My 4-year-old will not potty train: Advice?

My son will be four in a couple of months, and we’ve tried potty training him a million different ways, and he did great for a while, but for the last couple of weeks, maybe a month, he has been secretly using the bathroom, and then he … plays with it. He’ll dig in his diaper or underwear whatever he’s wearing at the time and plays with it. Rubs on himself and the walls or his toys. Sometimes he’ll get his little sister to play with it. And yes, I watch and listen to them as much as I can, but if I’m in another room doing laundry or washing dishes, they’re in his room. I really don’t know what to do for him to understand that it’s bad and gross, and he needs to use the toilet. Someone tell me that my kids aren’t the only one that has done this?! It’s exhausting and Idk what to do. He wants a specific toy for Christmas, and I even told him Santa wouldn’t bring it if he didn’t use the toilet. Someone help me with the love of my sanity. Thanks.

152 thoughts on “My 4-year-old will not potty train: Advice?”

  1. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” ― Steve Jobs

  2. Mine is 3 and doesn’t do all that. He just goes on the potty sometimes and isn’t fully there yet. But definitely haven’t heard of this behavior. I’m sorry you’re going through this.

  3. We did treats every time our son went to the bathroom, and took away toys when he would go in his pants, it was hard for us because he has aspergers and sensory issues and didn’t fully potty train till he was 6 and we just now at 9 got the night time potty trained

  4. My pediatrician recommend the potty watch. Every time it goes off he sits on the potty. When I was potty training my son and he wanted something I would have him sit on the potty until he went then give it to him. Worked great

  5. Ok so that is normal to be curious about the body. My youngest is 3 and autistic he plays with it sometimes for him its sensory issue talk to the Dr and go from there

  6. It’s not unusual for kids to be fascinated with their own bodily waste. But I think the mistake you are making is putting him in diapers. Go underwear ONLY. And I potty-trained my daughter doing the “no underwear or diapers” over a weekend. You have to commit to staying home and NO underwear or diapers except at bedtime.

  7. At 4 I would talk with your doctor to see if he has some sensory or behavioral issues like have already been stated. The only children I’ve ever known to do this at that age and not understand to stop were diagnosed with a form of autism.
    OR… kids are plain and simple assholes sometimes and he knows it’s gross and he wants to make you mad. Seen that happen to. Once he knows you mean business and aren’t going to give in he may stop. Stick to your guns with your punishments and threats.

  8. I really would ask his doctor about it. I’ve been told that boys are harder to potty train but mine did pretty well. Even the accidents weren’t long. Maybe he just needs more time, and that’s ok! But he could get sick playing with it and so could your daughter, that would be my only concern.

  9. I work in a daycare and this is not a typical behavior we see in our preschool children. I would highly suggest speaking to his Doctor at this point in regards to the playing in the feces and to what extent you are saying he does. The potty training or lack of doesnt sound like it’s the main issue here that I’d be concerned about but the fecal play is something I would suggest a doctors input. Good luck mama

  10. I agree with Tiffany P. Crayne.. I help with my granddaughters.. Put him in under only.. Worked to get my 31/2 year old that didn’t want to train. . Good luck to ya ????

  11. My son is almost 4 and does well with number 1 but refused to sit to make 2 and has no problem pooping in his pants. He says he’s afraid to sit in the toilet

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