Two-and-a-half-year-old not ready to use potty

I have a two-and-a-half-year-old who will not use the potty. She knows what to do because of her older sister, but still won't go. She will sit down, not do anything, then get up and put on her pullups. Is there something I can do?

Question:

Sometimes children are not ready to toilet train by two-and-a-half. Often, they are not ready until they are three. What is needed is not only the skills involved in sitting on and making in a potty. Also, the child must realize that they have to go to the bathroom BEFORE they actually do so. For some children, this neurological connection between the mind and the body doesn't develop until later. Until it is in place, however, there is little chance of a child's potty training.

Often, parents notice that their child has to use the potty by the child's wiggling and squirming, or even by the look on the face. So they encourage their child to get on the potty. That is fine, but it is not the same thing as when the child actually understands the signal from his or her own body. My advice is to keep offering the potty and have patience, until you notice that your daughter knows that she has to go beforehand. Then you can begin training in earnest.

Keep the potty handy, and offer encouragement and praise. If there is resistance, a system of rewards can be put in place. "What a big girl you are! Let's do something fun for big girls!" This can be a special time with Mom or Dad, or a later bed time or other privileges of this nature. Often, children need to see the advantages of growing up, which is what toilet training really represents.

Don't worry -- everyone is trained eventually! It just doesn't pay to push it before your child is ready! Best of luck.

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