potty talk

I’m sure that at some point during the last ten years I potty-trained my three older children. I know this because aside from the occasional puddle or really horrifying smudge on the bathroom tiles all three of them are relatively good at using the toilet.

But ask me to tell you how or when I potty-trained them and I will probably lay down on the floor and put myself into a coma. Yes, it was that painful.

I’ve heard hundreds of women claim that their two-year-old was “potty-trained in three days.” Really? You’re telling me that you didn’t spend the three months post-training pulling spare undies from your purse because you threw their dirty predecessors in some public trash can? You never retrieved your toddler from the playground with wet socks? Never watched a three-year-old pee his pants while he was watching Dora because he was too lazy to use the toilet? Really??

I decided shortly after the birth of our fourth child that I would never, ever potty-train another child. I don’t mind diapers. Diapers are convenient and disposable even on a four-year-old. I can remember one of my sisters-in-law putting off training her fourth child. We would watch him bring her a diaper and wipes, lay it down on the ground for her, carefully climb on top, and then ask her politely if she would change his pants.

Forgive me for ever falsely judging her, she was obviously a far more brilliant parent than I will ever hope to be. If that’s not training I don’t know what is. I made up my mind that until Georgia (2) was ready to say, “Mother dearest, I am feeling the urge to vacate my bladder. Might there be a water closet at our disposal?” I wasn’t going to do a darn thing about potty-training her.

A started noticing the first few signs of interest about two months ago. You know, practicing her flushing skills with squares of toilet paper and small toys. I did my best to keep the bathrooms closed and told her detailed stories of the toilet monster that lives in the hole.

And then she started taking her diaper off and forcing me to change it the moment it was wet.

Enter June, my five-year-old.

“Mommy!” she said a few weeks ago, running into the kitchen, “You won’t believe this, look!” I looked and there she stood holding the small, removable toilet bowl from the dusty old potty chair.

“Where did you get that?” I asked.

“I got it out of the basement so I could help Georgia learn to use the potty today!”

I stared at her. Was it really possible? Could it actually…No. No, it was too good to be true. It’s like a rainbow, don’t chase it because you won’t find anything but a puddle of pee at the end of it. “Hmph. Interesting,” I said and promptly walked away.

Five times. Five times that morning June carried Georgia’s piddly offering down four flights of stairs to show me and then sloshed it back up to the 6th floor toilet for prompt disposal. I’d see her coming and look the other direction, giving neither daughter the slightest bit of attention on any spectrum for any of it.

At the end of the dry day I was sure it was a hoax. I put Georgia to bed in a diaper and kissed both girls, making no mention of their successful day. The next morning Georgia’s diaper was dry and her sister had her on the toilet and back in undies before I had time to wipe my…eyes.

I managed to invent a good reason to keep June home from school for three days in a row, and what do you think I had on my hands? A fully-functioning, toilet-using two-year-old. It’s been over a month since that miraculous training and I have to admit, I’ve had the same pair of dry undies in my purse for four weeks now.

Miracles, you  know.


  1. THAT’S AMAZING. I’ve been potty training my 2.5 yr old for 6+ months and I’ve seriously considered leaving my family over it. It. Is. Horrible.

    So… when can I borrow your 5 yr old?

  2. This is BRILLIANTLY written!! Hilarious! And super clever! hahaha I loved every bit of it and having just finished training my number four, I have to admit I’m a little pissed (do you get it?) that my five year old didn’t train him!? What the crap?! (I did it again.) Lucky duck. 🙂

  3. I have been having the hardest time potty training my daughter. She fully knows how to use the toliet (enough to fill three separate potty charts), but refuses now to do it and tells me she wants to be a baby. We have had countless accidents in the last few weeks (church, library, etc…, I am guessing it has something to do with being 8 1/2 months pregnant and her dealing with the anticipation of so much change in her life soon. I have given up and given in to putting her back in in diapers per her request (I have thrown out at least four pairs of underwear and its not cheap), because it is easier this far along in my pregnancy then enticing her to go on the potty. I don’t know where I went wrong, I have followed all the advice and I am SO SICK of Mothers who brag about getting it done in three days or even a week. I want to swear at them and I don’t believe in swearing. This next child is going to have to beg to be potty trained and there will be no rewards! Send your daughter my way and I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks for being honest!

  4. I gave up twice. I nearly gave up the third time because it took until nearly naptime, when I called my husband and said “So help me, if they pee on the floor one more time we are going back to diapers because this is frickin ridiculous, they haven’t gone in the toilet once this morning!” They then started peeing in the potty. But there were 3 days before that where I had my husband and my mother in law home to help. #3 is going to need the services of your five year old. Brilliant, I loved it!

  5. Does June travel?

  6. My youngest (aka, the one I wasn’t planning on but was inspired to have anyway) potty-trained himself. I could tell he was going to and it was right before a 3-week road trip vacation home and I tried to stop him, but I gave in because I was worried he’d never want to again.

  7. I love this!!! One of the best stories! I had those easy potty training stories, but yes I still have children who have been known to pee in their pants rather than become seperated from digital screens!

  8. To Be honest, it was my 2 oldest daughters who potty trained my 4th child. It helped that they all share a bathroom and she wanted to be just like her big sisters.
    But I still take the credit for it, because I have to look like I’m doing something right as a mother…