Potty Training is my personal parenting hell

Potty training parenting hell

photo credit: Kalexanderson via photopin cc

All parents face one or more challenges that present more of a problem to them than others for completely obscure reasons. For me, potty training is that seemingly insurmountable hurdle.

Breastfeeding was bone-achingly hard at first but I had a good handle on how it worked, why I was having problems and what I wanted to achieve; with perseverance and stubbornness, it has been a success story with both my girls. Weaning came much sooner than expected but we settled into baby-led weaning with incredible ease. Sleep training was a slow process purely because we didn’t ‘train’ at all but went with the flow like the attachment parents that we are, and it hasn’t been a cause of stress, just tiring, because, well, kids.

Potty training though, I am finding so hard, not because it’s more difficult than any of these other things but because I feel completely out of my depth. I really feel like I haven’t got a clue what I’m doing in a !PANIC! sort of way and it has taken me ages not to feel overwhelmed by the task, let alone figure out a plan for how we were going to do it. So here’s my confession: Little Girl is going to be three years old in two weeks’ time and she is not potty trained.

Most of her friends have been going to the toilet for months. But no amount of ‘you can be a big girl like xyz‘ has made any difference. After three failed attempts, I now think it’s purely down to Little Girl not being ready but how can you really tell? How do I know it’s not just because I’ve been utterly crap at it? She showed all the signs of being interested; we bought the potties and the knickers with her and drew a chart and used stickers. She did a few pees in there and even a poo (the drama!) and then I put knickers on her and she peed all over the place. It was as if she was wearing nappies, and she can spend all day in her dirty nappies without it bothering her. As soon as the knickers went on, it was as if she lost all awareness of needing to use the potty and she would use them like a nappy; just horrific. As we live in rented accommodation and there’s carpet in nearly every room (carpet, how I loathe thee), it just wasn’t an option to keep on doing this or to let her go bare-bummed in March weather. So the nappies went back on. I tried another couple of times and couldn’t face walking into pee-smelling rooms anymore.

Only in the last week has it looked like she might finally be getting it. We started again by accident last week when we left the house in a hurry and I only realised at our destination that she was wearing nothing under her dress (no comment on this particular parenting fail…). We’ve kept on going on and off since then and it’s been two days straight now that she has been consistently using the potty. Only one thing though, she is still not wearing knickers. I’ve decided that, as the weather is much better and she has lots of long summer dresses, we’re just going to go commando everywhere until we’ve cracked it and then we’ll try the knickers again (on my parents’ wooden floor whilst on holiday, hopefully). And it’s working. She is using a pink Peppa Pig potty that she proudly empties herself whilst declaring ‘I’m a big girl now!’.

It still feels that this success has absolutely nothing to do with me and that I’m just a lucky bystander. If it wasn’t working now, I would literally have no idea what to do, and I don’t like this feeling at all but what can I do?


7 thoughts on “Potty Training is my personal parenting hell

  1. Oh I completely hear you! My daughter is now 3 years and 2 months and literally in the last week, she has stopped having accidents and uses the toilet consistently for everything. I started with all the same things: potties, training pants, knickers and exactly like your daughter, she would have accidents everytime I put the training pants or knickers on her. Very frustrating and hard to understand what is going on in their little heads but I really do think that it is down to them and when they are ready – we can only assist and encourage!
    PS Potty training in France is definitely a lot easier with our tiled floors though!!

  2. I feel your pain, I found potty training by far the absolute hardest bit of parenting in the 7 and 1/2 years I’ve been doing it! This is possibly also something to do with the fact that L has bladder issues which we’re still working to overcome now. There’s no way I’ll be rushing in to doing this with C. I’m hoping she’ll just potty train herself at some point (bad mummy). But I would say don’t stress it, I’ve got friends whose kids have done it at nearly 4, and she’ll do it when she’s ready. In the meantime good luck and drink wine!

    1. Drinking wine is absolutely the best prerogative, I like your style!

      I’ve actually got to write another post now about the concept of ‘being ready’ because she’s literally just potty trained herself last week to the point that I don’t even need to ask her if she needs the toilet. I’m getting whiplash from her complete turn-around.

  3. It took nearly a year to fully potty train my first boy ( he wasn’t interested at all + had speech issues and couldn’t tell us if he wanted to go). I found it so hard and stressful, that I dreaded that time with my second son. The solution? We left the boys with my parents in France for 2 weeks. I rang my mum and that’s it , my son hasn’t had an accident for 3 days and goes to the toilet by himself, even empties his potty. I sort of feel guilty that my mum had to do all the work though… and I do feel like a bad mother as well… but hey, we’re not perfect…

    1. A year! Wow, that is intense. I love that it just happened at your parents, I think that’s great, and she probably wouldn’t have been able to do it had he not been ready for it. Don’t feel bad, we all have our sticky points, as this post shows!

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