Just say no to….potty training?

*Mommy disclaimer: I believe potty training stories fall into the realm of “things other people don’t want to hear about unless they are going through it or just did”. Other things that potentially fall into this category: fishing stories, golf game reports, fantasy football records and yes, this is going to be controversial here, but birth stories *gasp*.

But if you are in the process of potty training or have thought of potty training in the future, this may or may not be helpful information.  But it could scare you really badly and bring you to my thought that we should all just say no to potty training!

Just Say No to Potty Training - Kids Activities Blog

My Potty Training Journey as a Mom

About 3 years ago the following scene happened in an Ultrasound room at a local hospital:
US Tech: So, you have two boys, huh?
Me and my husband: uh, huh.
US Tech: *pointing to screen* Do you see that right there?
Me: Oh Lord…I have to potty train THREE BOYS?
Let me clarify that I was excited about having another boy because realistically, I have all the stuff and I am getting into the groove of this, but the horror that is potty training overwhelmed me at that moment and has come back to haunt me now. I figure that God sent me this last boy to potty train to entertain Himself. I can hear the heavenly mocking  laughter now.

Let’s have a potty training review–
BOY #1: I read ever article, book, pamphlet, Internet advice and watched the Dr. Phil potty train in one day show. I got all the stuff recommended. I started just after Ryan turned 2 in hopes that he would be potty trained by the time his brother was born. I followed the Dr. Phil plan to the letter. Throwing massive pee parties complete with favors and noise makers. By day three I was a huddled mass on the bathroom floor yearning to be free. Free from the hell of potty training. Free from the restraints of living in the bathroom. Free from the FAILURE. I made an executive decision to stop the hemorrhaging. We discontinued the potty training. Didn’t mention it until well after the baby was born. Didn’t do anything else until Ryan was 3. Didn’t do anything but write a scathing email to Dr. Phil.

BOY #1 Round Two: Ryan has always been smart. Too smart. He has always been conniving. Too conniving. Waiting to potty train a child until after 3 who is smart and conniving is a recipe for disaster. Overall, it was easier to get him to go on the potty and complete the necessary tasks, BUT then the bargaining began. He started holding his poop and pee hostage for ever escalating demands. “I will go pee on the potty if you give me this”. “I will go poop on the potty if you will give me that”. Lord help me. I made an executive decision to stop all rewards and then suffered the consequences. But finally well after mommy exhaustion had set in, BOY #1 was FINALLY potty trained *insert angel choir singing here*.

BOY #2: I can sometimes learn from my mistakes. I didn’t even think potty training with Boy #2 until age 3. I set aside 2 weeks to vegetate on the bathroom floor and we began. Boy #2 is a very different soul from his older brother. Boy #2 has no interest in rewards or winning. Boy #2 lives in a different world. I often describe Reid as being “on island time”. So, for 2 straight weeks of me obsessing about the potty, Reid did not go on the potty. Not. one. time. Then on day 10 he suddenly went pee while standing and afterward never had an accident. The switch had been flipped. Hallelujah, except for one tiny issue: poop. Yes, my dear island boy hadn’t pooped on the potty. Not. one. time. He stood to pee and then would go poop in his underwear. This went on and on for NINE MONTHS. Nine months. Nine months. Yep, you read that correctly, nine months. Then he decided to poop on the potty and hasn’t had an accident. Boy #2 was FINALLY potty trained *insert angel choir singing here*.

BOY #3: My crazy baby turned 2 in December. He believes he is 5 and because he follows his brothers around all day is a bit advanced in some areas. He has shunned all things baby for awhile and now is shunning the diaper. He is obsessed with the potty. When we are out shopping he will ask to go to the potty. I politely tell him that he isn’t potty trained and I am not going into a disgusting public restroom with him for that purpose until he is. He is showing ALL the signs of potty readiness. ALL THE SIGNS. Yet, I do nothing. Don’t get me wrong, if we are HOME and he wants to go potty, I oblige. BUT I am not doing anything extra to encourage it. WHY? Because I am tired. Because I am terrified. Because I hear heavenly mocking in my head. Because I am lazy. Because I know my life will never be the same once we start. Because, because, because…

What would happen if I just said no to potty training?

Would that be so wrong?

UPDATE:  I believe my Just Say No to Potty Training Method will be the wave of the future.  I just kept telling #3 no until he insisted.  And then I said no again.  He begged!  He pleaded.  He kept at it and finally convinced me to potty train him.  We started one morning at around 7 am.  He was fully potty trained by 7:15.  The key was HE was in charge and HE was motivated.


ps…  If you want to potty train in three days,  try this! 

Please stop by our FB page and tell us your potty training tale!


  1. Burgh Baby's Mom says:

    Is it possible that the spirits of all three of your boys are residing in my one child? She who cannot be bribed, but heck, if you’re going to bribe her, she sure will hold out until you go for the good stuff. She who asks to go potty all.the.time but doesn’t ever actually go potty. She who is going to make me rip every little hair out of my head because she’s ready for some serious potty training but I just can’t handle it?

    Um, yeah, I feel your pain. Every day.

  2. Good luck with that. We just started potty training callee and now there are some changes going on so I’m not sure how that will go.

  3. Fun, fun.

  4. My first daughter was very hard to train–I went crazy like you did with your first. My second daughter literally took off her diaper after her second birthday, said no more, got in big girl panties and that was that.
    Now boy#1 here has been oh so fun! I wish we could say no to potty training but his diapers had an odor that would choke a skunk in a junkyard!

  5. My 2 1/2 year old is always asking to sit on the potty too especially when we are out and about and one of the other two start doing the dance and I send them into the bathroom. I always have to explain to him that he is wearing diaper and he can just do it there. I almost laugh at myself sometimes because I don’t want to potty train him yet. I like him in diapers because then I don’t have to worry about finding a decent restroom in every store we go to. Even though I am well acquainted with all of them anyway.

  6. We definitely had our own challenges around here when both kids hit three and refused to use the potty for any sort of solid voiding…nine months in underwear, I can relate.
    But all that’s just a distant memory now. Six and eight and fully in charge of their own bodily functions. But then there’s the issue of wiping. When does a mother’s job end?

  7. A Mom Two Boys says:

    Well, you know all about my challenges. And, if you hadn’t already guessed, my theory on the whole subject of blogging about stuff other people might not want to hear about is, DON’T FREAKIN READ IT if you don’t want to.

  8. I’m snickering over here. I just had a long discussion on potty training with the royal judith shakespeare 🙂 LOL.
    I tried for 2 days to ‘train’ princess. Yeah. that worked. Waited until she was ready and one day at about 2 1/2 she just went into the bathroom and went. Done. That was it.

    I’m so letting the boy learn on his own too. There’s no point stressing over it, IMO. I will be coming to you for advice… seeing as he’s a boy and all 🙂

  9. jennifer h says:

    I was never in a rush about potty training, but then I’m kind of lazy. Maybe not actually lazy, but in the they’ll-get-there-when-they-get-there club.

    My girl did what your Boy #2 did. Re: #2. I thought we would never emerge from that barren…er…wasteland.

    Just think ahead a year or two and know that you’ll be free of the training. And, since you have boys, you can make Mr. HRH take them to the bathroom when he’s with you.

  10. anglophilefootballfanatic says:

    He WANTS to go potty? I’m at a loss. I cannot comprehend it. Mine shrieks when I even mention potty. I’m convinced I’ll get called to 8th grade to clean his poop covered butt.

  11. Domestic Accident says:

    My #3 was like that, too. She was potty trained just after her 2nd birthday. #1 and #2 were both 3. Go figure.

    Potty training sucks no matter when. Make sure you have enough wine on hand when you do decide to take the plunge.

  12. oh man, I can relate to your woes. We’re in potty training hell here too. Rewards, bribery, squatting on the can for hours….nothing seems to be working….

  13. Happy Campers says:

    Hey, he won’t be 12 & crapping his pants, so don’t stress about it!

    Or perhaps you’re not ready to let go of your last baby’s diaper stage?

    Those are my two psychobabble ideas. 🙂

  14. Jerseygirl89 says:

    What got my oldest trained was peer pressure from the other kids at preschool and the large bribe of being able to start ballet lessons after being trained. Oh, and we put a potty in the living room. That really helped her remember to go.

    I think a lot of people rush and it winds up training the parents more than the kids.

  15. You are right. Potty training is something we don’t want to read about unless we are going through it or just did. I LOVE that we are FINALLY done with this. I say that, but my 6 year old STILL wets the bed. I did, too, at that age. So, I guess, technically, I will have to go through this again soon – only at night with a child that DOESN’T WAKE UP!
    My Gavin (6) was subjected to Dr. Phil’s I’ve-obviously-not-test-marketed-this-process-on-all-types-of-personalities potty training. I was trained the run him to the potty every hour. After 5 months, back in diapers. Doctor said, fool-proof- he will hate it. HE LOVED IT! No more fighting with mom. No more having to stop playing for that nuisance of letting biological waste fall into the device that was created to house it. My mom finally trained him in one big grandma weekend full of praise and honor for big boy Gavin. It worked, so great.
    My Grant (4) was a dream. I told him one day we were going to wear underwear. Had a few accidents AT HOME for the first 2 days. Done. Night time? Done. Dream.


  16. Let me just say this…. HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A NORMAL 30 YEAR OLD THAT WAS NOT POTTY TRAINED???? It will come, just have patience!

  17. Nap Warden says:

    Right now, I am just to sick and tired to potty train. I feel like it’s my fault, I am slacking in that arena. Sooner or later they all get to high school and don’t wear diapers, right?

  18. Tootsie Farklepants says:

    Oh lady! I understand. I potty trained all 3 of my kids when they were 3 1/2. Yep. It’s hell. Pure hell complete with solitary confinement. Locked in the house for days. When my MIL started to brag about how hubby and sibs were all potty trained by two I told reminded her that her own MIL had done it for her, so that was about all the lip I was gonna have about it.

  19. That would be a fun t-shirt – “Just say NO to potty training” with your signature at the bottom. I used every trick in the book too – it sucks – everything about it – especially the constant visits to the potty when you are at a restaurant, in the mall, at a theatre – I hated that part. The day they are all potty trained, you won’t actually believe you survived it all – but it will come. This was a very funny post – see you later. Kellan

  20. Okay, well I guess this wouldn’t be the time to mention that my son potty trained himself in a day-and-a-half…so I won’t…

    um, good luck! 🙂

  21. I had forgotten the woes of potty-training the boys. Ick! Besides pull-ups at night for Peyton… we’re there for all 3 FINALLY! And I am.SO.glad. Ugh.

  22. I am trying to potty train my 3yr old. Here is the thing with Babyhead though…he knows to go pee AND poop there. He even knows when he needs to go because he will come running out of the blue in the living room butt nekid saying EW NASTY! and make me go look in his potty. So I KNOW he knows how and when to go.

    But he just won’t. I thought we were making progress for a while because he would pee by himself and then let me know after the fact..and he even pooped on his own a few times and I was so excited…no more diapers! But then…he…just…stopped. Now, i will ask him in the morning if he needs to go and he will say no, then go in his diaper. *sigh*

    One day…ONE DAY he will be trained…then I will have to work on the next one!

  23. standing still says:

    I am glad I am old and have an almost 13-year old. Yes, I have the teen years ahead, but at least he wipes himself.

  24. You are awesome. First for having 3 boys. And then for this last technique. I think it will work. He’ll be like Reid – doing it once and the switch has flipped, but earlier. Hopefully? Maybe? Possibly!

  25. We are a ways away from this in our house, but I have enjoyed reading your post! I am a fourth child and pretty sure my mom just said no to potty training. And I am potty trained now, so no worries 🙂

  26. spinning in our own direction says:

    First, I can give youthe same psychobable heather did. I think you are stalling b/c it means your baby is growing up. but this coming froma lady who considered being old mother hubbard. 2nd.. I think I read your letter..You know that baldheaded freak doesn’t know anything.

  27. My third boy was the same. He followed big brothers everywhere, and I was teensy bit dissapointed to see the end of the diapers/pull ups. ‘Cause once you get rid of the diapers, youstart what we lovingly refer to as “Potty Tour 200(Insert year here – We’re on year 4 and still going strong!!) If we’re someplace new (or not new) they HAVE to see the potty. And if I take them to the Ladies’, then Daddy has to take them next time (in case they missed anything

  28. Purple Teacup says:

    just nodding here……lots of nodding

  29. this is what i’m going through with my girls. my son wasn’t that hard or that easy really to potty train,i guess middle of the road. they say boys are harder to potty train and i guess i believe that. my girls are all ready. they pee on the toilet when they ask to go and they go when we put them on there like before baths and before bedtime and all that… i’m just the one that needs to be trained i guess. i’m feeling very lazy about it too, i actually posted in my TT about it today. they will also ask to go potty when we are out in public, and the horrid mother i am tells them to go in their pullup or pamper. UHH!! i know that is sooo wrong. but i’m not ready to face nasty disgusting public restrooms with two little two year old girls. YUCK! bathrooms are sooo gross… woman’s rooms are the nastiest things! I want to hold off on that for as long as possible… the public restrooms that is… not potty trained children. it is comforting to know i’m not alone in my non-potty trained mommy mode… but i guess i have to get on the stick and work with them before they loose interest.
    good luck with your potty training business!
    hugs, jenn

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