our first and failed attempt {potty training part 1}

So help me, if one more person tells me that my son is too young for me “to be trying to potty train him”, my head is going to explode into 87 bajillion tiny pieces.

I am not the one wanting to potty train. Please believe me, I did not initiate this. Sure, I bought some potties from Ikea and a book or two about how big boys put their poop and pee into the potty, but that’s about it.

And then one day he started telling me before he needed to poop.

For the most part, we use cloth diapers (although this summer we have earned a whopping D- in that department, road trips, vacations, and general laziness, then whoops! Will you look at that? We just went through an entire Costco case of ‘sposies. ::hangs head::) which I think has helped a lot in the self-initiation of potty training. A soiled cloth diaper is just not as comfortable as a soiled disposable diaper and I think OBoy caught on to what was up down there because of that.

Alright, so the poop thing happened here an there, but really my arms are full of baby these days, so I wasn’t really chomping at the potty training bit. Until one time, when OBoy told me he had to poop and I ignored him.

::lalala fingers in my ears I don’t have time for this right now thankyouverymuch::

Until he had to just put it in his diaper out of necessity.

O, the mother guilt. My kiddo had figured out that he doesn’t want to put his poop in his diaper and I was not proud or encouraging or helpful. Oooooo, the guilt.

And so it was that after feeling like a right proper wench for doing what I did, I decided that OBoy deserves better. He deserves for me to help him learn what he wants to know. He deserves to be encouraged and supported.

{{Even about pooping.}}

To test the waters, I checked out a book from the library called “How to Potty Train your Kid in One Day”. HA. HAhahahahah. One day. I read it with a few truckloads of salt grains, because if there’s anything parenting has taught me it’s that the books are FULL OF IT, especially the ones that make promises. But it WAS helpful for breaking up all of the skills involved in training – pulling down and up pants and undies, washing and drying hands, wiping, flushing, etc. – things I’d never really considered. It’s just all about getting the P&P where it needs to go, right? I also read an extensive article online about the “three day” potty training method. This one was more my style, so we made plans to do that soon, but in the time being, we began to work on those skills.

We started having OBoy wipe himself when we were changing his diaper. We started letting him flush after we went potty. We started having him pull up and down his pants. We spent a LOT of time talking about diapers and potties and undies and where things are supposed to go. I bought a couple kiddo books and checked out others from the library about big boy potties.

Then, one Saturday two weeks ago we finally dove into the potty training deep end.

And it sucked.

Like, really, really sucked.

We followed the three day training model where you basically put potties all around the house (no, seriously, we own 5 potties for such a time as this), take off the kiddo’s pants and diaper, and WATCH HIM. Watch him watch him watch him while pumping him full of liquids, liquids, and salty snacks so he’ll drink more liquids. Then, when he starts to go, you rush him to the nearest potty and try to get some in it. Eventually he comes to associate what he now sees happening with the feeling that it’s about to happen. Sounds like a hoot, right?


{just drawing with chalk… pants-less}

So it’s 9am and we’re drinking and watching, drinking and watching. Then it’s 10. Drinking, watching, snacking, drinking. Then it’s noon. Watching, drinking… you get it. Then it’s 1:00 and we admit defeat, put a diaper on him, and lay him down for nap.

ONE O’CLOCK! NO POOP OR PEE IN A 4 HOUR PERIOD, and a very well hydrated 4 hour period no less. DanO and I followed that kid around like secret service agents and nothing. Not a drop.

He did of course, soak his way clear through his naptime diaper, though. {{Surprise!}}

DanO and I were so beyond frustrated. How are we supposed to be reinforcing something so that he learns it when it only happens once in a blue moon? Frustrated parents do not good potty trainers make, so we threw in the towel. We did! We said forget this, he can be in diapers until he’s 10 or figures it out on his own because it’s not worth the amount of anxiety and frustration that we just felt.

To be continued…

{{because really, no one wants to read 1,000 words about potty training in one sitting, plus my “poop” quota for the day has been met and exceeded.}}

17 Responses to “our first and failed attempt {potty training part 1}”

  1. Elizabeth

    This post makes me feel inadequate and stressed lol. I am impressed that you even have the energy to do it while having a baby at the same time! J will tell us when he has to go poop, but won’t poop in the potty. He has peed there though, but only after his bath. I’m thinking he’s on the 3 year plan though ;)

  2. Mo

    my son is 22 months old, and we just picked up a couple potties from Ikea this past weekend! No plans to use them yet, just thought we would have them around in the house so he gets used to seeing them, I figure he’ll want to start potty training about two days after I have this second baby, lol (Im 33 weeks now).
    Good luck with it, Im not looking forward to this next phase. Getting him to sleep in his big boy bed was easier than I thought, so maybe potty training will be?
    Can’t wait to hear the rest!!

    • Amber

      My 26 month old decided to potty train when new brother was 3 weeks old. It made for an interesting few days. Thankfully, he caught on quickly thanks to the “iGo Potty” app on my iphone :)

  3. Rebecca

    We try the 3-day method with our 31 month old (2 and 1/2 yr old for those who don’t do months) and it was working, but then he seemed really, really distressed so we stopped, but he was getting it. Turns out he had an ear infection. He seems interested again now, 3 months later, so we are gradually working on it.

    My daughter showed interested at 1.5 yrs but then not again until 3. She didn’t take too long to potty train day and night.

    My point: no ‘method’ is perfect. So glad you take the books with all their advice as a guideline and suggestion. They all have something to offer. Every child is different and unique and it is beautiful. You have to figure out what works for your family. If OBoy is ready then great! If he loses interest, that’s ok too. Best of luck! OBrother will be completely different when you get to that stage with him and that is ok (I know, that is a long way in the future, yeah yeah).

    Chin up!

  4. Baby wearing

    My daughter was a nightmare to potty train. I tried for a solid year. She would not tell me when she had to go, would fight about being on the toilet. I tried everything (rewards, etc). I finally gave up…. about 3 months after I gave up, she said “I have to go potty” and went! She never had a day time accident after that. Go figure!

    Good luck!

  5. Elaine

    It’s smart of you not to push it. He’ll get it in time. I’m eager to get K started and she has gone tee tee once and ONLY once – ha! But I’m just SO ready to be done with diapers!!

  6. Mary @ Parenthood

    My 2 1/2 year old has been potty trained since about 20 months. We did the natural infant hygiene thing, part time from five months onwards, and my goal was to be trained by the 1940s average age (18 months). Now the average is well over 30 months (hello disposables!) All that to say that I think the current conventional wisdom about “too young” has more to do with the diaper industry’s bottom line than actual child development. Toilet training isn’t something to stress out about though, but like learning to walk there is a broad range of normal. If you wait until child is much older, then those methods for learning in a day are more likely to work, but there’s nothing wrong with promoting the use of the toilet even if you don’t have the energy to follow around with a potty! Just encourage, get child to sit on potty prior to going out, after naps etc and eventually kid will get the idea!

    Apparently some believe that there is also a window between 18 months and 2 during which potty training is easier; if you miss that training may take longer until the “terrible two” period has past.

    According to a rather hilarious free DVD that Huggies sent us to encourage potty training and the incidental use of their pull ups, the average child actually takes eight months to completely potty train. Actually the DVD was remarkably helpful, if rather product-placement-y. (Said DVD still available for free online)

    Also, night training often comes way later than daytime, especially for boys. I had a cousin who wet the bed until he was 7! So don’t let accidents while sleeping discourage you. We used cloth training pants with good results for a long time.

    If your child gets trained and then suddenly starts soiling pants again, check whether constipated before assuming it’s a behavioral regression. (oh the guilt! My poor baby!)

    Last but not least: potty training isn’t a competition! Just support your kid the same way you supported learning to walk, eat or talk :) You’ve already managed to teach quite an amazing number of things if you stop to think about it!

  7. Laura

    I have been slowly working with my 28 month old on potty training for the past 4 months. He’s 90% trained at home and today we had our first successful outing where he was in underwear and used the potty at the park. (his potty which I brought from home in my car) After he was done I clorox wiped the potty and it was all good!
    Your little guy will catch on soon, keep it up and I agree that no pants, underwear, cloth diapers or pull-ups is for sure the way to go!

  8. Sarah S

    Potty training has been my achilles heel of parenting. My kiddos are 5 and 6 so they are well beyond that stage (and both have been sleeping in underpants for at least a year now) but oh my, potty training was not pretty around here for either one of them. I both hated it and sucked at it, which is only something I can admit with the gift of time. Hang in there, do what you think is right and rest assured you will not be sending him to middle school in diapers.

  9. Jennifer S.

    you’re doing great! it’s not easy. my son, who is now 5, was a breeze. we talked about it and talked about it and said after the baby (she is now 2 1/2) was born & the holidays passed, come the new year we will be using the potty. he came to buybuybaby with me and picked out his potties (two sesame street seats that fit into the adult potty). it worked like a charm. he wore diapers at night, pull ups during nap (& #2’s for awhile), and underwear every other time. we went on vacation, with pulls up, came home and those darn pull ups never made it back upstairs. it was underwear from there on out…in all took us about 8 months to be fully done & comfortable. even at night.

    that baby mentioned above who is now 2 1/2 has absolutely no desire to use the potty. and oooooooohhhhh have we tried. we went the same route, she got a princess potty. lucky girl. now? she could careless. we’ve tried just throwing her in underwear. hahahah that just brought out an un-princess like girl. i figure she will be potty trained by the time college rolls around. i’d like to stop buying diapers. but she has other plans. i just throw my hands in the air in defeat.

    you’re doing well! don’t stress it (that’s what i keep telling myself. the jury is still out if it’s working). it will happen.

  10. mama marchand

    Thank you SO MUCH for an honest post about potty training. Every other one I’ve read has been all unicorns & rainbows and I KNOW that’s not how it REALLY goes. We’re not there yet (my daughter is 17 months old) but when we are, I’ll remember this post and breathe easier, knowing that reality exists on the interwebs. ;)

  11. Kimie

    I laughed so hard when reading this…our 3.5 yr old does the same thing OBoy did…he will just hold it until we put a diaper on him for naps….our 2 year old will stand at the toilet and go “pssssssss” ( actually quite cute) But will not ” go” either. I have been really lazy about the whole business, as I’m homeschooling for preschoool, but my oldest is getting too big for his changing table, so I guess it’s time to get serious…

  12. Mae

    Piper’s just not ready. She doesn’t want to poop or pee on the potty, not even for candy. She wants to poopy and pee pee in her diaper, thankyouverymuch. I know because I asked her. She is just now at the point where she doesn’t lie about being poopy and asks to be changed right away.

    I’m in no rush. She’ll get there. They all do. As is evidenced by the fact that all the adults I know use toilets.

  13. grace

    don’t give up! we potty trained S (a boy) at 23 months using the 3 day method. It worked like magic. Granted I didn’t have a newborn like you do, and he happens to have record-breaking bladder control… but still. it can be done. I call BS to anyone who says boys can’t be trained before 2!!! GOOD LUCK!!!

    oh, also, don’t be afraid to let him go outside in the grass, we did that and then transitioned to potty.


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