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Late potty training - how late is late?

That's a great question.

Late when it comes to potty training, like so much in growing up, depends upon the child.

I have potty trained 4 children, both boys and girls, and none of them trained quickly or easily.

A couple took a long, long...long time. Sigh.

What I learned is that this process is often far more frustrating for the parent than the child. As parents, we need to provide the opportunity and the tools to get the job done; then relax and be matter of fact.

Easier said than done, to be sure.

Late potty training - a quick fix?

If you are toilet training a 4, 5, 6 or even older child, you already know there is no such thing as a quick fix.

Your child DOES have some toilet habits by now and they may not be working well for him.

She is probably past the age of being motivated much by a reward system; that generally works better for younger kids.

Alway look to see if there are any potty training issues at work that are getting in your child's way with the toilet training process. For example, is he frightened about pooping? Is she angry at you and just plain uncooperative? For sure, if the whole family is engaged in helping the child have a bowel movement in the potty chair, well, that's a LOT of attention and how is that supposed to be given up?

In reality, it needs to be redirected so you both can relax, let the process happen and be happy together again.

Some late potty training ideas:

The whole family CAN help - by being open about their own bathroom habits. What if, instead of constant pressure on your child to do his own business, he heard a balance of comments from members of the family about how they need to go use the bathroom, about how they feel comfortable using the bathroom, about how they feel better when they put their pee and poop in the potty chair. So much better.

Well, that potty training suggestion is not for every family, to be sure, but give it some thought and see if you can take the central idea which is that your child might benefit from understanding that normal bathroom usage is a part of everyone's life and with a bit of practice, he can fit right in, too.

I do like the idea at this stage of the toilet training game of rewarding/praising for being dry and clean as opposed to peeing and pooping. Puts the focus where you want it, doesn't it?

Late potty training often gets attributed to boys, but girls struggle with this too.

For very late pottying training kiddos, I would really want to shift the focus. How about starting a new hobby with just Mom or Dad, something special between the two of us? As we get started, I would casually mention several points about this great new hobby, one of which would be that we will have much more fun if we can just use the bathroom as we know we should; our new hobby doesn't allow time for anything else. I would certainly make this comment as a part of a string of comments so it doesn't get focused on, just mentioned.

Hugely important late (or any time) potty training hint.

Almost always, when a child decides they will be potty trained, they will be trained within a very short amount of time. Nothing can stop them. In fact, you will be amazed by your child's tenacity when he decides to make this happen. This works even if he has worries or fears about the potty training process.

So instead of fussing and worrying at them, finding a way to make this their idea is a sure winner. Take a look at your child's unique personality and see what makes her tick. Motivators are only part of the solution. Your child has to WANT to be trained. So consider it a parenting challenge to figure out what will make her want it. Don't be afraid to try different ideas.

In fact, you can start a potty training chart for you (stay with me) and check off all the ideas for potty training you've worked with. Don't consider them failures - no way - but steps on the journey. Let your child see this chart and help you check things off.

Talk about it together. Late potty trainees have ideas of their own and as you keep the conversation going over time, he will have something to say, believe me. You can use those insights to guide in helping him.

Most of all, remember late potty training is but the first of many times you will be working together with your child on achieving a goal. Keep it positive, engaging and relationship-building.

Popular potty training topics.

Potty Training Child
A list of all of our articles to help you while potty training your child.

Toilet Training Tips
Many times just one new piece of toilet training advice that I hadn't considered before was just the help I needed to help my child over a potty training hump.

Potty Training Boy
Additional tips to help if you are potty training a boy (I've trained two boys myself).

Potty Training Girls
Specific tips to help potty training for girls move smoothly (I've trained two girls myself).

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