3 things you’re doing to sabotage potty training

Nothing strikes terror in the heart of parents quite like these two words: potty training. Any sort of change is challenging and even downright scary for a toddler, but you add poop and pee into the mix and you now have a recipe for disaster.

Can you tell I’m not a big fan of the potty training stage? Ugh. I hate everything about it–the constant messes and “accidents”. Money wasted on “big boy” and “big girl” pull-ups. The stench of it all and the uncanny ability to poop the moment you sit down and grab a bite to eat.

I’ve successfully potty-trained six kids. Six kids. I’m still waiting for my gold medal. It was never easy. Not one of my kids “practically trained themselves”. I had one child delay going in the potty until he was nearly 4 years old. At a certain point in our parenting, we had three children in diapers!

Mom, what are the three things you’re doing right now that are sabotaging potty training your child?

You rushed it. It was all too much too soon. With potty training, you really have to wait and be patient for true signs of readiness.If your child can’t climb onto the toilet seat without assistance, it might be too early. If they can’t reach the bathroom door, it might be too early. Potty training too early might cause bed-wetting, bladder infections and constipation issues later on. Let your child’s behavior guide you in this process–it will make it much less of a headache for you. Be prepared to have a late potty-trainer in the group–some kids just have a different time table than others.

You didn’t plan ahead. When potty-training begins, parents need to reserve a few days at home without any plans so they can focus on potty training. It’s too stressful–for both parent and child–to be out and about and have to worry about your child having an accident. We would commit to training diligently for one whole week and it was a relief to know we didn’t have to leave during this crucial training period.

You couldn’t resist temptation so you bought some disposable “underwear”. Pull-ups or disposable “underwear” are the devil. Most parents buy them under the guise that they’ll help their child transition from going in a diaper to a pair of real underwear. But this couldn’t be further than the truth. Your child will just continue to pee/poop in them and you’ll be flushing money down the drain. To put it simply, they don’t work.

I decided to go old school and bought a pair of waterproof training pants, just like the plastic underwear our mothers used. The beauty of the waterproof training pants is they are very inexpensive, they help prevent messy accidents and your child will get the sensation of being uncomfortable and wet. Worked like a charm.

Of course, every child is different. I promise, your child won’t be in diapers forever, even though it feels that way.

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5 thoughts on “3 things you’re doing to sabotage potty training”

  1. Thank you for sharing! We are semi-potty trained (pee YES poop NO) and I’m glad to know this is such a dreaded phase. I hoped it would be because I absolutely hate all of it. We did have success with Pull-ups but my own personality (I tend to come undone when I find another poop in the undies) is what continues to sabotage our efforts now. On a positive note, I’ve gone almost a week without making anyone (myself, my spouse, my child) cry about poopy pants. Yessssss.

  2. My son was potty trained by 20 months, but every child is different. What worked for us is letting him go bare bum at home and keeping his potty chair where he could see it, and asking him if he had to go or taking him to the potty if he looked like he was about to go. Really, we started getting him familiar with the potty from the time he was crawling. He had his potty chair in the bathroom so when I was in there I would talk about what I was doing and would say “That’s your potty where you can pee pee and poopy.” Once he was able to walk I sat him on the potty fully clothed to get him familar with sitting there. Then a little while later I tried setting him on his little potty chair with out his diaper and I sat in the floor and read him books about the potty. If he peed or pooed then I would sing and chant “Pee pee in the potty!” and cheer and get all excited and kiss and hug him. So, he got the idea that it was fun to use the potty. It takes a lot of patience, and there will be accidents, but it’s a new thing and they will catch on, eventually.

  3. We still use pullups at night, but switched to underwear during the day w/ #2. With my first we’d done pullups and that seemed to make things take longer to get her trained so we skipped pullups w/ the second other than at night.

  4. My kiddo just turned 2. I’ve offered her underpants once a month or so for the last few months and let her pee on the big toilet right before bath if she wanted. No pressure. If she didn’t go, great. If she went, fine. Last week, she said she wanted to wear big girl undies. Great. We had 1 accident or so a day and it was Mama training because she didn’t realize the gotta pee feeling. After a couple of days, she decided she wanted to put her diapers back on (she’s in cloth, so she knows when she pees). After 2 or 3 days, this morning she wanted her undies back on. No accidents today. She even will tell us when she needs to pee (though we remind her as well). And poop, she’s good to go. She always knows when she needs to go. She usually tries to go on the toilet, but sometimes prefers a diaper for a big job (she likes to squat). So, we aren’t there yet and we’ll definitely put a diaper on when we are out and about because we don’t want the stress of an accident (she wasn’t happy even though I never was mean about accidents in any way… just a happy uh oh, let’s clean up). So, yeah, we aren’t there yet, but my advice is let the child lead. My kiddo is pretty stubborn and I can’t make her pee. I save fighting for teeth brushing. I have a feeling most kids will train themselves if you give them plenty of opportunity and support. I’m not saying there won’t be accidents, but I think a lot of people make this harder than it needs to be.

  5. So my 27 month old is completely poop potty trained, haven’t changed a poopy diaper in about a month… He picked that up really fast. Peeing however is what we are struggling with… If I take him to go potty every 30 minutes or so he is fine but if I don’t he won’t tell me he has to go and has an accident. Any suggestions? Also, he doesn’t seem to mind being wet as even when he has an accident he won’t tell me.

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