Mar 21, 2014

Potty Training Woes? You're Not Alone

I am a self proclaimed world's worst potty trainer. When my oldest child showed all the signs of being ready for potty training I decided to go for it. After all, I had twins on the way and so getting one kid out of diapers just seem logical. Exactly 9 potty training methods and 20 months later my oldest child was finally potty trained. So you can take me at my word, I suck at potty training kids.

For all the parents out there who are trying to potty train their child and it's not going well, take heart it's not just you. I'm sure you've see the methods out there that guarantee if you would just follow their steps exactly your kids will be diaper free. When it doesn't work it makes you feel like a failure. Well you're not a failure and things will get better I promise.

Know the Definition of Potty Trained Technically a child isn't potty trained until they can stay dry, use the toilet by themselves and wash their hands. This means when a child is taken to the potty once a hour and manages to stay dry, they aren't actually potty trained, the caregivers are trained. Knowing this will help when your family or friends say they don't know what's wrong with your child since their kid was trained before the age of 2. You'll never convince them that they're wrong but you can feel better about yourself.

You are Not the Only Parent whose kid had an Accident in Public My children have wet their pants in 4 different play areas. Do you know how humiliating it is to tell the other parents so they can safely get their kids off the equipment? Or that the employees will not look at you very kindly when you inform them of the accident to clean? It's awful! But you're not alone.

Molly had an accident while standing on the third floor of the play structure and it went down to the bottom. She slipped in it soaking her dress and hair just to add insult to injury. Of course we were on our way to get her sister at preschool on a community college campus and I didn't have spare clothes since she never had accidents. Yep, I had to carry a naked child into preschool since I didn't have any other option. At a college. Awesome!

Some Kids Train Themselves-They're freaks of Nature My younger daughter trained herself. At 2 1/2 she refused to even sit on the potty. One day I found her putting on her sister's panties during nap time and informed me that she was a big girl and wasn't going to wear diapers anymore. And she didn't. She trained herself. I'm convinced she is my reward for the other two. But you need to know that kids like Molly are rare and typically the youngest kid. Never underestimate the power of older siblings!

Eventually your kid will ditch the diapers. I was convinced that my son would never be potty trained. On a good day he only peed his pants twice a day, you know when he was almost 4 years old. You don't want to know how many times I cleaned poopy pants. I was miserable, he was miserable, but his teacher and doctors wanted us to keep trying so we did. Finally a little after his fourth birthday he finally decided that it was better to go in the toilet than in his pants. He still occasionally has accidents and wears a pull up at night but we are working on that. Half the time he's dry in the morning so I see a diaper free future very soon.

It might take a very long time to get there, but eventually your child will ditch the diapers. You might even miss the moment it happens since you didn't believe that it would ever happen. Mark stayed dry for 3 days before I noticed that it happened. Actually what I noticed was that I hadn't done laundry in 3 days and then I put it together.

While I love this picture, man I don't miss diapers!

Once Your Child is Trained, no one will care When you have toddlers and preschoolers the topic of potty training is huge among parents. Once your child is trained no one cares anymore. No one asks me about when my kids potty trained, or how old they were now that this horrible rite of passage is over. I know it's tough when you have a child who is the only one still in diapers in the playgroup but eventually it won't be an issue. While I was struggling with my oldest, a mom with older children assured me that no college application will ask how old she was when she trained. She made me see that in the grand scheme of things it didn't matter that it was taking a long time. Eventually she would learn how to use the potty and it would be before college.

And she was right!

Take heart parents who struggle with potty training. This too shall pass.


  1. My kids were stubborn and took forever to potty train. I thought they'd be the only kids in college wearing Pull Ups.

    1. It's funny how we think we are the only ones going through it huh? I kept asking my mom for reassurance that my son wouldn't go to college in diapers. And just when I think he's getting a handle on potty training at night he wet the sheets while wearing a pull up. That's what I get for writing it down :)

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  3. One thing is for sure if your child has started to show an interest in potty training, that's great. But don't push him/her to get through it faster than they are ready to. Like any other stage of development, your toddler will learn to control her bladder and bowels at his/her own pace.

    Getting tips on how to do myself (my wife too) before we start training from

    They emphase on being gentle, patient and doing it with a lot of LOVE...


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