Two Flushes Forward, Three Poopy Diapers Back.

My daughter went potty on the potty for the first time when she was eighteen months old. And Internet? I was convinced she was a genius. I was sure we’d be done with diapers by time she was two.

In fact, I went right out and bought all the potty training equipment I thought we could possibly need – potty chairs for both bathrooms, a miniature toilet seat for the “big girl potty,” step stools and pull-ups. You name it, I bought it.

So of course she lost interest two weeks later.

The next time she expressed interest, we were getting ready to go on vacation. An inconvenient time to potty train if there ever was one. But, being the “Supportive” mom I try to be, I dutifully packed her potty chair and suspended her over countless filthy rest stop toilets to help her on her way to potty independence. She may have even peed a time or two.

But when we returned home? She started screaming if I even mentioned the word potty.  Apparently, toilets were only to be used in more tropical climes.

Then, just two weeks ago, a miracle happened. She asked to sit on the potty! And then she sat on it long enough to actually pee! Five days in a row!

Internet, it was like the heavens had opened and sent a brigade of singing angels to our bathroom. I. Was. Ecstatic.

And of course I let her know how happy I was. Over and over and over again.  Then, to encourage this awesome behavior to continue (hopefully more than once a day), I started rewarding her with a lollipop – a potty pop – when she  did her business on the toilet.

Man, was that ever a mistake.

I think she got her reward exactly twice before she figured out a way to game the system. Now? She’ll ask to use the potty. “I pee pee on the potty, mommy,” she’ll say. So we’ll drop whatever we’re doing and rush over to the bathroom. Go through the whole clothes and diaper removal rigamarole.

She’ll defy death to wobble up onto the toilet by herself  (no baby potty chair for her), sit down for exactly two seconds, and say, “I done, Mommy!”

“No, you’re not,” I’ll say. “You can’t possibly have pottied yet.”

“Little bit,” she’ll say.

“You pottied a little bit?”

“Yeah,” she’ll answer, looking very serious.

“I don’t know…I didn’t hear it.”

“I did! I did! Potty pop, mommy!”

“You think you deserve a potty pop?”

“Yes. Red one. Please,” she’ll grin.

Sometimes I give in, sometimes I don’t. But always, I curse my “brilliant idea” to hell and back. It seems no good deed goes unpunished.

Tell me, is there a secret to this whole potty training thing? Or will I be sending my daughter to kindergarten in diapers?





21 Comments on Two Flushes Forward, Three Poopy Diapers Back.

  1. Meagan
    August 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm (4 years ago)

    Potty training is a psychology experiment. (I even wrote a blog post to that effect when we were working with Wil last summer.) You have to find what works for your child. And unfortunately you may need to let her have accidents if you really want to motivate her.

    I found that with rewards, for my boys, earning something bigger helped. With Wil he earned stickers and when he filled a chart he got to pick a train. We bought a lot of trains last year. With Sam, he earns a quarter and when he saves enough he can buy a train. That slows it down, but he’s already used to earning quarters for chores and saving.

    When we started, he got a quarter each time. Now it’s only if he’s wearing pants (he doesn’t have accidents naked). He also gets an extra quarter if he’s dry all day.

    Wil was nearly 4 by the time he was trained and Sam is 3 and we’re working on it. They learn when they are ready and when you are ready.

    • Amber
      August 31, 2011 at 10:10 am (4 years ago)

      I like that idea. Lollipops are annoying – they always end up getting stuck in her hair, or dragged on the couch…I will think on that. Thanks for the advice!

  2. critters and crayons
    August 30, 2011 at 10:43 pm (4 years ago)

    Amber- I’m one of “those” parents who let it happen naturally. It helps that I have a younger son so we’re in diaper mode. I felt that the kids are going to be worrying about life things soon enough. Some might call that a lazy approach- and I ‘ve heard that judgment- but I know we are not. We’re not lazy and quite efficient at the many things we prioritize at a much higher level than potty-training at a young age. Between 2.5 and 3.5 years, my daughter worked her way to full potty training without an ounce of shame or concern. It just happened like her speech and her ability to hold a fork. And we are okay with that. So, I don’t think you should fret at all. My daughter is in pre-school at 4 and is functioning at the same level behaviorally as her peers. Good luck to you whatever method you stick with! :)

    • Amber
      August 31, 2011 at 10:09 am (4 years ago)

      I’m with you…I don’t really want to give her issues because I’m pushing potty training. It’ll happen one way or the other. I just never know if I should be gently pushing her, or let it go! I think I’m too impatient, sometimes.

  3. Erica
    August 31, 2011 at 2:19 am (4 years ago)

    B pooped on the potty shortly before her 2nd birthday. Since then, she pees on the potty at least once a day-sometimes even asks- but hasn’t pooped since that one time.

    Thank goodness I took pics of that poopy event back in spring.

    This fall, we’re potty training hardcore, and doing the 3 day method.

    • Amber
      August 31, 2011 at 10:08 am (4 years ago)

      Potty training with a newborn? You are a brave woman. What is this 3 day method you speak of?

  4. Jen
    August 31, 2011 at 8:59 am (4 years ago)

    My advice, wait!

    I can’t stress to you enough to easy potty training will be if you just wait until she is 3 or 3.5.

    We talked about going to the potty with the kids but didn’t do anything with them until they were older then it was one week and they were completely pee and poop trained.

    We also used the techniques in this book, Potty Training 1-2-3 by Ezzo.

    Good luck.

    • Amber
      August 31, 2011 at 10:07 am (4 years ago)

      Yeah, I’m not really pushing her. When she says she wants to do it, we go, but honestly I don’t care if she’s in diapers for a while longer. I just wish I knew if she really wants to learn now, or if I should hold off…

  5. Allison
    August 31, 2011 at 11:46 am (4 years ago)

    I remember that Gabe is slightly older than Tori by a couple months and we haven’t even started potty training yet. He’s only shown minimal interest in his sister’s potty habits. So props to you for getting started. I gave Lilly ONE m&m when she went to the bathroom and she has done very well with the transition and very rarely has accidents now. She still isn’t trained for overnight. That happened right before she turned three.


    • Amber
      September 1, 2011 at 9:14 am (4 years ago)

      I don’t think we would have started either if it wasn’t for daycare. Last night she came home and told me she wants tow ear pull-ups. Because, I guess, all the other kids do. Who knew that peer pressure started so early?

  6. The Mommyologist
    August 31, 2011 at 3:58 pm (4 years ago)

    Hang in there! She will do it when she’s ready. We tried a few times with my son until it stuck, but when it did, he did it in 3 days. He was 3 and a half!

    • Amber
      September 1, 2011 at 9:13 am (4 years ago)

      Three days! That’s awesome! I will hold out hope that such a miraculous feat lies in our future!

  7. Mama Spaghetti
    September 1, 2011 at 3:00 am (4 years ago)

    Oh man! I’m right there with you. My little guy is getting close to 18 months, and so far, he seems to like the potty well enough. He even pees on there once a day or so. But I have to say I’m glad to have the heads up on the potty pop so I can avoid the same trap! Who would have guessed?

    • Amber
      September 1, 2011 at 9:12 am (4 years ago)

      I think m&ms are the way to go. Or, you know, something non-candy related if you’re more worried about being PC than I am…

  8. Jessica
    September 1, 2011 at 4:15 pm (4 years ago)

    I agree with the others. Don’t rush it. Your daughter will start going on the potty when she is good and ready. If you force it early it could backfire.

    I was blessed though. My oldest daughter Mercedes was potty trained by time she was 19 months and Giovanna was potty trained by 15 months. What really helped in our case is since our nanny was in charge of potty training, we told her that we would deduct diapers out of her salary. The nanny had to decide what she wanted more. Food or diapers. She chose food and she then holed herself up in the bathroom and didn’t leave until they were ready.

    They still have an occasional nighttime accident but they are doing great and I am so proud of my role in all of it.

    • Meagan
      September 1, 2011 at 4:28 pm (4 years ago)

      Um, saying not to push it because that could backfire then bragging about making your nanny push potty training early so you didn’t have to pay for diapers is kind of hypocritical. Honestly, I would hate to be your nanny as that’s abusive to make her pay for your kids’ diapers (especially for a 15 month old that no one would expect to be potty trained).

      • Jessica
        September 1, 2011 at 4:57 pm (4 years ago)

        Our nanny is great and very reliable plus she is compensated quite nicely. Having a nanny we can trust is so much better than daycare. Sure, it costs more, but I know that my daughters won’t pick up any bad habits, get sick from all those other kids, and any of the other bad habits that are associated with day care.

        I’m sure our nanny would defend and say very nice things about me and my husband on her own time of course. She even got to come along to Europe to watch the girls.

  9. Amanda C
    September 1, 2011 at 9:35 pm (4 years ago)

    It took us a year to get Vincent potty trained. I started with him around 3 years old, when he was sort of showing interest. However, during that year, we traveled a lot, and I got pregnant. We tried the potty training off and on during that year, and when he didn’t get it each time, we backed off (mostly because I was exhausted throughout my pregnancy) and tried again, later. He finally got it about a month before his 4th birthday. I think it was because he’d seen his cousin pee standing up, and he thought that was cool. Pooping took a little longer, since he’s hard to predict when he needs to go. Also, I finally just had to take the Pull-ups away. At that point, they were a crutch rather than an aid. Once he got it, though, he really got it. He’s had occasional accidents since then, and he had one accident at school last week, but that was because he wasn’t paying attention to his body signals. We just remind him to listen to his body. Now that he’s five, he seems to understand that better. Every kid does it when he/she is ready. Vincent’s always done things on his own time, in his own way…including being born. He decided breech was the position he’d stay in, and they had to cut him out of me. 😉 Good luck!

    • Amber
      September 6, 2011 at 11:59 am (4 years ago)

      Yup. I have one of those independent-minded babies too! Thanks for the pep talk!

  10. Missy @ Wonder, Friend
    September 5, 2011 at 9:34 pm (4 years ago)

    You will NOT send her to kindergarten in diapers. My pediatrician all but guaranteed that when my oldest had zero interest in the potty. Then all of a sudden that same child announced he was done with diapers, and he meant it.

    I know it’s frustrating (in fact, I’m kind of dreading the process with my two-year-old; he’s a stubborn one!), but hang in there. It clicks for them eventually – just on THEIR time, not ours!

    • Amber
      September 6, 2011 at 11:18 am (4 years ago)

      I know. Most of the time. It’s just frustrating sometimes. I don’t want to push her, but people talk about it and then I think maybe I should push her…you know how it goes.


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