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Potty Training: Do’s and Don’ts

June 27, 2014

This is going to be a fun post, right?

We’re knee-deep in shit potty-training over here, and while we aren’t quite out of the woods yet, Lila has made a LOT of progress over the past month or so, so I figured I would share some of the tips and tricks that have gotten us here.  Plus, she’s sitting on the potty watching a two minute clip from Beauty and the Beast on repeat, so I have some time.

Do wait until your kid is ready.

Last winter, Lila started talking about the potty.  She was very interested in “bathroom time,” and she started expressing an interest in using the potty herself.  This is it, we thought!  We bought a potty, set it up in her bathroom, and waited for the magic to begin.  Soon, we thought, we’ll be diaper-free forever!

Lila promptly used it twice, and then refused to use it again.  Not only did she refuse to use it, but she became pretty aggravated when we would even *suggest* trying to sit on it.  She was all:

Soooooo, back to square one.

When we asked our pediatrician about potty-training, he said that the most important thing was not to push it—to wait until the child is really ready.  When she’s ready, he said, you’ll know.

Sure enough, after about three months of snubbing the potty, Lila started expressing interest again—much more interest than before.  Slowly, she started peeing in it again…but no interest in pooping, at first.  Which leads me to…

Don’t expect it to happen overnight.  Or in three days.  Or a week.

Look, I know we’ve all seen those claims that you can potty-train your child in three days.  Heck, some parents probably even manage to do it.  That must be nice.

For us, however—and I’m guessing for a lot of parents—it’s been a pretty lengthy process.  It took a while to get her peeing in the potty, but I’ll admit, she took to it pretty quickly.  She had a BIG accident on one of our first training days, and I think she hated it.  Not too surprising—I’m not a big fan of pissing myself either.

After a few days of close-calls and accidents, Lila was able to tell us when she needed to go and was happily peeing in the potty and keeping her big kid (princess) underpants dry.  We still had (and have) a few accidents here and there, but for the most part, the peeing part of potty training has been easy.

But the poop.

Ohhhhh, the poop.

During our first couple of days of potty training, she just had accidents.  Pee in the pants sucks, but apparently for Lila, wearing big-kid underpants full of your own feces is nbd.  Far preferable to pooping in the potty.  She would literally be walking around with underwear full of poop.  And we’d be:

…and she’d be:

Reaction GIF: don't care, Emma Stone

Pooping in the pants is fun because the statistical odds of you being able to remove those pants without getting poop everywhere is literally .0003%.  That’s a scientifically-proven fact.  A lot of our days were spent like this:

We thought that was bad enough, but after a few days, things got worse.  Lila has always been a very regular morning pooper…but suddenly, she wasn’t going during her normal time.  She was holding it.  We’d set her on the potty, knowing that she had to poop:

…to no avail.

She started pooping during naptime, which she has almost never done.   Well, I thought, this is it—we’re going to have to send her to college in diapers.  Sorry, world—you win.

But then…we learned the magic of bribery.  Which brings me to:

Do bribe your kid.

Seriously.  Use whatever it takes.  M&Ms. Stickers. Toy cars. Crack cocaine.  Figure out what their weakness is, and USE THAT AGAINST THEM.  For Lila, it was a combination of M&Ms, tiny marshmallows, and little plastic Disney princess dolls.  Finally—a winner!

Eventually, Lila’s desire for M&Ms and Aurora won out.  And once she pooped in the potty a few times and got the hang of it, she slowly returned back to her normal schedule of pooping in the morning after breakfast, which made things MUCH easier.  

We also tried to make it easier for her to relax—we’d give her our phone so that she could watch a video or look at pictures, shut the door, and allow her some privacy.  I’m not a fan of going number two while someone stands over me and stares, so I don’t know why I’d think she would want that either.  And who doesn’t like a little on-the-toilet entertainment?


Even so, we still have a ways to go.  She’s in diapers during naptime and overnight.  And I’m okay with that.  Don’t be afraid to take it in steps—whether that means pull-ups, a tiny potty, using underwear in the house but diapers outside of it—whatever!  Again, it’s a process.  Anyone who tells you that it happened quickly and easily is lying.  Or maybe they’re telling the truth.  Either way, you know what to say to them.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m pretty sure I have a bathroom to clean.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 27, 2014 3:03 pm

    I am a long time blog stalker and this post finally made me comment. I laughed so hard because it’s so true. I had to make up a “poo poo” song for my daughter who is 5 and still requests it. I told her no one will sing it for her in kindergarten.

    • June 27, 2014 7:28 pm

      Haha…we sing the songs from Elmo’s Potty Time– a LOT. 🙂 Thanks for commenting!

  2. ginger635 permalink
    June 27, 2014 3:23 pm

    Y’all have done a great job, and these tips are all right on!

  3. itzyskitchen permalink
    June 27, 2014 5:41 pm

    bnaahahahhaha omgosh I love this so much. Can I get an amen to the “awesome to you for potty training your kid in .2 seconds”. Its been a lengthy process here but the end is in site! Kaylin oddly loves to poop on the potty. She pretty much got pooping down before peeing! Now its just the full on leap. She did “underwears” as she calls them all day on Tuesday. I think the end is (fingers crossed) in site. Good luck gal!

    • June 27, 2014 7:29 pm

      We have a friend here whose daughter was the same way– poop was much easier for her! They’re all so different…sigh. 😉

      • itzyskitchen permalink
        June 30, 2014 3:56 pm

        Gah! We need a manual 😉

  4. June 27, 2014 11:28 pm

    This post had me cracking up.

  5. June 28, 2014 5:08 am

    The fact that I don’t have children but still thoroughly enjoyed this post basically means you’re awesome. Thumbs up!

  6. June 30, 2014 3:02 pm

    Wow, this post had me rolling! So funny! I am terrified of potty training. My husband loves to talk about how he dated this girl with a two year old that was fully potty trained years ago, and I feel like he’s definitely expecting our daughter be potty trained by that age, but we’ll have to see how it goes.

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