Older Kids In Diapers

For many children, they begin to show signs when they want to get out of diapers. They start to recognize that they are having bowel movements and may be more susceptible to begin potty training. However, after a certain age, you may be worried about your older kids in diapers. There are parents who talk about their children being out of diapers and potty trained by two years old. However, your child is nowhere near being potty trained, let alone being out of diapers. Should you be worried? We have some top tips on why you should not worry and how to get your child motivated to get out of diapers and going in the potty!

The First Step To Get Your Older Kid Out of Diapers

When older kids in diapers causes concern in parents, they have to make this critical first step before beginning the process of potty training. Many other families and friends may have comments, concerns or questions about your older one being in diapers. The first step is to tune them out. Each child is on a journey. They have their own milestones that they will achieve. Their will be children that will achieve milestones earlier than your child and there will be children who do not achieve milestones as early as your child. The best bet is to focus on your child’s milestones and to avoid comparing and contrasting. Secondly, it would be easier if you set boundaries on people commenting on your child’s journey. Potty training can be stressful enough without listening to many different opinions.

When Do Children Start Potty Training?

Children are usually about two years old when they start showing signs of being ready to come out of diapers. However, not all children are ready right at two years old and that is okay. There are many reasons why a child may not be ready to potty train. By about three years old, a child is almost completely potty trained. They can recognize that they have to go to the bathroom, make their way to their potty and go to the bathroom. They will need help wiping when they are done. Older kids in diapers will need help washing their hands but know that it is done after going to the potty.

Signs A Child Is Ready For Potty Training

There are many signs that you can look if your child is ready for potty training. This can help you help your child begin the transition.

Your Child Understands Basic Instructions

If you notice your child can understand basic instructions, like “pick this up” or “jump!”, they are ready to learn the basic instructions of potty training. It is time to develop a routine of washing and drying hands and flushing a toilet even if they are still in diapers. They will see instructions and routine and want to be a part of it!

They Tell You They Have Pooped or Peed in Their Diaper

If your little one is always announcing that they have peed or pooed, it is a big sign that they are ready to go to the potty. By announcing that they have gone pee or poo in their diaper, they understand the sensation of going to the bathroom. They also understand that they need to be cleaned. It is time to slowly transition them to a potty.

Pooping On A Schedule

Do you notice every day at the same time your child will poop? Pooping on a schedule shows that your little one has healthy bowel movements. You can also begin to time their potty when you can guarantee they need to go to the bathroom.

They Watch You In The Bathroom

Do you have a lot of little visitors when you are going to the bathroom? That is completely normal. Your child is interested in your routine and they may want to copy you. Let them be a part of the washing and drying of hands so they can start to learn cleanliness and routine of going to the washroom.

Your Child Dislikes A Messy Diaper

When your child has gone pee or poo in their diaper they let you know! Crying, being angry or asking to be changed are a few of the ways your child tells you to change their diaper. They are in the mess and they do not like it. This is another way your child can show you that they are ready to transition from diaper to potty.

Why Are Some Children Not Ready To Be Potty Trained?

A lot of parents get worried when their children are three and a half, four and five years old and still in diapers. Similarly, some children could potty train and regress that parents put them back into diapers. The first thing to do is to discuss this with your family doctor or pediatrician. Here are some reasons why older children are not ready to be potty trained.

Stressful Situations In The Family

Are siblings fighting constantly and your little one sees it? Are you in the middle of a separation or divorce? Has someone in your family lost their job, went back to school or moved out? These are all very heavy situations that can affect families. Similarly, they affect your child as well. When there is a massive change in your child’s life, they can become extremely stressed. Some symptoms of stress include but are not limited to: acting out, trantrums, regression in skills and not wanting to try new things. This can include potty training. The transition from diapers to potty training is stressful for a child.

You may also see your child hold their urine and poo for long periods of time.


Try to create a safe space for your child. Keep things calm. Continue a routine as much as possible. Let them know how much you love them often. Begin the potty training transition slowly. If you notice they are pooping regularly and on a schedule, let them have their diaper off around that time.

Invite your child to wash their hands and dry them. Watch videos on potty training. Taking stressful situations that you cannot control and making safe spaces that you can control will be healthy for you and your child. Don’t worry about accidents. Give your child grace and take things slowly but always moving forward. Don’t stress if it takes a few months to be comfortably potty trained. You will do a great job.

The Family Is Moving

Your child will not part with diapers and you are moving on top of it all. That is very stressful for you and your child. With boxes everywhere, the house hunt, signing over your place and going through the process of moving can make a child feel chaotic. Many children crave schedules and there is no way to keep a perfect schedule when you are moving.


What you can do is go slowly potty training your child. Choose a time where there diaper comes off. Keep the potty in the same place in the bathroom always. Is the bathroom easily accessible to the child? Make sure when they have to go they have a clear path to their potty! Take off their diaper the same time everyday and slowly expand that time. If their bowel movements are regular, you can take off the diaper around that time. Don’t be surprised that they will hold their bowel movements for a while. It won’t last as the time slowly increases diaper free.

Create a quiet time before bed. No one packs, cleans or moves things around. You bathe your child, get them ready for bed and have the potty right there. Secondly, you can keep some normalcy by having a reward chart for going to the potty. Give two stickers for going to the potty. One sticker for washing hands and one sticker for drying them. Using a reward system that is consistent everyday gives your child the routine they crave.

Once you move in, make sure to set up the bathroom, potty and child’s bedroom as early as you can. They will have their own safe space to continue pottying with their reward chart. Check in with your doctor regularly. Write down a “potty journal” to monitor progress. Sometimes our children are advancing and we forget how far they have come!

Lastly, forgive yourself for the situation not being perfect. Moving is extremely stressful and you are doing a great job!

Death In The Family

Losing a family member is devastating. Grief is not just during the time of the initial death, but comes in waves for a very long time. Children react to death strongly as well. Older children who are still in diapers may react to death by wanting to stay in diapers. They have experienced a great change and loss with their family member. They are scared, angry and confused. Older children do not want to experience another great change. So they either stay in diapers or have so many accidents they regress into diapers.


We must acknowledge everyone’s feelings during the death of a family member. Remember that you too are experiencing grief. Forgive yourself. There are many posts that claim you can have your child potty trained quickly. Don’t put pressure on your child and yourself if you believe this will be too much of a struggle. Take time. Create a safe space and a certain time when the diaper comes off.

Do not potty train if you are experiencing a wave of grief and mourning. It is important that you are addressing grief as the waves come. Pick a time where you can focus your attention on the potty training. Start off slow, only a half an hour a day diaper free. Create a positive reinforcement chart program. Alternatively, you can reward your child in different ways. From words of affirmation to a sticker, whatever motivates your child safely can be an aid in potty training.

Your Child Has Special Needs

If your child has special needs, you don’t need to fret over milestones. Your child is creating milestones of their own. Your child thinks differently and needs a different approach to potty training. Disregard everyone talking about their children’s milestones. Your child is making beautiful milestones on their time.


Stay positive. It is going to be okay and it will happen. With the help of your child’s doctor, get some information. If your child is school aged, speaking to your child’s Educational Assistant will be a goldmine of help for you. They have seen many children of varying abilities and have so many great tips to get potty training started. Routine is going to be your best friend through out your child’s journey.

Identify Your Childs Needs

If your child has a visual challenge, we need to approach the situation differently. Bring your child to the bathroom with you. Let them safely explore and locate the potty, the sink and place their towel in a safe, easy accessible place. If your child has regulated bowel movements, guide them around that time to the potty.

If they are not easily startled, we love pottys that play sweet songs when the child has gone to the potty. This can be an award for your child. Making sure the room and the path to the room is free of furniture or obsticals will make potty training a success.

If your child has hearing challenges, visuals are the best! Bring them to the bathroom and show them the pattern of potty, flushing, washing and drying. Showing your child this positive experience gives your child a peace of mind.

If your child has developmental disabilities, your determination will be needed anywhere from a few weeks to about a year. Schedules are the best for children with developmental disabilities. If possible, have your child sit on the toilet or the potty for a few minutes at a time. Just go one step at a time. Give your child a few days to a few weeks once they have mastered a step. If your child has sensory challenges, make the bathroom space suited to their needs as much as you can.

Support Team

You need positive people in your corner! Make sure your doctor, your child’s educational assistant or helpers at school are all on board. Family, friends who understand and are supportive can be your crutch while you go through this journey. Talk to your experts for any other tips that they think can help your child. It takes a village to raise a child.

Quick Things To Remember When Potty Training An Older Child

Before starting to potty train your child, there are some quick things to remember to make sure that your child will be successful and you will be a successful teacher. Here are a few ideas:

Stay Positive

Tantrums, screaming, accidents and refusals. This can all be a part of your situation potty training your older child. The next two weeks of potty training can be rough. The accidents, the crying and sometimes the tantrums can feel like it never will end. But it will. Your child will adjust. You have to keep positive. That may mean meditating for five minutes before you start. Set aside time for you to be in a positive space before you start potty training. Don’t yell if there is an accident and do not punish. We have to make the potty training experience as positive as we can or we postpone the results.

Accept Accidents

Your brand new floors have been pooped on, maybe your walls have been smeared. Older kids in diapers can make a mess! Unfortunately, accidents are a part of the journey to full potty training. Don’t get upset or yell at your child. You want to make the potty training experience as successful as possible.

Treat yourself after your training session! This is an easy way to blow off steam.

Reward System

Having a chart that rewards a child after a successful potty experience can help the process. Offering a reward chart, a sticker chart or offering a sticker after every successful potty experience can make a world of difference. This is a great way to maintain a positive reinforcement potty training time.

If An Older Child Is Not Ready To Be Potty Trained

If your older child is not ready to be potty trained, re-evaluate if the child has any stressors. Secondly, try again in a few days. A bad day and forcing potty training never ends well. Lastly, if it becomes a challenge for a few months, its time to talk to your doctor about other options. You are doing such a great job and it is great to have even more insight.


Consistency, scheduling, patience and time will help your child get ready for being sully potty trained. Don’t worry if you have older kids in diapers, with these tips they will not be for long!

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