Potty Training

Because life goes on….

Of all the parenting decisions we’ve made in the last 2.25 years, potty training has been one of the most difficult. All around me, parents are talking about “readiness” signs, like hiding to poop (need for privacy), communicating that they need to pee/poop (or already have), ability to take their clothes on and off (pants, at least), and a handful of other signs. When I read these lists, it wasn’t clear to me if my daughter was ready or not, and the last thing I wanted to do was force her to do something before she was ready and forever scar her.

Then I found Oh Crap! Potty Training. Actually, I first heard the author interviewed on my favorite podcast, and I liked what she said. She dismisses the whole idea of “readiness,” pointing out that in her experience, waiting until kids are “ready”(usually around age 3) is too late. For some reason, it becomes harder to teach them how to use the toilet if you wait until you see the typical signs. Instead of “readiness,” she advises to consider whether your child is capable of learning how to use the toilet. There aren’t concrete signs, necessarily; it’s something each parent has to determine on their own. Also, in the author’s experience, age 20-30 months is the prime time to potty train with the greatest success. At 27 months, C was right in the zone.

After listening to the podcast, I bought the book and dove right in. The author outlines her method, which isn’t complicated by any means, but requires determination, focus, and commitment on the part of the parent(s). I decided that (American) Thanksgiving weekend would be the best time to start, since I would have 4 days in a row at home with my daughter. I told her daycare provider, and she agreed that C was more than ready, and wished us luck.

I won’t go into detail (you’re welcome), but I will say that it was very, very intense and exhausting those first few days. The first day is literally watching your pantless child for signs that she needs to pee or is in the process of going, and getting her to the toilet ASAP. You can’t look away for a second! Even though things clicked fairly quickly for C, it was still tiring and disappointing when she didn’t make it in time and I had to clean up yet another mess. But, by the end of that first day, she actually initiated peeing on the toilet herself! It just kept getting better from there. Her first day back at daycare was a disaster, but only because they do things differently there. Now that she has learned the ropes, she stays (mostly) dry all day long. The times she isn’t dry are primarily because the daycare provider couldn’t help her in time, or because…

….Poop. We’re still working on that one, 11 days later. In fact, there’s a whole chapter in the above-mentioned book devoted to the topic and all the ways it can be challenging. For C, it’s a matter of not yet recognizing when it’s coming. I can say we’ve had a few successes, which were celebrated with much fanfare. And there’s a standing promise of candy for each successful poop in the toilet. (The book actually recommends against rewards, but we’re doing it anyway.)

We also have not tackled night training. She discusses it in the book, but we decided to wait on night training until she’s more fully day trained. To be honest, I’m hoping she just learns to either hold it all night, or wake up on her own when she needs to go. (Ha! Famous last words, right?)

I cannot recommend this book enough! If potty training has crossed your mind at all, even if you don’t think you or your child is ready, I suggest reading this book now. At the very least, check out the podcast interview with the author, or read her blog. It gave me the confidence to say with certainty that my daughter was capable of learning, along with all the tools I needed to have a successful start. It will be months before I can say she’s fully trained, but at just 11 days into it, she’s already nailed one aspect of it. Also, there’s a Facebook group that goes along with the book, where you can get advice and tips from other parents. I’ve posted there a few times, sometimes just for reassurance, and it’s been a wonderful experience. Oh, I almost forgot, there’s also a YouTube channel.

Note: I was not paid or even asked to write all these positive things about the book. I just loved it that much! 



8 thoughts on “Potty Training

  1. G has been getting use to the potty for a while now but he pees literally every 10 minutes, I have no idea how we are going to actually potty train. Our kids are the same age and I just can’t fathom doing it right now lol We planned on starting after moving at the end of the month and he gets use to a new daycare. Hopefully it goes as smoothly as possible!

    • The first day, we had a lot of pee accidents, but she’s been slowly consolidating as she learns to hold it for longer periods. It’s part of the learning. Wishing you all the luck!

  2. We had trouble with pooping for the single fact he needed to stand when he was pooping. Getting him to sit instead of running off to hide and poop in his undies has taken about 6 weeks because of that. Otherwise its been a breeze. Still in nappies at night but he’s woken dry a couple of times now so I think we’ll be giving those away sooner than expected. We tried when he was younger but it was too hit and miss (literally) so it was just after he turned 3 in the end and led entirely by him.

  3. We used that book too (this spring)! Pee was easy, poop was a different story. We had a few weeks of Izzy coming home every day with her underwear/pants in a bag because she pooped in them. I swear it gets better (we finally used rewards too and they were super helpful)!

    My daughter just turned 3 and we are waiting a while on nighttime training. I have read it can be a few years…

  4. We’re thinking of potty training over Christmas, so this post came at a perfect time! I read that book a few months ago, but will probably brush up on things before we dive in. It’s great to hear that it worked out so well for you, awesome job C (and mama!)

  5. Thank you for sharing this! LO is actually right over 2.5 (31m) and knows how to use the potty but just doesn’t want to do it at home. Half the time he refuses to even sit on the potty, so I’m definitely gonna check this book out.

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