What the Potty Training Experts DON'T Tell You

There are countless books and articles out there all claiming to know the "secret" to potty training your toddler in three days flat--or at least that's what it feels like!  And while their methods may be tried and true and have even worked for me and my two little boys, the authors somehow manage to leave out one teensy weensy detail: potty training can last weeks, months, and sometimes even YEARS.  Yes, by day three my children understand that they need to hold their pee long enough to make it to the toilet, but that's honestly about it.  And I think that's the story for the good majority of all children! 

You see, potty training is half about training the parent.  (Unless you happen to get super lucky with some awesome kid like we did with Jed.)  We, as parents, learn to take our toddlers to the potty about fifteen times a day.  We know that approximately a half hour after lunch, we'd better be in the vicinity of a toilet or else we can expect a pair of wet pants.  It's actually kind of hard, but not impossible.  We're responsible adults, after all.  How difficult can remembering to take a child to the bathroom between cleaning up the spilled milk, answering that text, and attending to your other child's demands really be?!  (Hahaha!)

But what about the other half of potty training?  Well, the other half of the success of potty training depends on your toddler.  That sweet funny toddler that is just as STUBBORN  as you are.  Except he has the upper hand because he is also IRRATIONAL.  There is no reasoning with him.  The only thing worse than a terrible two year old is a teenage girl.  True story.   The fact of the matter is, the decision to be potty trained is entirely up to him.  Suddenly, one day, your toddler will decide that being potty trained is totally cool and he'll be dry 100% of the time.  Until the next day, when your child is over it and has three accidents in a row.

Like the other day, when Levi and I had a conversation establishing what would happen if he pooped in his underwear.  I'd just read him a couple of stories as he sat on the toilet and pretended to strain when I asked him to poop.  I bargained that if he made it to the toilet, then he'd get candy and his favorite thing: a trip to Target to pick out a toy from the dollar corner!  I let Levi choose his consequence.  Well, guess what happened an hour later?  Levi pooped in his underwear.  Naturally, I had to carry out said consequence.  And guess what happened five hours after that?  Levi pooped again.  Except this time he took off his underwear.  He pooped on the carpet and promptly stepped in it like a cow pie... all while Jed was in the room watching the Lego Movie and singing, "Everything is awesome!"

Awesome indeed.

So if you're a parent struggling to potty train your child, you're not alone.  And please don't give yourself wrinkles by worrying about it; there's probably nothing more you can do than you're already doing.  And that's the hard plain truth.

Trek on, my fellow potty training warriors!

*Jed's Potty Training Synopsis HERE      


  1. Oh my gosh! You are so right, sister! Trenton was a breeze when it came to peeing, but not so good about the poop part. Charlotte was the exact opposite. She went through so many pants and underwear a day because she would dribble in them because she was too busy to stop what she was doing to go pee on the toilet!

  2. "Pretending to strain" where do kids come up with this stuff?! They catch on so quickly to faking us out! I'm really, really terrified to start potty training with Mia! I know it has to happen at some point... but I kind of keep hoping she will just decide to potty train herself.... ha!

  3. I'm kinda dreading potty training. I figure I'm not even going to start trying with Lincoln until he decides he's ready...whenever that might be :) good luck with Levi!

  4. This is hilarious and so true! I'm not looking forward to this phase for the second time around!

  5. I totally agree that potty training is mostly about "training the parent" it is definitely not for the faint of heart, and it is so different with each child I'm sure. It's not fun. Like at all. Love this post :)

  6. Yes, so true. As an outsider I find the poop on the floor a tiny bit funny, though I'm sure you found a lot less humor in it while in the moment. Though, the joke is on me next month when I begin potty training Keira. So. Not. Ready. But... it's probably time to potty train when the child begins changing their own diapers, right? ;)

  7. The curls, the smiles....he looks so innocent...and then he comes up with something like poop on the carpet!! oh Jessie! But I know you - and you are up for the challenge!! Don't lose heart my friend!
    :-) Anna

  8. I honestly hate potty training. But it's also not as bad as I always seem to think it's going to be. We have always had the same struggles: no problem staying dry and peeing in the toilet, but pooping is a major battle. I think it took over a year before I felt like S was totally trained, and we are currently on month five and I can't yet say E is quite there. Someday it will happen, and that is what I have to keep telling myself. Boo to potty training!!!!

  9. Potty training has got to be my least favorite thing as a parent. Good luck!

  10. Oh my goodness; your post just brought back memories, but two of them were when my innocent little boy decided to poop in the tub (after I just finished washing him). You're right; they are stubborn. Lewie didn't finally get potty training until he was about three and a half. Even now, at age six, he still asks me to wipe his butt because he doesn't want to get himself dirty. (My husband said his mom wiped him until age 7.) Ugh!


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