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Ask The Expert: My Son Is Four And Still Isn't Fully Potty Trained. When Should I Start Worrying?

Sarah Jenkins

Question: My son is four and still isn’t fully potty trained. When should I start worrying?

Answer: Your question is a common one. As parents, we want the best for our kids, and while there are common ages for certain developmental milestones, it doesn’t mean that every child will follow them to a tee. Four is still young, and it’s common for boys to take a bit longer to learn to use the bathroom regularly without accidents. Even those who are fully potty trained can still experience the occasional accident at four, five and even six. 

Be patient with your child and follow their cue – most children will show signs that they’re ready for potty training (asking questions, wanting to watch, or even sitting on the potty themselves are all great indicators that they are getting curious). Encourage your child - praise them when they make it to the potty, and don’t scold them or act disappointed when they don’t. Once the process has started, know that accidents will still happen, but the majority of kids grow out of this eventually. If your child is in preschool, ask his teachers to help with the process – they may have some new tips to share and many kids often are encouraged to use the potty when they see their friends doing it too.

If you’ve followed our potty training tips, aren’t seeing the results that you’d expect and are still worried, it’s best to consult your child’s pediatrician. There may be a medical reason that is preventing your son from using the potty. The pediatrician will likely ask you lots of questions, and work with you over time until your child is able to master using the potty.