Monday, April 26, 2010

3 1/2 Year Old Not Potty Training?

The Question:
My son Adam is 3 1/2 years old.  He has had a speech delay and has only been communicating well for about three or four months.  I have made a few feeble attempts at potty training him including one where he was given treats every time he used the toilet.  He was willing to participate but took no initiative at all.  After a week or so I got tired of training myself to take him to the bathroom.  When we talk to him about using the toilet he says, "NO, change diapy!"  He doesn't really care.  What do I do?  He is already big for his age.  He looks like a five year old in a diaper.  It is embarrassing!

The Answer:

Although he's on the upper end of the age range for potty training, Adam is still normal.  It's hard to know exactly what his hesitation is.   Because I didn't really experience this problem, I don't really have an answer.  But I did a little google search "Potty Training Problems" and found a wealth of great ideas and information that apply perfectly.  I skimmed over them and I'm sure you'll feel encouraged as you read.  You're far from alone.  This site was especiallly helpful.
Just one little caution.  Try not to be embarrassed.  It's an unproductive and divisive feeling,  Adam is really your only concern here--his success and well-being.  As a young mother, it's easy to let your children's performance reflect completely on you and because of his size, he's probably often faced with high expectations.   It's important that you stay on his side. 
Good luck.
All my love,


  1. Just so Adam's mom knows, my son potty trained a week before turning 4. When I asked his doctor about it (bless that man!), he made sure everything was okay then told me 2 of his boys didn't train til they were 4 and not to worry about it. He just finally decided one day he was ready. It took two days and we never had to deal with bedwetting. There could be a relation to the speech delay, but some kids just do it later (mine was learning to read before he trained) regardless.

  2. Jane, I really liked that you emphasized being on the child's side, and being his advocate. I do think it is often a temptation to push or force only because we are embarrassed about what others may think. If no one else is being patient and understanding with our child, at least we as mothers should.


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