The Reality of Potty Training

The Reality of Potty Training

Potty training sucks. Anyone who tells you different should be headbutted in the nose by a toddler. Okay, that may be a little extreme. Some kids DO take to potty training right away. If that was your kid, this post ain’t for you. This is the REALITY of potty training. This one goes out to all those moms covered in their children’s urine, the one’s washing their 40th load of laundry today, the ones standing in a pee puddle in the middle of Target. This post is for you.

I gave birth to a…well, lets call him “spirited” child. He is very smart and independent. He is also insanely stubborn. I have been dreading the potty training fiasco since the pregnancy test came up positive. Lets face it, its just not fun. At all. Like a lot of moms, I had this beautiful idea in my head that it would just magically click at the age of 2 and diapers would be a thing of the past.

The reality is, here we are at 3, and this is still a war I am fighting. So here is what you need to know if you too will be heading into this battle with your little one.

Pee…Pee Everywhere!

Potty Training
This is seriously how your life will feel for a while.

There will be pee and a lot of it. And it will be everywhere. Everywhere, but the toilet, that is. At least at first. Get as comfortable as possible being bathed in another human’s bodily fluids. Whether you are being peed on, or sopping pee off of the floor, or carrying urine soaked bedding to the laundry room, you will be in close contact with your child’s pee.

Try and plan for it. Have extra clothing picked out and extra bedding at the ready. Keep a mop or carpet cleaner handy at all times. This will save you a lot of headaches in the moment.

There Will Be Poop

potty training
The poop emoji is way cuter than the actual thing!

Many children will be comfortable peeing in the potty long before they are comfortable pooping in it. No idea why this is. I ask my toddler and he just says “I scared”. Not a clue what he is scared of because he has randomly pooped on the potty and lived to tell the tale.

Be prepared for the poop battle. It will more often than not end up in their pants or on the floor at first. Don’t stress. That’s par for the potty course. They will get on board eventually. They may win a lot of battles, but keep at it, and you will win the war, my friend.

No More Diapers…But(t)

potty training diapers

Rejoice! The end of diapers is nigh! What a wonderful thing. I don’t know a single parent that enjoys changing diapers. However, the “ick” factor doesn’t end when the diapers go away for good. Oh no!

You see, you will still be doing an excess of butt wiping. For me, this grosses me out more than changinSg all the diapers in the world. I can’t explain why. Its not rational. I have obviously been doing this task all along, but somehow now it just seems yuckier to me.


So Much Laundry

potty training laundry
The laundry seems never-ending!

You thought you were doing a lot of laundry before, moms. And you were. Be prepared for it to TRIPLE while potty training. I bought my son “big boy” underpants prior to starting this adventure. The ones I got had the days of the week on them. 7 pairs total. On day 1 of potty training, we got all the way from Sunday to Thursday before I gave in and made him go commando.

You will be washing bedding, and underpants, and clothing, and even shoes, so much more during this phase. But that’s all it is. A phase. This too shall pass. Grab that good bottle of wine and the big jug of detergent from the grocery store and go to your happy place as your washing machine works overtime.

Accidents Happen, but So Do “On Purposes”

potty training
What’s an “On-Purpose” you ask?

Everyone expects accidents when they are potty training a child. Kids cant always make it to the potty. All very normal stuff. However, there is something that I wasn’t expecting, and that is what I like to call “on purposes.”

Story time. My son has been doing well. He’s been going on the potty pretty regularly for days. He will even run to the bathroom if he has to go. Well, one day, he decided to be super lazy because he was laying down watching a cartoon and didn’t want to get up and go. I am not even exaggerating when I say this kid let a gallon of pee loose in his bed. Also should mention that this was 5 minutes after I made him sit on the potty and he told me he couldn’t go. The kicker? He didn’t even tell me. I found out because he asked me for a snack and I walked into his room and noticed he was laying in a puddle.

I usually try to stay calm and be positive. I’m going to be real with you though. I lost my ever loving mind. I was not prepared for an “on purpose”. It was not okay and I let that boy know it. Now, I hate yelling like a lunatic, and it always gives me a hefty dose of the dreaded mom guilt afterward. However, it worked. We have not had an “on purpose” incident since. Sure we have had “accidents” where we didn’t quite make the bathroom. Never again have we had a rebellious pee though. For that, I am thankful.

Its a Process

The most important thing I am learning is that this whole thing truly is a process. Potty training doesn’t happen with the flip of a switch. I thought my stubborn child was never ever going to get it. In my mind, I envisioned him going to high school graduation with a diaper under his gown. Seriously.

But I will say, he is starting to really get it. We have only been at this for a week and a half (trying on and off for a year, but this last serious attempt has been a week and a half) and we are having accident free days. I have to constantly remind him and force him to sit on the potty, but he is getting it. And he is getting excited about it.

We are conquering pee right now. Next will be the poop. Then eventually we will tackle nap and nighttime. The process is long, but its working. That’s what I keep reminding myself.

The Reality of Potty Training

What is Working for Us

potty training works

So I have been given tons of advice about this particular topic. And I am the mom who will try it all and see what works. You can read about some of that potty training advice HERE.

I want to share what is currently working for us. Bribery. No shame in my mom game here. My son wants a Paw Patrol Sea Patroller. He really wants it bad. So I made a sticker chart. Not even anything fancy. I used a piece of printer paper and a permanent marker. He gets a sticker for every time he goes pee. He will get 2 if he ever poops on the potty. An accident-free day earns him 3.

What potty training advice have you been given? What has worked for you? What has failed miserably? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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About Lisa Wingerter

I'm a 32 year old, married, stay-at-home-mom from the Metro Detroit area

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21 Comments on “The Reality of Potty Training”

  1. Love this! So true. My son was so difficult to train. Bribery definitely helped to some degree, but he’s always been stubborn. Still took awhile but we got there in the end. My daughter is almost two and I’ll be going through the process with her soon. I’m hoping she will be a lot easier.

  2. I just had a boy, so it is interesting to read about your point of view. Potty training my daughter was a breeze, but I knew boys were going to be different. (obviously lmao) anyways. Great post!

    1. Thanks Miranda! My family has all been girls. I have all nieces on my side. And my niece has daughters. Boys are a whole new ball game. No pun intended. I find myself asking my husband things that I’ve never thought about. Like “does it matter which way his (my son’s) penis goes when I put underwear on him” lol there is a whole different mechanical system to those things that apparently I am clueless on!

  3. Great tips on potty training. I too had a “spirited” child. Thankfully though I asked him one day if he wanted to use the potty and he said yes and went. Never had an accident again! I was incredibly lucky in that regard.

  4. With my second child, he refused to go… I spoke to our doctor and she gave me the best advice, ever! She said you cannot force a three year old to eat, sleep or poop… so wait it out. Every day for 2 weeks, I asked him to let me know when he was ready to use the potty like a big kid. I did this at every diaper change. Finally, he said he was ready. He was potty trained in four hours. Seriously. I mean it was a pee and poop fiasco all over the house for those four hours, but half way through the day it clicked and he was using the toilet without issues.

    Now, if only I can get him to stop the “on purposes.” He will pee in the middle of a room (like pull his pants down and pee) and then look at me and say, “ooops.”

  5. Oh man, I am staring potty training soon, my son just turned 2 and I want to commit to it and train him. Easier said than done! Thanks for this advice, here we go!

  6. Oh my goodness, we are in the throws of potty training with my second son. He’s got it mostly down, but #2? Still hit or miss sometimes. And unlike my first son, who decided one day he wanted to wear underwear 3 months after his 2nd birthday and never looked back, he’s just like “I pooped my pants mom” and shrugs his shoulders!

  7. I love your honesty that you use bribes! I’m about to start potty training and bribes have been the most effective tool that I can think of, too! I like your idea with the sticker chart. I’m going to give it a try!

    1. Haha! I’m not even sorry about it. The key is finding the right bribe that actually works. Someone said to give one m&m each time my son goes. Are you kidding?! He’d kick me in the shin and steal the whole bag!

  8. I had to laugh at the on purpose part, with you walking in and discovering your kiddo in a puddle asking for snacks. Very similar scenario at our house… except it was on the couch (and I was there to see her acknowledge to herself that she peed) – she just continued eating her snack and watching a video (totally ignoring me as I rush to get a towel to sop up the pee). When we started, we were timing potty use… every 15 mins, then every 30, 45, 60. At the start, we offered a little cookie every time she peed, and she caught on. And as she got better, it downgraded to a chocolate chip. Well, smartie pants that she is, she all of a sudden had to go pee every 5 minutes, and pushed up a few drops, then asked for a chocolate chip. LOL

    1. Yep we went through that too. That’s why we do stickers to earn a toy instead of food treats. Because literally every 2 minutes he wanted to drop two drops of pee to get a piece of candy. These kids are too smart for their own good, I swear!

  9. I recently wrote about our potty training adventures. My stubborn 3 1/2 year old still wears a diaper at night. Once she decided to go pee on the potty, things went very quickly and now she is a pro! I dreaded the pooping on the potty but to my surprise she didn’t have a problem (although it did come after mastering peeing on the potty).

  10. Stickers and bribery worked for us while potty training too! My biggest fear was how to deal with the potty on an airplane. I insisted they wear pulll-ups in the beginning. However, how it is when they are potty training they always have to go at the absolute worst times?!

    1. Yessss! My son has been a morning pooper his whole life until potty training. Now I never know when the mood will strike! I’m still doing pull-ups when we go out in public as well.

  11. This is great! Nothing wrong with a little bribery in my opinion. We’re all motivated by something, and we might as well use that! Thanks for the post 🙂

  12. I love this honest look at potty training! this is baby number 3 for us and hands down the most stubborn of them all. So stubborn that i was panicking because he was turning 4 in june and we were STILL FIGHTING THIS BATTLE!! i’ve gave up being the perfect mom of trying to follow the particular rules. The weekend try’s worked for the weekend, the going commando didn’t bother him at all, the treats at each pee or poo was just bribery that he caught on to! I’m at wits end and what happens.. the day after he turns 4 he’s like, I think i need to go now…..sooo now, were slightly on the bandwagon…slightly…

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