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What should I do if my child isn't ready to be potty trained but is being pressured to start?

My husband is pressuring our 2-1/2-year-old son to use the potty, but I don't think he's ready. What should I do?
Submitted by American Baby Team

A. One thing we can tell you -- and that your husband needs to understand -- is that toilet training is a process. With some kids it's an overnight process. With other kids? It's a serious process. The best thing you can do as a parent is to avoid turning it into a battle of wills -- and if there's one thing toddlers have in spades, it's a strong will. Remember, you're not lagging behind if your 2-1/2-year-old hasn't yet fully embraced his big-kid underwear. But on the other hand, that age isn't too young to train, at least not physically; you may have noticed, for example, that your son stays dry during naps and does know when he's gone. That shows you that he has some measure of control over his bladder and bowels. Your husband probably knows this, and that's why he's being impatient. But in addition to physical readiness, you need emotional readiness -- your kid has to want to do it. Tell your husband that easing up on your son's potty training isn't the same as giving up and isn't tantamount to coddling. Instead, it's a new and much more effective strategy. That said, neither of you should let it go completely. Just lay off the insistence and the demands for a little while, and see if his interest perks up on its own. --Denise Schipani

Copyright 2009

The answers from our experts are for educational purposes only. Please always refer to your child's pediatrician and mental health expert for more in-depth advice.

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