Potty Training Stinks!


Potty Training Stinks

So far in my 3.5(ish) years of parenting, I have found that the trials I have struggled with most are the ones I was completely arrogant confident about pre-children.  I worked in child care throughout my college years, so I obviously had it all figured out going into the whole mommy gig after spending so much time with babies and toddlers (yes, I’m rolling my eyes at myself right now).

The hardest parenting milestone for me has not been getting my daughter to sleep through the night (that only took me 3 years – you’re clearly hearing from a parenting pro here), colic, or the terrible twos.   MY parenting nemesis…my arch enemy…the bane of my mommy existence is, without a doubt, potty training.  In my opinion, potty training just stinks!

I purchased potty training parenting books. I checked out every children’s book on the subject that our wonderful metro library has to offer over the last 2 years.   My daughter has her very own special potty, a potty seat for our “big potty”, and a sticker chart. We choreographed a rocking potty celebration dance. I have a stinking Pinterest potty board, and I have read all of your blog posts about how your child was successfully potty trained at 10 months old in one weekend (congratulations, by the way).

The first time my daughter “showed interest” in potty training (and by “showed interest” I mean her naked tushie came running at me after she had removed her soiled diaper and its “contents” all by herself), we bought her her own potty. We put it in our bathroom and she would sit on it while I used the restroom (which was, in itself, a huge step up from her wanting to sit on my lap during that time). It was a no pressure, get to know the potty season of our life.

She was about 18 months before we took our first official shot at potty training.  She cried every time she had an accident, and didn’t poop for the entire weekend.  We only had one successful potty trip by day 3.  It was that one time I carried her to the potty mid-stream, and the last few drops made it in (Cue Celebration Dance!)  She wasn’t ready, and I was determined to avoid both constipation and potty training PTSD for my baby.  So, we decided to try again in 6 months.  The second time, she was two years old.  By day 3 of this weekend, she had only one accident.  At around 8 pm.  Because she had held it all. day. long.  We tried again every three months, and each time, she would hold it all day– no matter how much juice or how many popsicles I allowed her to indulge in!

She turned 3 right as we found out baby #2 was on the way, and I made it my goal to get her potty trained by my second trimester.  Stakes were higher, and bribes got bigger.  We had fun “big girl” shopping trips where she excitedly chose Frozen and Doc McStuffins panties, but still- when it got right down to it, my (almost 3.5 year old) daughter wasn’t interested.  I had resigned to the fact that I would be diapering her and her baby brother at the same time. I had accepted that she would need to be diapered well into high school. I was ready write a blog post and title it, “Our Potty Training (Not A) Success Story: The Girl Who Wouldn’t Go.”  Even Facebook had thought it wise to promote a t-shirt for toddlers in my news feed featuring the hashtags #notpottytraining #nottrying, based on my potty-centric Google searching. (Salt in the wound, Zuckerburg).

But about two weeks ago, my daughter told me she needed to go potty.   At first, I thought it was a cruel joke, but she climbed up onto the potty- and she actually went!  And she has gone *almost* every time since then.  #1. #2. At home.  At Target.  At the park.  The elusive potty training switch was flipped in her brain, and she decided she was ready.  She’s been so excited and proud of herself, and so am I!

I couldn’t make my daughter use the potty.  I don’t have any tips or tricks.  But I can offer this:  Potty Training Stinks.  Literally.  Figuratively.  But potty training,  or any of the other parenting milestones, does not measure your success as a parent. You’re not “doing it wrong”. There is no suggested developmental timeline that means anything to your toddler, and there is no expert article or book written for potty training your child.  Be gentle with yourself, and your babies.  It might just happen when you least expect it! (Really!)

Was potty training difficult for you?  What has been your toughest parenting nemesis?  

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Becky Walker
I fell in love with my husband, Dustin, when I was a wide eyed 15 year old. I have been a mostly loving wife since June 5, 2010, and a mom since February 16, 2012. I live right by Tinker AFB, and I have three little ones- Lyla, 6, Karrick, 2, and our bonus baby Juliet, almost 1 year old! Along with serving as Community Engagement Manager for OKCMB, I work part time from the closet under our stairs teaching English to Chinese students early in the morning! The most relaxing part of my day is when I drink my whole cup of coffee -HOT- while it’s still dark, and the rest of my house is still and quiet. During the day, the kids and I are out and about, exploring the city and avoiding the laundry. I do my very best to run a happy and healthy household for my husband and the little people God has entrusted to me.


  1. My son took forever to potty train, I feel your pain. My daughter, thankfully, seems to practically be training herself! Hope your kiddo #2 is easier.

  2. My daughter will be 3 in November and we are currently potty training. I’m second guessing myself as to her readiness. She will pee in the potty but only with me prompting. She won’t poop in the potty and holds it until she’s in a diaper for nap time. She’s also terrified of auto-flush toilets. Recently, she’s had a lot of trouble sleeping. I’m starting to wonder if the two are related. Any thought?

    • I totally understand the struggle!! I had some success when I let her wear a diaper right before bed, knowing that she was going to poop, and I had her sit on the potty in her diaper as soon as she started pushing (she’s never been very discreet!). When she was done, we dumped the diaper and flushed it down. I still didn’t have a lot of success until she decided it was okay on her own!
      My only other somewhat successful trick involved bribery. Usually I try to avoid it, but I did give her a “potty poop sticker chart”. I let her pick a toy that she wanted and put a picture of it at the top. She gets one sticker every time she poops- sometimes that’s the extra motivation she needs to let it out! 🙂 best of luck to you!! It will happen!

  3. My 2.5 year old is “successfully” potty trained but will only go in the toilet he was trained on. Downstairs toilet? No. At daycare? Nope? Public restrooms? Forget it! It is a screaming and crying rage-a-thon. He will hold it literally all day long unless he has access to “his” toilet. We have tried all the tricks of the trade for going potty elsewhere but to no avail. I am so afraid he is going to get a bladder infection or a UTI from holding it. I am at my wits end. I don’t know if I should continue to let him hold it or put him back in diapers.


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