Potty Training Woes…and {finally} a HALLELUJAH!

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Can anyone out there relate? For the past year, many of my friends have heard me utter that potty training is the bane of my parenting existence. Ok, a bit overly dramatic, yes! But, seriously potty training hasn’t been an easy road at our house! No potty training in one-day magic here!! Here’s some back story…

Big Brother definitely wasn’t ready at 2. As we got closer to 3 there were more signs that he was, but we were making BIG changes to his world…

1. We moved 1 month before he turned 3 (not across country or anything…just a few miles away. But, still, a new place, new room, etc.).; 2. We pulled him from daycare 2 weeks later when I started maternity leave; and the biggie…3. Little Brother was born the day after his 3rd birthday.

So, I was worried about trying to get him trained, only to have him regress after all those changes. Not to mention, I was very pregnant and rather stressed about all those changes too. So, we decided to wait. Mistake? No way to know for sure, but things weren’t easy! Last summer, we started really pushing the issue and there were messes–some, like toilet paper strewn throughout the house were more pleasant to clean up than others! But, finally, things seemed to click by October…there were stickers, a potty chart, new big boy undies and a new toy! The “potty” accidents were fewer and farther between, with one BIG exception…


Ugh!! Big Brother would NOT go poop in the potty! Instead, he would just go in his underwear! That’s where the “bane of my existence” part came in! Bleck! One day, we went through 7 pairs of underwear having little poopy accidents all day long. It then became a vicious cycle…he knew that no one was happy about him going in his underwear, so it seems like he would try not to go (and he’s not a very “regular” kid to begin with). That of course, would make it harder to go and so he would have these little accidents, leading up to the “big one”.Β  If it was hard to go and he wasn’t comfortable on the toilet, he didn’t want to go there. So, he’d go where he was comfortable. And, this has been going on ALL YEAR! Finally at his 4-year well-check (April), we talked to his pediatrician about everything. And, then we were giving him Miralax. We saw some things get better, but not the going in the underwear issue. It seemed like no amount of talking, cajoling, ignoring, stressing, bribing, etc. would make any difference. There have been tears of frustration, complete loss of patience, thoughts of going back to diapers, thoughts that something must actually be wrong with him–especially when friends with kids 15+ months youngerΒ  were seemingly having NO issues. Not my best parenting moments!

I was reminded by many older (wiser) moms & grandmas that things would happen when he’s ready; that it’s ok–it wouldn’t last forever; that you don’t see kids in elementary school wearing diapers because they get it and he will too. Sometimes though, it was hard to see past the stinky Buzz Lightyear underwear and take heart in those wise words. It wasn’t clicking…or he wasn’t ready…or he was exercising some control. We’ll never know for sure what the issue(s) was. But, what I do know is those older, wiser moms were right! Patience is key (even though I lost mine more times than I care to count).

Then, finally (on vacation no less), we caught him at the right time and he pooped in the potty! Then, almost a week later, again. And, we celebrated and cheered and he got a special new toy! It was all things “poopy” after that. We set a timer to go try throughout the day, and he willingly obliged. We listened to “Every Dinosaur Poops” from Dinosaur Train. He wanted to make a poopy chart–complete with drawing poop every time he went (ah, life with boys! πŸ™‚ ) and so we did! He loved it (finally)!

And, just like that, no more accidents and instead, excitement over going! We even finally heard those magic words, “Mom, I have to go poopies!” HALLELUJAH!

So, if you’re going through the potty training woes while it seems like everyone around you has their child trained in a weekend, I promise you that you will eventually get there! Be patient (I know it’s ridiculously hard sometimes), try everything you can, keep plugging along, praise/reward often, and know that you will eventually get there (even if it means 10 million loads of little stinky undies until then)!

What is YOUR experience with potty training? Woes? Tips, tricks, or advice? Please share in the comments!

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I’m Sara, a mom to three adorable boys living in the Arizona desert. As a former teacher, I love sharing my passions with others. So, have a look around for creative inspiration about cooking, creating, celebrating, traveling with kids, and more everyday mom endeavors!


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9 Responses

  1. i totally understand this!! its taken over a year to potty train my oldest. while of course it took my sister to train her kid in 3 days. now that my oldest is potty trained i’m about to venture starting with my 2 year old. one ends and i get to start it all over again. i’m hoping with the help of older sister it wont take a year this time around.

    1. 3 days?! I can’t even imagine! πŸ™‚ I wish you the best of luck this time around! If it goes better, would love for you to come back and let us know! πŸ™‚

  2. I’m having a terrible time training my almost 4 year old daughter (she’ll be 4 in October). She only pees in the potty when she wants to. She doesn’t wear undies because she’ll purposely pee in them on the floor or the couch. I live in an apartment and have to pay almost $3 for every load of laundry, so I’m kind of holding off on the undies for now. It’s not that she doesn’t know how to pee in the potty, she just refuses. She even told me once that she was “allergic to the potty”…yeah right, lol. I’m sick of buying diapers for her (I buy them for her 9month old sister, too) because they’re too dang expensive. Hopefully she’ll get it soon.

  3. I died at the poopy drawings! How funny!! It sounds like you are doing everything right! I am glad he is finally getting the hang of it.

    3 day potty training is going well. He gets it, and while he has gone poop in the potty about once a day since we started – he has also had a poop accident everyday πŸ™

    I am writing the 3 day potty training lady to see what she has to say. I will say I am over joyed after just 3 days he gets the whole peepee in the potty thing. We even went out with out a diaper at all today (bc we “threw” them all out – he had no accidents at all! πŸ™‚
    I’m soooo happy your dude finally got it!! YAYAYAYAYAY!!

    We may have to steal the draw your own poop chart.

    1. Hahaha! Thanks! I about died when he said that’s what he wanted to do on his chart! LOL! But, hey, something worked and we haven’t had an accident in weeks!!! Woohoo! Glad the 3-day method is going well overall! If the “3-day lady” has magic advice about the pooping accidents, would love to hear it! πŸ™‚

  4. oh the potty training woes that is for sure. My first son I tried to train him and I made both him and I miserable and it was not some of my best mommy moments for sure. And he did it basically on his own when I decided to stop because I was going to have another baby. So I vowed I would not train another kid they do it when they are ready. My next son I kept him in diapers ( pullups were too expensive, and I was not going to wash out underwear forever ) I was running a daycare and my son did not like having to get changed in diapers when there were older kids using the potty. I just told him in a calm matter of fact tone. As soon as you use the potty chair you don’t have to wear diapers anymore. It was on vacation he was a days away from turning 3 he needed changed at an amusement park and I took him in the woman’s restroom and put him on the changing table to change him and he said he didn’t like it and I said all you have to do is go on the potty chair And he did the rest of that day and from then on out. never another accident. I have 6 kids and they were all different but I never “trained another one” I ran a daycare and i had kids that trained in a couple days to ones that would be 6 and still have accidents everyday. so they all are different. My sisters son did the same thing yours did forever and made her crazy too πŸ™‚

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