I Don't Potty Train My Kids

by Jessica Ashcroft
Originally Published: 
A kid sitting on a pink potty
Saklakova / Getty

Potty training, you guys.

It’s a rite of passage in motherhood and something that turns your baby into a somewhat functioning child.

And guess what?

I was so excited to start!

I mean, why wouldn’t you be excited to stop changing poopy diapers every day? As soon as Hudson turned 18 months, I was like, “OK, I’m ready. Let’s do this potty training thing!”

But Hudson was not ready. So I pushed and pleaded and read all of the “potty train your child in 3 days” blog posts full of potty training tips I could find, but he just wasn’t having it. He would literally cry if I put him on the potty. So I took a step back and realized he was only 18 months and didn’t need to be potty trained just then.

So when Ella’s due date started getting closer, I tried the potty training process again, because I did not want to be changing a toddler and a newborn all day. But again…Hudson was not ready.

So I waited even longer. When his third birthday came around, I was about done changing his diapers, so we picked out special underwear, got him a potty seat, did the “run around the house naked” thing and BIG SURPRISE…he still was not potty trained.

Then I just decided to give up. If he had to go to school in diapers, then I guess we would deal with that when we got there. But guess what? Two months after he turned three, Hudson decided he was finally ready to potty train.

He told me he had to go potty one day, took his diaper off and went. So I put a pull-up on him and kept checking him to see if he was dry and he was. This went on for three days and then he was wearing underwear. I literally did very little as soon as he decided he was ready.

Why did I put him and me through all of that agony for 18 months? Because I wanted him to be done with diapers when he wasn’t ready.

So all you mamas who are trying to potty train, listen up. My biggest tip for potty training success is:

Wait until they’re ready.

The secret isn’t a special potty training age or a special method or a special toy. They will not be truly potty trained until they are ready.

I mean, sure, you can “mommy train” them at 18 months. I had a friend do that. Her daughter was wearing underwear before Hudson even knew what underwear was. (He’s older than her.) I was pretty upset for awhile until I found out about all of the accidents (four times during a family vacation once). And saw all the asking during play dates, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” “Are you sure??” “Let’s just go to check.” Every 10 minutes.

Yeah, no thank you.

Does it suck having to change a 3-year-old’s diaper? Yes. Does it suck having to buy diapers for a 3-year-old? Yesssssss. Does it suck seeing all of your child’s friends wearing underwear and going on the toilet? Heck yes.

But you know what doesn’t suck? Never having to clean out poopy underwear. There is no coming back from that. I can count on one hand the number of accidents Hudson has had and there have been no poopy incidents (except for once when he was sick, but I won’t count that).

And of course Hudson knew what the toilet was and how to use it. He knew that he would get to wear special underwear when he went on the potty. We even bought him a special toy. None of that interested him. No bribing or begging or pleading made him want to go on the potty. He went when he was ready and that was that.

So now that Ella is nearing her second birthday, am I getting anxious for her to be potty trained? You bet. Do I talk to her about going on the potty? You know it. But, guess what? She cries every time I talk about it. So I’m not going to push it and I know she’ll show us when she’s ready.

And each child is so different. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all when it comes to knowing when it’s the right time to potty train. But some of the signs Hudson showed were:

– He told us when he needed to go (probably the biggest indicator that they’re ready).

– He was dry after naps.

– He rarely had accidents in his pull-up.

– He wasn’t afraid of the potty anymore.

– He was taking his diaper off himself to go to the bathroom.

Sorry if this post isn’t the “3-day outline to get your 18-month-old potty trained fast” that you were hoping for. I’ve seen so many of those on Pinterest and they didn’t work for us. This is what did and I’m hoping it will help another mom who is in the depths of potty training h-e-double hockey sticks.

Hear what our real-life Scary Mommies, Keri and Ashley, have to say about this when they give their (always real) thoughts in this episode of our Scary Mommy Speaks podcast.

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