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No One Goes to Kindergarten in a Diaper

Toilet courtesy

Toilet courtesy

We started potty training our oldest son the month he turned two. Never mind the fact that he had only come into our lives four months prior, or the fact that there were very evident – if undiagnosed – developmental delays. As I said to the concerned social workers, therapists, doctors and family members, Everyone knows that potty training starts at two. He’ll get it. No one wants to sit in their own poo. They all expressed their beliefs that he wasn’t ready to train. Boys start later, they said. You have to watch for cues. He’ll let you know when he’s ready, they all said. But, don’t worry – no one goes into Kindergarten in a diaper.

You’re damn right they don’t, I thought. Especially not this kid. And so began my obsession with my son’s bowel habits. I charted times, texture, and fiber content. I watched for telltale signs of pants pooping and became an expert peepee dancer wrangler. I bought all the accoutrements: Potty Scotty video and doll, every single NickJR and Disney character potty video, shelves of books, my husband and I brought him in with us when we did the deed. I did intermittent rewards of preferred activities and edibles. We did CELEBRATIONS every. single. time. he. peed. in. the. pot. Every time. For years we raised our hands in the air; we raised ’em like we just didn’t care. Do you have any idea how old it gets to celebrate basic bodily functions for a kid you’ve been training for close to five years? I have to say, the joy is over. The excitement is dry as dust – certainly much drier than the fourth Pull-Up we’ve gone through this day.

After a year of training, and as he turned three, I began bringing my concerns to those same social workers, therapists and medical professionals. Without exception, they all said the same things: No one goes to kindergarten in a diaper. He’ll get it. Have you tried using a sticker chart? My head would explode just a bit as I tried to explain for the nth time that yes, for the love of God, I’ve tried a sticker chart. He doesn’t give one shit – literally – about sticker charts. What else can I do? Their limp suggestions of intermittent rewards, trip training, charting, and, oh, God, my favorite Have you let him just wear underwear left me shaking my head in frustration. Yeah, because his penchant for sitting in his own stink and urine soaked Fruit of the Looms would make my house smell like a Port-O-Potty in two days, tops. Not gonna happen. What else you got? *crickets*

And for the past 4 years, 11 months we’ve been looking for that solution, that magic motivator. We’ve tried Cheerios in the toilet and target practice. We’ve tried special character underwear. We’ve even broken down and tried the freaking sticker chart – repeatedly.

It isn’t as though I am a complete failure as a potty training parent. I have a completely trained 17 year old (yay, Alex! Mommy’s big girl!). Our six year old on the spectrum is trained. Clearly, I am doing something right with 50% of my children. Although, to be fair, Gracie is only six months old. The verdict is still out on her skillz. But our oldest son is a tough nut to crack. Is this a control issue, a component of his comorbid disruptive behavior disorder, or contrary to medical opinion, is it a physiological issue?

What more can we try? He’s at a point now where his man-turds completely require immediate showers. I’ll spare you the details, but, nooks and crannies, People. Nooks and crannies. For bed time, we have to double up a Pull-Up with an UnderJam, throw down a GoodNights “chuck” and layer that with a cloth and vinyl incontinence pad, and I still have to wash his bedding several times a week.

The bottom line is that he really doesn’t care. He doesn’t see the need to go in the toilet. He’s fully capable at times. There have been a few spontaneous self-initiated trips to the toilet. A few in five years. That doesn’t leave much to go on. Anyone have a kid older than seven get potty trained? What was the trick? Give me hope that I won’t have to scrub poo off of his kibbles & bits forever, would you?


77 comments on “No One Goes to Kindergarten in a Diaper

  1. Michelle Gilliland
    October 7, 2013

    Oh, Kelly, I giggled at your post! They definitely do not all go to kindergarten with a diaper, and mostly because if they aren’t potty trained, they just don’t go! We chose to home school because that was literally the only area in which he wasn’t ready to go to school, and their advice was, “well, once he goes in school, we’ll send him home for a month to ‘work on it.'” (Whatever. Wow, awesome advice.) Anyway, we’ve continued home schooling. 🙂 I HAVE seen children potty train after seven. It really just depends on where he is developmentally. Just because he’s seven doesn’t mean that he won’t ever potty train. If he’s four developmentally, well, we’ve all seen quite normal four year old children be obstinate! Keep on keepin’ on, and you know it will happen. Blessings to you and your family, and to your water bill! 🙂

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      October 7, 2013

      You are absolutely correct. He is developmentally between 3-4. So, that makes this more bearable for sure. It’s just hard to remember that when you are elbow deep in man-turd. 😉

  2. survivingroo
    October 7, 2013

    My nephew is 15 this year, Praise God and he just got potty trained when he was 11 or 12. There is hope.

  3. Angela R Duncan
    October 7, 2013

    my son is 11 and still not fully trained, he does well in school, I think it’s a peer pressure thing but when he’s at home it’s straight into pull ups and pjs. I used to feel like the worse parent in the world and it was a secret that my family keeps close to heart and even baby daddy criticizes me on what is clearly a issue with my child, he is after all 11 and quite capable of keeping his own mind. Thanks for the laugh. been there and done that.

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      October 7, 2013

      Those who criticize parents of SN kids who aren’t potty trained are going to ride in the very first seat on the bus to hell. Or something…

  4. Ryan Elizabeth Jimenez
    October 7, 2013

    I’m a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and I provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy for individuals with developmental disabilities. First, let me say that your post was hilarious. However, I completely empathize with the insane frustration. I’ve toilet trained close to 50 children. They don’t just “get it” and every child is different. My most sincere advice is to find a behavior analyst to do intensive toilet training. It is a huge life skill. One of the most important there is, in my opinion. Google intensive toilet training by Linda LeBlanc & Jim Carr. I use their protocol, but you need a trained person to help you considering the long history your dealing with. I hope this helps!

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      October 7, 2013

      Hi Ryan,

      Thank you for the heads up. I’ve not heard of those authors. And, I agree. We really need a trained expert to help us, as well as a counselor, I’m sure. We know he holds, so there’s stuff going on for sure.



  5. lara
    October 7, 2013

    I have a 14yr old who does ok during the day, now. But at night he wears old man pull ups, and still we have to deal with the sheets and plastic covers, etc. So I totally hear you. One thing with my son that helped during the day was getting him used to wearing underwear. He has an older brother who he looks up to & who also endlessly teases him, but he had his own diagnoses To deal with. But anyhow, my younger son is really sensory driven. We had to go through a few different styles of underwear to find the right texture and elastic waistband, etc. But then, hated the feeling of wet underwear. He would sit for hours in wet pull ups, not a care in the world, but as soon as that cotton underwear got wet, it was torture. It took a long time. Everything smelled like pee. The dog decided it was okay for him to Pee in the living room, to. But now it is better. He can only wear pull ups at night, and during the day, underwear are mandatory. School peer pressure helps there. We did so a while there when he was allowed to go naked in the house, and he could notice the cold/warm/wet sensations. This is just our experience, but it worked! Good luck with your son! And Just remember: he’s not the only one with this issue.

  6. Michelle
    October 7, 2013

    I have been there, done that, and my only suggestion is to see the Boston Children’s Hospital Pain and Incontinence Program. The staff was amazing and saw my child holistically. If sticker charts don’t work, they guide you to many other solutions. And the best was having the email of our favorite nurse who kept tabs on us. I will say it finally took a bed wetting alarm on my 7 year old to get through the night (best investment and only took 3 days) but it was the advice of Boston Children’s that got us to that point. Good luck and hang in there, mama!

  7. Brenda
    October 7, 2013

    They don’t go to Kindergarten in diapers? I have been down your road. Done it all! Mine could care less about the charts, not even the toy rewards. We go to the store & he picks nothing! Not a Damn thing! He doesn’t have a favorite food or treat. Used the timer, journal, all that jazz. It just NOT clicking! Even did a $275 “Booty Camp” for potty training. Nothing. So when you or I find the magic wand, we’ll share! 🙂

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      October 7, 2013

      Fist bump, Sister. My little dude gives very little care about any sort of reward for anything. Makes motivating him a challenge, for sure.

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  9. phoebz4
    October 7, 2013

    So I shared my story in a blog post – – but yeah, btdt, could give a feck about sticker charts. My daughter didn’t train until this year, at age ten. All the advice and behavior training and consistency doesn’t mean a thing if they aren’t mentally on board. We just had to wait until she was on board. But we did get there.

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      October 7, 2013

      Hey Lady – I read your blog. I’m your new biggest fan. I WILL be stalking your blog. I love what I’ve read so far. Thanks for stopping by and sharing.


      • phoebz4
        October 8, 2013

        Thanks! I love being stalked!

  10. jennifer
    October 7, 2013

    My son will be 5 in december, kindergarten next year, and he sorta potty trained over the summer.. Sorta. We had a good week, weeks and a half or so in there somewhere that he did great, everything was in the toilet, then I made the mistake of telling him one day to cut down on his use of using the toilet paper because he was going to clog up the toilet, after that, he started peeing on the floor.. (carpeted floors) I would step in a puddle in his room, or mine.. or several puddles.. he also peed in my dresser drawer one time.. now we got him to stop doing that, and now he’s back to spreading poop wherever he happens to be. He poops in his overnight pullups, (and his daytime underwear) he “Fingerpaints” all over the carpet and walls of his room, mostly his closet, so that way you don’t see it until you have to look for the smell, at this point I know where it’s coming from. Jake was Diagnosed with Moderate Anxiety when he was 2.5. I should of known better and kept my mouth shut and let that kid use all the toilet paper he wanted to. at first I was trying to work with him, I understood I totally freaked him out about the toilet paper thing, and tried showing him it would be okay.. we did sticker charts, we did a treasure chest that I filled with dollar store toys and everytime he went in the toilet he got something from it, it then went to a once a day thing, normally when I wasn’t finding wet carpets or poop smears, but that just taught him to be more tricky about it, Hence the closet ( I wouldn’t advise that one, gets pricey when you’re going to the store every week and spending $20 bucks in crap that gets lost or broken 10 minutes after they pick it. lol) I eventually just started paying him, but at 4 years old, it doesn’t have the same effect.. Eventually I just started laying out the punishments.

    He now gets a time out if I find poop(or pee, but that’s more unlikely) anywhere that isn’t in a toilet. or he gets put on Ipad/video game restriction.. then he does AWESOME… until he gets off the restriction.. then he starts doing it again. the time outs work better. That has actually been the most effective, but it makes me feel like a jerk in a way, because I feel like it’s my fault he’s doing this anyway. Yes, his poop requires a shower as well, and he always manages to do it at the worst time imaginable, 2 minutes before we have to head out the door, 5 minutes before the bus is coming to pick him up. (preschool, Developmental one that don’t care if they are potty trained or not.) I know his is a Psychological problem. I’m about ready to put him in counseling to see if that helps. His older sister didn’t train until she was 3, but it took 3 days and she’s Autistic! I figured if she was easy Jake would be a BREEZE.. I guess I was wrong… He’s got a 2 year old brother that I won’t even attempt to train. He’s got Speech Delays and I’m starting to think that maybe diapers aren’t so terrible.. atleast I know where his poop is.. I don’t have to play Hide and seek with it. Good luck with your son!

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      October 7, 2013

      Oh God. I’m dying at the Hide and Seek for poo. Contain that stuff, Woman! Every single one of us going through this, we need a freaking spa day. Something to get the smell of crap and butt wipes out of our nostrils. At this point, Febreeze just turns it into Maui scented turd. *gag*

  11. Suri
    October 7, 2013

    I laughed at “nooks and crannies”. My son is 13. He has autism. When we are lucky he poops in the toilet. When we are not lucky we have nooks and crannies AND hair…….for the love
    of G-d! He needs a Brazilian ASAP.

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      October 7, 2013

      Ok, so this is my big worry. I had to change two giant shit-splosions today and wondered what the hell I would do if he had hair. Like, is it okay to manscape your kid? How creepy is that? But, it’s even creepier to have to clean crap out of his pubes, right? And the fact that I am weighing this out in my head is just WRONG.

  12. Mom2MissK
    October 8, 2013

    Hi hon. You already know our path. It looks a lot like yours. But I wanted to come and lend you my solidarity and remind you that you’re not alone. Three more pairs of My Little Pony undies bit the dust last night — and they tell me that she has begun to *initiate* at school?! At 10:30 every morning, she gets up and goes… no prompt. All by herself. At home? Shit everywhere. The car seat has become the bane of my existence. And I’m still buying undies in bulk.

    Hang in there, mama. If it doesn’t kill us, right?

  13. CB (@CuriousBug)
    October 8, 2013

    Mine just started Kindergarten this year. He’s still in diapers. 🙂

  14. Jen Baker
    October 9, 2013

    Thanks folks. Sometimes it’s lonely in the trenches. After 3 children became young adults I adopted 3 more. I thought I knew what I was doing, after all I had successfully raised 3 kids. Well, the “2nd batch” have given me never a dull moment. My 15 year old makes his “man-poop” in the toilet,but clogs the plumbing daily. We have never had a dry night. Despite “depends” and daily sheet and pajama washing the 2nd floor of our home has a telltale odor. We never allow guests upstairs.

  15. climbing bean
    November 11, 2013

    Oh dear. This made me laugh, but I also hope things turn around for you soon!

  16. themoderndayfairygodmother
    November 11, 2013

    This was an amazing article. I was a kid that took a while to be potty trained. My mother had purchased double the amount of Huggies: one for my 3 year old self and the other for my newborn brother. I remember that I would pee just fine in the toilet but I had to poo in my Pull-Ups. For me, I think there was a certain anxiety around leaving me in the bathroom for extended periods of time. My father did not make his frustration discreet with how I wasn’t potty trained. Even when I finally was, I had severe constipation and had to get suppositories. Therefore, my first few days of Kindergarten were my teacher cleaning up after me. It is a different journey for everyone and if each person is different, why are we following similar toilet-training methods. There is a confidence around potty-training. He will get it, maybe not today but one day

  17. allthoughtswork
    November 11, 2013

    As a completely ignorant outsider, I will mention–because the energy of this blog post really made it pop out at me–

    Wow, he sure is getting a lot of personal attention for this.

    He gets tons of one on one time with Mom, he gets moved right to the head of the line of kids in priority on a daily and even hourly basis, he’s the hot topic between Mom and Dad–Hell, he’s even the star of his own blog post!

    I’m only pointing this out as a war-torn veteran of decades upon decades of bloody battle with massively hypochondriacal family members. No, it isn’t all in their head; if you focus on something long enough, the body responds. Kind of nature’s way of saying, “Keep crying and I’ll REALLY give you something to cry about!”

    In a twisted way, I hope I’m not wrong because if I am, it’s gonna get much, much harder. But, hey, after you make it through this, you’ll be hard to rattle. I know that’s a soggy Get Well Soon card but it’s Monday and that’s all I’ve got. Hang in there.

  18. imsupersaiyan
    November 11, 2013

    LOL This was a great post, thank you so much for sharing it!

  19. jade
    November 11, 2013

    it is proven if you push a child from young when they aren’t ready they will retreat further. just relax abit all the star charts ect

  20. jade
    November 11, 2013

    from a young age**

  21. Murphy Must Have Had Kids
    November 11, 2013

    All I can say is hats off to you mommas with special needs kiddies! 🙂

  22. awax1217
    November 11, 2013

    Many years from now, you will laugh at this. But right now it is a hiccup in the path of your child. Keep the faith and it will occur. Above all do not lose your cool. Seems like you are doing what is needed. Good luck.

  23. bonixxnina
    November 11, 2013

    hahaha! though the one we have here at the university of nairobi kenya are somehow dirty, they say it the best but i doubt this!

  24. ohhlawd
    November 11, 2013

    this was a great post!

  25. neighsayer
    November 11, 2013

    Good Lord, it sounds like “We Need to Talk about Kevin.” Is that a possibility? Is there a chance that this is his best weapon in some sort of a power struggle with you?

  26. eclicksbd
    November 11, 2013

    Reblogged this on eclicksbd.

  27. dads Adventures
    November 11, 2013

    wow my daughter is 2.5 and has no intrest in using the toliet

  28. Crohn's and Cupcakes
    November 11, 2013

    First, this post made me seriously laugh out loud. But not in the oh this is really funny sort of way but in the oh man, this is so not good sort of way. I am twenty seven and do not have any children. But, I was a nanny to my cousins three girls. The first and third have special needs. I was able to potty train here eldest. One day, I was beyond frustrated when she got up from bed and went to the pull-ups in the bathroom and slapped another pair on, after going to the potty and did her morning wee. So, I told her the pull-ups were gone, no more and if she wanted to use the bathroom she could but if she wanted underwear she would have to use the cotton Princess ones. Within one day, she was trained and done….but not before she started kindergarten. I think it was the peer pressure of seeing her friends do what she knew she could do. I never was able to break her middle child out of it. She was the most stubborn one. Her youngest, who was fully on the Autism spectrum, is sill not trained and she is six. She knows she doesn’t like wet or soiled poopy diapers on so she’ll take them off and discard them wherever and you are on the hunt for the latest smell. But I hand it to you mothers…you all make it seem so easy but in reality it is anything but!

  29. liblalamb
    November 12, 2013

    After reading this, not only does it confirm I’m not fit to be a parent, but it did help with what drew me to wordpress this morning in the first place. That is that my husband’s (of two months’ time) son, who is 17, may not be graduating from high school. Maybe he’ll pull it off, but right now, this Tuesday morning, he’s in bed. We did go through discussions as well about flushing the toilet. But the deal is sometimes I don’t understand why people want the responsibility of raising people when in my experience, it’s aggravation. It’s not funny and it’s not fulfilling. Managing my own life is more than enough. My spiritual growth at this point is recognizing that whether he graduates or gets a GED really doesn’t matter in the big scheme of things. If my kid is pooping on the walls, do they care if I’m there or not, because a foster family half a world away might be an option. Oh that’s right, I probably am that family.

  30. birthtofiveqel
    November 12, 2013

    Reblogged this on quality early learning 0 to 5 and commented:
    I am guilty of saying this to parents of typical preschoolers. Rest assured, parents of children with developmental delays and myriad special needs, sometimes they DO go to kindergarten, hell, even ELEMENTARY SCHOOL, in diapers. And that’s okay. Not pleasant, maybe, but okay.

  31. birthtofiveqel
    November 12, 2013

    Thank you. I loved this. Hang in there.

  32. Nate
    November 12, 2013

    Thanks for the post. We will be dealing with this issue soon enough with our first born.

  33. Susannah Ailene Martin
    November 12, 2013

    This was funny, but at the same time I feel for you. Good luck getting the little guy trained. Don’t worry. There have been older kids than yours who are still not potty trained. You aren’t alone.

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  35. Celebrity Baby Blogs
    November 13, 2013

    Take the pledge to EMPOWER MOMS and not judge. Everyone has their struggles.

  36. Celebrity Baby Blogs
    November 13, 2013

    Reblogged this on Swiffer

  37. Kimberly; The Dahlia House
    November 13, 2013

    My youngest son was incredibly difficult to potty-train… but wow! You are a SAINT! That’s all I have to say.

  38. musicgal123
    November 13, 2013

    My older brother was still in Pull Ups at the age of 9. He’s now 19, so I don’t remember what motivated him to use the toilet, but I just think he was sick and tired of getting picked on by the other kids his age. He finally decided that he was ready to get rid of the baby stuff.

  39. Midwestern Plant Girl
    November 13, 2013

    Funny read!
    Glad I don’t have kids!!

  40. teachme2013
    November 13, 2013

    Reblogged this on lets start at the begining.

  41. mosespaw
    November 14, 2013

    Reblogged this on pawmoses.

  42. anujayapradhan7
    November 14, 2013

    its inspiring..

  43. momontheside
    November 14, 2013

    I have a 15 year old sophomore in High School who wears diapers every day – she has no choice as she is a quadriplegic. Here’s the thing she has been a quad since 4th grade and her body, over which she has no voluntary control, has somehow regulated itself so that she never poops in her diaper at school. Not once in 6 years. Impressive huh. And yes dealing with 15 year old sized poop is no laughing matter ( and if you want to feel better for a moment imagine at this point what it is like when she has her period – too much?) Wearing a diaper for a while and him passing urine in it might not be the worse thing that could happen to your kid.- if you are worried about the haters you would be surprised how quickly other kids get over it and don’t even think about it. Now their up tight mamas that’s a completely different story! Your post was such a great read thanks for the laughs and the inspiration and good look with the potty training

  44. dearfazza
    November 14, 2013

    oh, my son is turning two and I haven’t started training him.. uh-oh! 🙂

  45. MichelleAnekeya
    November 14, 2013

    Hi Kelly. I have a four year old and I just want to give you encouragement. Your gut feeling is always right. Take your time. You have made my evening. All the best!

  46. cinnamonbite
    November 14, 2013

    Look on the brightside, back in the day, they didn’t ALLOW kids to go to kindergarten in a diaper. The kid HAD to be potty trained OR ELSE. Not that it mattered to me, I homeschooled, but my friends freaked. And realistically, most kids aren’t even ready until around 5 anyway. On top of that, I refused to push him because I read that it can lead to freaky sex perversions later in life. Golden showers? Yeah, so I didn’t push and he was pretty much potty trained by 5. He also never peed the bed so I think letting them train when they’re ready is a part of that. Or my kid just has a tremendously strong bladder? Dunno. Hey, in China and India, they don’t do diapers. Yes, the kid just goes all down moms’ sari and houses smell like pee. Look at some Chinese toddler clothes. They have a split in the crotch so the kid can squat anytime, anywhere.

  47. hankthebiggertank
    November 14, 2013

    This seems so frustrating! I have an almost two year old sister and she still loves letting it fly. She gets so excited when you change her, even when you start to carry her up to her room. I hop all turns out well!

  48. benjuggler
    November 14, 2013

    Grim…but you seem cheerful enough….?!!!

  49. sandyfaithking
    November 15, 2013

    Reblogged this on multicolouredsmartypants and commented:
    Yep. Can relate to this. Still not got there 100%, or even 90%, but you get used to running a launderette after nearly 14 years of it. I read a post yesterday about saving money by handwashing clothes. I laughed. The naivete of the non-SEN initiated
    Ah, the joys of autism! How *do* we SEN families stay sane? We don’t! We celebrate what IS and give thanks for today. Count your blessings – it’s the only way 😉 God bless! x

  50. Ann Kilter
    November 15, 2013

    Well, my daughter went to a pre-primary impaired class still having pee and poop accidents. She is autistic and had mild brain damage at birth. Our (un)helpful doctor suggested that she would be potty trained by college…And he was right. She was potty trained by the time she went to (and graduated from) college.

    Two things helped us.
    1) We stumbled upon something that motivated her. For her, it was dropping pennies into a giant plastic bear bank that my father found at a garage sale. Providential. May something providentially, accidentally occur to you. Praise, stickers, celebrations, etc. did not work.
    2) Motor training, which we found in an old book named “Potty training without Tears.” This book listed several methods. The one that was effective was motor training. Every time my daughter had an accident, we would go through all the motions of going potty. Go to the bathroom, pull down your pants, sit the commode (by the time she was five, she was big enough), pull up your pants, etc. 10 times, each time. It took up a lot of my time, but after a couple of weeks, she decided that she wasn’t thrilled about having her time taken up by going through the motions, so she may as well cooperate. And each time she was successful, well, there five pennies for the bear bank.

  51. expatfree
    November 16, 2013

    I had a four year old who was afraid of the toilet. I forced him to sit down one day when he showed signs of number two, and once that baby was birthed the anxiety about the toilet went along with it. I gave a lot of encouragement and praise and, suddenly, the reverse of my former problem started happening. Suddenly, he wanted to go to the toilet all the time! That boy is now 14 and I have a three year old who does not like to sit on the potty for number 2. Woe is me!

  52. jobasha
    November 18, 2013

    Mine is 10 and only just getting to a place where she is toilet-trained. She actually has no other developmental issues which made it even more confounding and I followed all of the advice; the charts and the rewards and the training and home-schooling and NOTHING worked. Eventually, I decided to treat it as a dietary issue (against medical advice-doctors INSISTED that it couldn’t be dietary). By trial and error we eliminated certain foods and lo and behold, she developed normal control of her functions. I already had food allergies but never linked the two conditions as her constant accidents were so extreme that it seemed like a whole different problem. Some foods just irritated her digestive system so much that she had no control over what was going on and never learnt to identify when she needed to “go”. She was in a constant state of discomfort and wasn’t able to distinguish between the constant uncomfortable feelings and the “need”. Doesn’t work for everyone but it sure was the magic bullet for us!

  53. jobasha
    November 18, 2013

    Mine is 10 and only just getting to a place where she is toilet-trained. She actually has no other developmental issues which made it even more confounding and I followed all of the advice; the charts and the rewards and the training and home-schooling and NOTHING worked. Eventually, I decided to treat it as a dietary issue (against medical advice-doctors INSISTED that it couldn’t be dietary). By trial and error we eliminated certain foods and lo and behold, she developed normal control of her functions. I already had food allergies but never linked the two conditions as her constant accidents were so extreme that it seemed like a whole different problem. Some foods just irritated her digestive system so much that she had no control over what was going on and never learnt to identify when she needed to “go”. She was in a constant state of discomfort and wasn’t able to distinguish between the constant uncomfortable feelings and the “need”. Doesn’t work for everyone but it sure was the magic bullet for us!

  54. safehavenprivatevaults
    November 19, 2013

    This was a great read! You are hilarious!! I have a two year old son, and the “signs” he should be showing? They came and went in a matter of weeks. I was told by my doctor that boys tend to train a bit later, but I have my entire family on my back CONSTANTLY about how he needs to be potty trained RIGHT NOW. Seriously?! Every child is different. They may take their sweet time, or learn instantly, but one thing is for sure, I’m not going to force my child. You are so very patient, and you are doing great mama! Just keep on trying new things, and it will happen! 🙂
    Best of luck to you!

    Thanks again for the read!

  55. chuckthursby
    November 19, 2013

    As much as I ashamed to admit it, I was definitely a late starter when it came to taking off the diapers. You know how my mom potty-trained me? She put a portable, black and white TV in the bathroom and I just sat there and watched it until the magic happened. Years later I was an honors student, graduated a year early and am now attending NYU as a graduate student. It gets better, don’t worry 🙂

  56. marrikrajjarsen1
    November 20, 2013

    My younger brother had a friend from down the street who, at the age of 7, had little if any tolerance for toilet training. His older brother was a friend of mine and I remember being in their living room as the younger one was getting hell from his dad for just lying there on the sofa and casually defecating in his clothes while watching television. The parents tried everything they could think of, including dressing him in white pants to make his ‘accidents’ as conspicuous as possible. He was otherwise a sharp and even witty kid, but he was deaf on the topic of toilet use.

    One day when he was at our place, he was sitting across from me playing a board game (no video games in those days) and methodically leaking into his pants as usual, when someone knocked on the door. He immediately said, “I have to use the bathroom” and rushed off to the toilet. I seldom saw him wet after that, and soon he was completely housebroken. Exactly what made social embarrassment kick in at that time in his life will forever remain mysterious.

    Some people just seem to have to do things on their own sweet schedule. I hope your son doesn’t drive you too bonkers in the meantime. The boy I’m writing about here turned out just fine.

  57. hyndsight
    November 22, 2013

    I have a 4 year old daughter that has difficulty wiping. I understand, I’m still working the kinks out.

  58. cutecountrychick
    November 24, 2013

    I just read your post. I too am going through challenges with the potty training of my son. He is four and has been potty trained (sitting on the potty) for two years now. I am now trying as a single mother to teach him to potty standing up. Takes a lot of patience. My advice is they will tell you when they are ready. I used to leave the potty out in the family room so he could get acclimated with it. Good luck and your doing great!

  59. stealthy_cat88
    November 27, 2013

    make him befriend a friend of a similar age to him… so that he can learn from them…? want to be like them? maybe then he might consider using the toilet more if, he sees this friend stops playing at intervals during the day to walk off to go to the loo?? … scenario

  60. daphysmiles
    November 28, 2013

    2 months feels way too early. 18 months is a good place to start. But I’ve actually never heard of this problem before. I work at a daycare and by 2 it’s a done deal that they know to use the bathroom (even with them missing the toilet at times) this is a really interesting point if view

  61. michaelcarducci
    November 28, 2013

    My sister brought her 2 children to my home when she was right in the middle of potty training her 3 yr old. He went poo in the toilet the first night he was there and we took a picture of him smiling at the toilet as we watched it go down the drain. That was the last time that happened. The rest of the trip we had to watch him closely and we were obsessed with making him sit on the potty after every meal. You know, what goes in makes something come out. It’s like a playdo factory….
    Anyway, because of the new surroundings, we thought that everything would be okay once they got home and into their own rhythm again. About 2 years later he finally got it when he was 5 years old. After trying stickers, treats and rewards, it only took one spanking on the “seat of reason” and that was over. Get to the seat o the matter if he is already 5 yrs old. Unless there is something psychologically wrong, if you can determine it is some type of power struggle, he can reason at 5 not to poo the bed.
    I have a friend who was molested at 4 yrs old. He had been potty trained at 2 but when he was molested he started wetting the bed. They took him to a dr. who said he was just lazy and that started the father “shaming” the son about the bedwetting to the other kids and family members, hoping the shame would correct the problem. It worked adversely. The young boy couldn’t help it and was too ashamed to tell what had been done to him and he kept his secret, endured the shame and humiliation of his father’s taunts and teases, and finally it went away when he went to a boarding school at 16. Not only did the young child endure the trauma of the sexual abuse, but imagine the isolation it brought by his father.

  62. vazdanesto
    November 30, 2013

    Let me start with this big truth – my husband and I celebrate our son’s getting rid of the diapers as our second birthday.
    After reading everything, I feel lucky. Although, at the time, I remember I felt I would go insane. Kids start the kindergarten at the age of 3 here (Belgrade, Serbia). They can’t start the kindergarten wearing diapers. So we dedicated that whole summer before the kindergarten to potty-training. The most efficient thing turned out to be – just wearing underwear. Once you drop the whole diaper thing, you must NEVER go back. What can I say, that summer was rather stinky and disgusting, but it was worth it. Good luck!

  63. ~B
    December 27, 2013

    My daughter is 8 and still isn’t completely potty trained. She is special needs and has several diagnosis’s. She has her days, but most of the time she only wants to sit on the potty and not actually use it. It has gotten really frustrating over the years. When she is home I put panties on her and almost always she will wet herself before she will go to the potty. Although I have to say she has made great progress over the past year, in more than one way, but the fact remains that she is nearing middle school and still isn’t potty trained.

  64. Kristen Dever
    January 9, 2014

    I lol sooo much while reading ur article bc ur describing my exact same situation i have with my almost 5 yr old lil boy (developmentaly he is more like goin on 4 tho). I havnt yet uncoverd the answr lol.

  65. katieharbison
    August 13, 2015

    Does anyone know of any resources for affordable diapers for Special Needs military dependents? Our almost 7 year old is not potty trained and may never be – like you all. And like most of you, the costs are through the roof! We are a foster family and have 3 other little ones in diapers right now – so the expense is really through the roof! I don’t ever mind paying for them – but his in particular are extremely pricey! Any advice!?!

    • militaryspecialneedsnetwork
      November 23, 2015

      Hi! Tricare is now covering diapers! You’ll need a letter of medical necessity from your PCM, but then you should be all set. 🙂

  66. Christa Trumbo
    April 6, 2016

    My 14 year old daughter has no developmental issues and she is not fully potty trained. She probably would be mortified if she knew I classified her this way, but it’s true: we’re still working on potty training. She’s the youngest of 5 and has always been really bad about removing herself from an activity to go potty. She has never gone to school a day in her life without being in a pullup. She has daily wetting accidents during the day. She poops her pants about once a week as well. She wears diapers to bed and is wet pretty much every night. We try big girl panties every once in a while but we revert back to pullups before too long.

    I guess what I’m saying is every kid has their own unique schedule. Mine has a very unique schedule. After having four kids potty trained before 4, she has been a challenge and I’ve never pushed it. I just give her hugs when she has a daytime accident and tell her it’s okay. She gets good grades in school and has friends, so I’m willing to put up with extended potty training from my last baby. She has other babyish tendencies (i.e. she breastfed until she was 9 – her choice, she still uses a nookie at night, still throws temper tantrums like a 2 year old) so I figure she’ll grow out of all of it eventually. I enjoy having my last baby a little longer.

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