When it comes to potty training, the prevailing attitude seems to be ‘the earlier, the better’. I get it. Sort of. Diapers are expensive, so it would be nice to cross them permanently off the shopping list. And there are always those parents who want to turn their smug noses up at the poor schmuck whose four year old is running around in diapers while they condescendingly say, “Our son was fully potty trained at 16 months.” So if you need the money or you’re an arrogant jerk, I get it.
But mostly, I don’t get it. You wanna know why?
Potty training SUCKS.
I don’t care if you slowly teach your kid over a year and a half or become a drill sergeant and do it in a weekend. It sucks. Because unless you’re that one parent (and don’t be that parent because no one likes her) whose kid never had an accident, not even once, you are going to be cleaning human excrement off of a surface that it shouldn’t be on.
And that’s not even the main reason that potty training sucks. Okay, maybe it is. Crap in a diaper is a lot less gross than crap on any other item. I don’t know why, but it’s true. Even so, there are more reasons for keeping your kid in a diaper as long as possible. Those reasons are GOING OUT IN PUBLIC.
Yeah yeah, I know that’s only one reason, but it should count as numerous reasons because of how crappy it is. Pun intended. First of all, the stress! That first post-potty training outing is enough to send you to the ER.
“Do you have to pee? How about now? Did you just toot? Do NOT poop in your pants, do you hear me?? You’re touching your package; you must need to pee. Oh, that’s just what boys do? Okay, but if you need to pee you need to tell me… before you start. Why are you hopping around? Do you need to pee?”
And that’s just when you’re in the parking lot. By the time you get in the store, you’re ready to pop a Xanax or five.
Then there’s the time when your kid actually does have to go to the bathroom in public. This is worse than the stress of worrying about them pooping in the toy aisle of Walmart. Why? Because when they tell you they actually need to go, that fear suddenly gets a lot closer to reality.
Suddenly you’re in a race against the clock to find an acceptable place for your child to do his business. Which is a problem. You’ll either be in a place with no bathrooms anywhere around (tee-ball practice, the playground, those little stores that don’t allow shoppers to use their facilities), or maybe worse yet, you’ll be in a place where there is a bathroom, but you want to put on a hazmat suit before going inside.
Chances are you’ll not only have the potty training child to deal with, you’ll also have their newly mobile sibling who would love nothing more than to crawl around on the germ infested floor and lick the porcelain throne. So while you attempt the Olympic feat of holding your child over the toilet without actually touching it, you’ll also precariously balance the baby on your raised knee while holding her in place with your chin. And you know what you’ll be thinking the entire time you’re in there?
“Why didn’t I just leave my kid in diapers?”
So if you hate poopy messes, hate stress, and hate public restrooms, may I offer some advice? Keep a diaper on that kid and just chill out. Besides, I hear if you wait long enough, they’ll train themselves.
Bronwyn Joy says
Do they actually train themselves? Because I have a 3yo who started wanting to use the toilet at 15mo because her big brother did and the thing is… she kind of *still doesn’t get it*. But they do eventually get it? They do?
Here’s my experience (in all seriousness). Our first we trained early (and forever) and he refused to poop on the potty for the LONGEST time. Then suddenly one day he did and that was it. Potty training complete. We waited longer for our second and probably should have waited even longer because just when I’d think maybe he’d gotten it, he’d have a day full of accidents. He turned four in April and is doing okay, but still has accidents every now and then. Our third just turned two. I let her sit on the toilet when she wants to, but if she’s not showing interest, I’m not pushing it. Why stress everyone out? I really do think they’ll just ‘get it’ when they’re ready.
Bronwyn Joy says
I’m realising how smoothly it went the first time. It seemed pretty “average” at the time, but apparently it was actually “good”.
Just sent this to my best friend!!
Katy Blevins says
Potty training was a long, horrid process with the twins. We are JUST about done and praise be to Jesus, not a moment too soon!
Alyssa @ Arts & Crackers says
Ha too funny. I wonder that at times myself..my son was potty trained in a week just before his second birthday (would have been less time if I wasn’t sick when we started.) He doesn’t usually have accidents and he did well potty training (on my second try,) but he simply cannot stay dry through the night! I’m about to say forget it to trying and hope it clicks one day 😉
I bet it will! It’s hard to control something when you’re not conscious. He’ll get it!!
Night time is hard for a lot of kiddos, especially if their parents had issues. We are working on potty training #3 right now (1 week older than Lauren’s #3), but my 4 and almost 6 year olds wet the bed almost every night (4 year old has never been dry)… they are very heavy sleepers plus my husband and I wet the bed longer. Hopefully they learn soon (those diapers are expensive!!) but some do it well into their teens =(
Samuel still wears diapers at night too. I know nighttime wetting is pretty common, so I’m not sweating it right now.
I heard if you give them a tsp of honey it helps, my son just turned 3 but was potty trained a few months before his birthday, we let him run around bottomless and praised him each time he went for the whole weekend and the rest was history, he has some accidents at night but we try to wake him up thru the night and sometimes we make it two weeks with no bed wetting.
I did the three day method with our youngest and it worked great! I wonder if it would have worked for the one I had a tough time with or if he just needed extra time. Either way, he’s potty trained now and I am soooo glad those days are behind us, haha!
So funny, I’m right there with you and my almost three year old!
We have been working with my son for what seems like forever. I still don’t trust him in public and he wears a pull-up when we do. We had to let him go pantless before he caught on to go poo in the potty. Nothing to catch it so he decided he better use the potty. But given the chance, he will go in his big boy pants.
You’re lucky he used the potty for the poop! I bet my son would just go on the floor, lol.
ashley p says
we had a really easy time with my oldest…he was just over 3.5 and it was less than 4 days; I planned to do the same with my youngest, but he had other ideas. At 3, he decided he was done with diapers…I was in potty training hell for 6 months and I have no idea why anyone would want to do that purposely….
It’s amazing how different each kid is!
Kristen Mae of Abandoning Pretense says
Yes to allll of this!
And really, two toilet posts in one day? We must be soul-sisters or something… 😉
Kristen Kelly says
Oh boy! My son is just one, but we will be getting to that potty training phase before I know it! This makes me super excited! Haha! Stopping by from SITS on Facebook!
So funny! I needed to read this,…potty training SUCKS! I am so stressed about it too….Frozen panties didn’t even help!
LOL! They never end up caring about what we think they will, do they? She’s still little… she’ll get it!!
MJ @ Daisy & June says
Stopping by from the link up! <3
OMG YES! I am now "training" my fourth child and he has surprised me. i was planning on waiting for him to really show me he was ready – well hes only 17 months and ready to go. My older kids trained for what felt like a million years. Its refreshing to hear someone else on this wave length!
Amen sister. Dreading this summer since I have to accomplish this feat by September, ready or not. Mikey potty trained himself end of last summer but then within a week decided he liked diapers and there went that. Round two. I definitely learned by now that I like diapers better too…at least until they are like 5. Its gonna be another two years of the obnoxious unending “do u need to go potty?” Litany. Last time tho …I can do this!
I’m still in the ‘do you need to go’ stage with Samuel and then there’ll be Annelise. I hear girls are easier. We’ll see.
Lori Who Needs A Cape? says
Soon to be potty-training our youngest, will be glad to have potty-training in our past!
My thoughts exactly! Why rush it? Let them be little – and let them poop in a diaper if they want to!
I have the quote ‘Let them be little’ framed in my kitchen 🙂 (Maybe I should add the second part, haha)
We are considering to start potty training now at 18 months and I’m so glad I read this. Not only is it funny, but it really made me think about all the possible places we will have to deal with her having to go. And then like you said, you actually have to get them a place to go which now kinda freaks me out. Maybe I’ll wait long enough so I can just teach her the hover technique.
Haha! I’m happy to help?
I’m happy I trained the kiddo at 2. Yes, it was stressful, but not as bad as you described. And now I don’t have to deal with diapers. I would wait till after the kiddo peeped before leaving the house for groceries, it was just easier than the panic run to the store bathroom. We also used training pants at the sitters till kiddo got it down. I don’t understand the desire to keep kids in diapers so long. I’ve also read that children become much more resistant to the change of using the toilet instead of diapers if you wait so long. Check out “Oh Crap Potty Training”, the author knows her stuff.
I may have exaggerated a bit for the sake of humor 😉 However, I do think there’s some truth to what I wrote. We started training our oldest before he was two. It took forever and he refused to poop on the potty. Then one day, all by himself, he decided he was ready and that was that. No more problems. Our second was very resistant to the whole thing, so we saw no point in stressing everyone out. Now that he’s older, he’s doing great. And I’ll follow the cues of our daughter for when she’s ready. All in all, every kid (and family) is different, so you do what works for you!
Is it weird that, while I was reading that, I was sort of missing it? Mine are 7 and 4 and that is the end of the road for us. So while I was remembering feeling all of those awful things that you had mentioned, I was still kind of nostalgic for going through that whole process. Ok, no, you’re right, I’m nuts! But it is that time of the month, and I can get pretty loopy!!!
Veronica Bohan says
I am just not going to be cleaning poop off a 4 year olds behind on a regular basis, I do not want to do that. I do not want to be the mom changing her 4 year olds diaper in a restroom. I would much rather tackle it as soon as humanly possible. There is no way I am going to go through a toddler in diapers. It’s not that I’m grossed out by diapers, I’m grossed out by big kids in them. To each her/his own, but man, as soon as my guy turns 16 months, he is starting training.
They do train themselves, my 3 yr old had no interest and never went on the potty a few months ago, now shes trained, She had to deceide herself when she was ready. She loves rewards and potty dances, make it fun!
Carol K. says
Ok, Here’s the deal….I just started following you on Facebook so I am just not seeing this, but I just have to say this….I try not to judge, really I do….but those who say their kid has been potty trained since 16, 18, 22 months……….ok — good for you. If they really are potty trained. And some probably are. All I know is my experience and I tell any new mom who is asking me and willing to listen. My first son, we tried the usual…slowly introducing him, asking if he wanted to use the potty, “look at daddy, don’t you wanna be just like him”. This was all around 2 years old…no interest….2 1/2 –slightly more interest, 3 yrs old – success — for a few days at least, 3 1/2 — success again, most of the time (with #1 at least). #2, well that was a different story, that was a nightmare! crying, scared to sit on potty to poop, weeks of constipation, holding it, crying, yelling, more crying (by me), suppositories and more suppositories. Finally at almost 4 — success — but pull ups at night for a couple more years.
Son #2 — I didn’t mention potty training once, not once. The day after Christmas at 3 1/2. I said no more diapers and no kidding………potty trained in a day, used the toilet to pee and poo from that day forward, would come and tell me when he had to go, used pull ups at night for 1 week only. No accidents worth mentioning since. The moral of my long rambling story……when we force things, it doesn’t always turn out how we want or imagine, it’s not always up to us. Sometimes the kid just needs to be *ready*, completely ready, on their own.
I love the way you worded that! “When we force things, it doesn’t always turn out how we want or imagine.” We have had the same problem with trying to force it and ending up with a constipated kid, so we try to never force it.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU. I found your post after I googled “Potty training, what am I doing wrong?!” we have 4 daughters and #3 who is 4 years and 4 months will not to go poop anywhere but her underwear. We take the underwear away at home and she will then “go” in her potty. I mean a Hershey kiss sized turd. The poor thing holds the motherland for her underwear. And she also has a fear of using the actual toilet, only her little potty, which I don’t really care at this point, as long as it’s not in her underwear!! The thing is, when she does go, she DOES NOT GIVE A CRAP (pun intended) she will continue on her with her life. We’ve steered clear of shaming and punishment as much as possible. I’ve stopped stressing and figure she’ll eventually choose to fully go in the potty when she’s ready. But after she had an accident at preschool yesterday, I was feeling rather defeated and discouraged. So thank you so much for your transparency, I was feeling very alone.
I’m so glad it helped! My oldest refused to poop on the potty for a long time too. He’d wear underwear, tell me he needed to go, I’d put a diaper on him, he’d do his business, we’d change him, and that was that. Then one day, he just got it. It was like flipping a switch. Your daughter will get it!!