My 4-year-old will not potty train: Please help!

I need some serious advice when it comes to potty training. My son is four, and I am at my wit’s end trying to get him to go to the bathroom instead of having accidents on his bed, the couch, or even in the car. I have tried small rewards like a piece of candy or something when he goes. I waited a week and let him pick out a prize when we go to the store—taken things away. Set timers to remind him to go and have him sit on the toilet for a few minutes. Nothing seems to do any good. It will work ok for maybe a week or so and then back to square one. I hate to be one of those moms that blame it on his dad, but that is about where he starts having the problems going. He goes to his dad’s for a couple of days, then it’s back to refusing to go to the bathroom at all, or he will go, and as soon as he sits down, he’s telling me he can’t pee. I don’t know what else to do.


We used " get out of trouble "passes ( meaning she got a pass for 1 get out of trouble )…we gave her those as rewards…passes that we made on computer. It worked, we still give those to our daughter and she is 11

dont let him wear a diaper or anything, he might not kike that feeling and realize he needs to use the toilet

My son was 3, and it was a nightmare. In the end, I didn’t go anywhere for 2-3 days and every 20-30mins made him go even if he didn’t have to. He eventually got it and never had an accident. Good luck


Have him check for overactive or small bladder. My daughter never had time to tell us she felt it and peed… she seen a pediatric urologist and was put on medication never had that problem again

My stepson is 4 and going through the same thing. He reverts back to wetting and soiling himself because his mother constantly puts him back in pull ups. All we can do is just keep reminding him to use the toilet. It’s frustrating but we just got to keep trying.

I taught my 5 year old to pee outside on a tree! He thought it was the most amazing thing ever… He eventually started going inside. Fully potty trained!

My aon didnt get out of diapers til 4.the more i forced him to use the potty the more he didnt wanna go.i let it go for a while an on his own he decided to go.they will go when they are ready.juat remind him thats what big boys do

I’m not an expert but if motivational treats aren’t rewarding maybe he’s not ready. You can try explaining to the Dad why he needs to back you up and be consistent and maybe that will help

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The key is to be consistent first of all! there are several different ways you can put some sort of cereal in the toilet and say dunk. Cheerios or Fruit Loops. You can get you one of those things that makes the water blue and say if you pee in the toilet the water magically changes to Green. Also try one of those musical toilets tell them when you pee in the toilet it plays music .


I would ask Dad if you can keep him for a couple of weeks without visits so you can have him in a routine also have potty on a tree/outside. Remind him to go every 30 mins

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Sometimes some kids are just slower than others on certain things. One of my girls didn’t potty train until she was 6. Like a flip of a switch it’s just happened one day. :woman_shrugging:t2:

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Sounds like u and dad need to talk and learn to coparent together

No pull-ups - ( except bed) underwear and 2-3 days in the house .Look up potty training boot camp


Let him pee in the backyard. Trust me works every time.

With my oldest daycare did a lot of potty training and by 3 she was good.
Second - she had issues at night but by 4 she was good.
Youngest daughter was a NIGHTMARE! We tried and tried she would get it then stop. Then she would only need reminding (diaper at night) then brother was born and it all.STOPPED! then her 4th bday she wanted “underwears” and never looked back.
Either make sure dad is helping w training or see if child can stay at your place until he is able to go consistently.

I bribed my kid with his favorite thing. I got him his own potty that followed us from room to room. Had him go sit every few minutes and he got a piece of candy when he peed and more when he pooped (pooping was the hardest to get down) and eventually he started getting into wanting to play on my DS. Told him he could only play on it when he didn’t have any accidents. Which when he got peeing down to “you can’t play on it if you poop in your pants” and after one time of having an accident he got it down and I’ve had like a couple of small accidents (peeing) since then. But now he doesn’t even wear pull ups to bed.

I agree with the take him to the doctor advice check everything out just in case it’s a medical

I had my son sit on the toilet backwards, then gave him dry erase markers to draw on the toilet seat. It easily wipes off. But u also need to get dad on the same page as well.


At 4 if he’s not trained most of the time, it’s time to bring it up to your doctor.

Ma’am give him time kids are different

Teach him to pee standing up by having him shoot at Cheerios or Fruit Loops! It makes it fun and if dad or another trusted male adult (maybe grandpas or uncles) are around to help they can make it a competition! Something to make him feel like he’s doing the same thing the “older guys” are doing. Yeah, it might be a little messy at first, but he’ll get the hang of it.

First of all if you don’t have a waterproof protector on his bed getting one is a must. Keep him in big boy undies only. Make a monthly calendar and get yellow stars and blue stars. Everytime they pee they get to put a yellow star on the calendar and if he does #2 then it’s the blue star. At the end of the week if he goes without an accident he gets a treat of some sorts. Then start going every 2 wks…also you can put a drop of blue dye in the toilet and throw in a couple cheerios and tell him to sink the ship! Worked great on my boys.

Take all his clothes off until he gets it

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That’s what we did, he would pee outside and eventually went to the potty

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I stripped my child down, let her run around naked, and put a training potty in the living room so it was always available. There were a few accidents but after a week she was trained.

My daughter wasnt day trained until she was 5. One day it just clicked. She turned 6 in December and is just now not peeing her bed at night. Some kids take some time. Doctor told me if you force it the process tends to be a lot longer.

My niece is 4 an a half an will not use the potty at all. It is crazy to me.

Make him change himself and make him clean it up… that always worked for me… lol

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try incentives…
my little sister will most definitely go to the potty or say she needs to go if you offer some type of incentive. for example, she gets chocolate or candy, something she doesn’t get often.

My wee boy is 4 and a half and had the same problem. He only started going to the toilet 2 months ago. He was just pooping in his pants, eventually he was confident enough to sit on the potty but would cry if I asked him to use the toilet. I told him that he will be starting school later this year and will need to use a proper toilet and he eventually one day just said I want to go to the toilet. I wouldn’t force the issue, he should eventually get there himself.


I would let him clean it up every time he pee but try with doctor if any problems if not then make him cleaned it up .

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Are you amicable with his father’s mom? Perhaps ask her what worked for your sons dad and then talk to him about it (dad). Sounds like maybe dad needs to talk to him & discuss the importance and honestly as someone mentioned above, do the “dude way” and pee outside. However his dad will need to discuss when that is appropriate and when is it not. Sounds like kiddo isn’t getting the same treatment and you & dad need to be on the same page. Talk. Talk. Talk. This is the importance of coparenting.

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I took everything off. No pull ups, underwear, or shorts. He was naked for days and after a few times of going on himself, he went to the bathroom on his own. It was a good 3 to 4 days though. Had to clean up a few times but it worked for us.

They will when they’re ready. All kids are different, some will train earlier than others. The more you push or focus on it the longer it will take

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Boys are always hard to potty train. First, check with Dad to see if he is following the same rules/schedule as you, if not, ask him politely to do so. Secondly, get a medical check up, especially with a urologist. My son had a bladder infection that we didn’t know about, once that cleared, we were good to go…

Tell him if he wants to go to school, he has to go to the potty,

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Have you tried counseling? There might be something your not aware of. It might help him a lot. There’s nothing wrong with getting professional help. You can also talk to his pediatrician.

I don’t believe in sweet treats or putting Cheerios in the potty so he can aim at it !!!
My if my kids, as friends started back in the 70’s when our kids turn two, after a few wks all was good. I don’t believe in making them sit until they go. Just let them go. My granddaughter who is 11 went to her parents around 2 & 1/2 & told them ’ pee-pee potty’ they just looked at her & brought her to it & she peed. Everyone clapped. My grandson who is 21 I watched him alot, but everyone tried to be very consistent. I told him when he becomes a big boy I will buy him super hero underwear. Yes it’s a reward, but not a sugarone . So when he told me & he did it . We clapped. If he didn’t make it, that also was ok, because he was under 3 & that was still good.
With you I would wonder just want is he doing? Is he on a i-pad all day long? Is he playing with his toys or watching alot of TV? Maybe with the i-pad & TV he doesn’t want to stop watching or playing whatever game he is doing. If he’s just playing with he’s toys…I don’t know what to tell you. Because that is what kids should be doing. But his dad should be on the same page as you. If not … I am sorry

I would have a dr check him and make sure it’s nothing medical.

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Why are you having him sit down to pee. Not saying that’s wrong or anything.

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It might be frowned upon and considered child abuse, but there is the option of cleaning him up in a cool shower. Dont make it cold, but not warm either. That’s what I did to my kid. She was basically potty trained, but sometimes would just refuse to go to the bathroom. After 3 or 4 showers she never had an accident again.


Have you tried sittin him backwards on the toilet so he can draw on the toilet seat with washable markers

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Every kid is different…my 3 year old daughter is in potty training and some days good some says not so good. Personally I wouldn’t punish him for having accidents, that may just bring more fear. We use a sticker chart and at the end of the chart (30ish spaces) there is an ice cream cone…and she gets an ice cream sundae from a local restaurant. We have since started having her get a sticker when she asks to use the potty because that is our main issue right now…she will go when we say she should sit on it but for her to ask is an issue. And we are definitely not ready for public…only car rides back and forth from our house to grandmas. It takes time but you just need to find a reward that catches his eye…not sure what to say about him going to dads house…maybe try to talk to him about a routine you can both keep. Good luck Mama.

Let him throw a cheerio in the toilet and let him try and aim at it and see if that works. Good luck!

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Someone told me the other day that bubbles work if they use the potty they got to blow bubbles

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If the 2 of you can’t work together towards the progress then it’s going to be extremely difficult

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If dad can’t stick to the same routine as u then maybe speak to dad and if possible just say u need to keep him at home until u can sort it out I have a three year old who is great at using her potty at home don’t even have to ask her to go she goes herself but the min she goes into nursery she won’t use the tiny toilets they have she always has accidents everyday so I’m asking them next week if she can have her potty in there while in nursery

When me and my ex pody train your daughter we had a hard time with her at first we tried something different we put her pody chair in front of the TV and guess what if work she use it a few times then we move her to the bathroom with out any problems

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My son got potty trained at 3. What really helped him was he started playing the talking tom game on my phone. You have to take tom to potty and that really got him to going to the potty. Maybe try that with your son.

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At 4 I would be whipping that but

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Hi little tip I was told about was to put a table tennis ball in the toilet and get him to try and hit it when he has a wee. My son loved it.

Take him to the doctor to make sure they’re is not a medical issue, spot down with his father and get on the same page as far as potty training. My daughter had a generic disorder called William’s Syndrome, I was list to get her potty trained at about 5, I used cloth training pants with rubber pants in the day time and pulling up at night, bought her big girl panties and told her she will get to wear them if she had no accidents for one week. Is she had an accident she went back to training pants until she was accident free for a week. When we had long trips we offered pull-ups. It was hard but she eventually got the hang of it, with her disorder they have muscle issues many never are able to be continent

Consistency! Cant stress this the most even with the most stubborn child

Does he want to stand up to go to the toilet. Also ask him what they do at he’s dads when he needs to go to the toilet. I know a friend who was trying for years to toilet train her son. Turns out when her child went to he’s ex’s he would put them in nappies because he was too lazy to toilet train or to help toilet train.

My grandson was told that if he messed his pants again He would have to clean himself up. No more problems.

Rub his nose in it and swat him with a rolled newspaper


Let him pee outside wherever he wants. It helped mine.

Sounds like dad puts him in nappies still

If he is doing good with you but retracts after being with dad… he’s the problem! He’s most likely not keeping up with potty trains over at his house &that isn’t your sons fault. Maybe talk to fad &see if he’ll be okay with not taking your son until he’s fully potty trained?

I started potty training all 5 of mine when they were 2 and a half.waiting until they are 4-6 I would say they are use to going in their pants. The same with talking, if a child never heard a human talking until he was that age very hard for them to learn if they learn at all !

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Too much pressure on parents being judged about kids in nappies. They will do it when they are ready. All kids are different. My kids at 3 and 3 and half decided to do it one day. Never had a wet bed or any accidents.

He says it hurts to per after getting back from dads? Abuse maybe

No prizes or toys until he goes potty in the potty…you’re the mom.

I ran into this with my daughter and her going to her dads. I started sending her in underwear. He kept putting her in a pull up when she went cause he refused to potty train. It took alot longer than it should have but you have to talk to the dad about it and make sure he knows. He isn’t hurting you whenhe refuses, it is just causing problems with your son

Is he on any electronics when he has an accident( i ask because some parents allow that young) if so take away all electronics. They are so pre- occupied with them they will literally hold pee until it leaks out…ask his dad to put electronics away too. Its a serious problem with children even older than 4. Idk if he has access to electronics or not but I can guess if he is that could be your problem

My son didn’t potty train until 4.5 and now he’s fine with no accidents and it was so much easier then forcing anything. Good luck. I used the potty watch for 3 days and then he was good

My first born was the hardest to potty train. After my son would have a drink, I had to start timing when he would go potty. After I got the timing to an approximate time, I would start taking him to the potty after he drank something. I got repetitive with it. He still was hesitant about it. So one time I made him pee on a tree outside…this was an exciting thing and unfortunately that made him just want to pee on more outside things. But at least it wasnt in a pullup or his undies. I never offered treats or toys. I always just did praises.

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I had a friend that potty trained her son by having him “water” the plant. She set up a fake tree in kitty litter lol, After a couple of weeks she took it away and had him use the potty instead.

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When my son was little I bought him underwear with his favorite characters on them and told him if he peed on his “friends” it would make them really sad. Worked great with him, hope you can find a solution and maybe have a sit down with dad?

Someone on a past post said they used to put Cheerios or fruit loops in the toilet and made it like a game lol worth a shot. Whatever works right?

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I would definitely have a talk with the dad. That is 100% the problem here. Consistency is crucial! If he refuses then I wouldn’t let him go over there for a while. It sounds bad but you gotta do what’s best for your kid. If that means a month or two without going to dads then so be it! If he has any problems with it, make him take you back to court :woman_shrugging:t3:


Put Dawn dish soap in toilet so if he pees he will make bubbles

Although there’s a lot of great ideas, only one person actually addressed the fact of your child’s father. You need to have a serious conversation with him and tell him that in order for your son to go to Pre-K, he needs to be fully potty trained. :woman_shrugging:t2: He won’t be allowed in kindergarten at all if he isn’t. Discuss with him what you do that works so it’s streamlined and point out the benefits of when your child is potty trained. No changing diapers, no wasting money off diapers and such. Plus less having to carry around. :woman_shrugging:t2: Good luck. At this point I don’t think it’s your son, but his father.

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Sometimes you have to do whatever the situation brings you! He doesn’t want to go potty on the toilet and soils his clothes or blanket then he will be the one to wash it! Let him take responsibility! I doubt he will like cleaning his poop or pee! If he has an accident he needs to take the sheets off and then put some brand new ones on! I did that with a cousin and sure enough he learned! I’m not saying he does all the bed and everything but he doesn’t get to stand there staring at you do the work! And he needs to wash his soil underwear or poop!

My son will be 3 and isnt potty trained yet. He will hold it as long as he can or until a diaper/pullup is put on him. He will cry because he held it so long it hurts. Getting him to use the potty has been an absolute nightmare

I let mine pee in the yard

I would tell your boy that you know he is upset but that this is an unacceptable way to tell you about it. I would use a blackout technique, complete removal of a favorite something as a
consequence. And always gentle encouragement, love and praise.

Make sure he is cleaning up the messes when he wets.

Make a game out of it. My mom and I started doing that with my 4 year old daughter. “Oh man…mommy (or grandma) has to go potty. Can you beat me babygirl?” She would run into the bathroom and start going. Also take him to the store and let him pick out his underwear. If nothing works, maybe make an appointment with his dr and see if there’s anything wrong. 🤷

My boyfriend’s mom had the same issue when he was potty training. She put his thing in the living room amd let him run aroumd naked for three days she had him and never had the issue again :joy:. Told his dad to do it as well she doesn’t know if he did it but she didn’t have any more issues so maybe he did.

OH MY GOD I CAN RELATE TO THIS POST. My son is almost 3.5. We recently made a sticker chart together. Every time he pees or poops on the potty, he gets a SPECIAL sticker. 5 stickers = Kinder egg. I make a big deal about it when he pees. Keeping him naked helps.

The pull ups are making things more difficult in my opinion because he doesn’t care if it gets wet. So its naked or underwear. He hates getting messy so when he pees down his leg, it makes him pretty upset.

Also - you can try to talk to dad but if you’re situation is anything like mine, it won’t help. You just have to do the best you can the time he is with you.

Sounds like his father isn’t helping with the potty training. You two need to be on the same page.

I have girls but my friends potty trained their boys by sinking cheerios in the toilet, peeing outside on the porch, and the other trained with rewards like stickers on a potty chart. However I had 2 learn the hard way with my daughter if the other ppl hes with dont consistancy work with him he will take twice as long 2 train because he will get confused. His dad should take him with him 2 the bathroom every time he goes and show him how. I know its awkward but that’s how I trained my kid I had 2 show her that when u need 2 go u sit on the potty and the potty goes in the toilet it also helped that I got her a potty her size that looked like the big one

Try putting a pin pong ball in the toilet …draw a target sign on it and have him aim at it … the ball wont flush away either so try and make it fun …mine never used the potty good luck and try not to stress :two_hearts:


Make a game out of it. Let him pee on a Cheerio tell him to hit the target

If you have them sit backwards on toilet seat, they fit better, can straddle the seat and they can see what’s going on down there, gives them more confidence

When potty training my son he was 2 when we started. We tried using candy at first. Then we used coins to get him to go. He did ok with the candy but ended up giving the candy away so he lost interest. The money was good for a while to. He was peeing I the potty in no time. Then when he had to go poop we used the temporary tattoos. He seen his dad and uncle with tattoos and wanted to be just like them. It took every one of us to be on board with the tattoos. And he was so excited every time he waa able to pick one out and where he was able to put it. We just had the night time potty training. Until he seen the school bus one day and said how he wanted to ride the bus. I told him that they didnt allow him on the bus of he still wore pull ups or diapers. He was so adamant on wearing his big boy pants to bed and had maybe a few accidents after that. But maybe like 6 months if that he was completely potty trained. The only way to get him fully potty trained is to make sure that his dad is on board. If he is not on board with you take him to court and tell him he cant see his son if he cant help you with this issue

At this age I would talk to his pediatrician. It could be an underlying cause. Or something could be happening at dads making him not want to go


My son is 4 and where’s a pull up to bed still but during the day he is fine. But with him bouncing between houses you and Dad need to be on same page with the same expectations regarding it and he could be doing it for attention.


When my daughter gave me a similar problem, I had her carry around a pee pad around the house and she could only sit on that. Also, I had to refuse helping her clean up herself. She had to be responsible for taking off her wet clothes, wiping herself, and putting on new clothes. It took about a week or so but she finally learned.


I put my daughter on the toliet every hour and make sure I don’t miss it. She usually goes every hour! And at night she’s in a pull up.

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We used to put cheerios in the toilet so my son could aim and “shoot”. He loved it. Made it fun. We also had a candy dispenser and if he went #1 he got to pull the lever once and if he went #2, he got to pull it twice. This worked for my daughter too. Also, talked to dad about it, if you can do so civilly


The harder you try and push him to potty train the hard he resist…when he gets tired of pooping in a diaper he will start using a potty. Boys are always harder to train!

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My son is 2 and we have him potty trained durning the day at home but when we go out we still put a diaper or pullup on him and if we over to my moms place he will not use the potty or toilet at her house. Maybe there is too much going in when child is with his dad my mom seems to think this is why he wont use at her place


There are little things like the potty watch to help kiddos. (If you’re sure something isn’t happening at dads house like abuse) then it could just be the going back & fourth. Communication with his dad is going to be key. You should both as parents work together for the sake of the child. Some kids just aren’t ready until a later age and forcing them isn’t going to help anything. Consistency between both parents will benefit this child. Good luck :blush:

If you haven’t, I would order one of the frog urinals. My son was potty trained fully by 3 with the help from this! It made it fun for him while teaching him.

I had a similar issue with my son. We ended up letting him stand to pee, and we put cheerios or fruit loops in the potty to help with the aim. Then when he had to poop, my husband showed him how to push it down and get it in the potty. When my son saw that the pee made bubbles on the potty he was hooked.

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My youngest (just turned 4) was like that as well, i also dealt with the back and forth with their father. He started going potty on his own by 2 because he saw his big brother going (age 5) and wanted to be a big boy like him. But whenever he would go by his dad’s they found it easier to put a pamper on him. It was a struggle and very annoying. I got him on a schedule and once he started in a headstart program we had no problems. He wears big boy chonies and rarely has an accident.
I get your struggle. It was like that with our last 3 kids.