My 4 Year Old Boy Refuses to Be Potty Trained

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Out of all my kids, my 4 year old is probably my most stubborn. He is certainly the hardest one I have ever tried to potty train. What do you do when your 4 year old son absolutely refuses to be potty trained? You start to get creative…

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The funny thing is… he will have a conversation about the potty. He knows what it is and what it is used for, he just doesn’t want to use it. He doesn’t want to go through the effort. I mean, if someone is cleaning your behind for you every day, why change?

Most of the time giving him ‘big boy’ underware doesn’t work. He just figures it is a cloth diaper and has accidents in it. Pull-ups or so called ‘training pants’ don’t do much good either and they are actually harder to change than a diaper.

When a child turns 4 years old or older it comes down to motivation. We had to set up a reward system for him so he could win a prize every time he used the toilet. Find out what your 4 year old wants more than using a diaper. More story time with mommy? A trip to the park? Make sure you don’t set the prize expectations too high or else it might cost you too much to keep it up over the long term.

I have found that positive reinforcements work best. Don’t punish for using a diaper, instead let him be motivated by what he will gain by ditching them. While we are making progress… it does take time. Don’t get too impatient. It is very rare that a child can be potty trained over a weekend or even over the course of one week.

Overall… don’t get discouraged. There are no potty police telling you that your child has to be potty trained by a certain age. Of course, you don’t want to be changing diapers for too long either.

If he is scared of the potty or has bathroom anxiety, go in there with him. Read him stories or make jokes to help him relax. This makes a huge difference.

My son and we will continue to make progress the best we can. With a bit of hard work and a lot of luck he might just be fully potty trained by the time he is 5!

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My 4 Year Old Boy Refuses to Be Potty Trained, Seekyt
General Contributor
Janice is a writer from Chicago, IL. She created the "simple living as told by me" newsletter with more than 12,000 subscribers about Living Better and is a founder of Seekyt.