Answer Box: Our desired preschool only accepts kids that are potty trained. Our 3 year old seems terrified every time we put him on the potty. Any ideas? Our deadline is fast approaching.
You don't put him on the potty. You give him opportunities to decide to put himself on the potty. You put him in regular underpants with elastic-waist pants that are super easy to pull down, and don't put him in pullups because they don't let him feel wet. You keep a potty in each room so he doesn't have to run down the hallway, and so he doesn't have an accident trying to get to a potty. You get books about what the potty is all about and what his body is doing, to take away the mystery of it all. You let him go naked so he makes the connection between what he's feeling in his body and what the potty is for. You sit down on the toilet with him on his potty and you read a book with some water running in the bathtub; the sound of water is a great way to stimulate the need to pee! You give him lots of water to drink so he has plenty of opportunities to go. And you stay patient and calm, and prepare yourself for many loads of laundry and some floor cleanup.
There are three things you absolutely do NOT want to do. The first is to pressure him because this is not a fight you will win, and you can do psychological damage by pushing this when he's not emotionally ready. If he has to wait a few more months for preschool, or go to a different school, then so be it. Another thing you don't want to do is to give him any reason to not want to potty train. Don't tell him he can't go to school if he's not potty-trained unless you know for sure that he *wants* to go to school, or he might end up wetting himself just to avoid it. And the final thing not to do is make him feel ashamed of his body. If he has an accident, just have him help you clean it up and encourage him to try a bit harder next time. Good luck, what an exciting time!
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