Going Without Diapers
You can lengthen the time your child spends without a diaper when you sense she might be really ready to use the potty. When an accident happens, tell her that it's okay. Remind her that someday she will be ready to use the potty like her parents, older siblings, relatives, and friends. Until then, however, put her back in diapers.
If she refuses to wear a diaper but won't use the potty either, assume she is embroiled in an internal battle. She doesn't want to go back to wetting and soiling herself, perhaps due to pressures from peers, but isn't ready to move forward and use the potty, either. Only she can resolve this dilemma. Do not try to push her one way or the other.
My child wants to wear underpants but will not use the potty. What is going on?
She wants to be grown up, but isn't ready yet. The potty is a big step toward independence. Express confidence that your child will solve this hard problem in time.
Many children begin withholding stool as they struggle with the dilemma of not wanting to wear diapers like a baby but not being ready to join the world of big people and potties. If constipation becomes so severe that your child is in pain, it's time for you to step in and make the decision your youngster cannot bring himself to make. Put him in diapers so he can get comfortable having bowel movements again.
Some children happily use the potty for a time, and then lose interest. They would rather go back to diapers than having to use the potty and worry about accidents. Others do not want to stop playing to use the potty and are unconcerned about accidents. If you feel angry because your youngster won't go to the potty when she needs to, consider what “won't” really means.
When a little one is holding herself and ignores suggestions that she go to the potty, is it because she doesn't want to leave the fun and games? Is she too immersed in what she is doing to think about what is happening to her physically, even though it is obvious to you? Does she think she can wait a while without losing control? Is she afraid of growing up and needs to be a baby a while longer? In truth, there is no way to know. If you are angry with her for having accidents, you may add to her emotional conflicts, which can slow down training even more.