An anonymous mom writes:
"Ok, hanging my head in shame here.
My 4.5 year old is not fully potty trained. Let me clarify. Hewill pee on the potty at daycare, but no where else. If the teacher
catches him starting to poop, she runs him to the bathroom for him to
finish. Most of the time though, he poops in his underwear. At
home, he is either in a pull up or will hold it until bedtime when he
has on a pull up. I have tried putting him in underwear at home, but
he either holds it or goes in his pants. I have promised him a bike, a
table, Spongebob sheets if he starts using the potty. He says "I only
pee at school!". I have tried to talk to him calmly about why he
won't potty at home and all I get is "because I don't." I should
probably add, he has had many developmental delays, but has caught up
fairly well. He starts Pre K in August and will be in Collaborative Class with a Special Ed teacher. She has assured me
this is no big deal and every year she has a kid who is resistant and
still in Pull Ups. I really feel at this point he will not be able
to go to Kindergarten because he won't use the potty. I also have
noticed the other kids are teasing him about pooping in his pants. He
is my only child and I have no confidence in my ability to potty
train!!! I am starting to lose my temper and get frustrated with him because he is so stubborn, but I know that is not the right answer
P.S. He will often "sit" on a little potty at home, but can sit
until the cows come home and do nothing."
I am posting this very specifically because I know Anon is not the only parent with this issue, and I want to make sure everyone else who's having this issue isn't feeling ashamed at having a late potty-trainer.
60 years ago, a kid who wasn't pottytrained by age 2 was off the norm, and his mother was feeling like a failure (because dads had nothing to do with pottytraining back then, of course). So if you think of the age at which a kid is supposed to be pottytrained as a changing target, it might help you focus on your kid instead of being overwhelmed by how he's the one still in diapers.
Now: Listen to the teacher. She has seen hundreds and hundreds of kids. If she says that there's one kid in diapers in preK every year, then there's one kid. This year it's your chance to be that one kid.
The biggest help she might be is in enlisting the other kids to help your son with the potty instead of teasing him. She will surely have some ideas for this, and peer support and pressure can be one of the best ways to get older kids to use the toilet. (At this point the reward system doesn't seem to be as effective–if they'd wanted the reward enough they'd have trained months ago when you first offered them something.)
You might also consider putting your son in Pullups for daycare just so he isn't pooping in his underwear. And absolutely ask the daycare providers to help you with the teasing issue. They have the power to redirect those kids and make a teasing environment in the classroom not OK, so sit down with them and ask if you can work on this together, and point out how awful the teasing is, and ask for their help.
I know you feel ashamed and isolated, but the thing that will help *you* the most, no matter when your son trains, is to come out about it and ask for help from the other adults in his life so you're not suffering by yourself and feeling guilty.
Anyone else out there with a child who has trained later than the current norm?