I feel like there should be a service where you send your toddler off for a couple weeks to a special potty-training camp where people train them for you. Then, they come back home and nicely pee in the toilet like a real human being and it’s all a breeze from then on. That would be the potty-training dream.
But nope, the reality is that you have to step up and do this yourself and let me tell you, it’s no joke. I can honestly say that this was one of our biggest challenge as parents so far. Sure, we could have waited until she was a bit older to do it and maybe that would have helped speed things up but I have yet to hear that it was an easy, quick process from anyone who has gone through it, so I am sticking with the fact that unless you love cleaning up human feces, it really sucks.
I would like to quickly mention here that whoever this magical person is that created the whole “potty training in 3-day” thing is a dirty liar and they deserve a big punch right in the mouth. Seriously, you are basically setting people up for failure here and making them feel like complete shit (no pun intended) from the get go. If there are any of you reading this who have successfully trained your kid in 3 days with no accidents outside of those 72 hours and whose kids were 100% trained through the day and night, then holy shitballs, you deserve to be head of the world because let me tell you, that is some crazy mind-blowing stuff and you my friend are a wizard.
Now, onto the more realistic approach that we took while attempting to potty train our 2-year-old (26-months if you want to be one of those people who talk in months… if so, I may as well add in here that I am 402 months). We decided to get the training going while on vacation in Palm Springs back in November. To be honest, my mom was the one who suggested it as she made a pretty solid point that my daughter could just cruise around bottomless the whole trip at the house we rented, which would make it a bit easier than having layers back home in Canada. Ah, to live the bottomless good life and not be arrested. Another reason we decided to go for it was due to the excessive diapers in our house with our toddler and the infant twins. We selfishly wanted one less kid in diapers.
Anyway, we decided to go for it and purchased a $5 potty from the local Walmart when we got there, along with some My Little Pony toys and Gummy Bears to use in future negotiating and bribery tactics with the 2-year-old. We felt prepared and positive. This was going to be a breeze for sure.
I should note that we had attempted to get her more interested in the potty a few months prior and our daycare was pretty quick to tell us that she wasn’t ready (they were 100% correct) back then so we figured now that she was SO MUCH OLDER, this would be a better time. Joking, but we had the 10 days while on vacation to really work on it with both me and my husband to help do the work full-time.
So, we began the process and I will say that the first couple days weren’t the worst. Sure, she pee’d on the pool deck, the floor, the grass, the chair while she ate her lunch or dinner. She pee’d down her leg several times and I am almost positive she didn’t even realize it was happening. She for sure pee’d in the pool without us knowing and definitely pee’d while sitting beside us in the mesh lawn chair, thinking that we wouldn’t notice but as I mentioned, it was mesh and if anything, it just sifted out any non-liquid items like one of those flour sifters that bakers use. Ok, you probably get the point…there was a lot of pee in a lot of places.
So yep, it was going really well for several days. She did pee in the potty a few times but the girl would not take a poop in the potty and would hold it in until she put her diaper on for a nap or bedtime. Solid timing.
I think it was around day 4 when she suddenly got way better at the whole process. We had somewhat figured her out and also started a really awesome habit where we would put the potty in front of the TV like it was her chair and while she watched TV, she would naturally pee in the potty…and then poop because well, she was in the ready position ahead of the game. No, this is probably not the best tactic to training a toddler but I can tell you that it required way less clean up on our part and once she got rewarded with candy and pony’s, she started to realize what was going on. She found her angle to the Gummy Bear’s.
After a couple days with the TV/potty plan, mixed with us bringing the potty outside beside the pool during the day, the girl was starting to get the hang of it. We would remind her every 10 minutes or less and ask if she needed to go pee until finally, she did the unthinkable and walked over to the potty on her own, sat down and went pee. Hallelujah, our kid was a genius! We thought this was it and that we would be in the clear. But nope, we were wrong… AGAIN.
She did well off and on for the rest of the trip. Yes, there were obviously accidents but by the end of the vacation, she was pretty good at going on her own and understanding the feeling when she had to go. We also made her throw away her diapers so we couldn’t bring those back ever again. That was a big moment. Little did we know that this whole process was only the beginning as we flew back home to Canada, where she had to wear underwear and pants. Cue, potty training all over again.
Pants. They are a real pain in the ass…again, no pun intended but also, I think I’m funny. We realized that we messed her up a bit in Palm Springs and that now we had to train her with pants on. Or did we? We tried for a couple days and realized she was going backwards so just said SCREW IT and started dressing the girl in dresses, knee high socks and sweaters. No underwear and no pants in the middle of winter. We actually attempted to send her to daycare in the same outfit and they let it fly for a couple days before requesting some underwear under these dresses. Fair enough!
We took her everywhere in this sort of outfit. Everywhere that had bathrooms close by. She seemed to have it under some sort of control while at home so we realized that we needed to branch out and experiment a bit. This is when you would always find us at the mall on Saturday’s and Sunday’s. Our whole family of 5 that included our bottomless toddler.
We would walk around, shop and ask her every 5 minutes if she had to pee. My husband and I packed cleaning spray in the stroller, paper towel in our pockets and about 6 extra pairs of underwear and socks. Minus the one accident she had in a store that will remain nameless where she went into the front display window where the mannequins were and popped a squat (where fellow mall wanderers could see her in plain sight) and may have taken the largest pee we had ever seen, she was doing pretty good out in the public world. Can you hear my sarcasm?!
Other than that minor issue, the rest of the mall visits went smoothly. Keep in mind that this was what our weekend looked like for 3 weeks, making it over one month since we began the training in Palm Springs. See why I was angry at Mr. or Mrs. “3-day method”? Asshole.
Long story short, around the 6-week mark when we thought it was the end and that she was done, she decided to give us a big “fuck you” and completely regress. To the point that now we were mad…which apparently you aren’t “supposed” to do as parents while potty-training.
During this little rewind she had decided to take, this was when her mom and dad decided to also not give a fuck and pull out the big guns. There were no more rewards for pee in the potty but instead, just mild anger towards pee accidents and then applause for when she went in the toilet. When she would start waiting until bedtime again to do a poop (because we kept her in a crib which meant she wears pullups at night), we would get mad. It tested our patience in a way that I really never knew existed. Add in the cleaning of poop in underwear and pants again and you get a pretty agro Al.
For those of you who are judging me because I got angry with my child on several occasions which included me telling her she was a baby and no longer a “big girl” and then putting her in an infant diaper (her younger brother’s) before going back into her crib to think about what she did, you can relax… the anger actually worked and she came back around. Sure, maybe she’ll have some sort of psychological bathroom issues later on but at least she’s potty trained now… KIDDING, she is fine and doesn’t have any issues around going to the bathroom so maybe a bit of anger was needed after all.
I will add that this whole potty-training ordeal took a full two months. I’m talking two months until there were no more accidents. Sure, she still has the occasional accident where she holds it too long and doesn’t quite make it to the toilet but I give her credit for those ones as she did try but toddlers get distracted sometimes. I should also note that she is still in a crib when she naps and sleeps at night. This means that she is also in a pull-up diaper when napping or at night because we didn’t see the point of working on night-time potty training until she is in a big kid bed without a sleep sack. I also realize that this defeats the purpose of a pull-up because she can’t get out of bed to actually get to the toilet and take off the pull-up but after we got her to throw her diapers away, we called pull-ups “big girl sleep diapers” and now we can’t go back.
I’m sure our “method” to potty-training is the longest and least efficient one out there but it worked and I still stick to what I said when I say that there is no way the 3-day method would have worked for us. Zero fucking chance. Maybe we didn’t need a full 60-days but that’s the truth on how long it took until our confidence was at 100% in her bathroom habits and where there were no more accidents. We also aren’t the type of people who will stay home 24-hours a day so that could be why it took longer as well. We wanted to live our lives and for her to live hers which meant we had to be ok with accidents out in public.
I do not envy any of you who are going through this right now or who are about to start. It really sucks but as long as you know that before going in, that should make it a bit better… right? Go team go! Or, you should start one of those cool potty-training camps I mentioned at the start of this post. I’ll for sure register the twins in a couple years! Maybe I should patent that along with my soother mask idea. Damn, I am full of all the good ideas.