Q&A: My 4-year-old refuses to potty train. Help!
My oldest son turned four in October. When he was interested in the "potty" his sitter would not take him. I guess she thought it was easier to keep him in diapers. Now he refuses. He knows when he has to go and lies when I ask him. My husband and I have tried everything. I am now a SAHM and trying hard to be patient, but I have a two-year-old to train as well. I am also concerned because I believe that my older son may have ADHD. A family member on his biological father's side has this condition. I have talked to pediatricians and they say they will not medicate a four-year-old. He has all the signs listed in "What to Expect the Toddler Years." He is also mentally advanced for his age. My grandmother suggested that I give him Grape Seed Oil once a day to calm him down. Is this safe? I think the possible ADHD may have a part in his potty training issues. He is never still for more than five seconds.
Addressing the toilet-training issue first, I don’t know all that you’ve done in ‘trying everything,’ but consider these 2 options:
** Do nothing proactive, and certainly nothing that involves punishment. He has the upper hand in this area and has to want to train to do it. Instead, treat him as the four-year-old he is, and appeal to his sense that he is becoming a “bigger boy.” Let him know it is up to him, but that you are eager to see him show what a big kid he is becoming, including using the toilet.
** Focus your attention on toilet training your two-year-old (if he is showing any signs of being ready). Giving the younger one lots of positive attention around this issue may make his older brother step up to the plate rather than see his younger sibling achieve first. Either way, keeping your own frustration under wraps (even if it is legitimate) is important so a battle of wills doesn’t play out over this.
As far as your concern that he may have ADHD, it is too early to use this diagnosis in your son. Normal “hyper” toddler behavior does need to make way for focus and attentiveness, but each child is different in how many years this takes. Even if he seems to fit the ADHD profile now, in another year he may be significantly different. Having reviewed conventional and non-conventional remedies for ADHD recently, I am not aware of any benefit that grape seed oil provides, and would encourage you not to ‘treat’ him with anything now, for a diagnosis he doesn’t yet have. What you may want to do instead is to ask your pediatrician for a developmental assessment at his next check-up, to learn more about his developmental strengths and weaknesses so you can better advocate for him IF he has any difficulties when he gets to school.