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3 year old potty training - not interested

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Dr. Laura,
Hi I'm just writing to you to ask about tips on potty training as my daughter is 3 1/2 and still not using the potty or toilet. I have tried everything from treats to being able to start dance classes if she uses the potty, seeing other kids go to the toilet and putting her in knickers for days but still will not use the toilet. I don't know what more I can do and really need some advice. Thanks Kirsty


Dear Kirsty,
Sounds like you have tried everything. Your daughter is just one of the late-potty-trainers. (Remember, half the kids train later than the average, and half train earlier.) I have four suggestions:

1. Look at things from her perspective.
Why isn't she interested? Is she frightened of the toilet? Doesn't see any benefit to it? Wants to retain her baby status so you'll still baby her? Ask her, without trying to talk her into anything, and see what she says.

2. Work harder to find a benefit for her. She isn't motivated by big kids or dance class, ok. But all kids her age want mastery and control. Make sure she feels like she would be in charge of the process. Would she get excited about choosing a cool potty or underwear? About having you take photos of her on the potty and making a book for her?

3. Let her be in charge of the process. Find every book you can about potty-training and read it, but don't mention how she should potty train. Let it be her idea. Get hold of one of those potty-training dolls and let her potty-train her doll -- again, without mentioning that she should also potty-train.

4. Your investment in this issue may be causing her to dig in her heels. Relax. Drop the issue. Try again in two months. Two months is a long time in the life of a three year old. When you bring it up in two months, let her be in charge of the process.

Good luck!
Dr. Laura

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