Thanks But No Thanks: Potty Training Woes

potty training

Potty training has become the bane of my existence.

I barely know where to begin. First, let me say that if you’re looking for some stellar potty-training advice, I ain’t got that. This is not that kind of post. However, if you found your way here because you’re pulling your hair out and screaming internally because your child just won’t use the potty, and you need to know you’re not alone than this post is for you!

Or I may find out I’m totally alone in this and my children are going to be in high school still wearing pull-ups.

But if you are in my situation, seriously, is there anything more depressing than being the mother of three-year-olds and seeing a million “potty train your two-year-old in two days!” posts? Or “easy potty-training methods!”?

You’ve got a potty training method? I’ve probably already tried it.

Hilariously enough, my children have actually been sitting on the potty since they were 14 months old. We would sit them on the potty each morning for breakfast and after each meal and read books. Periodically, we would get successes and, like all the books say, we celebrated those little successes in a big way! Overtime, they liked it, they got it, potty time was fun time. By the time they turned 2.5 they were comfortable enough with the potty and had gone potty enough times (both number one and two) that I figured we were more than ready to do some official potty training. After doing tons of reading and all kinds of research I settled on the “3 Day Potty Training Method”. Firstly, here is a great post about how the 3 Day Method works.

We did it all:

  • talked about it for days about how we were going to be saying “bye-bye” to our pull-ups.
  • bought awesome new underwear that they were excited about.
  • stocked up on stickers and skittles as training rewards.
  • we even downloaded an adorable potty training app!
And we had success!

For three weeks, they were peeing on the regular into their potties. However, number twos on the potties were not happening. And after 4 days of two kids refusing to poop in a potty, my frazzled brain was getting out the pull-ups. And just like that my daughter stopped using the potty all-together. When I asked if she wanted to sit on the potty I was met with a resounding, “No thank you!” And if my 3-year-old is loudly busting out her manners, I know she’s serious.

So began Potty Failure #1.

A couple weeks later we adopted our dog, and just like his sister, my son abruptly stopped using his potty. And all of a sudden there I was back at square one.

Training attempt #2.

I was insanely frustrated to suddenly be changing pull-ups again. Especially since both of my kids had proven they were more than capable of using the toilet. So, with a ‘gentle parenting’ approach in mind, I decided to ease up and allow my kids to wear pull-ups during sleep periods with the understanding that we would focus on using the potty during the day.

“No, thanks.”

Uh, what? What do you mean no thanks? I’m not kidding when I say for 3 days I couldn’t even give that candy away, they were that uninterested in the potty. Or maybe that complacent with the pull-up routine?

After a couple days, there was some potty action but it was short-lived and once the candy stopped, so did they.

And ooooohhhh the accidents.

So, I’ll admit that I gave up until I could formulate a new plan.

Which I think I have…

Upcoming training attempt #3.

I’ve gone back to the drawing board this time with 3-year-olds, who clearly know how to use the potty but simply don’t want to, in mind. I also noted all the major issues from the last two training attempts:

  • regression – clearly getting our dog disrupted my son’s routine enough that it caused him to go from being nearly 100% potty trained back to pull-ups. That’s a coulda-woulda-shoulda situation that I can’t dwell on. But its noted.
  • only peeing on the potty and saving poop for a pull-up.
  • holding bladder and bowel movements forever.
  • getting extremely upset over accidents (just my daughter, lol my son could not have cared less about his accidents).

Honestly, taking stock of all these failures was enough to make me cry but then I found these posts on Angela’s blog and Katrina’s blog and finally I had found mothers who understood! And who also had some advice that didn’t make me feel like the worst mom in the world.

So, I’m giving it another go later this week. New plan includes:

  • adding a toddler toilet seat cover to the toilet in the bathroom along with a cute little stool in addition to their potties.
  • removing all pull-ups from view (I don’t know if I’m confident enough to get rid of them yet).
  • no candy motivation
  • visiting a dance studio and tumbling gym to use as incentives for things they can do once they are pull-up free.
  • have them help clean up their own accidents.

We’ll see how it goes! I wish I could sound more confident but I’m trying! I’ll update in two weeks with hopefully some progress.

Chat soon,




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