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My son is 4 and a half years old. We have been tackling potty training since we were given custody in June of last year (from my mother, who was of the "they will stop wearing diapers when they are ready" league of thinking), and we were pretty disheartened with the lack of progress we had made. He has a speech impairment and developmental delay, so maybe some of the difficulty can be attributed to that.
Never the less, a couple of weeks ago we can up with a system, as he is very receptive to alarms, phones, and timers going off, and always wants to know why they are. So, first day, we put him in his favorite cartoon characters big boy underwear (Cars 2, if you must know ) and we said "Now, you don't want to pee pee or poo poo on Lightning McQueen, do you?" He insistently said no. Then we set a timer for 30 minutes. Every 30 minutes, timer went off, he sat on the potty until he said that no pee pee or poo poo had come out, then we reinforced the whole, don't pee pee on your friends thing. Finally, about the 5 or 6th time, we hear he scream "MOMMY, PEEPEE COME OUT!!!". We made a gigantic fuss, clapping, calling his dad, grandma, etc, and dancing around the house. Positive reinforcement all the way.
He had one accident that day, but we kept it up. After a week, he was only in pull ups at pre-k and when outside the home. Then we extended the timer to 45 minutes, then after a few days, an hour. By this time, we has going to the bathroom on his own, if we were not around, and would just tell us later he had. He no longer had to be supervised, and didn't have any accidents.
Now, about 3 weeks later, and only a couple of accidents (induced by falling asleep on a long car ride) later, he only wears pull ups when he is sleeping, goes potty at places other than home, and loves being a big boy.
Just saying, this timer method may not work for everyone, but that plus positive reinforcement, went A LONG way in our case. Good luck!