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Late Bloomers: Potty Train a 4-Year-Old

Are you over your head with worry that you still can’t successfully Potty teach your 4-year-old.? Has thinking about what else you can do keeping you up at night? Is it normal for a 4 year old to still wear diapers?

First of all, relax. Her baby isn’t the first 4-year-old to still be seen walking around in diapers. In fact, this occurrence is not as uncommon as one might think. My own experience with my son who is now 5 years old can attest to this.

Because I read in many parenting books that children should not be forced to be potty trained, I waited for the day when my son would express his interest in the process. As you may have guessed, I waited in vain. To this day, I remain a firm believer that he would still be walking around in diaper heaven had he not intervened.

This is not to discredit what many parenting authors say. It is true that each child learns differently from others and that parents should not rush their children into doing things they are not ready for. But it just so happens that my son is one of those people who just needs a little push of encouragement to get on the bandwagon.

So what did I do to potty train my 4 year old? One afternoon I sat him down and explained that starting the next day he would be wearing “large” boxers instead of diapers during the day. He seemed eager and interested at first, but the days that followed turned out to be a horror. He missed the comfort of wearing a diaper and would throw tantrums about it. But I stuck to the plan. I made him clean himself in the bathroom when he got dirty. I applied simple reward and punishment tactics: cut back on TV time when he made a mess, offer him a hug or a cookie every time he used the bathroom. I am proud to say that my son has not been in a diaper for almost a year.

Potty training a child requires a lot of love and patience. But with helpful hints and tips, it’s doable and rewarding.

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