I have four children. A daughter and three sons. Three are potty trained, and the youngest is still in diapers. He will be for some time to come.
Let me explain.
When my daughter came along, I tried training her at two. That's a nice, respectable age, right? Well, she just couldn't understand it, so I backed off and waited. Two and a half? No dice. Three? A little closer, but it wasn't until she was three and a half and I was armed with a huge bag of bribes from the dollar store that we finally accomplished the task.
Son #1. This child would not potty train no matter what I did. I had myself very well trained to march him into the bathroom every half hour, but if I was even five minutes late, he'd have an accident. I was losing my mind. My health was suffering because of the intense emotional struggles I was having with him. Finally my doctor said to me, "What are you doing right now that is causing you so much stress?"
"Potty training," I said.
"You go home and put that child in a diaper and don't even think about it for a year," he told me. "Your health is going downhill fast."
I went home, put the child in a diaper, and didn't think about it for a year. Well, we had some interesting conversations with well-meaning relatives who couldn't believe that he was three and in a diaper, but they couldn't know what a relief it was for me to delay the argument. My severe headaches went away the minute that diaper went on him. (You have to understand, this is my most strong-willed child and if he doesn't want to do something, he will not do it. Period.)
Later on, when the time was right, we tried again. It was still hard, but nothing like the try before.
Son #2. I decided that with this child, I was going to wait until he was good and ready. I left him in a diaper until he was three and a half. Then I went to the store and got a potty chair, handed it to him, and said, "This is yours." He played with it for about an hour, looked at the box, saw the child on the box sitting on the chair, pulled down his pants, went, and has been dry ever since.
Now I have a two and a half year old. I know that other children in his peer group are starting to train, and that's marvelous for them. But my kids seem to need more time, for whatever reason. It's not worth it to me to spend every minute of every day watching the clock, fearing that we'll have a puddle. If it means enduring comments from relatives, that's what I'll do. I'm waiting until he's ready, and I won't train him a minute before. It's not worth the agony. It's just not.