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Is Your Child Not Interested in Potty Training?
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Laura Jana, MD posted:
What should you do if your child shows absolutely no interest in potty training? Knowing when to be concerned, if you should "force" the issue, or if you should seek professional assistance depends on your individual circumstances.

I think that it is never a particularly good (or successful) idea to pit your will against the will of a child. If by "force," you literally mean forcing a child to sit on the potty -- I'm not a fan.

There are alternatives. For example, there are all sorts of products, such as musical potty seats, that will entice children to start using the potty.

I also believe that when you put your foot down, it should be in instances where your child's health or safety is in question, and when taking a stand might pay off. Forcing a child to go in the potty falls into a category of interventions that I consider unlikely to be successful - like making a reluctant child fall asleep or demanding that they open their mouth to eat or take medicine.

When dealing with an unwilling child, I'm more of a fan of techniques like "coaxing" and "encouraging". Parents need to figure out why a child is uninterested or hesitant to pee or poop in the potty.

There are some instances when the true culprit is unrealistic parental expectations. Sometimes, a child may simply not be developmentally ready to begin potty training. Children who are not yet developmentally ready to potty train aren't aware of the need to go, and don't notice when they need to be changed. They are also not able to articulate the need to go or toddle their way to the bathroom and pull down their pants by themselves, which can lead parents to incorrectly believe a child is uninterested.

It is best to introduce children to the variety of skills and supplies involved in potty training long before they are likely to demonstrate all of the typical signs of developmental readiness. Do this without expecting a high degree of interest until your child is actually ready to begin learning to use the potty.

Constipation is another common reason for refusing to poop in the potty. Constipation can be very uncomfortable, if not downright painful. It makes sense that children will avoid repeated pain by doggedly refusing to poop on the potty. Your child's diet is an important consideration in potty training and possible constipation issues.

At times, disinterest can be a sign of a larger problem when children are getting beyond the 2 to 3-year-old age range and be a sign of a broader developmental delay. It can also pose a challenge for children with special needs of all ages.

And finally, reluctant potty training can turn into a monumental behavioral challenge. I have seen 4 and 5-year-olds so stubbornly refuse to poop on the potty that it led to serious constipation (not to mention very real parental stress). These examples definitely warrant an assessment and ongoing involvement of a pediatrician or other health professional.

Was your child potty-resistant? Tell others in the Parenting Community what finally resulted in potty training success for your child.
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phoenix31674 responded:
DD did not potty train for pee until roughly 3.5. We had a potty, encouraged it's use, but never just made her sit on it unless she asked. I made a big deal about me using the potty and had her come with me. Talked up big girls use the potty and how she was getting so big and how she would need to use the potty to go to daycare (a rare occurrence for her since I stay at home). I offered rewards. I even did diaper free four separate times, but nothing. Before this she would tell me when she was wet, so she knew she was peeing, but getting her interested in the potty was tough. Finally we did diaper free with the potty here in the living room and she decided it was time to be a big girl.

Pooping was a whole other can of worms. That took another nearly 6 months. Thankfully she never had constipation but no matter how long I had her sit on the potty before nap or bed time she would poop within 2 minutes of going to her room. For that I had a potty box with a bunch of used Thomas trains I picked up off ebay that she could pick one if she pooped in the potty. She also got stickers where once she had 5 days of pooping only in the potty she got a big playset for Thomas.

So she was 4 when she was basically trained. We still have odd accidents and no night time or nap time trained, but that might have something to do with the potty being downstairs from her bedroom since when we travel she generally stays dry.

We just had to wait for her to be ready and interested. It was very frustrating since she is otherwise very mature for her age.
 
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mommyof2wonderfulkids replied to phoenix31674's response:
My neighbors grandson is 4.5 years old and still not potty trained. He is afraid of the potty and will not go near it. He knows when he has to go, because when he is in underwear, he stays dry, and asks for a diaper when he has to go. The issue is not forced with him, rewards were tried. Is there any advice?


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