Potty Training a Toddler

Nellie will be 2 ½ in July and is completely and utterly uninterested in potty training and all things having to do with the potty. Everything I’ve read says don’t push, wait ‘till they’re ready. Don’t worry, they won’t go to kindergarten in diapers! You’ll turn them into an anal retentive, shotgun-wielding maniac if you push them to use the potty before they’re ready. Not to mention it can cause bladder infections and a multitude of other problems.

So everything I’m reading/hearing/making up in my head because I’m crazy seems to point to the “don’t worry, it’ll happen when she’s ready” but HOLY FUCK KID, I AM READY FOR YOU TO USE THE DAMN POTTY.

We have tried gently suggesting:
Us: “Hey Nellie, would you like to use the potty?”
Her: “Nope.”

We have tried being REALLY EXCITED about it:
Her: “Nope.”

We have tried being REALLY EXCITED and talking about all the AWESOME PEOPLE who use the potty:
Us: “Nellie, did you know that Spider-Man uses the potty? And Thor? And I’ll bet Rapunzel uses the potty, too.”
Her: “Who else uses potty, Mama?”
*getting excited. Uses more enthusiasm*
Us: “Well, daddy uses the potty! Gran uses the potty! Pop uses the potty! Tiana and Belle use the potty! IRON MAN USES THE POTTY. Don’t you want to be a big kid that uses the potty, too?”
Her: “Nope.”


We bought her big girl panties. They have Disney princesses on them. She chose them herself. Woo! Sirens and bells and whistles THROW A PARADE, IT’S UNDERPANTS, PEOPLE.

She wants to wear them, sure.

OVER her diaper.

We tried picking a special potty book – a book she only got read to her when she was sitting on the potty like a big girl. The result of that was ten repeated readings of “Llama Llama Mad At Mama” (and no pee pee), which is cute the first time but right around the ninth reading I wanted to take that little drama queen llama and throw him into a wood chipper. STOP THROWING PASTA YOU LITTLE ASSHOLE.

We haven’t tried a reward chart yet, but that’s probably my next plan of attack. Her teachers at daycare keep casually asking us if we’ve tried potty training at home yet. I always shake my head and explain that we feel she’s just not really ready, and we’re trying not to push it. Her teachers are totally understanding and assure us there’s no big rush, but HOLY FUCK KID JUST USE THE POTTY.

What do you think? At 2 ½, should we be a little more aggressive, or is it still a little early for that just yet? Should I paint the toilet seat like Elmo’s face? Or will that just teach her to take a leak on every Elmo she sees?

….That last one’s actually not a bad idea. TAKE THAT YOU ANNOYING RED BASTARD.

So… anyone got any pointers for potty training a toddler?


  1. Here’s something to try: get one of those baby potty seats (the ones that are totally separate from the potty…they sit on the floor baby bjorn has a model that isn’t obnoxious) and put it in the bathroom. say NOTHING about it to her. Let her find it. Let her ask about it. And then be all non-chalant about it. “Oh that? That’s a potty. I guess you could use it if you want.”

    If she doesn’t take that bait, start leaving her stuffed animals on the potty for her to find. And then be like, “Oh. I guess hippo needed to go potty.”

    It really got Darah’s attention when I started going into her room and asking her stuffed animals who needed to potty and then taking the ones that needed to go. I didn’t directly involve her at all in the process, which is what made her want to get involved, and also get in line to get on the potty. And when she used the potty, I went totally NUTS.

    Worth a shot!
    Tiffany recently posted..How I Revolutionized My Inbox: UnRoll.me

  2. The three day method worked wonders for us. I’m planning on doing it again with Audrey in about 5 months (yes before she turns 2!).
    Beth @ Me as a Mommy recently posted..Simsuit Style with Old Navy

  3. Aren’t girls suppose to be easier to train than boys? Or so they say, right? My son trained pretty easy but I had to use a alarm and set it to remind ME to take him to go every 15 minutes for about 3 days. My daughter is 15 months…I have sat her on the potty a few times and she grins very big and knows where the potty is…but I don’t think she is ready in the least. I am going to try again probably closer to two.

    And yes…with my son I looked for signs of readiness…he seemed ready but honestly? I felt I had to be more ready than he because wet undies and wet carpet and floors? PITA and will grate you! Or maybe that was just me! Either way, good luck!
    Melisa – Mommy This and That recently posted..They Call Him Daddy

  4. It’s a rough go with kids. My son was awful to potty train. He was 3 1/2 before he got it. It took me putting him underwear and letting him pee in them 10 to 15x’s a day before he finally peed.
    My daughter on the other hand — at 2 year 2 months decided that she wanted to use the potty and has not looked back. She is now 3 and fully potty trained.
    The movie Elmo’s Potty time helped my son a great deal…
    Thats all I got :)

  5. I thought girls were supposed to be easier than boys??? Pookah had no interest either. Lucky for me, his daycare did!. I think because he sees other kids his age doing it, he thinks its ok. But still, I have to TAKE him every 30 minutes to an hour or he forgets. He’ll go if you take him, but not on his own. That’s not really potty trained is it??? SHIT!
    Rose’s Daughter recently posted..Fathers Day, IUDs and other Shenanigans….

  6. Andrew Anastasia says:

    The little guy E watches is 4 and still not fully PTed.

  7. I am the world’s worst expert at potty training. My son was almost completely potty trained during the day at 12 months. I did nothing other than sit him on the potty every hour or so, and he would go. Then somehow I dropped the ball on it, with the result that after myriad attempts to get it back, he’s two and back in diapers. Nine times out of ten, he refuses to sit on the potty. And I’m not really in a place in my life where I can do anything about it because I have a two month old who is uber needy.

    Anyway, I can tell you one thing: You will not scar her for life if you push harder. Don’t punish her for having an accident, obviously. That’s the main issue. But you can try putting her on the potty more often, or even go straight to underwear if you have some time to spare and think it’s time. If you wait for her to be “ready,” she may never be … I mean, there’s no switch that clicks in a kid’s brain that says, “I suddenly need to give up my comfortable, effortless diaper and go where the grownups do.”

    I guess the most helpful thing is, do you know when she usually goes? Most kids go when they wake up in the morning and from a nap. Many also poop at the same time every day. See if you can get her to sit on the potty at those times (yes, with bribes. The book bribe is very effective). Then if she ever does go, you can make a huge deal out of it with song and dance and perhaps candy.

    If you’re not ready to ditch diapers completely, you might try putting her in cloth diapers so she (and you) will notice right away when she goes. You can get cheap prefolds for a few bucks at Wal-Mart. When she’s at home, you can put her in just those with no cover or pants.

    Hope that helps. Don’t sweat too much about it though. Whatever you do, she’s unlikely to be scarred for life. She’s also unlikely to be wearing dipes under her wedding gown.
    Sheila recently posted..Two beautiful births

  8. So here’s my 2 cents…well, it’s really closer to a nickel or dime.
    1) Before we started potty training The Punkin, a friend with a child close to the same age pointed out that if we potty train them too long before they can pull down and pull up their pants and panties by themselves, that we’re just training them to tell us when to take them to the bathroom.
    2) All parents are so excited about leaving the tyranny of diapers, that we don’t realize until after that fact that it’s a pain in the butt to take them out in public after ~we~ can no longer rely on diapers. Kids can’t (or won’t) tell you they need to go to the bathroom soon. They tell you INEEDTOGOPOTTYRIGHTNOW. Even at 5 1/2 The Punkin still does this. Me: Do you need to go the the bathroom before we go to the store? Punkin: No. … Fifteen minutes later in the middle of the grocery store, Punkin: I can’t hold it any longer!!! … Or, forget about going out to eat and changing a diaper once. You’ll be going to the bathroom 5 times during a meal. And in our family, it was me doing that because The Punkin wanted to go to the girls bathroom. That’s one of the reasons I was thrilled Little Man is, well, a little man because that means that after he’s potty trained Lance has to take him to the potty when we’re out in public. (these are the kinds of things you get excited about with a 2nd child)

    On to the rest of the story…We waited until The Punkin was almost 3 before we did any kind of potty training. And then our secret…We let daycare do most of the work. I don’t know about your daycare, but ours wants the kids potty trained before they move into the 3 year old class. So they are willing to work with the kids at school.
    We just reinforced potty training at home and switched from regular diapers to pull-ups. She was potty-trained for #1 within a week or two and a couple of weeks later was got #2 under control, the whole process for daytime potty training took about a month, but we used pull-ups so we didn’t have to worry about huge messes. She was nighttime potty trained about six months after that. (I say six months, but that’s just when I started letting her wear panties to bed. She hadn’t actually had an nighttime accident in her pull-ups for a couple of months before that.)

    So that was the really long-winded way of saying, I don’t have any real secrets to potty training but don’t feel like you have to rush it.

  9. I’ve been meaning to reply to your comment on my blog about Theo peeing in the potty. He did awesome the first couple of weeks. This past weekend – he refused to wear underwear OR pee in the potty. It is whatever he says – I can’t force him one way or another. Honestly I wasn’t even gonna mention it to him until he was 2.5 and then see what happened. I’m in no hurry. Less diapers=more accidents and I’m not looking forward to those panicked rushes to find a toilet because he hastogorealrealbadrightnow! I’m sure she’ll pick it up at daycare. Don’t worry mama!
    candice recently posted..this little thing he does.


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