this dangerous trend?
Is a gluten-free diet right for you?
We answer your top questions about the flu vaccine.
Learn which over-the-counter medicines are safe for you and your baby
Yummy eats that will keep your child healthy and happy
Healing home remedies for common ailments