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I have been trying to potty train my daughter over the summer to prepare her for nursery school. She started sitting on the potty for hours just in case she wet in spite of being told this was not necessary.

She feels very insecure when she wears pants. We have gone back to nappies and pull ups. She has started nursery and is the only kid who is not potty trained.

Now, she refuses to go on the potty and nothing I say can sway her. Explaining that, "You're a big girl now and big girls don't wear nappies" does not help. She gets very upset when I talk about the toilet or potty. She states, "I don't like the potty or toilet anymore".

She has no delay in her development. In fact, she is quite bright.

Does anyone have any advice on how to sway her without her getting upset? Her screaming cry when she is upset is unbearable.

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The fist step is to confirm that there's nothing medically wrong, so before you do anything else just confirm with your pediatrician that it's a behavior issue that's okay to work on.

Starting there, the next step is a little counter-intuitive. You need to actually drop the subject of potty training for about a week, and totally take it off her radar. You can't reintroduce it while it's already present as something she's resistant to, so in order to push the reset button and to take a new approach you first have to stop whatever you've been unsuccessful at trying so far.

One thing you can do to help urge this along is to let your daughter pick out some big girl undies by herself: if you can get her to prefer something to the diaper, you're halfway there. We had initially let our daughter pick out some to be a reward for when she using the potty, but they turned out to be much more effective as an incentive to get started. Diapers are usually made to wick away the unpleasant sensations causes by going to the bathroom in them, as opposed to wanting to protect your new undies (and immediately being aware that something is amiss when an accident does come up).

Try to imagine going to the bathroom one way your entire life, and then being asked to change that, and you can see the difficulty a child would have grappling with this scenario. Patience from you, motivation for her, and compassionate correction when accidents happen is really the right path to getting this resolved. On the positive side, there can be a remarkable turn-around from first using the potty to being fully potty trained both day and night with a child this age--the longer you wait, the shorter it eventually takes.

  • Ok, I know this is an old thread and I hope things have worked out great for you. I was noticing that you said she felt very uncomfortable wearing pants. When we potty-trained our son, we wore a lot of sweat pants and elastic-waisted shorts so it would be easy for him to pull them down when he went to potty and he didn't have to fumble with buttons or zippers or anything like that. Perhaps allowing her to wear dresses/skirts/etc. would help her feel more confident, at least initially. – Meg Coates Aug 6 '12 at 6:50
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Bribery and Rewards also work well in this area. You could have a sticker chart which when she has X stickers (5? 10?) she gets to go and buy sweets or a toy or something. Or she could have a sweet every time she uses the toilet/potty.

  • 3
    This worked really well for our daughter. So much, in fact, that she would purposefully control her bathroom productions. Just pee a little to get a sticker and then pee a little again 10 minutes later to get another sticker, etc., repeat for a couple of hours. Ditto for #2s. Just a little bit now, a little more a little later. We had to make it so that she only got a sticker on sufficient eliminations, but it did convince us that she had fine control of her bladder/bowels. – Scott Mitchell Nov 7 '11 at 17:53

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