Why Do We Rush Potty Training?

Tiffany Tanner

Just before his second birthday, our Jack started being very interested in the toilet. I knew he was aware when he was going to the bathroom, so I figured he was ready to learn to go to the potty. Jack’s birthday is right after Christmas, so last year Santa brought him some new underwear and a new book called Potty by Leslie Patricelli. I looked forward to potty training him and only having one baby in diapers.

A few months passed and Jack was still in diapers. However, he loved reading his potty book. These things were exciting to Jack. He often wanted to wear his new underwear over his diaper, and not only one pair but all six pairs. I figured he was ready to do this.

I read a post from one of my friends that she had just potty trained her little 22-month-old girl in three days. She used the 3 Day Potty Training method by Lora Jensen. Her post was inspiring to me, and I thought that Jack would be potty trained in no time.

So I blocked out three days and decided we would give potty training a try. Monday morning, I got ready for the day, ate breakfast, and then I let Jack pick out a pair of underwear and had him throw away his diapers. He wasn’t sure this was a good idea.

Here is how our week went:

Day One

13 accidents, three successes.

Those 13 accidents made for a lot of cleaning of the carpet and the hardwood floor. I felt like I had a puppy! Jack got a little frustrated and wanted to go back to diapers. I told him that we had thrown them away, and he said that he would just get them out of the garbage. He knew where he had put them and saw no problem in digging them out. He also knew he had a baby brother that still wore diapers and what would be the problem of borrowing one of his? I tried not to show my frustration throughout the day even as I thought to myself that I would rather be changing diapers! I could honestly not think of ONE good reason that this was a good idea. Why in the world do we potty train our children?! And if my child was going to need to use the bathroom 13 times each day, how was I ever going to go anywhere again? I already thought it was hard enough going to the store with two kids. Despite his, at the end of the day when Daddy got home, Jack was excited to show him that he could use his potty step and his potty seat. So he climbed right up there and went like he had been doing it all day! It was exciting to see. This gave me a little hope and courage to think that we might be able to try again the next day.

Day Two

5 accidents, 2 successes.

He woke up wet in the morning. I put him on the toilet at 6.30 a.m., and he said the same thing he had said all day the first day, “I don’t like to, I don’t have any more pee.” He got off. After that, I kept asking him to tell me when he needed to go potty. Chandler left for work just after 7:00 a.m. and I knew Jack was going to need to go soon.  I kept bringing it to his attention, telling him to keep his underwear dry and to tell me when he needed to go. I had just finished saying one of these two things to him, turned around for one second and the next thing I knew, there he was making a mess on the floor! Oh dear. I rushed him to the toilet, and once he was sitting there, he told me that he was going to poop and said, “I need to read my potty book.” This made me wonder if he thought that every time you sit on the toilet you have a bowel movement. So I told him that this was not the case. However, he knew his body better than me because sure enough he did it! I was so impressed and grateful for that potty book. Despite that early success, he had accidents the rest of the day, including at dinner. We had perhaps unwisely, gone out for dinner (though I don’t know if I could have brought myself to fix dinner anyway after the second day of potty training), and while we were sitting there, I looked over and could tell from his face that he was peeing. So we rushed him to the bathroom and then out to the car to change him into his spare clothes. I did my best to sanitize the chair he was sitting on. When we were home and got ready for bed, he did manage to pee in the toilet again, so at least, that ended the day on another hopeful note.

Day Three:

4 accidents, 4 successes.

After the second day, I was, at least, hopeful that maybe he wouldn’t have to go potty 13 times every day after all. Then I was super hopeful when he told me twice that he needed to go to the bathroom. The first was prompted by Chandler using the bathroom and the second by my phone conversation with Grandma about Jack going potty in the toilet. He was keeping his underwear dry for long periods of times, and he would say, “Can I have some licorice for keeping my underwear dry?” Almost as soon as he got a reward for keeping his underwear dry, he would get them wet again.

Like day one he would pee in his underwear, then I put him on the toilet and he would end up pooping while reading his potty book. Amazing! Day three ended and we were at a 50% success rate. So much for being trained in three days, right? I was worried. But Jack woke up dry on the fourth day. He ended up just getting his underwear a little wet and then going to the toilet. All of a sudden it seemed like he knew how to hold it. So we decided to venture out to watch a cousin’s softball game. Before leaving I sat him on the toilet, and he gave me his customary “I don’t like to go.” After sitting there for just a couple of seconds, he went like it was second nature. After we got to the ballpark, I thought he had wet underwear, so I was running around everywhere trying to get him to a bathroom. When we got there, he didn’t want to go butI helped him sit on the toilet, and he went right away. Managing to get him to use a public restroom at a ball complex seemed like a pretty triumphant moment in our potty training journey.

After the ballgame, we went home for naps, and he woke up wet. It got worse before it got better. Up till then I had been lucky that if he ever needed to poop, he was usually sitting on the toilet already after an accident, where he would sit and read his potty book until he was done. But that evening, while we were getting dinner ready, Jack said, “Mommy, I’m pooping.” And sure enough, he was. Cleaning that up? DIS-GUS-TING.

He did pretty well on the fifth day. He used two unfamiliar toilets while we were out on our day’s activities, and he didn’t have an accident until bedtime.

What are my thoughts after this week?

First, why in the world do we potty train our children?

Potty training is tough on kids. Jack had a hard week. He told me numerous times. “I’m having a hard day, Mom.” “Hold me, Mom.” Saying this meant a lot coming from my boy who has so much work to do that he doesn’t even have time for a hug. I tried to be understanding of what he was feeling during this week.  His whole life was changing. This was a big deal for a little kid.  Jack had been trained all his life to go in a diaper and suddenly I just expected him to go to the toilet?

My experience reminded me of a friend of ours who said he had learned that children could be done with diapers between eight and 18 months. This friend had once told me that he and his wife took their son to the toilet during his first week, and when he was only 5 days old, he went in the toilet. Once their son could sit up, they let him sit on a little potty. When he could crawl, he would crawl to the bathroom and knock on the door when he had to go.  Seeing Jack frustrated, I’ve wondered if my friend’s way isn’t a better system. To teach your children where they are supposed to go from the beginning so they are not confused?  But you hear the stories of people like the happy housewife about just letting the kids decide when they are ready for underwear. To me, that sounds easier and much more pleasant than any alternative.

Second, a few additional thoughts:

  • I love being a mom and I am grateful to be the one to teach Jack how to go potty. He does show enormous excitement once he goes in the toilet.  Mostly because he gets to have a sticker or some licorice.
  • We are saving money by no longer buying diapers for Jack.
  • We no longer have to wrestle him to lie on his back while changing his diaper.
  • Thank goodness for a potty book, which helped Jack poop in the toilet (most of the time).
  • Thank goodness for sisters and sisters-in-law who encouraged me and made sure you know you should reward yourself at the end of the week.
  • Last but not least, thank goodness for moms who make sure we know all kids are different and that it is okay if mine doesn’t get it at the end of three days.

Now that I’ve shared probably way too much about my first potty training experience, I’d love to hear from you about your experiences, as well as your thoughts on the whole ordeal!



Why Do We Rush Potty Training?

This post was syndicated with permission to BonBon Break Media LLC.

Tiffany Tanner is a mother of two handsome boys and wife to a third. Making it easier for moms and dads to spend more time reading with their children at Bookroo.com.