Pediatrician Questions Normal diapers

Do 3 year old children still need diapers?

My 3 years old son isn't potty-trained yet. We're trying but my son doesn't want to learn and throws a tantrum when we try. My husband thinks it's ok, but I feel like 3 years old is a little too old for diapers. Is it normal for a 3 year old to wear diapers?

7 Answers

It is possible that the 3 year old has some behavioral issues at this age. He might be shy to be Potty trained and out of diapers. Do not force the child but try to find out the behavioral issues and try to address them
Unless there is some developmental issue, a 3 year old should be able to potty train and not need diapers except for maybe at night. Most of the time, a child that does not want to potty train is just trying to maintain his control over the entire situation including you. If he doesn't use the toilet, you have to clean him up thus getting attention for himself. At 3 years of age, he should be put in charge of his own toilet habits - if he soils his underwear, he cleans himself up and takes the dirty underwear to the laundry - it is now his responsibility and not yours. If he does his business in the toilet, he gets praised and attention.
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The average age for potty training is 3. However some kids can get trained sooner and some time a little later.

Rubina Azam MD, FAAP, ABOIM
Potty training varies by culture. Some cultures will have their children potty trained by 1-2 years but it takes a lot of work and continuous effort. Americans traditionally allow their children to potty train at their own pace and some boys are especially difficult. Most boys and girls will train on their own with parental encouragement by age 3 yrs. However, some boys in particular can be very resistant to training and that is not uncommon. Some don't train until 3 1/2 years and a few not until 4 yrs. So, yes, it is not uncommon for boys to still wear diapers at 3 yrs of age. When it gets to the point of confrontation with your son over this issue, you're probably not going to get far. It's a game of wills...yours vs. his. He CAN train, but he doesn't want to, so you have to give him an incentive. I tell my patients to tell a child like yours to express your deep sadness (not anger) and say, "Oh...I am SO disappointed you are still acting like a baby. You can feign crying even. If he EVER does it right, then act EXTREMELY EXCITED and praise him to high heavens. Also, this may be one time you can bribe your son by going to any superstore and buying a bag of toy cars or something he really likes, even candy and then putting the prize items high up on a shelf where he can see them, but not get them. Continually tell him that when he poops in the potty, he will get a treat! And continuously tell him how happy and proud you will be when he acts like a BIG BOY and not a little baby because BIG BOYS get to do special things like go for ice cream or to pick out a toy at a store, but BABIES can't do things like that.
Good luck!
Most three-year-olds are toilet trained. If your child is having trouble you need a more systematic and scheduled approach. In general, it’s better if you put the child in pull-ups rather than diapers and at least say you were a big child now you don’t need diapers that’s one part of the stepping towards toilet training
Most 3- to 4-year-olds are getting interested in potty training. IF he is still resisting going, he may not be ready. Reward him when he does go. Do not punish accidents.
It is not normal for a 3 year old to wear diapers but not unusual either. Pressure only makes the situation more difficult. The best thing to do is to ignore the situation. One of my moms had a very creative solution. She purchased several pairs of sweat pants and that is all the boy wore. After several days he became quite annoyed by feces rolling down his legs and trained rather quickly.