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Lori Gephart
Lori Gephart, Licensed Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 259
Experience:  Licensed Psychologist and Hypnotherapist 20 years of experience helping clients of all ages.
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My grandson was 3 in July. He is not potty trained - pees

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My grandson was 3 in July. He is not potty trained - pees and poops in his "diapey" (his parents call his pull-ups that) and they just say 'he's not ready'. All 4 of my children were potty trained by the time they were 2, and I don't remember it being a big deal. He's a very smart little boy, so what can they do to help him "be ready"? I used to volunteer to change him all the time, but not w/a poopy pull-up!! Thank you...

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I am sorry to hear about the concerns you are experiencing. It is not out of the ordinary for a 3 year old child to not be potty trained yet. Thoughts have changed about potty training over the years. Keep in mind that the more pressure he feels about this the more he may resist. Ideally potty training should be your grandson's accomplishment, not something he is forced into. All efforts at potty training should be positive; praise him when he is successful, make a game out of it, give attention when he is doing what you want (sitting on the potty), and give little attention (be very matter of fact) when he has an accident. Remember that any behavior that gets attention is likely to keep repeating. You and his parents may find the books by Dr. T. Berry Brazelton to be very helpful. He has a wonderfully child centered and caring style with good advice about potty training. Brazelton says, "Don't rush your toddler into toilet training or let anyone else tell you it's time. It's got to be his choice."

While you may not agree with his parents' philosophy about toilet training, the wonderful thing about being a grandparent is that you can refuse to change diapers or pull ups and leave the work of parenting to his parents while enjoying the fun things with your grandson. I hope this answer is helpful. Please let me know if I can clarify further.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Hello -

Would it not be appropriate to just take him into the bathroom and sit him on the potty every half hour or so? He doesn't put up any resistance to this and sometimes he pees or poops, which seems to be something they could try when I'm not there to do it. We always praise him when he does either one and he seems very proud of himself and we give him a small treat. I think that's how I trained my 4 a long time ago, altho I didn't use treats. I think we have to train ourselves to remember to do this so he just gets in the habit of feeling good about his successes. It does bother me a little when they talk to him like a baby, calling it a "diapey", altho I've never mentioned this to them.

If he is cooperative to this, then sitting him on the potty every so often would be fine if his parents decide that this is what they want to do. It can sometimes be difficult to be in the role of grandparent rather than parent in that you will need to defer to their decision about how to proceed with the potty training, even though you may have much more experience than they have. One thing that you can offer to your grandson in the meantime is unconditional love, not matter whether he is potty trained or not. You may need to agree to disagree about some of the choices that his parents make when they parent differently than you did, realizing that it is now their turn to make decisions. I wish you all the best in this. Please let me know if I can clarify further.
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