It’s Not All Mary Poppins

beyond exasperated

FYI to Parent with a Mission…

IF your child, as you truly, truly believe, had actually been “ready” for potty training six months ago

then she would not

given your six months of unceasing effort…

still … be … wearing … diapers.

Thank you.

March 23, 2010 - Posted by | daycare, parents, Peeve me, potty tales, the dark side


  1. Amen!

    I always said we would just wait til Henry was READY, but inside it felt like a cop out because I didn’t want to be cleaning up the mess all day…but then…one day…he was READY! He put on a pair of jocks, told me when he needed to use the toilet and we were done… in ONE DAY!

    And now, two months later, we’ve had maybe 4 accidents.

    Why torture yourself and the child, when they are ready, they will just do it!

    Comment by Tammy | March 25, 2010 | Reply

  2. I potty trained my first for 18 months. (Shall I say I potty trained myself since clearly I didn’t train him?!) I potty trained my second for one month. At least something I learned by parenting #1 prepared me for #2. Not much else did!

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | March 25, 2010 | Reply

  3. Amen!

    Thank you. 😀

    Comment by Liz C. | March 25, 2010 | Reply

  4. Oh no! The poor child!

    Why do parents do this …?!

    Impatience. Impatience brough on by dislike of diapers, by peer pressure, by family expectations, by misinformation. But, bottom line, impatience.

    Comment by ewe_are_here | March 25, 2010 | Reply

  5. Oh boy.

    On the one hand, I am afraid of becoming this parent.

    On the other hand, I am also afraid of becoming the parent of the four year old who is still in diapers.

    Outside of night-time wetters, or children with physical disabiity, I’ve yet to meet a four year old in diapers. I’m sure there are a few out there, but they’re raaaaaare. And, one might argue that a certain percentage of them came about because they’re so %^$*# tired of being pressued about that damned potty all the flippin’ time…

    Comment by ifbyyes | March 25, 2010 | Reply

  6. Yessssss. Was just saying this to my cousin’s wife. They have a 17-month-old boy, their first baby, and she was asking for potty training advice (I have three boys and a girl, ages almost 1 to almost 9). She is thinking of getting pregnant again and “doesn’t want to be buying diapers for two kids.” Well, I’m sorry, but if he’s not ready, you’re not going to MAKE him ready by forcing him to pee in his pants for six months. JUST A THOUGHT. Ha!

    I forced my oldest son to potty train at 3 yrs 6 mos. He wasn’t ready emotionally (he REALLY didn’t want to), but he was ready physiologically, so it wasn’t bad. A couple accidents, the end. Started potty training my daughter right at 2 years because she showed an interest. We had a couple weeks of pretty frequent accidents, and that was it. My third kiddo is 2 yrs 10 mos. We put underwear on him when he asks and sit him on the potty when he asks, but that’s it. I’m waiting for him to lemme know!

    “you’re not going to MAKE him ready by forcing him to pee in his pants for six months”. You gave me my first, and possibly best, laugh of the day. Thank you! That’s IT, exactly!

    I’m totally onside with giving a physically capable child a bit of a nudge, but (as you obviously know) there’s a world of difference between nudging a 2.5 year old and trying to get your 15 month old out of diapers…

    Comment by Alicia @bethsix | March 25, 2010 | Reply

  7. Oh, this one sort of mystifies me too. Why do that???? Though we took a fair amount of flack while we waited for my son to be ready so maybe that’s why? Whatever. When he was ready, it was a two day event. I also do NOT like cleaning up accidents and we barely had to.

    In this case, as far as I can make out, it’s parental impatience. I think there’s a grandmother in the background pushing early training, but mom has been perfectly able to ignore granny on many other issues (mostly, it seems, when I agree with granny!), so I don’t think that’s it.

    The irony, of course, is that their impatience to get their child trained has put them in the situation of being in training for MONTHS… which I absolutely do not have the patience for.

    Comment by Sarah | March 25, 2010 | Reply

  8. I’m going to throw in a totally unrelated note of celebration that my daughter at 4y7m has finally just learned to be dry at night so no more pullups! (She’s been trained during the day since around 2y10m.) I’m a happy Mom!

    YAY! I’ll just bet you are! Congratulations to your Big Girl!

    Comment by lynn | March 26, 2010 | Reply

  9. Reverse psychology worked well for my 4 (stubborn) children. Child “I want to wear underpants” Mom “Really? Well, I am not sure you are ready.” Child ” I am SO ready”. They all love to prove me wrong! End of training. All 4 in unders between 24 months (the girl) and 30 months (the 3 boys).

    Mwah-ha. Well done!

    Comment by Wendy | March 26, 2010 | Reply

  10. I hear what you’re saying and I believe you have much more experience at this than anyone I know, but if kids aren’t “ready” to train until after 3 usually then we did we used to have kids potty trained before 2, 30-40 years ago?

    I’m in a completely different world in that I went with Elimination Communication AKA “train the mama”. It’s certainly not for everyone but I’ve been perfectly happy not having to change poopy diapers past about 7 months of age (2 kids so far).

    I’m not so sure that we did, 30 – 40 years ago. My mother, who has three kids over 40 (!!), has told me that what “training” amounted to for the first few months (few months!) was the parent plopping the child on a potty and leaving them there until something emerged. The idea was that you were acclimatizing the child to the idea, and avoiding messy diapers while you were at it. My mother didn’t have the patience. “You weren’t training the child, you were just hoping to catch something by chance,” is how she puts it. So the three of us? We were trained between 26 and 36 months, the girls at the early end of that range, the boy at the end.

    While it’s true that you can do it earlier, it is a much faster process if you wait.

    I’ve heard of EC, but never known anyone who did it successfully. I’m very curious. You can expect an email from me!

    Comment by Trish C | March 26, 2010 | Reply

  11. Aha, that explains a very dim memory. I think they tried the “stick the kid on the potty for long periods” thing with me and I absolutely refused to comply and kept putting my clothes back on.

    Comment by Helen Huntingdon | March 27, 2010 | Reply

  12. My first boy told me, at just under 2.5 years that he wanted red underwear. So we bought him some. He was fully (day) trained a week later, with virtually no prompting. He was night trained the day he turned 3 when we were willing to let him spend the night without a diaper/pull up. (Wanted to before that).

    My second boy was a bit more trying – he’s very stubborn. However, I DID push him. He was in underwear at 2 years 3 months, and only had a couple of accidents when in unfamiliar situations. Was absolutely fine otherwise, most of the time – although even now he still has the occasional accident in his underwear, but only when he’s preoccupied. (he’s 3.5 now)

    My boys trained relatively early, but I attribute it to our using cloth diapers. They knew what it was to feel wet (today’s disposable diapers keep kids from feeling anything!!)

    Comment by Naomi | March 27, 2010 | Reply

  13. I have to chime in because you helped me tremendously on this topic.

    We started our son too early and put the diapers back on without apology. If it hadn’t been for your blog, I’d have been afraid and/or guilty to put the diapers back on. But you were right – no harm done. He showed interest at 23 months, so we mulled it over and then gave it a try at 24 months. He did really well for about 4 to 6 weeks, but then he started teething his molars and emotionally couldn’t handle it. It was like the little guy was on “overload” and couldn’t deal with so much at one time. No drama. The diapers went back on and he seemed so relieved. We told him that we’d give it another try when he was ready.

    I had a couple older women tell me that 30 or so years ago the parents were being trained, not the kids and that the children weren’t, in fact, truly trained until after 3. I don’t choose to cajole or nag for the next year. I finally asked myself: if I wouldn’t cajole or nag him to master any other skill before he was ready (walking/eating/reading, etc.) then why potty training?

    That’s an excellent way of looking at it. We encourage our chldren to do all those things, watching for the interest, watching for the inital steps, and then we praise and clap and play when we see them. We’ll certainly worry if those things are not happening “on time”. But cajole and nag and become angry when it doesn’t happen? You’re right, we don’t do that.

    Comment by Mrs. Missy | March 29, 2010 | Reply

  14. OH heck, yes.
    Readiness takes as long as it takes, and in Pumpkinpie’s case, she told us when she was ready, and there was really no training involved. It just happened. Here’s hoping The Bun will be as easy if we give him time.

    Comment by kittenpie | March 30, 2010 | Reply

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