It Took Me a Year to Potty Train My Son

One of the absolute worst things that I’ve dealt with as a parent is potty training.

It was worse than trying to breastfeed my NICU baby who had no interest at all. It was worse than when Jack busted his chin open on the fireplace and had to have it glued back together. It was worse than when Jack had RSV and had to spend the night in the hospital in a full-on BABY CAGE.

It was the WORST.

And you know WHY it was the worst?
Because it was a never-ending hell of poop.

it took me a year to potty train my son

If you are one of those parents who potty trained their kid using the oh-so-popular 3 day method you can just click away right now because it’s about to get real.

It didn’t work for us. At all.

Sure, Jack got his peepee’s down pretty well within a week or so (you can check out our first update here).

But pooping was a problem.

Most of the time he would just poop his pants. I’d catch him making his ‘poopy face’ and suggest he try the potty, only to have him lie to my face about pooping. Then, 45 seconds later he’d come over with a turd in his pants and ask me to change him.

I tried charts.
I tried rewards.
I tried leaving it up to him.
I tried guilt trips.
I tried taking things away.

And I felt like a terrible mom because where every other mom was just CRUSHING the potty training thing in 3 freaking days, I kept failing.

A few months into it, he actually did really well for about 10 days and I thought ‘I’ve DONE IT!’ and then he started having a leaky bowel. Which is a technical way of saying that the kid was rocking skid marks.

Apparently this is super common (especially with boys) where the kid tries to hold his poop so long that he gets constipated and then a little poop will leak out around the blockage.

Didn’t anyone tell you how glamorous parenthood would be?
So, what’s the cure?

Well, you get to try to change their diet, add some stool softener to their drink for a month or two and pull out the big-gun suppositories when it gets really bad.

And let me tell you, when I thought about being a parent I never once imagined begging my child to turn around and stick his butt in the air so I put some ‘butt medicine’ up there.

Months went by.
Months and months and months.

Nothing worked.

Sometimes he’d poop in the potty and most of the time he’d poop his pants.

I begged.
I bribed.
I threatened to take him out of his beloved Spiderman underpants and back to pull-ups.


I went to the pediatrician and asked her WHY I am failing as a parent.
She basically told me that boys take forever to potty train and to take the pressure off.

So I ignored it.
The problem didn’t go away.
More months passed.

And then finally when hanging out with my dad one day (Jack calls him “Dippy” and he is pretty much his favorite person in the world) he decided to poop on the potty.

And he continued using the potty for the next two weeks with only one accident.
Just like that.
Easy-peasy. {insert hysterical laugher here}

That was about 2 months ago and I’m still kind of afraid to type or say the words that my kid is potty trained. But he is. FINALLY. A freaking YEAR after we started.

So, why am I sharing this with you? Well to tell any other parents out there with a hard-to-potty-train kid that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It sucks and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. And that’s okay. One day it will happen.

Not the day YOU want it to happen, but when your kid decides to. It’s totally up to them. And that sucks.

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12 thoughts on “It Took Me a Year to Potty Train My Son”

  1. YES! My son was the same. (Daughter was breezy, not sayin’, but it was a non-event it was so easy.)

    Parenting is, in general, SO MUCH HARDER than anyone let’s on. Thanks for being real about it.

  2. OH MY GOD YES! Greyson took ages. SERIOUSLY AGES. Meanwhile, the shitty (not a pun) pre-school he was in insisted that he wear Pull-Ups and I really believe he would’ve learned MUCH quicker without those. Sanitariness, I get it, but geeeez, the hell. I’m so glad you’re seeing the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel.

    1. Ugh, Jack’s school had a policy where if he pooped in his underpants that HE would wash them out in the sink… which is SO GROSS and unsanitary and I would send him to school in pull-ups to keep that from happening!

  3. My son is 15 months old and I’m already SUPER anxious about how potty training is going to go. I feel like this post took at least some of the pressure off. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Funny thing, my SON was a breeze to potty train. My DAUGHTER was the twin of your son. Pee great. Poop. In. The. Underwear. I took her to an at home daycare part time while I worked and that lady made me feel like crap every time she handed me the plastic bag of poopy underwear. I refused to put her back in pull ups. She knew better. She just didn’t want to (she was difficult to potty train too-my husband out-stubborned her on that one).
    So I wound up throwing away gross underwear and just buying more. And one day, just like Jack, she decided she was ready to be a big girl. She was my second child and we decided two was enough after all that.
    I feel your pain girl.

  5. Hi! I have to be honest, I am what I consider a blog stalker. I read and very rarely comment. But you had asked awhile ago which readers follow you on Instagram, and I do!
    Anyway, I wanted to tell you you’re not alone! I have two sons, 15 and 10, and I remember potty training being hard with my first, but impossible with my second! I just kept telling myself he probably wouldn’t want to wear diapers at some point, and he’d get it. So good for you for sticking with it!
    And just FYI, it works the same way with learning to riding a bike without training wheels. I felt like the only one with the kid who couldn’t ride his bike, and I blamed myself because he grew up in an apartment. But one day he wanted to do it, and he just did!

    1. Thank you so much for introducing yourself — I love to meet those who have been reading but not commenting! Oh geez, now I have to worry about him riding a bike?! 😉

  6. So I remember reading your blog a while back about potty training issues, specifically the poop “skid marks” so I decided I wouldn’t stress myself (or my son) out about potty training. Daycare has been a little judge-y about it but come on, he just turned 2.5 for goodness sakes! So rather than stress over it I just use pull-ups because I find the idea of poop on his clothes WAY WORSE than using pull-ups. Plus when he went for his 2.5 appointment the pediatrician was like, oh great, he’s in pull ups now, good job! Although every other child in his daycare room seems to be potty trained…

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