So What Ever Happened with Potty Training?

by Abby on May 23, 2012

potty cartoonYou know how annoying I find those people who don’t offer any closure to those of us who listened to them whine about something for months on end. So as not to be one of those people, I am going to address that unanswered question I’m sure is on all of your minds: “So what ever happened with potty training your toddler?”

I swore that this time around would be completely different than the last time, when I basically followed my firstborn around the house with a plastic potty in a constant state of fear. I was TERRIFIED that he was suddenly going to explode all over the couch, the rug, every dry-clean-only surface in the house. Ironically, every square inch of the carpet would later be covered in spit-up from his baby brother and need to be replaced. I could have saved myself a lot of mental anguish.

Anyhoo, I decided with Son #2 I wouldn’t push it. I would follow his cues, take the lead from him. Right. Because toddlers are so logical and predictable.

For proof, consider this: Riley did #1 and #2 on the potty once, then not again for months. Then sometimes he would go on the little potty and other times on the big toilet. Sometimes he would go in public restrooms and not at home, or ONLY at home and nowhere else. Then, when I was ready to buy a lifetime supply of Pull-Ups, he went and did his business all on his own. We had just picked up his grandmother from the train station and were in the midst of rushing around making dinner. As good a time as any, I guess. And it’s been smooth sailing ever since. Almost.

Did he have accidents? Of course. One in particular stands out. We were at a park, which is basically the worst possible place to take a potty-training kid. If there are any bathrooms at all, they’re probably Porta-potties. And there’s no way in hell I’m taking a handsy toddler in there. Nor did I have one of those travel potties that go in the back of the car. I never needed one with the first kid.

So I’m chatting with another mom and I look over at my toddler, a few yards away in the sandbox. Even from a distance, I can tell he’s assuming “The Stance.” Parents of toddlers, you know the one I mean. “Noooooooo!” I screamed in slow motion, as I dashed across the playground. “Stop! You have underwear on!” But it was too late.

Wait, it gets worse: I didn’t bring any wipes. I cleaned him up as best I could with some Starbucks napkins I found and copious amounts of hand sanitizer. As for his clothes, I left them in a trash barrel and drove my child home in nothing but a too-small diaper that I found in the car. We didn’t leave the house again for days.

But now those messy moments are behind us and I no longer even need to carry a diaper bag. It’s so strange and new I almost have to pinch myself! But there are a few lingering issues we’re still struggling with:

“Emergencies.” The great thing about boys is that they can pee pretty much anywhere there’s a tree. HOWEVER. I have had to implement an “emergencies only” rule, or else my kid’s dropping his pants in every neighbor’s yard and in the middle of the T-ball field. You can see where this is going. Yep, he now claims it’s an “emergency!” every time he feels like peeing outside. Which is always.

Premature dismount. I will try not to get too graphic here. Suffice it to say, you’re not really “all done” until you’ve COMPLETELY finished, wiped, and flushed. I have tried to explain that this usually takes longer than 10 seconds. Give it some time, kid! Where’s the fire?

Backwards underwear. Now, I don’t really care if he wants to wear his briefs backwards. File that under “pick your battles.” But it does make wedgies a persistent problem, not to mention that little opening in the front of boys’ underwear is rendered totally useless. Although in an informal poll, 90% of guys don’t use that anyway.

So there you have it, folks: closure! I know you can all rest easy now. And be glad the people in your house know the true meaning of “all done.”

Calvin peeing cartoonLAUGH O’ THE DAY: After The Park Incident, I borrowed a travel potty from a friend. I left it on the front porch to put in the car. One time we were playing outside and I look over to see Riley perched on the pot. “Hey!” I yelled. “You can’t do that on the PORCH – we’re not hillbillies!”

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali May 23, 2012 at 7:49 am

Ugh! Bad move on my part reading this post over breakfast… NUTELLA on crackers. Sheesh.

So now that both of your boys are fully toilet trained, are you never going to share your secret method to changing a baby using only one wipe (as per your e-book that states: I can change a baby with a single wipe)? I still don’t believe you, and require step-by-step diagrams! (Also from your book: I realize that for most people, “How do you do it?” is a rhetorical question. But if I’m the one asking, please—draw me a diagram, would you?)


Abby May 23, 2012 at 12:29 pm

Ha! Sorry about the Nutella. And very clever, quoting my words back to me. 😉

OK, so the 1-wipe method works best on infants with only moderately messy diapers. You have to use the thick, high-quality wipes, not the flimsy dollar store kind. You start by wiping them with the upper left corner of the wipe, then fold it over, wipe with the other corner, and continue wiping and folding until you have a thick pad with the yucky part on the inside. I would do a video demonstration but I’m not sure you’re allowed to post that on YouTube!


Pamela May 23, 2012 at 9:00 am

VERY very funny and so well written. I’m sending this along to my daughter (2 and 3 year olds) and daughter-in-law (3 boys three and under). I think my daughter-in-law’s funniest ‘potty training’ story to date is telling my husband and me, a bit too proudly, that the 2-year-old was complete potty trained in 1 week, and then us turning around on the living room couch in time to see him pee, for a loooonnngg time, on the tall house plant in the corner…. :+)


Abby May 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

LOL! That is hilarious! And a good reminder of why we don’t have houseplants.


Corey Feldman May 23, 2012 at 10:43 am

Yes I always keep a spare pair of underwear and pants in my diaper bag.


Abby May 23, 2012 at 12:30 pm

Always a good idea. 🙂


Astra May 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Great post! Though, as a mom to two teenage boys, I soooooo long for the diaper days. It’s really no wonder their little sister refuses to share a bathroom with them 🙁


Abby May 23, 2012 at 12:49 pm

You’re scaring me, Astra…


Malia May 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Oh, gosh, I have SO been the mom without the wipes when I need them. In fact, I NEVER seem to have them when I need them. At 2.5, my daughter is getting to the stage where she frequently pees through her cloth diapers. She’ll often come home from the sitters’ house dressed entirely in her son’s clothing (because I rarely have an extra outfit in her bag when it’s needed, either). We really need to potty train but she’s resisting it like crazy. Hopefully we can join you in diaper-free land very soon.


Abby May 24, 2012 at 10:43 am

From what I’ve seen and observed, one day it just clicks. But it will be a day SHE picks, not you!


Frume Sarah May 23, 2012 at 5:11 pm

We have finally had to dip into Jacob’s college fund to pay for his night-time Pull-ups. Not to mention the fact that he has accidents several days a week. At five years old, he is not interested in being fully trained and I am fully prepared that he will be sporting Cars pull-ups to his prom at this rate.


Abby May 24, 2012 at 10:44 am

Ugh. My sympathies. What to do when a kid’s just not motivated and/or interested is one thing I’ve never found sufficiently addressed in anything I’ve read.


jetts31 May 24, 2012 at 9:33 am

Make sure he doesn’t let his pants drop all the way to the restroom floor when he’s going either. That’s just gross.


Abby May 24, 2012 at 10:46 am

Oh, that’s not NEARLY the grossest thing that happens in a public restroom. If I could hold him suspended over the toilet and ensure he didn’t touch anything at all, I would do it. Hmm, potty-training suspension harness? Patent pending…


Rachel May 26, 2012 at 1:53 am

Seein’ as how I’m a hillbilly, I take offense to that there comment. =)


Jamie December 20, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I just discovered your blog and I will definitely be returning. I have a 19 month old little boy and I dread potty training especially since my daughter gave me a hard time. The park incident made me laugh so hard I almost cried and it was much needed.


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