Ever since a traumatic preschool potty experience, my 4-yr-old refuses to potty train. Now I'm worried he won't be ready to go to kindergarten. Help!


First, know you are not alone. There are plenty of parents with normally developing four-year-olds who refuse to go to the potty. With school deadlines approaching, you are understandably feeling some pressure. By four years of age, most children are capable of using the potty consistently, so it will take some detective work to determine why he is not. First, seek out your pediatrician's advice and rule out any physical problems. Some parents report that older children respond well to the one-day "potty party" approach. Others have only found success once the child realizes that most of his peers use the potty. Still others discover that the child will use the potty with a hole cut in pull ups. Parents may also request a visit from the "diaper fairy" who takes away the diapers and brings underpants and a "big kid" gift. Regardless of what approach you think will work best with your child, you will need a lot of patience, a dose of humor, and support from the other adults who help care for your child.

Candace Lindemann

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