Are you over your head with worry because you still can’t successfully potty training your 4-year-old? Thinking about what else you can do has kept you up at night? Is it even normal for a 4 year old to still be in diapers?
First, relax. Your baby is not the first 4-year-old to still be seen walking in diapers. In fact, this occurrence is not as uncommon as you might think. My own experience with my now 5 year old can attest to this.
Because I read in many parenting books that children shouldn’t be forced to potty train, I waited for the day when my son expressed interest in the process. As you may have guessed, I waited in vain. To this day, I still firmly believe that I would still be walking in diaper heaven if I hadn’t stepped in.
This is not to discredit what many authors say about parenting. It is true that each child learns differently from another and that parents should not rush their children to do things for which they are not prepared. But my son happens to be one of those people who just needs a little push of encouragement to get on the train.
So what did I do to potty train my 4-year-old? One afternoon, I sat him down and explained that from the next day on, I would wear “adult” underpants instead of diapers during the day. He seemed eager and interested at first, but the following days turned out to be a horror. He missed the convenience of wearing a diaper and threw tantrums. But I stuck to the plan. I made him clean up in the bathroom when he got dirty. I applied simple reward and punishment tactics: cutting down on TV time when I made a mess, offering a hug or a cookie every time I used the potty. I am proud to say that my son has not worn a diaper for almost a year.
Teaching a child to go to the bathroom requires a lot of love and patience. But with helpful tips and advice, it’s doable and rewarding.