Hi, I’m Amanda and this is me, in the corner, hanging my head in shame.
I’ve debated writing this post for a while, but couldn’t muster the courage to tell you that not only do I feel like a failure but also a fraud.
A few years back, I wrote one of my most popular posts ever, my potty training post. In it, I praise the 3-day method of potty training and I make it seem so easy. That potty training experience was with my very rule oriented, perfectionistic, Type A first son, J.
J was potty trained in 2 days. What can I say, he’s always been an over-achiever.
Then along came his brother, E, who is nothing like him. He’s my sweet, relaxed, easy-going boy.
E is now on month 2 of potty training. And I feel like a failure.
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A few months ago, E started showing all the signs that he was ready to potty train. He was staying dry longer, extremely interested in the potty, he could dress himself, plus he just seemed emotionally ready for the task.
I was ready. Let’s do this thing! After all, I’m a pro!
Darn kids always proving me wrong…
It was disastrous.
He wasn’t all that thrilled about his new undies, he got bored on the potty (even while reading his favorite Thomas book) and got utterly perturbed if he wet himself.
After a few days of these shenanigans, he cried, begged, and pleaded for a diaper.
I gave in because this obviously wasn’t working. Plus, I needed a break from the pain as well!
Even though I swore I’d never use pull-ups, we decided it was best to use them so he could still practice his potty skills without the anxiety of underwear.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago.
He asked me for underwear!! Hooray!! He’s ready!!
As I threw on his undies, I cheered. “Hazaah! We’re ready! No more diapers in this house!”
In three days this boy would be trained! I was so ready.
Here’s how the 3 Day Method worked for us…
- Day one: He stayed dry all day, but I sent him to the bathroom every two hours. Hey, this is going to be easy…now I know it was pure luck.
- Day two: One accident. I lost track of time and he had an accident because I didn’t send him. My bad, tomorrow he’ll be trained! I know it.
- Day three through today (2 weeks later): He has, at least, one accident a day. Yesterday he had three. Sigh…still not potty trained.
The little dude is doing great on the potty and goes anytime we ask him to. But, he’s still not telling us when he needs to go and my job has officially become timekeeper and tracker of E’s bathroom needs.
Hey, it’s okay. He’s showing some good signs that he’s almost there, just not quite yet.
Our plan is to just go with the flow. He wears undies most days, but sometimes I need him to be in a pull-up. I still take him to the bathroom every couple of hours and carry a change of clothes with me everywhere we go.
If a few weeks go by and he’s still not taking the initiative to go without being asked, I might start “incentivising” with a treat every time he goes. This is something I never thought I’d do, but after doing some research, it seems like this might be what he needs for that final push.
What to do when potty training fails
Stop and Try Again
Kids will tell you when they are ready.
If parents try to train too early, like I did, it will be a complete and utter failure.
If your child is crying about using the potty, then they are NOT ready.
Do yourself a favor and just stop trying. It’s not worth the frustration for both you and your child to continue training if it’s not working.
When they are ready, they will let you know.
Let your child lead you and potty train to their abilities right now.
Some methods of potty training, like the 3-day method, expect that kids will be fully trained with no accidents right away. This isn’t always doable for some kids.
It can take 9 months to a year for a child to be fully potty trained. It’s not usually a quick thing.
Some kids will struggle with pooping in the potty, others will still have nighttime wetting, some will be afraid of the big potty, and others will struggle with going to the bathroom without being promted.
My oldest just rocked it and it clicked after a few days. E needs to take a bit longer to train. He’s nothing like his brother, so of course, we won’t have the same experience potty training him.
Teach them the potty independence
Teach your little one to use the bathroom on their own and how to clean up their accidents (wet ones, not poop). This teaches them independence, responsibility, and consequences. Plus, if you don’t, you’ll be spending a lot of time in the bathroom and changing your kid’s clothes.
We taught E the potty song from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood which teaches kids what to do in the bathroom.
If you have to go potty, stop, and go right away. Flush, and wash, and be on your way!
He knows what to do and we don’t have to be there every step of the way.
Also, I want him to feel the consequences for wetting himself, so I taught him how to clean up by himself. He’s capable, so I’m not asking too much from him. It would be different if he struggled with getting dressed.
Now, as soon as he has an accident, he goes to his room and changes without us telling him he has to.
Teaching independence in this teaches him that there are consequences for not using the bathroom.
Just Roll With It
Don’t stress that they aren’t fully trained yet. The more stress and anxiety you feel about it, the more stress and anxiety your child will have about it.
This can lead to even more problems with potty training.
I know it’s hard but just relax. They will train, every kid does at some point.