My friends 4-year-old refuses to potty train: Advice?

I have a friend of mine who has a 4 year old who refuses to potty train. She’s tried everything from treats to underwear. She wants to get him potty trained so he can start preschool. Any ideas to help her out! Thanks in advance


My daughter sets alarm on her phone for every half hour. When my 22 month old granddaughter hears it she knows its time for potty. She got this tip from her daycare provider. She’s doing well and few accidents

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Take him to his school and show him what he is missing by holding it and maybe potty accidents…go potty go school make friends and play.

pant-less weekend, or regular underpants. Pulls ups are designed to make them feel dry. Noone likes to feel wet. also we used the “pee pee in the potty” song on youtube and got then entire family to help also.

My daughter told me she didn’t want to be potty trained so I told teachers and sent her in pull ups and told them to not worry about it. It wasn’t long and she didn’t want to wear pull ups anymore.

She should of started 3 years ago


I know this sounds weird, but when my boys were training, I would put cheerio’s/cereal in the toilet and have them “sink the cheerios”. It would seem the 4yr old wouldnt want the mess in his britches? If its just because he is refusing, maybe reach out to his doctor for some suggestions? Has he expressed a reason why he doesnt want to potty train? Maybe the flushing scares him?

Boys are tough! My son was 3 and a half when he finally got it, I started when he was 2 aswell

We gave our kids books while they were on the potty and we used a 2 hour schedule. (Every 2 hours they sat on the potty ) all ours learned quickly

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Its normal for boys to have a harder time pooping then girls. Mine was hospitalized 2x for it. Talk to his pediatrician for advice and slowly stop giving him the option of a diaper or pull up. Start slowly with naked time during the day. Then pull ups at night. Make him help clean up messes, etc…

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It’s against the law for schools to refuse to take children in nappies x

3days in the house with no bottom clothes on. Put a training potty in each room , the bathroom, and one in the hallway

Refuse to clean him up. Make him do it himself. Make him change whatever is wet or dirty and wash it out. Act like you can’t see or hear anything about his potty business. Of course a bath every night!


Cheerios in the toilet tell him. To sink em if he does make a big deal about it and reward him


He’s just not ready :woman_shrugging:t3:


Cheerios or mini marshmallows in the toilet for “Target” practice😁. We had a candy dish of M & M’s on the back of the toilet for rewards.


If its poop talk about how great big boy pants are. Maybe use his fave.superhero as a poop know …superman. Doesnt poop his pants he wears big boy pants

We made the girls try to use the potty every time one of us went after a couple weeks the youngest started playing the ill use the potty this time but not next time then shed only pee on the potty then only poop finally one night i locked us both in the bathroom (with tablet books and toys) and told her she wasnt leaving till she used the potty after like am hour she went pee and she hasnt worn a diaper or since (never tried pullups with the youngest cuz the oldest just treated it like a diaper i figured theyre a waste of money)

Consistancy is key here. Even if he doesnt go potty every time mom or dad has to go put him on the pot! Other people have sworn by letting them run around naked for a few days and yes there will be accidents. My mom sat me on the pot in front of the tv and it worked well!!! My son took a bit to potty train but just keep on putting him on the pot.

try the newspaper lol

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My middle child, a girl, was a pain to potty train. I tried everything I could think of. She was finally potty trained just over 4 years old. My son was potty trained in a few weeks and my other daughter was potty trained in 3 days. All depends on the kid. :woman_shrugging:

Stay at home as much as you can no more diapers get underwear and pull ups let him or her run around half naked you’ll have lots of accidents just say it’s ok clean them up with wipes and move on if it’s a boy every time daddy goes to the bathroom take him in there and have daddy show him what he does if it’s a girl every time mom goes to the bathroom take her in the bathroom and show her and have her just try soon enough poof it’s happening at night put pull ups on them first thing in the morning go try and before bed have them try before pull ups go on! Don’t panic or stress and when it starts to happen just say good job! No disappointments if it doesn’t just praise!

Corks or ping pong balls in toilet aim to wee on them

Monkey see …Monkey do! And when s/he is a SENIOR they can go back to their childhood with ADULT diapers. :slight_smile:


Lots of recalcitrant children take until they are four to fully potty train.

Tell her she can’t go to Grr

Tell her she can’t go to Grandma’s house until she learns to go “big girl potty.”

First stop completely for a couple of weeks. Get rid of the stress associated with it. For both of them.
Then plan one whole week of being at home.
I think this is best done in the warmer weather so you can be out in the garden. No pants no trousers.
Have a drink and a snack every hour.
Then both go to toilet and potty
Keep the potty close by.
Lots of praise when they get it right.
No fuss when the don’t. Just say nothing and clean it up.
Good luck.

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All excellent advice. My son who is autistic and now nineteen was extremely difficult to poop train. He did great with the pee, but the pooping…So he had a very elaborate routine when he had to poop. All the steps had to fall into perfect order and he would never ever poop in a public restroom. So had conversation with his pediatrician and this is the gist; children with autism and other neurodevelopmental difficulties view their poop as part of their own body, an extension of themselves. Imagine if someone wanted to flush your arm or leg down the toilet. Poop training can be super frightening for them. They strongly react to the large toilet seat (get a special one for little bums),feel uncomfortable having anyone see or watch them. They have to be able to take their time and follow through mentally with the process. My grandson,on the spectrum, just started to poop in the toilet, he is eight years old. He,like my son controls his bowels movements.It was never necessary to send either one with a pull up to school. All the action went on at home. Don’t freak if at four he’s not ready. He may just need more time to separate the association with poop as a body part. Hope this helps. Good luck.

We had one son that could not control his bladder at night until he’d get a chiropractic treatment. So when our daughter did the same thing, I thought a Chiro treatment would cure it. It did not, until we found a chiropractor that worked with soft tissue. Instead of moving bones, she worked with the organs, and in a couple treatments our daughter quit wetting the bed. I realize that wetting at night is completely different issue than potty training. I would first make sure there isn’t something physically wrong with the child. Second, I agree with the comment, stay home as much as possible. Eliminate any extra stresses. Keep life secure and stress free. And finally if it’s due to stubbornness, then I agree with Susan Hoover’s advice to make him clean up his own messes. To recap #1 check him out physically if all is well, #2 make sure mom is not dragging the kid all over the place and has no time for him and #3 ask the Lord to give wisdom to know if it’s just being stubborn. The word “refuses” to potty train sounds like stubbornness. That is a complete different issue than being “unable”. Finally, the advice my mom gave me on our three year old that would not train… “back off”. So I let up all the pressure and when that child was 3 years and 3 months, he trained within one week’s time. Boom. Over and done.

When he go to school, he’ll watch and follow the other boys. My daughter was potty trained lthat way…

Let him pee outside in the trees every now and then boys like that , well my son did lol

When HE is ready, he will. Some kids take longer , one of my three was 5 , when he was finally trained.

It took my oldest going to preschool/daycare to potty train when he was 4. It didn’t help that his dad and I were not together and there wasn’t a consistency with trying to potty train him though. It takes a lot of just being consistent with them my other two potty trained fairly easy potty every 30 mins whether he says he has to or not when I worked at a daycare that’s how we would do it with the potty training kids. It does help to take away diapers and “potty training” pull up just straight to underwear. Pull ups are too much like diapers.

My daughter was the same way. She Wanted to go to my friends daycare just to play with the kids. I told her “Kimmi” doesn’t let babies come to play that don’t go in the potty. Over the weekend guess who was potty trained!:upside_down_face:she was almost 4.

I had a niece like that and her pediatrician said don’t force her. When she’s ready she will do it. Sore enough a few weeks later she started going on the potty with no problem


The bottomless method?

You can’t force it, when he’s ready he will potty train. My son was the same way and it took a road trip to get him potty trained.

Same my son will be 4 in Feb and wants nothing to do with the potty. Forcing it will only make it worse and kids don’t work on parents time. I was told with boys though that doing it naked works better because if the sensation of pulling something up like a diaper and they have more accidents.

You just have to wait until he is ready. Some kids have a hard time with pottytraining

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I did the potty training in 3 days method. I just threw out the diapers/ pull ups and put her in underwear. I put her on the toilet every 15 mins. She peed herself about 5 times total and she didn’t like the feeling of being wet. Within 3 days she was completely potty trained, even at night time. She never wet the bed once.


Timer, consistency, rewards.

All of my 3 kiddos were not fully potty trained until late 4’s. Pee wasnt bad but the poopy part was miserable. With my son I made him rinse out his undies after trying everything else I could think of and that actually started it working. They are really just scared to poop on the potty for some reason but thankfully all of mine started at late 4s like I said.

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This is a battle the 4 year old will win. Sorry. You can’t make a kid go potty that doesn’t want to. All she can do is put him in underwear and keep sending him to the toilet often. And be prepared to clean up lots of messes.

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Cant force a child… are there any other factors involved? Time every child is different…

I also found that letting my kiddo come in the bathroom while I used it and making a huge deal about how rad it was helped- “mommy went pee in the potty!!! Yay” :rofl:


I have 5 kids and I can say without a doubt they will do it when they are ready and not a second sooner. My oldest 2 are boys and wouldn’t fully train until just before they turned 4 and the other just after. Then their sister potty trained right at 2 with no issues at all. We took the diaper and she just did it by herself. Then their little brother turned 4 in September and he didn’t want to poop in the toilet no matter what. Didn’t matter why we did and he didn’t care about sitting in dirty undies either. Then all of a sudden one day he decided he wanted to be a big boy and just did it. Our youngest girl just turned 2 and enjoys sitting on the toilet but as of yet hasn’t gone potty in it so I will just keep trying.


We set a timer for every 10 minutes at home. Even if he didn’t go it still helped him get used to being on the potty and helped him learn the feeling.

Boys have a hard time knowing when to go until they start peeing.

I was able to potty train my boy at 2 except for night time . He still has to wear a pull up to sleep but it took us playing outside the backyard without a diaper and then him discovering “how fun” just peeing able to pull down his pants to pee . Sounds awful but he started using the potty inside . We got one of them toilet seats that has a as we call it big boy seats attached to it . He absolutely hated the single one that is meant for potty training and we just stopped wearing diapers and told him it’s time

For everybody that said they set a :alarm_clock: for consistancy to get there kid to go to the bathroom how long did you leave them on the :toilet: when you would bring them in there?
I do want to start getting my son to try cuz he seems intrested; but not going to force it on him just want to try some of these suggested methods as hw gets more n more intrested in going to the potty

When I was training my son I said if you do this I’ll give you a Scooby Snack so I went down and got little Gummy Bears and things like that and he trained in about 2 weeks

Get someone else to go with u

Hey jsut want to know when do one start with potty training. Coz my 8month old is always following me. So im ahowing her now already what you do in the potty. Is this to early to start?

My 2.5 year old is day trained not sleep trained for the potty but it took like a month and a half. I just put underwear on him when he showed interest and stayed consistent. But if he’s vehemently against the potty I would make sure he hasn’t been shown that’s an unhappy place. Like someone forced him and scared him and things like that

My son learned by peeing outside haha

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Well, I don’t know why these days , it’ s hard to potty train . All say that when the child is ready but so late at 4 years old. I trained both my sons at 18 months. I simple put them underwears and a plastic potty on the floor near them. And I repeated many times “pee " here. I did it for 2 weeks and finally ,they learned.At first, they peed on the floor and I would say ,” No, not on the floor , it’ s here in the plastic potty or toilet like daddy. It worked. I praised, applauded, kissed them when they peed correctly.


Exactly what everyone else is saying. It can’t be forced. At his age, he’s likely well aware by now of what to do when he is ready.

My son started laughing & treating it as more of a game when he could see that I was frustrated &/or worried he wouldn’t be able to move up to preschool (from daycare) with others his age.

I decided not to worry about the school issue that year, then suddenly less than 2 weeks before the cut off, he started using the toilet regularly & was able to stay with his classmates. He was over 3.5 at the time (& at almost 7, he still has some of the same friends from daycare/preschool in his 1st grade class).

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Well with my boys I put fruit loops in the toilet and they peed on them and watched them go around and around :rofl: hey it worked :woman_shrugging:t2:


Kids do it when they’re ready. Nobody’s going to the prom in diapers

They have a new Potty training timer watch you can try

My son was terrified of the toilet, he didn’t potty train til after he turned 3 bc I started letting him pee outside! Then boom he was good.

My almost 4 year old son just started using the potty about a month ago. Honestly the best advice I can give you is, patience. The more I tried to get him to go the less he wanted to and then one day he wanted to do it and it’s been constant ever since.

Following. My son is 6 and still poops his pants. He is in first grade. Ive tried everything.

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Tell her to look up “trip training”.

It’s used a lot for special needs kiddos. It can work for her too, as long as she commits.

Basically, you take the kid to the washroom at certain intervals through the day. Don’t let him leave until something is produced.

For your friend though, she needs to stop diapers immediately. No pulls ups, no diapers, underwear only. Make him help clean up his mess when he goes in his pants. Bring him to the washroom at certain intervals and expect him to do something in the toilet. No TV, no iPad, no toys, no nothing until he goes in the toilet.

You’re not dealing with a young child who doesn’t know where to go or what to do yet, you’re dealing with a 4 year old who is fully aware of what he’s supposed to do and where.


we put a bullseye in the bottom of the bowl and made a game sink the cherrio

Make it fun…if they get frustrated or know you are it wont work…I put a cheerio in the potty and let him pee on it…helps with aim…lol…pooping is a little different…that takes patience but always stay positive clap your hands…be proud when mommy and daddy are proud so are they…good luck hunnie

4 kids, I’ve nevrr haf one as stubborn and one that didnt care like my 3 year old. We just put her on the potty when we have to go, she always pees during that time. She still has lots of accidents abd she has only pooped once in the potty, but didnt finish it there. We’re pretty much letting her take the lead holing she’ll start to do it more. She just recently started saying she needs to go to the potty, she doesnt do it every time, but we’re slowly getting there. The 3 day method was a horrible fail, she doesnt care about wetness or carachter underwear, she likes treats but not enough to go potty for it. So she is just going when we go and hopefully she’ll catch on.

All toddlers learn eventually. He will also learn.

It’s a struggle I didn’t have the problem with my daughter (13 months potty trained) my son just this past month :raised_hands:t4: at 4 yrs and two months old :scream:… idk if it’s just boys or this child in general we tried the just keep on underwear nope :-1:t4: didn’t work the pull ups nope :-1:t4: didn’t work the prize box :-1:t4: the potty watch :-1:t4: the put on the potty every 10 minutes… peeing outside did help some …he eventually got the pee in the potty down but wouldn’t tell us number two it took a whole long 7 months to fully get my son #1 & #2 in the potty I’m so glad that milestone is over with just encourage her to praise him when he goes and not to lose her shit when he doesn’t lol she’s not alone in the struggle

Have the child start washing out their own underwear. I recently potty trained my friends toddlers ages 3&4. However, I did keep the kids for 2 weeks to complete potty training.

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When they are ready, they potty train. It cannot be forced, and this child is not ready

I bought a bunch of cheap stuff at dollar tree and dollar general and put them in a bag he couldn’t see thru. When he pooped in the potty, he got to teach in and grab a toy. If he pooped in his pants he had to put a toy back in the bag. Did this for a couple weeks. After that we told him he was a big boy now so no more prizes but that if he pooped in his pants I would still take a toy away. It worked.


Does he have a father in the house or another man if so let him go with him or take him ever 30min make a game of it it works

I’ve never potty trained a boy, but my MIL said she trained her boys by letting them pee outside in flower pots because they refused to use a toilet at first

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I was just reading about developmental delays and it mentioned about potty training and issues at 4, but there were other things too. If nothing else seems to be working maybe she could talk to her dr and they can give her more advice or see if it’s something more serious than late blooming

Speak to the pediatrician

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Stick Cheerios in there tell him to hit the with pee

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I told my son that they stopped making diapers in that size and once he finished that box then that was it. I told him I didnt know what he was going to do. So we counted the diapers every night so he’d know how many were left and then BAM! The big day came and he used the toilet. Wish I would have thought of it sooner.


I bribed my son. Made a sticker chart and when he peed he got to put his favorite sticker (minions) on his chart. When he pooped he got a sticker and a dum dum. He was potty trained in a week.

It sounds bad … but let him sit in soiled underwear. He won’t like that and will think twice … worked for all 3 of mine

My son was potty trained in 3 days at age 2.
Not bragging but my method worked wonders and wish I would have done this with my daughter.
I set a potty chair in the living room. He sat on the potty for 15 min with a book (to keep him occupied)
We clapped every time he peed or pooped and he got to play for 15 min
Then had to go sit on the potty for another 15 min
I did this consistently for three days and he was potty trained. Not once had an accident at night and made sure he didn’t have nothing to drink 1 hr before bedtime.
Every child is different
Not every method works but is worth trying! Good luck mommy!!


I know this may sound horrible, but after trying everything with my daughter and her not going. I ended up doing her like a puppy. Every hour I would take her to the bathroom and make her sit on the toilet. If she did something I’d make a big deal and get excited. If not then the next hour I took her back. The whole time she wore underwear. The process took me about a week to get her potty trained.


I thought most preschools have to accept kids who are not potty trained. Legally they can’t turn kids away

Put cheerios in the toilet and have them aim at it (if a boy) and I have my step daughter “wash” her dirty panties (I wash them mostly first and just have her help scrub) she hated being dirty. We give one sticker on the potty for pee and two for poop and which ever she does in her panties we take that amount of stickers off!

Be consistent but you got this :relaxed: I take my step baby every 30-45 minutes even if she doesn’t want to. I normally will take her when I go to so that could peek their interest

My oldest was a late potty trainer. Almost 4. She just flat out refused to go at home but would always need to go while out and about in town.
We went to the store to let her pick out her own underwear, her own toilet seat with the toddler flip down seat attached to it and her own cleaning supplies. We explained to her that accidents are okay because they happen but that she would be responsible for listening to her body and for cleaning up her messes just like she has to clean up her toys. After a long weekend of cleaning her own pee off the floor and rinsing our her own soiled underwear she had enough of it and decided to be a “big girl” and go when she needed to. It sounds harsh but sometimes kids need a reality check.


I put underwear on my boy. No diapers. He hated when he got wet. We would run to the potty every time. Only took 4 days. He figured it out. Was so easy. He was 2 now he is 3 and is 100% potty trained even at night.

I let mine run around naked for a day, and she got the message pretty quick.

I would NOT say to let them sit in soiled underwear, that sounds like a rash or infection waiting to happen.


Zero undies while at home.

Long t-shirts to make it easy.

She could pull all sweets out of the child’s diet and make a treat box for going potty

Wow really I have 6 kids 3 an 3 an I found the boys to be the easiest. My grandson I started with 2 months ago he is 2 he now wakes up at night to tell him mom he has to potty. I have a niece who is 4 an she will not wear underwear or go potty in the potty it is a fight everyday. I guess they just have to be ready

Several things:

  1. Is there a transitional issue?
  2. Is there any sensory issues? 3. Can he tell when he needs to to?
  3. Is this all the time or just at night?

Honestly there’s not a lot of information to give good advice. Every child is different and what helps one may not work for another because thier issues are different

We set a timer for every 15 minutes for the first day, then every 45 minutes the second day, and then on the third day we did every hour.
She had about a week of accidents with pooping but was day and night trained after that. Potty training is not easy, it’s time consuming and you have to be dedicated to doing it.
Also make sure she praises him as well as rewards him for going and NEVER get mad at them if they have an accident

This low key is probably you hah

I gave my son a toy and told him if he wanted to keep it he had to keep going potty. It worked!

Potty training boot camp. I can’t praise it enough. My son was potty trained in two days (except for nights). Also, she should take him to the pediatrician to make sure that he doesn’t have any physical/medical delays.

Since the mom is not asking, I’m wondering if SHE is committed to the work needed?