Pressure to Potty Train
My son is 3.5 years old and many people make me feel bad that he is not potty trained yet. I've tried to explain to him that he needs to use the toilet but he gets upset. What do I do?
I completely understand your frustration. The anxiety to successfully potty train your child can come from any number of sources. It could be from your peers—a result of that sometimes subtle, sometimes obvious, but always competitive race that unfortunately many parents run, pushing their kids toward each developmental mile marker.
Pressure can also come from your parents or your in-laws. But, whatever the source, please try to relax and not take the unsolicited critiques so personally. Okay?
From time to time all moms worry that their kids are not growing, learning or progressing fast enough, whether their child has a medical problem or not. I sense from your question that if he's not "on track" there may be something wrong with you or him.
When you're feeling like this, or feeling the pressure of family and peers, make a mental note to recall the following example of one of the world's greatest geniuses: By most accounts, Albert Einstein did not say a word until well past his third birthday. According to the story, his first words were not "mama" or "dada" as you might imagine, but "This soup is hot!" His astonished parents, who had worried that something was wrong with their son, asked him why he waited so long to talk. "Because," Einstein reportedly said, "up until now everything was fine."
So you see, your son is not behind, he's just progressing on "his" own time. Please take a look back at my Potty Training Tips article for more advice. I believe your son will be potty trained by the time you progress through each challenge.
In the meantime, please check out a book I always recommend for toilet training a child with special needs. It's one of the best I've ever read on the subject it's titled, Steps to Independence: Teaching Everyday Skills to Children with Special Needs, by Bruce L. Baker and Alan J. Brighman (Paul H. Brooks Publishing, 2004).
p.s. In the words of Bill Cosby, "You know the only people who are always sure about the proper way to raise children? Those who've never had any?" And probably never potty trained any either I might add!
For more potty training advice, check out:
Potty Training Tips from the Potty Pro, Teri Crane
Potty Training Resistance
Potty Training a Boy
Talk to other potty training parents who are also in the pee-pee & poo-poo trenches on our Toddlers & Preschoolers Message Board!