I’m A Push-Over And Potty Training Is Confirming It

shutterstock_230373__1382281853_142.196.156.251I wrote a post last weekend about how naked potty training doesn’t work. I was wrong. Potty training while being a total pushover doesn’t work. All I have to do is change my whole personality, and I’ll have this potty training thing down.

Many of you readers gave me a ton of great advice. It mostly fell into two camps; really commit to it or maybe he’s not ready. I think I wanted to believe the latter, because I hate pushing my child. But after a few days of really committing to the process – I think he’s getting it.

I totally believe that a child may not be ready to potty train and you probably can’t force him to. In our case, my child showed an early interest in the potty, than regressed when we made a big move. He knows how to use it. He knows it’s where he’s supposed to go. But after a few months of just half-assed trying to get him to take to it, it was becoming more of a chore – one that he didn’t want to do.

Once we really committed to it – as in, didn’t give him any other options – we started seeing massive improvements. So, if any other readers are going through this right now, I wanted to share the advice that helped us the most this week.

First of all, I was making the mistake of trying to guesstimate when he needed to go, and then making him sit on the potty. Wrong. That strategy was completely wrong for us. He would just get frustrated, not pee and his little cheeks would be sore from sitting on the pot. The kid is stubborn. He can really hold it. Instead, I started paying attention to the “cues” everyone talks about; they’re not subtle. He pretty much grabs himself and starts looking really uncomfortable. That’s when I would rush him to the pot – and that’s when my push-over self was challenged the most.

He would inevitably start to whine and cry. About two minutes into this, I of course would say, Oh, he sounds like he’s in pain. Let’s take him off, to which my husband would reply, Get away from him, Maria. If you can’t stand listening to him, go somewhere. I stopped rescuing him from the potty – and he started going. He’s gone several times a day for the past 3 days. We’re not at the point where we’re ready to ditch the diapers yet, but there has actually been huge strides.

Other great advice – put an accessible potty in the living room, salty foods, and lots of fluids. The Yo Gabba Gabba underwear and Angry Birds stickers are helping, too. I’m not saying the above will work for everyone; all kids are different. I just wanted to say thanks, everyone and pass along the advice I think got us there. The biggest piece of advice – a little crying and whining isn’t the end of the world. Don’t be a sucker like me.

(photo: chippix/ Shutterstock)

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  • KaeTay

    congrats on your goodluck!! I’ll remember this when it’s time for my daughter to start the training process in 6 months

  • Alicia Kiner

    Going to give you another piece of advice based on what worked for my kids. Stickers and other similar rewards didn’t, but candy did. Mostly because candy is a big deal in our house. We don’t let them have it as a rule, it’s a treat. So when they went pee in the potty, they got 1 M&M, when they went poop, they got 2. Once we got to the point where they were going steadily we’d wean them down to every other time, and so on. Ordinarily, food is not used as a reward system in our house, but for potty training, it worked where nothing else did. And I was committed. I even did the whole set the timer and make them sit on the potty every x amount of minutes. Bribing totally works, and is totally acceptable as long as it isn’t overused ;)

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      I know someone who did this and had her boys trained at 18 months. Incidentally, she studied behavioural science.

  • Simone

    There are a couple of ways in which young kids and puppies are almost indistinguishable. One is their serious need for real consistency. Giving in, changing your mind, having rules that apply when you’re energetic and get ignored when you’re knackered – I’m not saying you specifically do this but it’s how most humans do stuff when they’re tired, it’s natural – but all this inconsistency just makes it really hard for kids to create the behaviours that get them the stuff they want.

    I feel it’s important to give them the structure they need to create the behaviours that will result in them getting the stuff they want. In early childhood, this means teaching age-appropriate good manners so that they can access their valued items and activities. In later years, this translates to understanding, from within, that behaviours such as study and hard work will result in good stuff like holidays, Ipods, and eventually nice cars and posh houses.

    So good job on toughening up a little. You aren’t asking him to do something that’s impossible for him, it’s within his capacity, and you’re making it possible for him to grow and develop through your good attitudes and skilful means. Go you.

  • Emmali Lucia

    Maria, repeat after me:

    “I will not negotiate with terrorists. My toddler is probably going to be a terrorist off and on for the next couple of years. I refuse to negotiate with terrorists.”

  • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

    I’ve never potty trained a child, and so I offer you no advice, but many wishes for good luck. I’m rather hoping my son takes after an uncle of mine, who was a very particular sort of child. According to all reliable sources, he trained himself. Apparently, he reached the point where one more day spending any time in a soiled diaper was one day too many.

    • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

      I was sort of hoping my child would reach that day – but, no luck.

  • Felix

    I’m a beliver that children don’t need to be trained to change behaviors that don’t affect anybody else or their health. My daughter can have sippies till she’s done with them, a night light as long as she wants (which is something she can do when she’s an adult if she wants.) Not potty training does affect everybody around them, and causes rashes ect, so it’s necessary for their development. I also believe every normal child can be trained by 3, but not every parent can train them by that age.

  • Jonniebordeaux

    I think that Parent responsibility for give a training of Potty to the Baby .


  • chaircover66 .

    Trust me, you don’t have to terrorized your child into potty training. Around the age of 2-3, they want like that poop feeling at all. That alone will make them start going to potty to pee and poop.

  • Von

    I agree – don’t worry about it, he’ll let you know when he’s ready. He won’t be wearing diapers when he’s in first grade!

  • http://www.twitter.com/ohladyjayne allisonjayne

    I feel like I cheated when it comes to potty training. We hadn’t planned on really doing much until she got closer to 3, but we did have a potty in the bathroom….we put her on it a few times but not much happened for a long time. Then last month, she was home sick for a few days, and was suddenly EXTREMELY INTERESTED in using it. So after 3 days at home, we took her out to buy undies, and that was that. She’s had a few accidents here and there, and I will say that she’s still in a diaper at night (and it’s not normally dry in the morning, though she will wake us up if she needs to drop a deuce in the night). But yeah, it was weirdly easy and I feel like I cheated because we hardly did anything at all to make it happen.

    I’m assuming that getting her out of the night-diaper is going to be a bigger challenge. But seeing as how a lot of 4 year olds I know are still in diapers at night, I’m not overly concerned. I’m just enjoying not washing cloth diapers anymore. Woo!

    • Andrea

      Don’t worry to much about the night time though. Unlike during the day, they can’t control what happens when they are sleeping and it is affected by a number of factors: bladder too small, sleep too deep, etc.

      My youngest child slept with a diaper FOR EVER. We tried and tried and he just couldn’t wake up to pee. I stopped caring about it after a while, because he just could not control that. He was (I think) about 8 or 9 before he stopped using night diapers.

  • ksbrownie

    Starting to potty train our son. Reading the experiences of other parents is very helpful.


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