Talking About Potty Training

Way, way, way back last April I mentioned potty training. The short version of the story is that Jack came home from daycare one day, said he wanted to use the potty and then did. Easy, peasy. Boom, my kid was potty trained.


Jack lost interest within a few days and went on to sporadically use the potty for months and months, but only when he felt like it. Welcome to real life.

The university where I work closes for almost two weeks over the holidays, so I decided that after Christmas would be the perfect time to go hard-core into potty training. You know, because it is totally a relaxing break to stay home every single day and potty train a little boy. Obviously.

In anticipation of the big day, I spent a few weeks talking up the potty, bought a couple dozen pairs of tiny underpants, and invested in some pull-ups. My secret weapons were a homemade potty chart, mini marshmallows and a bag of lollypops. I also purchased and downloaded one of those potty training books that promises that after 3 days your kid will be totally trained.

I was SO ready.

Day one was the Sunday after Christmas. We ceremonially said ‘Bye Bye’ to diapers and put on Jack’s first pair of underpants. I’m not going to lie, they are freaking adorable.

So this is happening. Potty Training day one with adorable underpants. #toddlerproblems #pottytraining

A photo posted by pocketfulofjoules (@pocketfulofjoules) on

I showed Jack the special potty chart and explained that every time he used the potty he would get a couple mini marshmallows and a smilie face. If he can get to 5 smilie faces, he will get a LOLLYPOP! Well, lollypops are like toddler GOLD so he was totally on board.

I mean, on board until he peed himself a couple hours later. But that’s cool…I mean you need to make mistakes at the beginning to learn from them, right? I watched him like a hawk and every 90 minutes I’d start saying (as instructed by the book), “Make sure to let Mommy know when you need to go potty, okay?”

I said this probably 10,000 times in three days.
Maybe 15,000 times.
It was a lot.

He started to get the hang of it, which was pretty cool. It was exhausting though and I was terrified him peeing on my couch. I mean, I really like my couch and I don’t want to have one of those houses that vaguely smells like pee all the time…

I also made the executive decision to put him in a pull-up at naptime, since he typically woke up wet. I also did a diaper at bedtime, but I totally called it a “night time pull-up” so that he would still feel like a big boy. I’m pretty sure he knew it was a diaper though and was rolling his eyes at me.

The plan was to spend the next three days at home and fully immerse ourselves in the potty training experience. However, life happened and we ended up having to run out to pick up Jack’s new twin bed. I told Jack not to pee, threw a pull-up on him and crossed my fingers. {Understatement Alert} It didn’t go well.

It was only the first day though, so I was totally focused on making this potty training thing work. Monday and Tuesday were a blur of, “Let Mommy know if you need to use the potty, okay?” and I was relieved to the point of dancing a little jig when I dropped him off at daycare that Wednesday. He had one accident at daycare and that was it. I was absolutely a proud Mama!

He doesn’t always want to stop playing to go use the potty when I ask, but we can usually convince him to do it. At my mom’s house he has a little zebra stuffed animal that ‘talks’ to him while he tries, and at home for some reason he started hanging his underpants on a reindeer.

Yes, I just said he hangs his underpants on a reindeer.

Potty Training - Pocketful of Joules

I have no clue why and it’s totally weird… but it works.

It’s been 6 weeks since we started our ‘3 day method’ and he is a peepee-ing in the potty CHAMP. He has only had a few accidents where he hasn’t gotten to the potty quick enough, but all in all has rocked it. Even at Disney World, when it would have been totally easy to forget what he learned and wet his pants. He’s cool going sitting down on his mini potty, sitting on a grown-up potty and can even go standing up with the help of a stool.

We are having one issue though.

Looking at the picture below you may be thinking “awww what a cute little picture…”

balloon pic

Nope. He’s pooping.
In his underpants.

For 6 weeks straight, Jack had ZERO successful poops on the potty. And it sucks.

I mean, nobody likes changing a poopy diaper, but changing poopy underpants is on a whole other level. It’s not like he LIKES pooping in his underpants, he immediately comes over to me and tells me about it. So, that’s a good thing. I guess. His daycare teacher says that it’s pretty typical for kids (boys especially) to take a few months to really ‘get’ that side of potty training, so I was really hoping that it would work itself out.

Then, on Valentine’s Day he gave me a wonderful gift.
A poop on the potty.

I may have also gotten flowers and candy, but a poop in the potty is where it’s at! I immediately screamed down the stairs to tell Travis, called my mom, texted my bestie, and even posted something on Facebook. Sorry, I was kind of excited.

We had a “you finally pooped on the potty” dance party and he was rewarded with a lollypop. He was SO incredibly proud of himself and kept talking about for the rest of the day. YAY, success!

I was convinced that once he FINALLY figured things out it would be smooth sailing. Right. Welcome to real life. Again.

On Sunday — which also happened to be his 3rd birthday — he proved that theory wrong by having a record number of underpants turds. And I’m SO OVER it!

How do I get him to realize the potty is the most awesome place to put his poops?! If you’ve had potty training success, please please PLEASE let me know your tricks!

Have you potty trained a kid? Did they have any weird habits, like hanging their underpants on a reindeer? Did you have any tips for our poop situation?

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4 thoughts on “Talking About Potty Training”

  1. Hang in there is all I can tell you. This too shall pass. My son, my oldest, was potty and poopy trained relatively easily. My daughter — NOT!!! Stubborn as the day is long, that one. It took several days of not giving up to potty train her (my husband kept at it, I was ready to give up). BUT the poop part just took a lot longer, until she was tired of pooping herself. We just kept putting her in underwear, and I eventually got tired of bleaching the stains and just bought new underwear. Her part time daycare teacher got quite exasperated, but you just have to send them with extra underwear and plastic bags for the soiled ones, and don’t give in to the temptation to go back to diapers. It WILL happen, I promise.

    1. I do really feel guilty for his daycare teacher (he has a bunch of extra clothes there for accidents). I’m crossing my fingers that now that hes done it once it’s only a matter of time before he does it all the time. Right? Right?!? 😉

  2. I had this same problem with my son. I think at least part of it is nervousness about the poop dropping into the toilet and/or splashing them with water. I know my son would pee without issue, but poop was scary. I never wanted to use food as a reward (we have some obese family members), so I bought those poppers (either the ones where you pull the string and streamers come out or the holiday crackers where you get a paper crown and a little toy). They’re cheap and he loved them. Every time he went to the bathroom at all, he got to pop one. Once he had peeing down, we stopped rewarding that and only rewarded poop. He caught on because he wanted the reward. I let him pop before we even wiped, but after I was sure he’d “gone.” One thing I tried doing was to stay in the bathroom with him and talk to him to distract him from the fact that he was pooping. That seemed to help. Good luck!

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