The anticipation and fear of potty training


I believe the time is approaching to start potty learning with my son. He turned two in October. At about that time, his female playmates began wearing big kid underwear instead of diapers. One by one, they are completely potty trained. Now it looks like some of the little boys he plays with are following.

At first, I got a little excited. I see a light at the end of the tunnel! I’ll have only one child in diapers, not two! So much less struggling against a headstrong toddler with a diaper!

Then I realized that my son is going to have to be involved in this process. You know, the boy who refused to pick up his Duplo for 4 hours straight, ignoring dinner and bath and finally fell asleep in his room with the Duplo still on the floor. Spirited? Strong-willed? Perhaps.

One of the moms I know just showed her daughter the Potty Power DVD once and the little one took off her diaper, sat on the potty herself, and from then on was completely potty trained.ย  Of course, I bought the DVD immediately. We have been watching it for about a month now. All that happened is that my son has started composing ad hoc songs including the phrase “potty power”. He also confuses it with the song “Jesus Loves Me”.

Him: “Potty power, potty power… because the Bible tells me so!”
Me: “Do you want to go to the potty?”Him: “Hahahahaha!”
It’s true, he really did laugh at me.

Every day when he has a dirty diaper and I have to change him, it is a big sobbing struggle. Here is the conversation we have:

Him: “No diaper change!”
Me: “You know, if you don’t want a diaper change all you have to do is go in the potty. Do you want to go sit on the potty?”
Him: “No potty!”…. “No diaper change!”

What he wants, apparently, is poor hygiene. Or to stop pooping.

We had one of his friends over to play the other day and she went to the potty three times, all on her own. It was magical. I can’t wait for my son to do that! At the same time, I am relatively terrified of this process. It seems he is nowhere near ready. Will we be enrolling him in high school still wearing diapers?

What do you think? Any tips from moms who have been down this road already?



  1. I’m am slightly terrified too…for some reason I just don’t think my little guy is going to be so excited about peeing on a cheerio in the potty! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I love that picture! I asked my ped about potty training at last week’s 18mo check up, and he was just all “let him watch you….buy him a potty…let him try it when he wants”. I’m thinking this could take years! And I’m so scared! We talk about it all the time and he is interested, I just don’t think he realizes this is something HE will have to do eventually.

  3. I think the hardest thing is not comparing your child to others. I have a friend who potty trained each of her 3 kids in about 3 days! She had a routine that worked for them which involved going out to a cabin, spending 3 days naked (the child in training), peeing outside, in the potty, wherever. They came home, no more diapers! At one time I thought, “hey, if it worked for her, it can work for me!” Since I had no cabin, we just tried this around our house. Result: a lot of carpet cleaning, couch cleaning, and more months of potty training!

    Each child is different, and readiness is just unpredictable. 28 months is supposed to be the age where sphincter control is possible, and training before that time usually involves a very disciplined parent who keeps track of the time between drinking and pottying! What I do know is that I just need to relax about it and try to focus on more memorable milestones!

  4. Recommend an awesome book called “Potty Training in One Week” by British super nanny – Gina Ford.
    Here’s the thing I found – it didn’t happen in one week. But, some of the principles in there really helped us. The biggest of all being – don’t try to potty train until they can get their pants (and underpants) on and off by themselves — otherwise, you must always help them, and like Lisa said, you’ve essentially got mommy training instead of potty training because even if they “get it” they can’t do it by themselves.

    Took my oldest son until 34 months. It also required a lot of bribery. Everyone told me girls are easier and my daughter would be easy. I had her almost completely trained for a few weeks at 28 months then she totally regressed and we started all over about 4 months later.

    I’d say – diapers are a pain…but not as much of a pain as trying to potty train a kid who’s just not ready…especially if you have other children!

    • Oh I have not tried seeing if he can take his pants off! I will have to try that…my guess is that he can’t. Although he does try to put them ON all the time when we’re getting dressed ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Wait until he is 3 is my advice. Many friends of boys told me the same thing. I tried when he was younger and it was too much work! At age 3 yrs 3 months we coincidentally got asked to be in a study on Pull-Ups. I was thinking it was time to train anyhow as we had another baby on the way. It was SO EASY. He got it in about three days. We had a small, red potty from Ikea that we let him pick out. It was in the living room on the non-carpet area. Each time he went, he got a fruit snack. after maybe two or so weeks of fruit snacks after every deposit (more for #2), we moved to three at the end of the day for a perfect potty day. After a few more weeks, he forgot about it and so did we. The bonus was he also was mature enough to go all night at that point! I will never push a child into training.
    I have a friend whose son is the same age as the one I just mentioned above, who is the youngest of four and was trained right before his 4th birthday.
    Another friend trained her daughter for a YEAR. She wasn’t ready, was pushed too much and it became a control issue. She still fusses unless SHE wants to do it.

    • I do kind of worry about leaving him with friends whose kids the same age who are potty trained because I feel bad I’d be making them change his diaper when he should be old enough to use the potty…I cloth diaper as it is, which is weird enough for most people.

  6. I agree that you shouldn’t compare your kid to others (as much as I wanted to when my son was potty-training age). There are basically two things I don’t think you can force your kid to do: eat and go potty. I think the more you try to control it, the more frustrated you will be and the more cleaning of the floor, clothes, shoes, etc you will do. My son was about 35 months before he did both #1 and #2 willingly and usually of his own volition. I was seriously hoping it would’ve happened sooner, but it didn’t. I think the best you can do is show him how, give him opportunities when he’s open to them, and let it happen when it happens. And, it will happen.

    • Oh my goodness so true about the eating. Sometimes I don’t even know how my son stays alive when apparently he eats nothing but bread products and fruit! But yeah, I don’t push it with food because there’s no point. That’s a good point that it’s probably the same with the potty!


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