"My son will be 4 years old soon. He does a great job peeing on the potty and he has gone poop before without any issues. Suddenly, he just doesn't want to use the potty. He wants to keep using his diapers. Should I be concerned about this at his age? I'm getting frustrated and I'm worried that the more I insist he use the potty the worse things get. Sometimes I am downright angry with him because he refuses and just goes and gets a diaper, poops or pees in it and then comes to me for a diaper change. He knows when he needs to go potty and he knows when he's already gone, too. What should I do?"
We don't always like to hear it, but sometimes potty training setbacks and failures have little to do with our toddlers and have a lot to do with our own decisions as parents. In this case, the problem is compound. There are really three possible issues to be addressed here and two of them have little to do with his readiness, skills or abilities. So, let's address these issues one at a time.
Next Consider: How Can My Own Attitude Make Him More Receptive to Potty Training?
Being supportive is important, since something is already bugging him about this whole process. Take all the negativity out of it and you'll probably be surprised by how much it helps improve his attitude and motivation. Don’t complain about clean-up. Don’t let him see your sense of exasperation or frustration at the situation. Don’t use words that express disappointment in him.
For instance, if you say, “Come on honey, don’t you want to poop in the potty?” It may sound positive and you may be saying it in your happiest voice, but you already know the answer to the question you've put forth. You already know that he prefers the diaper, so phrasing it in this way isn’t helpful. Every time you ask, the answer will still be, “No, I don’t want to go in the potty.” And he'll know that you're still just as disappointed with his answer.
Don't think that you have to fake excitement, however. You said that sometimes you're downright angry with him, so I know that approaching this like the bluebird of happiness is probably going to be a stretch. That's OK. It doesn't make you a bad mom if you dislike this part of parenting. Get the anger under control (maybe it's time to give yourself a much needed time out) and instead try to approach the situation in a very matter-of-fact way. Peeing and pooping in the potty is just a fact of life. Cleaning up the mess of accidents is also just another thing that must be done in the day.
Potty training is a learned process just like all the other things he's learned so far. It's like walking, talking, stacking blocks and climbing stairs. You wouldn't become angry, yell at him or discipline him for making mistakes while learning those skills so treat potty training the same way. Praise him when he has success and don't make a big deal of the failures.