Yes, my son was that child and I was completely at my wits end.
He started pre-school in April, two months after he had turned three. I was so anxious that he’d be the only one starting that was still in nappies (I still don’t know whether he was or not as I couldn’t bring myself to ask). I was hoping being amongst his peers it might persuade him that actually the potty wasn’t so bad after all …. but it didn’t. No amounts of “but Harrison and Owen use the toilet like big boys” did not alter his outlook, he DID NOT want to use the potty.
I was exasperated. The press at the time was full of stories about five year olds going to school still in nappies, Daybreak did an article on it, full of judgemental
assholes *ahem* people saying it was ridiculous and down to lazy parenting. “I’m not a lazy parent” I thought anxiously to myself but there is nothing more I can do, I cannot MAKE him go to the toilet where he doesn’t want to go. And it wasn’t just that he didn’t want to use the toilet or the potty, he would have a full on screaming fit to the point he was nearly sick, I couldn’t keep putting him through this he clearly wasn’t ready.
Those “in the know” kept telling me “he’ll do it when’s he ready”. I was fed up of hearing that. That didn’t help the situation, that didn’t change the fact that despite being nearly 3.5 he was still wearing nappies. All my friends children were potty trained, I felt like a complete and utter failure.
I bought him a range of books …..
We would read them together enthusiastically, I made him a reward chart and got lots of lovely stickers but still nothing. He didn’t care if Little Princess used the potty, he wasn’t going to!
“I can’t do this on my own” I said to my husband. I cannot try and potty train him and look after the baby at the same time. I told him he needed to book some time off work and then we would do it together with gusto! Being self-employed, he couldn’t take time off for a good two months. So for that time, I eased up a bit.
The weather was getting warmer so when we were just at home I would take his nappy off. We had a potty upstairs and downstairs, neither of which he used! He wee’d all over the sofa, poo’d in the garden, everywhere but the potty and again when I put him near it, he would scream blue murder.
Then one Sunday afternoon, he was browsing through Pirate Pete’s Potty book … “mummy if I do a wee on the potty, do I get to put it down the toilet” he asked me ….. “yes of course you do” I said, trying not to get ridiculously excited! With that he went and did a wee on the potty and flushed it down the toilet! I actually couldn’t believe it! I praised him no end, he got stickers and chocolates! So he then did it again and again and again!
The relief was immense and from that afternoon onwards, he hasn’t worn a nappy in the day since.
The following day his enthusiasm for weeing and putting it down the toilet hadn’t gone, he was still a bit hesitant with poos, I think he was a bit embarrassed but I assured him it was absolutely fine and we all do it!
Within a week he was using the potty as though he had been doing it for months! He has never had an accident, either wee or poo, since that afternoon he has told me whenever he has needed to go the toilet. I’ve been absolutely amazed. He may have taken longer than the average but when he did decide to do it, he did it really well! There was no staying in for weeks on end “just in case”.
So my advice to any other exasperated parent is, annoyingly, the same as what I was told, they will do it when they are ready. The upside of them being that bit older is that they understand you more. Had I known it would have turned out actually to be really easy, I wouldn’t have given myself such a hard time for so long!
My husband kept the time off he had booked and instead of having to do Potty Training Bootcamp we got to do exciting things like Peppa Pig World and trips to the beach.
I know if Poppy takes her time with it, which she probably won’t because she’s girl, but if she does, I am NOT going to stress, I am NOT a lazy parent, I’m just a normal parent with a normal child!