Cloudy, With a Chance of Wine

Uncorking the beauty of parenting

5 reasons I’m never potty training my child. Ever.

One of the things that has shocked me the most about motherhood is how, every time we settle into a good routine, something happens to shake things up again.

Sleep regressions, teething, introducing solid foods, switching from formula to whole milk, daylight savings, colds, fevers, ear infections, middle-of-the-night fire alarms, transitioning to 2 naps, transitioning to 1 nap, transitioning to no naps, traveling…

The list is endless.

Having just bid adieu to naps forever, survived 2 trips across the country by myself with my toddler, and welcomed the 2-year molars into our lives, I finally felt like things were going to calm down for a bit. But then my husband had to open his mouth about potty training. He’s been desperate for this kid to start flushing her own bodily fluids down the potty since she was about a week old, which I find really funny seeing as she doesn’t do diapers.


And no, I’m not exaggerating.

So whenever I yell for him to grab me some more wipes when I’m up to my elbows in our daughter’s poo, and he says something like, “just think how easy OUR life will be when she’s not in diapers anymore!”, I feel a little…annoyed.

But now that our daughter has reached the 2-and-a-half-year mark, I’ve started to wonder if he has a point. Maybe it is time for me to bite the bullet and start potty training her. So I’ve been doing some research, and I spent the last 2 nights reading about readiness signals, rewards charts, and effective ways to encourage her to pee on the potty, and I’ve also read countless debates about using potties versus toilets, adopting the naked versus clothed approach, and the merits of moving straight to underpants versus investing in Pull-Ups.

And now I’m scared out of my mind.

And I’m pretty happy to just leave her in diapers until she goes to college.

The child is sitting on chamberpot at home

1. I hate public bathrooms. And I avoid them at all costs. In fact, I’d much rather pee on the side of the road then subject myself to the horror of squatting over a public toilet. It just seems so…disgusting. But once potty training starts, I’m pretty sure I’m going to spend about 50% of my day hanging out in public bathrooms, and I’m not sure my OCD will be able to handle it.

2. I don’t like messes. Or germs. A lot of people say that Pull-Ups are a waste of time and money, and that potty training is more effective when you just ditch the diapers and put your kid straight into underpants. But that sounds really, really messy to me. Just thinking about it makes me want to splash bleach all over my living room.

3. I can’t stand being tethered to the house. Between the nightmare of wrangling a 2-year-old into snowsuits, gloves, and boots, the misery of public bathrooms, and the number of accidents that are bound to happen while my daughter is mastering how to pee (and poo!) in the potty, I can’t see myself being overly motivated to leave the house again in this lifetime.

4. I need my beauty sleep. Apparently, a child who was once sleeping through the night often starts waking up again so she can pee. And since the chances of my husband embracing middle-of-the-night potty training (or any potty training, for that matter) is slim and none, I cannot see how this will be overly rewarding for me.

5. I hate doing laundry. I’ve read that some kids don’t grow out of the whole bed-wetting thing until they’re 5. Were you aware of this? Because that is a lot of pee-soaked sheets, my friends.

The only upside of this whole potty training business is the blog fodder it will provide me with.

Because I know how much you are all dying to hear about my daughter’s bowel habits.

Do you have any potty training advice for me?

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43 Responses

  1. I hear you! I’ve been dragging my feet a little too. I kept saying I didn’t want to push potty training on our nearly 2.5 yo son right before a new baby is set to arrive (STILL pregnant GAH!). BUT also because of some of the reasons you mentioned: being stuck in the house, public toilets, accidents.

    THEN he started peeing on the floor routinely about a week ago and after about 2 days of losing my mind cleaning up tinkle (While he’s peeing on the floor? He says “tinkle goes in potty.” Real cute kid.), he asked to use the toilet.

    And he’s been asking to use the toilet routinely every since! Just like that?!

    He’s not consistent and he still wears cloth diapers and he doesn’t get up at night but he often wakes up dry or nearly dry, so I think we’re on the right track. . .

    BUT right now, I’m letting him decide when and how he wants to use the bathroom. I don’t see any need to formally “train” him with a new baby due any minute. We’ll get there soon enough.

    I guess what I’m saying is, your daughter should be pretty easy once she puts her mind to it. Kids are naturally curious about anything GROSS. haha.

    I think a couple of things lead up to Mac’s decision to use the toilet: we take him to the bathroom with us a lot (because he can’t be trusted unattended – ha), we had a little rhyming book about the steps you do when using the bathroom. He got when he was 2 and he memorized it so every time we go to the bathroom he recites it. And gross as it sounds, when he wanted to start flushing, we let him. Even in a public restroom (always washing hands afterwards).

    So maybe a few little things like this will get your daughter self-starting too? I’m certain she’s whip smart and it won’t be too bad. . .But if it is, I want to hear all about it! hahahaha! xo

    • HA!!! If it is a nightmare (which I’m sure it will be – you know how it is over here – ha!), I will definitely write about it!

      Thanks SO MUCH for the tips. It’s funny – she sat on the potty a “peeped” a few times a few months ago, but now she won’t even go close to the potty. In fact, she no longer says, “me poo” like she used to. And when I ask if she pees on the potty, she says, “ME PEE DIAPER!” So she’s clearly not ready. But that’s fine with me!!! I figure she will figure it out when she’s ready, and everyone says it’s a nightmare if you push it too soon, so I guess it’s better to wait.

      Let me know when that baby finally arrives!!!!

      • Don’t worry about her declining the potty. Mac was doing the same thing. I’d offer to get him to the bathroom and he’d say “no.” Even while tinkling on the floor. If she’s telling you she’s done it,, I think that’s likely a step in the right direction. I honestly think sometimes the diapers are easier. How many years after that do you hear the dreaded “mom, can you help me wipe?” Ugh.

        And the comment about pull ups over underwear is brilliant! We use cloth but when he’s ready for underwear, I’m definitely trying this trick especially when we go out or during nighttime. I never would have thought of it!

      • Thank you!

        And YES! The pull-ups and underwear thing sounds genius to me. Of course, I’ve never potty trained, so it might be a total nightmare, but that’s how I’m going to approach it. :)

  2. First off, the absolute first thought that crossed my mind is, “Thank god my girls are potty trained!” Because I am never going through it again. Ok, I think you know that my first was the one harder of the two with potty training. The one thing I did wrong there was prolong the pull-up wearing. Once I took them away and put her in underwear and the accidents fall where they may, she was potty trained in no joke less then a week. With Lily, it was a whole different ball game, because the kid just wanted to train, because whatever Emma does, she has to do. So, yes totally different child and easier for sure. But seriously, my one piece of advice is about those pull-ups, because it truly worked here after 6 long months of banging my head against the wall!

    • I have heard this about pull-ups. A friend told me to put her in underwear and put the pull-ups over top. That way she feels wet, but the pull-up catches everything. So that’s what I’ll try. But man, this is going to be hard because she REFUSES to sit on the potty. OY!

  3. Our youngest, now 4 was the hardest to train. I was desperate for her to potty train so she could go to play school and I would get a break. She also hit that age where she couldn’t advance in classes (gymnastics, swimming, dance) unless she was trained, but I’ve never seen a kid so determined to go to college in diapers! I tried everything, was essentially tethered to the house for over a year (I thought we would both go crazy) and she is finally fully trained (just after her 4th birthday), My story isn’t very encouraging, but the message is, it will happen! Promise!

  4. Just Do it. Dive right in. No time like the present. She is probably physically ready. My daughter will be 3 in Feb and she has been potty training for a year, now she is day time potty trained and wears a pull up at night. Girls are far easier than boys, I had 2 boys before her. Every child does it at their own pace though and when she is mentally ready she will give you signs. Let her be naked and see what happens:)

    • Yikes. A year?! That’s my biggest fear. Some people say if you wait until they initiate it themselves, they train in a week (or less). That’s my hope, anyway!!! ;)

      • I tried potty training my son a few months before his 3rd birthday. (I was pregnant and everybody insisted that I wouldn’t want TWO kids in diapers.) He wasn’t interested and I finally realized I’d rather change two sets of diapers than cleaning up his accidents. I decided I would wait until after my new baby had been born and was sleeping through the night before I would try again. When my son was almost 3.5 years old, he asked, “Mom, will you potty train me?” He was using the potty like a pro two days later.

  5. I’m biting the bullet with you. We’re getting Noah a potty for Christmas and starting our training into the new year. New year, fresh starts, right?

    I had someone actually recommend something quite genius to me. Put your child in regular underwear, with a pull up over it. That way it has all of the affects underwear would have on your child, and the pull up over to contain the mess for mom and dad.

  6. My kid wanted nothing to do with potty training….he didn’t care about stickers, toys, treats, etc. Then one day I was eating some sushi and he asked for a piece (I know….I have a weird kid….he’s loved sushi since he first tried it). I saw an opportunity and said, “Sure, you can have a piece, as soon as you go potty in the toilet.” Two days later he was potty trained. Done. So, my advice would be: don’t try to bribe her with stuff she doesn’t want. Think of something she REALLY wants and bribe her with that. I call it “finding the kid’s currency.” And GOOD LUCK!!!

  7. I’m right with ya with my 2.5 year old now. I tried to entice my son to use the potty, but he wasn’t going to until HE was ready. I’m letting my daughter take the lead this time, so that when she is ready, her body is ready, and we don’t regress and have to worry too much about accidents, etc. This is also called the I’m Too Lazy approach. Cheers!

  8. I let my son’s daycare potty-train him. Lazy, but genius!

  9. It really isn’t all that horrifying. I promise!

  10. My biggest piece of advice is not to let other people (.e.g,, a grandparent) tell you when you should start potty training. You’ll know when your kid is ready. And each kid is different. I gave into the pressure with my first child, and it completely backfired on me. We had issues we likely wouldn’t have had if I had waited until she was ready. I may have gone in the extreme opposite direction with my second child. I didn’t push it at all (Talked about how when he was a big boy he’d use the potty but didn’t push. Gave him options but didn’t push.). He was content to use his diapers for waaaaaaay too long. I finally told him (as we were approaching his 4th birthday–yes, you read that correctly) that there was a rule that 4-year-olds don’t wear diapers. Sure enough, on his 4th birthday, he stopped wearing diapers. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that one sooner. Good luck. :-)

  11. I didn’t potty train any of my three kids. I started with my first and got so frustrated that I gave up. My reasons matched all of yours except #4 – I didn’t really think about that one, but I can just insert “I’m lazy” in there. I’m not a germ-a-phobe, but I still don’t like my kids rubbing their hands all over public (or private) toilets/floors/sinks/etc., so I figured the older they were by the time they were using the potty, the better.

    I put the little potty down in our bathroom and put them on it and if they wanted to use it then they would. Turns out that I hated that little potty because I had to clean the stupid thing. Why not just use the big toilet, so we can flush the mess. So I bought a stool for the big potty. I’m a bad example though because my kids were 3, 3.5 and 4 before they were potty trained. One of them was five before he was out of Pull-ups at night. That was a lot of money, but it saved my sanity.

  12. I’m no pro, but I will say two things: naked and no Pull Ups. THat’s how we rolled in our house. Oh, I lied. I have a third thing. Nighttime is totally different. Put her in a diaper or overnight Pull Up at night. What they can control during the day is waaaay different than what they can control at night. Kind of like what I can control while watching sitting down relaxing vs what I can control when I sneeze, or laugh, or jump. It’s simply out of my control. Bladder control, that is;)

  13. I have no advice but I’m glad to be reading others’ tips. Really like the pull-ups/underwear combo! I’m in this storm with my 3-yr-old right now. The problem is she’s a pee grazer. Just a little at a time. My in-laws say it’s rewards that’ll work, like chocolate, but she’ll pee a little bit, ask for chocolate, and then pee on the floor. I’m not sure if she doesn’t get it or gets it all too well.

  14. Dude, NO WORRIES. You, aces of all things motherhood have totally got this! Will be here, cheering you, and all your germ-filled encounters, on!

  15. Try the towel potty training method.

  16. There is no ONE method that will guarantee success.

    My oldest (boy) was 2 1/2 when we started, success at 3 1/2. Was staying DRY, wouldn’t poop anywhere but his pullup, underwear, tub, etc. Took an egg timer & set for every 20 minutes (while awake) & it took THREE days for me to catch him going & be on the potty at the same time. Never had an accident again.

    My 2nd (boy) was 2 1/2 when we started. 4 1/2 for success. I was pregnant with his sister & told him he was going to be a big brother. Week later, in underwear all day. (Granted we have since discovered his bladder is underdeveloped & he’s on meds for bed wetting, but that’s another issue all together.

    My daughter (I’m DONE now!) had just turned two. I was thinking AWESOME!! No more diapers! She holds it til she’s constipated. But we can’t tell that’s the problem. She would go & it would be soft. But it would burn her poor little hiney & cause rashes that NOTHING was helping! THAT took a over year of dr visits, creams, ointments, & TWO pediatric GI specialists to fix. She’s 4 1/2 now…been great for the past year. Still sleeps in pull up to prevent accidents (I would rather buy those than wash sheets daily), but otherwise, we’re great!

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  18. I’ve potty trained 2 girls (now 9 and 5). I let them both pretty much figure it out for themselves timing wise anyways. When my oldest was around 2.5 she was pretty much done”training”. We went on a week long road trip to Phoenix (3000 round trip). My advice is don’t start or even let them start if you have a long trip planned. It totally messed her training up. So if theres a trip or big move or anything like that it will probably reverse any progress made. Also found that since they were same sex as me letting them go to the bathroom with me so they could see how it’s done helped. They are going through the independent stage around potty training age so use that to your advantage.

  19. Oh my gosh I AM SO HAPPPY I found this post!!!!!! I’ve been stressing over this whole potty training thing!! Alice will be 3 June 1st. I have tried bribery, setting the timer, new potty chair, new underwear. She is SO STUBBORN!! I feel like I am on cloud nine right now!! I’m not alone!!!! BTW I’m with you…… I’ll worry about it when she goes to college!!

  20. I did one day training with my lo when she was about two weeks shy of being two. I let her got totally naked. We put the potty in the living-room and i’d have her sit on it every 10 min (giving her plenty to drink) when she went we made it a big thing (dance around, praising her, and we drew stars on a white broad since she wasn’t interested in candy or stickers as a reward) when she had an accident we acted like it wasn’t anything bad just cleaned it up. At night she wore a pull up. The next day i put her in just undies and she had maybe one accident by the end of the week the potty was back in the bathroom and she was fully clothes. we hardly had any accidents (at home or out and about) she is three and half now and is fully (day and night) trained and even on long trips (eight hours or more) she doesn’t have accidents.

  21. Seriously, just stop all your planning. Good intentions go RIGHT THE FUCK OUT THE WINDOW when the kid refuses to wear two layers. NONE of my 3 girls would do that underwear under the pull ups trick. It flat out didn’t make sense to them WHY they would wear both, so they refused.

    We did the “boot camp” with the first one when she was one month away from her second birthday (because someone told me to!!) – during the summer – and she took a dump in the yard. I had a HARD time containing my laughter when my husband came in for a plastic bag. If I were blogging at the time that would have SOOOO been on the internet.

    The twins took their sweet time getting ready and I wasn’t in ANY hurry to deal with two potty trainers at the same time. They didn’t even start until right around 3 1/2. And one of them was allllmmost done, when the other started using pullups then the first one wanted to use pull ups and boy did we fall back a few steps there. Dragged it all out for MONTHS!!

    I know you don’t want the mess, but hey, you LIKE cleaning, right? It gives your OCD something to do. So pull the bandaid off and do NOT bring pull ups into your house. Wait until she wants to go on the potty “like a big girl” and then let her pick out pretty panties and go straight to panties. And make sure she understands, if she poos in her panties, they have to go in the trash – that worked for one of my friends little girls -they didn’t want their princess panties to be thrown away, so they RAN to the potty when they felt the poo train coming into the station.

  22. My son Andrew is now 5 and he still uses diapers. I was similar to you…I hate public restroom and don’t want Andrew in there for hours touching the toilet and putting his fingers in his mouth id flip. I didn’t want to go threw the whole training thing because I rather him just use his diapers than go on my floors. It’s also easier to go out with him, and shopping is so much easier when I don’t have to deal with embarrassing store accidents. Now I’m a single parent and work at home so diapers are a blessing especially with business calls. Now it’s not like I don’t want him to wear underwear but I’ve tried potty training before and it was a nightmare. He never even tells me when he has to go he just well goes! After cleaning his messes off the floor a couple times I decided to leave him in diapers. he’s home schooled so he doesn’t have to worry about kids making fun of him. My girl friend usually brings her son to come play with him. She even said I should train him because he’s too big for diapers but I’m waiting till he’s ready. Speak of it I just changed Andrew’s diaper and it took maybe 5 mins my gf is usually in the bathroom with her 4.5 year old for 20 mins when her kid.

    I found the easiest and best way is to let the child decide when they’re ready they will do it on there own in a matter of days. also I found this ( last week when I was thinking of potty training again. I read that and it’s true, I do seem to have one on one time when I’m changing him. I get to talk and bond with him before he runs off. Changing him is easy anyway I rather do that than clean loads of dirty cloth! When he has an accident in diapers it’s contained so I just change and he goes, in underwear when I was potty training him he would have an accident and everything was soaked. He’s small so the changing table in public restrooms are easy. With a diaper bag I have so much more room, and I never have to worry about him having an accident. Diapers are a blessing for me, I rather change a poopy diaper than scrub my floors lol. nobody has to agree with me and I don’t know if you’re still training your daughter but in your fine with it leave them in it.

  23. Madison Long says:

    Does no one else realize how selfish this mother sounds? Every reason begins with “I”!! I’m a 22 year old single mother of a 3 year old boy and 4 month old girl. My son was easily potty trained in two weeks, three months before his second birthday. You need your beauty rest!? Ha. There is no such thing with children. You don’t like GERMS!!? You have a child… We are way old enough to not be afraid of cooties anymore. I’m not sure if this blog was meant to be humorous or what but I sure hope there aren’t many people who agree with these ideals.

    • Oh man. I’m sorry you were having such a bad day when you read this post that you couldn’t see the humor in it. Motherhood is a tough job, regardless of what your situation is, which is why I like to poke fun at myself and try to make people laugh once in a while. Hopefully next time you’re on my blog you will be able to see the humor, rather than feeling like leaving a mean comment like this.

  24. Ok I am trying to potty train my 2.5 year old girl. I simply can’t take the piss on my floors that is about the nastiest thing ever. Yea yea I know I shouldn’t be a mom. I realized that a little late. She was one hundred percent planned. But then she didn’t sleep through the night till she was over 2 and I don’t mean like 1 a night I mean more like every 2-3 hours. Now she refuses to even try to go on the potty and instead just pisses all over my house and then cries about it.
    I now have the utmost respect for moms as I clearly made a huge mistake becoming one. I guess some people have the motherly instinct and some do not. I fall into the later.

    Don’t have children if you
    1. Like sleeping
    2. Don’t like screaming and yelling
    3. If you are extremely disgusted by human feces and piss
    4. If you work full time and have to do ALL the house work
    5. If you enjoy going places
    6. Trying to make your partner happy
    And many more.

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