Perils of Potty Training: The Aftermath

I can tell you exactly where the restrooms are for every store that my family frequents. I can tell you which ones are the most family-friendly, and which I only recommend using in an emergency. I will spare you the details of our tour of “places little boys can pee outside,” but I will mention that it is an extensive list, and we are constantly adding new sites.

I remember wishing that my kids were potty trained. When the twins arrived, my older daughter was not-quite-two and still in diapers. I averaged 25 changes a day. Twenty-five. A day. I would think longingly about the time when all three were potty trained.

potty training

It didn’t make me rush into it, though. With my oldest, the thought of dealing with newborn twins and potty training was enough to drive me to drink, so I didn’t (to clarify, I may have had a drink or two, but I didn’t potty train). I waited. And when her third birthday was approaching, I happily informed her that she was going to be so big that she wouldn’t need to wear diapers anymore. So, one day the diapers left, and after one weekend of learning – for both of us – we happily bid them goodbye. It was so fast and relatively painless, I almost wondered if I’d done something wrong.

Whether or not it was wrong, I decided that it worked so well I was going to do it again. So, I didn’t push potty training. The twins saw their big sister use the potty, but as my son would inform me, “I’m still little. I don’t need that potty.” So, we waited. And close to her third birthday, when we started talking about how lucky they were to be so big that they could use the potty, my younger daughter decided she was ready. She went into the bathroom, put on her big girl panties, and never looked back. A few weeks later, with a little more encouragement, her brother followed suit.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? What the heck am I complaining about? Well, it used to be that a bathroom emergency meant finding somewhere to dispose of a stinky diaper that wouldn’t take out an entire room of people due to toxic gasses. Now a bathroom emergency means that my child has to go – NOW – for the fourth time since we arrived at the movie theater. It means that despite asking each time we enter a building if anyone has to use the bathroom, we’ll get as far as humanly possible from the restrooms, with a full cart of cold groceries, when someone will decide that they have to go – NOW. It means constant vigilance as I stand in yet another tiny stall with three other people, with a running dialogue that sounds something like, “Don’t touch that! Don’t put your face there! Stand up, please! Yes, I do think it is stinky in here, we’ll be done soon!”

Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad we’re past the days of 25 daily diaper changes. But I look forward to the day when a trip to the store doesn’t involve five trips to the bathroom.

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Perils of Potty Training: The Aftermath

Sara McTigue is a secret agent, cupcake chef, award winning author, photographer, and PTA mom. At least, that is how things look in her mind. When she isn’t testing the bounds of her imagination, she is a mom to three amazing and hilariously funny children, wife to a charming and handsome man, and thoroughly addicted to reading. With a BS in English Education and an MA in English Literature, words – and their ability to shape our lives and thoughts – are an everyday fascination. Af ... More

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13 comments

  1. Theresa says:

    We’ve been potty training since 6 months and now at 8 months old I would say 8 out of 10 poops are on the potty and he pees every time he’s on there (can’t catch every pee of course because that’s literally about every 10-15 minutes). Starting early and often worked for my mom (both me and my sister were potty trained by 1) and it seems to be working with my son. We bought an old school wooden potty with tray (the tray is KEY!) and he loves sitting there playing and LOVES being praised. I know I’m lucky being a SAHM, but I think people these days are being too lax with potty training thinking, "it’ll happen when it happens." Truth is, most preschool programs won’t accept a child if they’re not potty trained. The threat of not going to school is what finally kicked my nephew into gear at 3 1/2.

  2. April says:

    I have a two year old and I would love for her to be trained,But she not even talking that much yet, should I wait until she can say potty or go a head and try?

  3. Jenni says:

    I have tried everything with my 3 year old son except for forcing him to go (will never try that) & he won’t go on the potty. I constantly ask him if he wants to go potty on the big boy potty & he says no everytime. He has gone on the potty before here & there but lately he won’t go at all. HELP!!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

  4. Alma says:

    I Know exactly how it is to now every bathroom around my home were my 2 year old girl can to go. We stared potty training 3 week ago (one week before her b-day) after about a week we stop using dipper over night. If she drinks something before going to bed I put my alarm at 2 am and take her to pee on the toilet with no more light than a night light (so when she is old enough to go by her self, she will have no problem with the dark, she’ll be use to it). She has never wet the bed so far. I also ask her to choice her own underwear and the way she does not want them to get dirty.

  5. I potty trained my daughter as soon as she turned 2. She was very cautious of the potty and wanted to use it as a toy. I used the reward system and about every hour or so I would sit her on it and gave her a cookie or put her favorite movie on if she went potty. It took about a day or so for her to finally go peepee but once she did she wanted to go potty all the time. Its been almost a year and shes doing great besides some bed wetting accidents every now and then. My son is 18 months and taming off his diaper every chance he gets but I’m hoping when hes ready to use the potty he’ll see his sister and follow.

  6. Sandra says:

    Am i teaching him the wrong way to potty? Does it have to be a certain way? i feel like i am stuck and i feel like i am a bad parent because my son is 3 and still not correctly using the potty.. Any insight anyone? Everyone tells me that for a 3 year old no diapers are suppose to be worn at this age. Is that right?.

  7. Keya says:

    I love this article. My 2 1/2 yr old son is currently going through the transition. Urinating seems to be 75% ok (he’ll have one or two accidents) but bowel movement is a nightmare. It’s like he’s OK sitting in his poo.
    All I can say is that I’m happy we have not replaced our carpet with hardwood floors yet. All remodeling plans are on hold until our son reaches the age of 5. Hopefully, wall art, "missed the toilet" spotting and all other joys of toddlehood will no longer wreck havoc on our house. Unfortunately, I now see why people suggest getting a puppy before having kids (great training for potty training).

  8. CandiceR523 says:

    This story could not have been posted at a better time. My 4 year old has been off regular diapers since he’s about 3. We then started with pull-ups, so he felt like a big boy and was using the toilet regularly. We kept the pull-ups at night for those overnight accidents. A few weeks before his 4th birthday, I told him I wasn’t buying anymore pull-ups because he will officially be a big boy on his birthday, and he totally agreed. The transition came easy once he saw the cool cartoon character he loves on his big boy underwear. This was this past May. My hubby and I are now expecting a child, and this seems to have thrown my son into a tailspin and back into infancy. Specifically, he’s starting to urinate on himself at all hours of the day. These past 2 weeks have been absolute torture, especially with double the laundry load. I’m not exactly sure what to do. Does anyone have any advice?? Anyone else going thru this?? My dad says it’s a like an unconscious negative reaction to another child being in the picture and that I shouldn’t be surprised if he starts crawling or asking for a bottle again. Any truth to this??

  9. momma18 says:

    I prayed EVERYDAY for the day my b/g twins were potty trained. My daughter was a breeze, right after her 2nd bday, she decided she was a big girl and was done with the diapers. My son on the other hand, said he wanted to be a baby forever and did not want big boy underwear ( now my son is not your average 3 year old, he is 50lbs and almost 4 foot tall). So bringing him into a bathroom to change his diaper was fun. The constant stares from people, always asking how old he was cause he is so big.
    Anyway, they started preschool this past June, and the day we went to visit the school and my son saw the other kids and the fun environment, he was done. That afternoon we came home and he was done with diapers forever!

    I sometimes now wish they were back in diapers, cause the whole bathroom experience now is GROSS! Always wanting to touch everything in there, asking who is in the stall next to us making all those sounds, wanting to crouch down and touch their shoes, etc. But, I have to just laugh and think they wont be this cute for long, cause time flies and before I know it they will be all grown up. 🙁

  10. Valerie says:

    Sounds better than I thought… Thank you Sara McTIgue and thank you BrendaKalmbach
    for your tips. I tried to put an adapted bowl on our toilets but it does not seem to work for our daughter… she copies a lot so I will try the potty next to ours…

  11. Blessedof3 says:

    I’m currently potty training my 2 1/2 yr old little girl. The sooner she’s out the sooner I can save money by not having to buy her any more pull ups because I also have a set of twins and diapers can be very expensive. But once she is potty trained, I guess having to make frequent stops to the restrooms while we are out and about is just something else I’m going to have to get used to.

  12. I cannot wait for the day I don’t have to buy not a one diaper or pull up I just can’t wait I have been telling myself and I was just about there… and than here comes number three!! We were trying but I just didn’t think about the diaper thing until it just happened. lol

  13. We are getting close to starting the potty training process for my son. I plan on doing the same things with him that my mom did with me. Any time she used the restroom, she would take me in there and just set me on my little potty sans diaper. If I went, I was praised. If I didn’t go, it was no big deal. Eventually, I got the hint and by the time I reached 2 years old, I was fully potty trained without it being a stressful time for me.

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