Just Say “NO” to Potty Training!


After successfully “training” my Oldest to sleep through the night, the next big step was potty training.

I was a new mom whose close friends were quite useless since they themselves didn’t have children. So, I turned to my heartless best friend… Google.

I read a few blogs about potty training that all seemed to stress the same few points. I even spent a couple hours at Barnes N Noble reading only the Potty Training chapters in parenting books (don’t judge, I was young and poor). These too stressed the same few points.

  • children begin potty training between 18 and 36 months old (closer to 24 months for girls and 30 for boys)
  • once one decides to put a child in undies you can NEVER for ANY reason put them back into diapers
  • determination is KEY

So, like any loving mother, when my oldest was around 22 months old we started potty training. Before I “officially” started training, we had the little, soon to be germ saturated, potty chair because you know you have to “introduce” your child to a potty chair before they can use it properly. They need a place to observe your peeing habits closely and mimic what you are modeling. Personally, Oldest enjoyed using the oh-so-cute potty chair as a means to climb into the bathtub and as a joy-filled place to jump.

Two weeks of potty modeling… check! Okay, let’s bite the bullet!! (SIDE-NOTE: Start potty training over the weekend so your husband gets to witness first hand the Potty Prison you will be living in… maybe he’ll bring you home Starbucks on Monday!)

My weekend went something like this.

SCENE: Saturday Morning

Internal Me: “It’s Saturday… game day. We can do this… I know we can. We are well prepared. Potty chair training is done, we have cute new Disney Princess panties, plus a bag of M&M’s to encourage Oldest’s inevitable awesomeness in the area of “all things going potty”. We have courage and conviction and most importantly… the determination all those wise, older, book writing parents have told us we need.”

SCENE: Sunday Night

Internal Me: “Well… we suck! What is going wrong with us?! We asked her every 15 minutes after she drank water if she needed to go potty. Then she’d pee on the floor after 17 minutes. She doesn’t understand what a reward is so she ended up, not only peeing all over the floor, but crying for M&M’s all day! We can’t go back now… there is no going back!! WE’VE FAILED and our failure will for certain produce an 18-year-old leaving off for college wearing diapers!!!

HONESTY CHECK: I lived a bit over a week in Potty Prison and I vowed never to return.

Now, I know what some of y’all are thinking. “I trained my child to pee in the potty at 18 months old and it CAN be done!” I don’t doubt you. I’ve met you before and I say “kudos” coupled with a strong, hearty high-five!

Kudos for being able to never leave your home for 3 months. Kudos for having the stamina to ask you child over and over again if they need to go potty.

Kudoes for waking up 1-2 times a night to get your child out of bed to go potty.

Kudos for being able to clean up pee off the floors all day.

For me, I won’t do it!!

So this post might be more for women that are wired for defeat… like me!

I am here to bring a shining ray of hope to other Potty Prison failures. In my always humble opinion, I don’t understand forcing upon my child some behavior that, by the 4th grade, everyone is going to know how to do naturally.

Some great reasons why someone would voluntarily place themself in Potty Prison might be the following:

  • Money: Diapers are expensive! If your family needs the extra money every month than I say to you, “Friend, you are a blessing bestowed upon your family. To be locked in Potty Prison, for those you love, is beautifully sacrificial! It’s commendable and you’re a better woman than I will ever be!!!”
  • School: Most day cares and Pre-K want children potty trained by 3
  • Age: If your child is 4 1/2 and still wearing a diaper… you might seek help/pointers from your doctor

Some “not-so-great” reasons to voluntarily but yourself (and your child) in Potty Prison might be the following:

  • Pride: Pride is hard! Unfortunately the world judges those of us who are the “occupational child raisers” based on our children’s behavior and completed mile-markers. It’s an intense role that can’t always be judged, as if it’s the worlds place, by what is seen in public. I might have a child who can pee in a potty at 2 but little does “The Public” know, I was at home yelling at them for 6 months, stalking their every move and making our whole house miserable! Was that being a great parent… um… nope! Pride is something I fight, and not terribly well, because I want my hard work to be validated by adults. But my hard work and my loving persistence might not show it’s fruit for years (and the world still might not commend me for it!). So… I have to either be okay with not getting validation from “The Public” or find something outside my children that will bring about the shower of praises I desire from “The Public” at large. My children can’t be my source of praise or I will really hurt them! Honesty though, I suck at this. I find myself comparing my children and parenting skills with “the Public” all the time. Which is nuts because all it gives me back in either guilt or misplaced pride, neither of which I want! At that point, my children become objects to show off instead of the humans I love!!
  • Because Everyone Else Is: WHO CARES!! Just sit back and enjoy… I mean pray for… their self-induced misery (hee hee)!
  • Fear: My “no-nonsense” aunt told me once, “Well, she’s not going to be 25 and peeing the bed!” Just relax, they will get there, you are doing great! Enjoy some M&M’s!!!

Have you ever placed yourself in or been witness to the following scene?



IT’S MADNESS!!! What are we doing??? It’s a miracle any child would want to get near a potty!!

I decided, NO!! I will not potty train!!!

HONESTLY CHECK: There is a bit of training in everything, such as the following:

  • How to get your pee into the potty, not on the floor
  • How to wipe
  • How to go potty at night without waking up mom and/or dad
  • How to wash your hands
  • How to patiently wait for Mr. or Mrs. #2
  • (add your own)

The main way the Moderate Family avoids utter misery is to wait until our child is GOOD and READY to use the potty.

Remember the scene earlier about my week in Potty Prison? Well, I stepped back and realized she was not ready.

Yes, her diapers were staying drier longer and she was over 2 years old. She was close… but not ready.

She also didn’t grasp the concept of a reward. She would get upset that she didn’t get more than 1 M&M and she didn’t connect that going potty = M&M = deliciousness!

A lot of good those M&M’s were doing, except they did provide a hand full of chocolate to throw in my mouth while I was failing at motherhood! I put the potty off for 4 months.

Do you know what happened when we tried again? She wet her panties 2 times and then she went in the potty. I didn’t train her, in the official ways of training. She had lovingly and intensely watched me pee for the last 2 1/2 years and she didn’t like being wet (Adam Sandler lied… it’s not “cool to pee your pants!”) All this created a girl who was ready to use the potty.

I didn’t even need to bribe her! But I did give her an M&M anyways just to prove my awesomeness as early as possible!

“Yeah but Moderate Mama… what about Middle?”

I am so glad you asked me that. I was TERRIFIED over what horrors Middle+the potty would equal. But I was bound and determined to use what I’d learned from Oldest and I waited until he was ready.

Around 3 years and 3 months his diapers were dry for the entire morning, he understood what a reward was, plus, one day he said…

“Mama, I want to use the potty!”

I don’t mean to brag, but my senses are so well tuned that I felt at that moment he was ready (wink)!

Middle had a hand full of accidents but was a “day potty fan” in a week. I never had to harass him about using the potty (except for when he was intensely playing. He need a reminder every 1 hour or so)

SIDE-NOTE: You have to decide what position your son needs to be in before his peeing commences. I started out sitting Middle on the toilet seat backwards in hopes that his pee would not dawn my walls. (I also said “no” to cute potty chairs. Now, the potty seats that sit on top of the big potty seat are great! This is the one we use… click here) This worked well for a while but he soon put two and two together. Oldest and Mama sit down to pee but Dad does not. So, from that point on, “Boys stand to pee Mama!” Okay… fine. He would stand on a stool, lean forwards, putting his hands on the top of the open lid, and pee straight into the potty.

EXTRA: When your son is mid-pee, don’t talk to him!! You will get peed on like the olden days when he was a newborn (see How To Prepare for a “Clean” Diaper Change for tips on this blissful issue). Also, some boys need a target to aim at. Throw some Cheerios in the bowl and ask your son to “sink the ships!!”

I think the hardest part about being a potty user is being able to go at night.

Oldest would ONLY poop in her sleep so we had to wait until that stopped before we ever considered leaving her in panties at night (this was around age 3 1/2) Middle took longer to be “pee free” over night.

Once his diaper was consistently dry in the mornings we let him wear Pull-Ups at night (these things are great!! Don’t believe the “diaper confusion” lie!!!) When he started say things like…

“Mama, I got up 2 times and went pee pee. Then I went back to bed. Am I a smart boy?”

Again, my incredible in-tune-ness, coupled with my high level of discernment, told me he was ready for undies. So by 4 1/2 he was a “nighttime, Spiderman undies wearing” little boy!

EXTRA: We also gave Middle (3) Dry Bed homeopathic pills (by Homeopathy for Kids) around dinner time. Before we started doing this he was busting out of his diaper at night… seriously… so much pee y’all. After a week or so, he was able to sense he needed to go potty during the night. These things are amazing!

I do want to apologize to anyone who I might have offended during this post.

If you think I am telling you it’s wrong to place yourself in Potty Prison, I’m not. I am just sharing how we did it.

I can’t go back to Potty Prison!

I would go crazy, yell and eat 5 bags of “reward” M&M’s… in one day! I like to wait. I’m in no rush and if that means there can be a bit more peace in my home, that is what I’m going to do.

So far it has worked… we are 2 for 3… but check back in around 2 1/2 years and see if Youngest has me singing a different tune!

What “potty training” or “not potty training” advice do you have to share?

It’s Been a Pleasure,

Your Moderate Mama

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