Mom Confessions: Truths About Potty Training

truths about potty training

When I potty trained my first son, it was a long, frustrating, exhausting, and what felt like never-ending battle of the wills. Of course, the end result was well worth it, even if it did take over 11 months. I'm in the midst of potty training my second son now, and it feels like much of the same. He physically is ready and has success, yet he has not 100% bought in to this potty business.

After two weeks of wearing underwear, he requested diapers, so that's what he is back to wearing. Yes, I'll admit I let my 3-year-old take control of the situation. I'm tired of the struggles to have him sit on the potty. I'm tired of changing his clothes six to seven times a day. I'm just plain tired. I know that when he is ready it will happen very quickly, so even though he is “potty training age,” we just aren't there yet.  

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Surprisingly enough, I am not alone in my struggles with potty training. Here are what other moms are confessing about potty training these days.   

potty training confessions
Image via Flickr/ ToddMorris

We have learned not to push a child if he/she isn't really ready. It's too stressful on everyone involved!! We tried too early with my son, and there were lots of tears all around! We waited a month, and it was SO much easier

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The one thing we did that really made a difference with my daughter (who had no interest in pooping on the potty!) was to buy and wrap prizes. She picked out some herself, and there were a few “good” prizes mixed in with the small ones. We had done prizes before with no success, but she loved that they were wrapped! It was so motivating for her because she loved the surprise of unwrapping a prize! She was completely potty trained within two weeks after nearly six months of struggling. It really worked for us!

Julie Leach at Life as a Leach

Image via Flickr/ abbybatchelder

With my first child, I made sure that as soon as she was 2, we started potty training. With my second, I had several friends recommend I don't even start trying till he was 3. And I didn't! When I did, it quickly became a power struggle and made everyone upset and frustrated. I decided to back off and then remained encouraging without forcing it. Sure enough, just a few weeks later, he started going and was totally potty trained within a few days!

Oh, and yes. Sleep training and day training are two totally different things. Don't stress having to do them at the same time.


Nicole Elliott at A Wyoming Girl Turned Coastie Wife

Image via Mindi Stavish

Before I got a fold-up travel potty seat, my daughter fell into a public toilet once. Thankfully, it was a freshly cleaned one!

Jennah Watters at Jennah's Garden

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tot on potty chair
Image via Flickr/ juhansonin

My two oldest are 15 and 13, [and] my youngest is 2. I confess: I have completely forgotten everything I learned with the other two! We are just starting training with my toddler, and I thought it would be a good idea to move her potty to a better spot after two weeks. She took her diaper off and went running to go. Then she peed on the floor where the potty had been. After, she looked at me and asked why I stole her “pee potty.”

Amanda Santamore 

Image via Flickr/ Manish Bansal

We only got serious about potty training because Hen had to be potty trained to move to the next class at preschool. We NEED him to go to summer camp and preschool next year. We kept telling ourselves “he wasn't ready,” but he potty trained in one day so … Maybe we were the ones who weren't ready.

Drea Eisenberg at The Maiden Metallurgist

superman on potty
Image via Flickr/ valentiapowers

Truth for me, and I know others will not agree … but for ME, sticking with a method and dedicating yourself to it for however long (for me three-day method) was worth it and worked for us. I'm of the school of parenting where when I am ready … they will be ready, too. I do my research, I use common sense, I do go off my kids … but I sleep trained when age-appropriate and potty trained when age-appropriate.

Sarah Schultz at Nurse Loves Farmer


Spill it: What's your potty training confession?  

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Mom Confessions: Truths About Potty Training

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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  1. edensalar says:

    Potty training can be so hard, I’ve also been there. But luckily I stumbled upon a website and tried a 3 day method I found there. That really worked great, wish I knew of that earlier. Can really recommend it to every parent that is struggling out there!!

  2. gina says:

    Moth of my boys Potty trained very easily. I also babysit my niece and nephew (2 days a week) and trained both of them fully by the time they were a little over 1 year (could have been done sooner if I had them more days. They were both very obvious when they were doing #2 so when I would notice it as early as 5 months old (maybe even earlier with the nephew) I would put them on the potty and sing and make a big deal of it. They liked it and even if they didn’t go every time they didn’t mind sitting there and trying. Most kids it is harder for them to go #2 on the potty so getting that done early was half the battle. Their mom doesn’t give them much sweets and very rarely candy so once they were on solid food and understood I offered Candy (usually faked them out with fruit snacks) if they used the potty and that helped a LOT! My nephew at 1 year would come over on the days I watched him and as soon as he walked in the door would point to the stairs leading to the bathroom and say “Potty,…. Candy….) lol My Sister in Law thought it was a riot and thanked me for training the kids for her. Key is Start EARLY, Offer a REWARD and make it FUN! Everyone I know hates potty training but I don’t mind it at all….. Maybe I should start a Potty training Service? Maybe I could make some extra money!!

  3. Summertime94 says:

    TRUTH ABOUT POTTY TRAINING: do it while they are a baby so much easier than fighting with a toddler my 10 month old is completely potty trained!

  4. Candice says:

    My 4 year old is completely potty trained and my 3 year old is getting close. If I am in a hurry to get out of the door or just trying to avoid one of them having an accident and they are refusing or resisting my urges for them to go, I’ll sure bribe them with a jelly bean or some other small piece of candy we have. Works every time! The only other thing is that we delayed letting my (now) four year old wearing underwear to bed until he was about three and a half because we were afraid he would have 342 accidents a night and we didn’t want to be inconvenienced. We are used to sleeping through the night by now, you know? We finally started letting him when he was about 3 years 8 months and he was totally ready. Very few accidents. We felt guilty for waiting so long!

  5. Sarah says:

    Thanks for including me in this! I think the important thing is to go off your children and try to not let it stress you out. Kids feed off our stress. I stand by the 3 Day Method for my kids and I seriously cannot WAIT to train Ethan right after his 2nd birthday this fall. I’m a weirdo, I know. I am just SO sick of diapers!

  6. Danielle says:

    With my daughter, I can introduce an idea and see what she wants to do with it. It didn’t take much to get her interested, but we may have started a little early. We did a slow and steady routine of “trying” and she decided when she wanted to tell us she needed to go. Once she decided to tell us, it was cake after that.

  7. Angela says:

    With my oldest I let her take the reigns. I got flack from everyone around when she turned 3 and was still in diapers. But i figured that at some point the feeling of a wet diaper would get annoying. I would take her through the motions, and one day she told me she wanted to wear big girl panties, so we went out, I let her pick them out, got her on of those potty seats for the toilet, and Bam! She did the rest. With only a few accidents when she was playing with friends, and once at night. But it was very easy and stress free. With my second coming up on three, I’ve stressed the routine, so that she can learn, but I’m going to try the same with her. Fingers crossed it works again. I know every child is different, but just maybe….

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