Home » Family » Potty Training: almost sent me to therapy…

Potty Training: almost sent me to therapy…

Potty training is hard. 

There should be local support groups for this kind of thing.  Like, we should sit in circles and tell everyone why our potty trainee is the most stubborn and un-cooperative little learner ever.  And then when you hear the next story, hopefully it will cheer you up and give you hope.  You know, that your kid isn’t the only one completely happy sitting in 3 hour old poop that his mommy never caught wind of.  Ugh.

However, I no longer need to attend mentioned support groups.  Because, yes my friends, we have reason to celebrate in our home.  Our monkey of a boy (child #2) is trained.  Completely.  I know, there are way cooler things to blog about on a “craft/sew/create” blog…………but potty training success stories always trump everything else.  All other projects were put on hold.

Because hallelujah, my 3 1/4 year old finally figured out that undies are much cooler than soggy diapers.

After a lot of potty training ups and downs, I inwardly decided that I was letting go of the potty training idea until he was 4.  I don’t know why age 4 was going to be my limit……but it just seemed like age 4 was way too old to wear diapers.  (But 3 years and 11 months was okay.  haha!)  And then if he still didn’t want to master the potty by age 4, I decided that all diapers were going in the trash and the kid would have to sit, play, sleep, etc in the bathtub…..where his mess would be contained.  And he would remain there until he was completely trained.  (I know.  Lame.)

Is there anyone out there struggling with a stubborn potty trainee?  Well, maybe our story will help.  Or make you glad your child wasn’t as stubborn as ours was.

Either way……

Humor me, while I rewind.

We have talked and talked about the potty.  We told him big boys use the potty, showed him potty books, talked about getting his very own potty, etc.  He was so excited.  Then we finally bought him his own potty this past July.  He was thrilled.  We even bought him ‘Cars’ and ‘Toy Story’ underwear, which he thought were so cool.  So one morning, we decided to give this potty training thing a go.  He snacked, drank juice, and watched “Elmo goes Potty” DVDs while sitting on his portable potty in front of the TV. He got lucky and went pee 2 times in the potty that day.  But then he got tired of sitting in front of the TV so long……and said, “this takes too long”, and was done.  He peed his pants the rest of the day.

And during all of the pee pee accidents that day, he even pooped his pants.  This all happened while he was in the bathroom, refusing to just sit and try.  He realized what he had done and pulled down his underwear to show me what happened and……..his little treasure tumbled out of his pants and onto the floor.

He just stood there with his undies around his ankles, and stared at that thing.   

And then he threw up all over the floor.

Yeah, 2 treasures for me to clean up that day.

I washed that kid up, disinfected the floor, slapped a fresh diaper on him, and we gave up for the day.

. . . . .

We tried many times after that to build his enthusiasm again.  We talked about new toys, new movies, new undies, etc.  We even told him that once he was potty trained, we could go to the toy store and he could pick out anything he wanted.

Seriously, anything.  He was so excited about that but then looked us right in the face, like it was no big deal, and said, “hmmm, maybe when I’m 4!”

Then, one day he pulled this book off the book shelf and asked me to read it.  He loved it.

I told him there was a Lion King movie that was just like the book.  His excitement grew and he asked (pretty please) if we could buy the movie.  So then I told him “sure”……but after he learned how to go to the potty.  I told him I would even get him some Lion King toys to play with, while watching the new movie.  I don’t know, I just thought it would motivate him.  He kept saying “yeah, I will get the Lion King movie after I go potty!!”  He was so thrilled at the thought but then when we’d mention sitting on the potty to try, he’d quickly turn completely disinterested and say, “no thanks!”.  Grrrrrr.

So I took matters into my own hands and ordered a whole slew of Lion King garb so that he could see it up close and know that it was real.  And that he could have it once he used the potty.  I set it in the bathroom and brought him in there to see it.  He was through-the-roof excited.  Especially about the movie.

He was hopping up and down with excitement and wanted to watch it so badly.  So I reminded him that it was for after he learned to use the potty.  I excitedly asked him if he wanted to sit on the potty and give it a try…….without even breaking stride, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “nope”, and walked out of the bathroom……like the Lion King stuff didn’t even exist.  I mentioned to him that we’d probably have to put the stuff back in the box and send it back to the store if he wasn’t going to use the potty.  He then told me to just put it in the box and save it for him for when he was 4.  Because that’s when he stated he would learn to use the potty.  I just laughed inside.  And realized it wasn’t worth forcing.

. . . . .

This kid was far from interested.  So we decided we would bring it up every now and then……but we’d give him his space.  And just see what happened.

We went through several more casual underwear-drive-by’s at the store, mentioning he could pick out any kind of new underwear he wanted.  He always simply said, “No thanks!!”.  So we left it alone.

But then, about a week and half ago, I was thinking we should start the potty training thing again.  And no joke, my husband came to me a few hours later and said he was going to have a pee pee party with our little boy that weekend, so we could get him trained.  Fantastic.  We were both going to be home all weekend and were excited to give this another try.

Now, we had to convince our 3 year old that he would love it too.

So, Saturday morning, after the kids were up and breakfast was eaten, we grabbed our little boy his clothes and a diaper to put on him for the day.  But instead of grabbing his regular sized diaper, we did a little tricking.  (And knew once we did this, there was no going back.)

Yeah, we bought newborn size diapers in the same brand as his regular diapers so that the color and style would look mostly the same (we call these the ‘monkey diapers’….so if there was no monkey on it, he would have noticed).  Then, my husband tried putting the newborn sized diaper on him, like it was his regular diaper.  Then, he got all concerned and said, “Oh no buddy!  Your diaper isn’t fitting you!”  He kept pulling and struggling and grunting, while trying to make that diaper fit.  My little boy kind of giggled and said, “stop tricking me daddy!”  Then he told our boy, “No buddy, these really aren’t fitting.  Look!”  And he showed him how it wouldn’t wrap around on both sides.  My husband then shrugged his shoulders and said, “I guess your diapers don’t fit you anymore.  You are such a big boy now, diapers don’t fit you anymore.”  Then he told him it was no big deal and then explained that he could put on underwear today and we would have a pee pee party to celebrate.  Our little guy looked concerned but his eyes quickly brightened as we explained that we would have a party the whole day to help him learn how to use the potty since his diapers didn’t fit him anymore.  (By the way, I got the diaper idea from one of you, who left it in a comment one day.  Whoever you are who mentioned it, thank you a million times!)

So here’s how the Pee Pee Party went.

We bought all sorts of salty snacks.  Mostly chips…..because this kid adores them.  (And we figured one day of pure chips wouldn’t kill him. Ha.)  And tons of juice.  He was allowed to eat all the salty chips he wanted, so that he would drink, drink, drink.  We wanted his little body to produce lots of pee so that there would be plenty of practicing throughout the day.

But not only did our little boy feast on the treats, so did my husband.  Because we decided he would need to be his potty role model.  So anytime daddy had to use the potty, my husband would jump up all excited and they would both run in there so that our little boy could watch.  And see what daddy was doing.  And let’s just say, I lost count of how many times my poor husband had to use the potty that day.  But, he took one for the team!

After watching daddy go potty and seeing that it wasn’t so bad…….he sat down and gave it a try.  And emptied his very full bladder. He jumped up so excited and we all hooted and hollered.

We told him that for every time he peed he got 3 pieces of candy and every time he pooped, he got 5 pieces of candy.  He loved that!  (His big sister got the same amount… she became his biggest cheerleader because she wanted the candy as badly as he did.)

(By the way, after 2 days we knocked it down to 1 candy for pee and 2 for poo.  Once the bowl of candy was gone after about a week, he didn’t get any more treats for potty…..and surprisingly, he’s okay with that.)

We also bought all sorts of obnoxious boy underwear.  The kid doesn’t even know what a transformer is, but he thinks they are so cool.  And all of the super heroes??  Yeah, he thinks he loves them too.   (I’m sure his father has something to do with that!)

However, be sure to learn the super hero names before slipping them on your little boy.  He asked me who the guy was on his undies……and I said, “the Hulk”.  He later told his daddy that the super hero on his bum was the Hulk and his daddy quickly corrected him and told him it was Thor.  He pointed his accusing finger at me and ratted me out.  Ooops, he’ll never trust my super hero knowledge again. (Yay!)

My husband continued to take him to the bathroom to watch him, all day long.  And this little guy continued to pee in the potty all by himself.   He did have an accident or two……but we never scolded him.  Just moved forward.  He did eventually poop that day too.  Hooray……that boy was excited for 5 pieces of candy.

On day 2, he woke up and we told him we were going to have another pee pee party.  He was ecstatic!  I think the day before was near the best day of his 3 year old life.  Non-stop chips, juice, and plenty of candy.  A 3 year old dream!  (Okay, we did make him eat meals too, just so he wouldn’t get sick.)  But day 2 was just as successful……..plenty of action going on in the potty.  He did have one more accident that day…….on grandma’s hard wood floor.  (sorry mom!)  But after that, he was done.  He always told us when he needed to go potty.  He always ran to the potty like it was the most exciting thing of his life.  And then he would hop off, so thrilled with himself.  He mentioned to me on several occasions while giggling, “Aren’t you just so proud of me mommy?”  Haha……I guess I told him I was proud of him about a billion times.  It stuck! :)

And guess what?  Not a single accident since then.  Okay, maybe twice he has leaked just a bit in his undies……but he ran as fast as he could to the potty, where he finished his business.  So I consider that a success.

No more poop.  And no more pee.  Halle-stinkin-lujah!!!!

 I know, I’m acting as if we’ve won the lottery or something.  (Well, we kind of did considering the money we’ll save on diapers.)  But we were so done with the diaper thing.  And we’re so glad he is too.

And just so you know, after filling out a potty chart and not having any accidents for one whole week, he finally got all of this.  We even had a Lion King movie night, and ate dinner on a big blanket in front of the TV to celebrate.  He was beyond excited.

Yay buddy!  You’re 3 years, 3 months, and 24 days old today.

Thank you for not really waiting until you were 4.   And bless your sweet little self for saving us some grief!



Thank goodness.

 Something we learned:

Once we knew he was capable and it was more like a power struggle mixed with some fear, we decided to go for it with the pee pee party and knew we couldn’t go back.  Seriously, there was no going back.  We told him that diapers didn’t fit him anymore so we couldn’t suddenly “find” some if we decided this wasn’t going to work.  So, we had to decide mentally that we were okay with pee on the carpet, poop in his pants, accidents every day, etc.  (And we have night time diapers that look different and he knows those are ONLY for night time.  So we still put those on him at night.  He didn’t question it.)


. . . . .


Ashley Johnston

Administrator at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with the craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!

  • Save

Hi, I'm Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

Back to Top
Share via
Copy link