Free Potty Training Advice from a Potty Training Failure

ca. 2002 --- Motel Room Toilet --- Image by © Royalty-Free/CorbisI am not good at potty training.  At all.

If you’ve read my books, you already probably know about my long and sordid history with potty training.  And, if you haven’t read my books, you can get a good glimpse of my last potty training experience by reading this post.   Let’s just say my daughter is five and a half and I’m still recovering.

And so I decided long ago that I’m not potty training Will.

I figure that since I clearly haven’t caught onto concepts like “potty signals” and “patience” after two failed potty training attempts, then I’m clearly not a good candidate for the task.  It’s only fair—both for Will’s sake and my own—that I recuse myself from the entire process.

Originally, I thought that the obvious candidate for my replacement was Kate.  That girl has some natural mothering instincts.  She has the whole hand-on-her-hip-and-swivel-your-finger thing down.  And she’s not above bribery.  And she’s actually pretty patient when it comes to sitting on the bathroom floor for hours on ending reading potty stories seventeen times in a row.

But I had to take her off the job last week when she got the idea that Will might be ready to potty train right now.  And before I could even gather myself enough to pay attention, she had him sitting on her old potty, diaper off and was explaining to him that if he just let a little dribble come out, he’d get a chocolate chip.   He actually peed in the potty!  On his own.  And as visions of gas station bathrooms danced through my head, I realized that Kate is way too ambitious to be my potty training replacement.  She’d have the kid potty trained in a week and then where would I be?  Stuck with an underdrawer-wearing kid who isn’t even two and doesn’t understand that when we’re going 65 down the freeway, it is not a good time to decide you have to go poop, that’s where.

And so I’ve moved on to my next best choice:  My husband.  He’s a decent option since he technically owes me after the other two and he tends to be more patient and less concerned about the kid’s sugar intake than I am.  But since he works a lot during the school year, I’m thinking if he were in charge, I’d probably end up doing half of it myself.  Been there, done that.

Joey simply isn’t an option because, well, he has about as much patience as I do.

And so, I’ve reached a conclusion:  Will is going to potty train himself.  I’ll stash some cute Star Wars undies in his drawer, set a baggie of chocolate chips on the bathroom counter and let him have at it.

Third time’s a charm.  I think I’ve finally figured out the solution to my potty-training woes.

I’ll let you know how it goes.





  1. Erin, my third has given me such problems in this area. Poop is my poison in his case. We already mastered peeing in the potty a while ago, but poop? I’ve cleaned up so much of it this past year that I am starting to think it will always be this way. Poop in his pants, on his toys, in the tub…everywhere!!! I mean he will go to a full day of preschool and then come home and let loose in his pants…just for me.

    All i can say is hang there and start training when you’re BOTH ready. I mean, they can’t poop their pants forever, can they? 😉

  2. I’m sure he’s up for the task but I would not let him be in the house. Have you considered an “outside only” method? You’ve got a yard…he’s a boy…

    It’s better than the carpet anyway.

  3. Hilarious. It will be good for him. He’ll probably be a CEO or something someday and point to this decision of yours as the catalyst for greatness.

  4. Erin, Thanks SO much for linking this up over at Creative Geekery’s THE Pin It Party! Potty training was my least favorite part of parenting. Love your style of writing. You are hilarious. SO happy we have connected. XO, ellie