Potty Training a 3 Year Old Boy

I have a three year old son.

We are working on potty training.For the most part he does well with it with only a few accidents.But he doesn't normally tell me when he needs to go when we are at home.It is usually with me just taking him.

If we are away from home he will tell me.I need some suggestions as to how to get him to tell me at home.He will be going to pre-school in a couple of months and will be in the three year old class if he is potty trained.

Thank you,

Mom in Texas

Hello Mom in Texas ,

My first question to you would be - what is your three year old son wearing at home? Away from home? Do you have him in disposable diapers or pull ups or in cloth training pants?

I would recommend that you stop using disposables and move to just cloth training pants.

From the very brief email, I would suggest that your son does not have a reason to tell you that he has to go potty when you are at home. Your son obviously knows what to do and is very capable of holding it long enough to find a potty when you are away from home - this tells me that he is ready and knows what to do - but chooses not to do this at home.

As Dr. Phil says - your son needs to be able to make a choice at home as well i.e. he has to have a reason to go potty. Your three year old has to be will do a less desirable thing (take the time out of what he is doing to go potty) to access more desirable things (some thing he really values). You have to consequence his behavior.

1. Use cloth training pants,
2. Do practice runs with your child!
3. Use a potty training chart.

So, you might try making him do practice runs when he has an accident. Or you might trying a potty training chart - with progressive build up to a something he really desires i.e. 5 or 10 or whatever you decide successful trip to the potty on his own will getting him a lunch out, or a new toy or something like that. You may also want to try taking something away when he has an accident i.e. he looses the privilege of playing with his favorite toy or watching his favorite show if he has an accident. CONSISTENCY in applying consequences for behavior is the key.

I hope these tips help you out. Let us know how it goes.

Have a great holiday weekend.


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Stressed about potty resistance (7/3/2011) Reviewer: Amy (Birmingham, AL)

My son will be 4 in December and he refuses to sit on the potty, put on underwear, or go naked. We do have a new baby in the house but were trying to get him to try above activities for the last 6 months. I am going to re-buy a potty and let him choose it, buy the cloth training pants (which he may not put on without tears)- any other suggestions? we do have various rewards in place but he says he "doesn't like that anyway" (rationalizing that he doesn't want the reward)

Potty Training Concepts: response:

My suggestion is to use "big boy talk" with him. Just tell him that, "Big boys wear underwear and not diapers" In order for him to do that, he would have to start getting potty trained.

My suggestion is not to force him, is to try to spark his interest in potty training. Make sure you have a consistent reward system in place. It doesn't have to be toy or candy, think of a fun activity that he loves to do or something.

potty training tips for boys with special needs (6/21/2011) Reviewer: emily jane murphy (medway, gillingham)

My son is 3 and a half and he has special needs how do I go about potty training him if he doesn't understand.

Potty Training Concepts Response:

What is good for children with special needs are pictures. There is a special section on our website that caters to children with special needs called Special Needs Potty Training.

PROBLEM SOLVING (3/13/2011) Reviewer: RENA (Reno, NV.) WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THEY GRIN ABOUT POOPING THERE PANTS? The little boy I watch is almost 4years old.
Do NOT punish (9/29/2009) Reviewer: Rae (Columbus, oh) Never ever punish a child for having an accident. Potty training is hard enough and needs a lot of support. There are always going to be accidents that's how they learn to use the potty.
Finally someone else is the same! (2/21/2009) Reviewer: Katie I also have a 3 year old son and he's great at peeing at the daycare but when he comes home he pees in his pull-up and never tells me he has to go. Is it ok to punish when he has an accident? I have underwear for him...should I start him wearing it when we're at home? I've tried practically everything but he has something in his brain telling him that the daycare potty is 'better' than our potty! Thanks for any suggestions