I even made her walk around with only a t-shirt on thinking that maybe this would kind of scare her into admitting when she had to go so she didn't make a "mess." Nothing worked. She just lied and said that she didn't have to go. So I had to do guesswork and just make her sit on the toilet for long periods of time. Wrong move. Now, whenever I take her to the potty she just sits there and screams until I am finally forced to take her off.
I am to the point now where I am just begging her to try to understand why it is important that she potty-trains, and I always end up crying. So then she starts crying too, and we are both frustrated.
Everyone keeps telling me that she is just not ready and I have to wait it out, but I can't do that. I am starting her in preschool next year, and I am sure they don't except children who are not potty-trained, and it is also hard to find baby-sitters. What should I do? Should I take the others' advice and just wait? Or is there a way that I can make this part of our lives much easier? Nicole, Phoenix, Arizona
A. At this point, I don't think that you have much of a choice except to take a break from potty training. It doesn't sound like she is emotionally ready for potty training and it has likely become a power struggle now.
Taking a break from potty training doesn't mean that she won't be potty trained before starting preschool next year though. You might just need a break for a few weeks or months, after which you can get started again.
During your potty training break, you might read some books about potty training, so that you can find a method that you think will work better for the both of you. You will likely enjoy reading Vick Lansky's book on Toilet Training, in which she describes basic signs of readiness and how to begin potty training. She even has a chapter devoted to potty training an uncooperative child, which will be very helpful for you.
In addition to backing off, one thing that may be helpful is to 'ask your child to show you how he or she would toilet train a doll or stuffed animal.' This is the 'Dr. Phil' method, although I think that it was first described in Vicki Lansky's book and the older Toilet Training in Less Than a Day book.
It may also help to give her more choices about when she would like to start using the potty again.
Since children at this age often like to imitate other children, it might also be helpful to try a preschool or mother's day out type program now, so that she can use the potty when all of the other kids do. And since you have both gotten so emotional over her using the potty, letting someone else teach her to use the potty might be a good idea anyway.