How NOT to Potty Train Your Child

When you're ready to take that all-important step and potty train your kid, there's no shortage of informational how-to guides on the Internet. But I'm putting a different spin on that right here at The Frump, y'all. Because I? Am a living, breathing, regretful example of a potty training failure. Which means there's a valuable lesson to be learned here: when it comes to getting Junior to ditch the diapers, do not - I repeat, do not - do what I've done. Just read my story, take note of my method, and then don't ever do it. Your kid should be potty trained in no time, and you can thank me monetarily if you wish. I mean, it IS kind of a huge favor. Me being your personal example and all.

Anyway, as you know if you've read me for any length of time, my middle son Cameron will be turning three years old on January 17th. That's wouldn't be such a disgraceful age to still be wearing Pull-Ups if I hadn't been attempting to potty train him FOR OVER A YEAR.

Are you done laughing? Because I don't have all day.

... There. That's better. Can I finish?


The wheels were set in motion around June of 2009, when I was pregnant with baby #3, henceforth referred to as Coby. At the time of Coby's birth, Cameron would be just shy of two years (20 months old, to be precise). Seeing as a.) my oldest son Colin was completely potty-trained by the time he was 2-1/2, and b.) Cameron had Colin as an example of how to pee in the big-boy potty, I figured it would be easy-peasy to potty train Cameron before the new baby arrived, even though he was a little on the young side.

Now, looking back, I can see how this was flawed logic. But seriously? When you're pregnant and facing the dismal prospect of not one but two babies in diapers? Logic kinda flies out the window.

And in keeping with the "logic out the window" theme, I decided that I would try to potty train him in three days.

Okay, now you can laugh. Because I, too, have to laugh* at the irony of thinking that I'd have him using the toilet consistently in three days, and here I am like a year and a half later and he is STILL not using the toilet consistently.

*And by "laugh" I mean make a weak little sound that resembles a chuckle because if I don't I'll end up crumpled on the floor weeping in great choking sobs.    

Anyway, I found a 3-day training guide on the Internet and gave it a go (pun totally intended). You can find my riveting* day-by-day chronicle of that here.

*And by "riveting" I mean pretty interesting if you like to read about three days' worth of me cleaning up urine and feces from my floor.

Obviously that didn't work. In retrospect, he just wasn't ready and I tried to make him ready. Which was probably the catastrophic mistake that triggered this potty-training failure. So then I thought I'd wait until after the baby was born.

November 4th of LAST YEAR, almost two months after Coby was born, I wrote on this very blog:

"Potty training. Yes, I decided to try it again. WHAT am I THINKING, you guys?!? It's like when the glorious vision of only one child in diapers appears in my mind, I miraculously gloss over the dirty details of getting to that point. And with all this other stuff on my proverbial plate right now? Ugh. I am kicking myself. But potty training isn't the type of thing you can just take lightly. It requires commitment. And unfortunately, my dumb ass committed to it before my brain could say, 'Wait! What are you doing? Noooooooo!!!'"

Yes. I wrote that last year. A year ago. So obviously? It didn't go over so smoothly then, either.

Which brings us to now. Like I said, Cameron is almost three. And I'm at the point where I just want to drag him to the toilet and give him swirlies* until he learns what the damn thing is for.

*And by "give him swirlies" I mean stand there begging and pleading on the verge of tears for him to please, please, for the love of God please learn to go pee-pee in the big boy potty so Mommy doesn't have to sell another organ in order to buy diapers.

See, he does just fine using the toilet ... if he isn't wearing pants. If he gets to run around like a nudist, he goes to the toilet every single time, pee or poop, no accidents. But the minute I cover his naked little heinie with anything - underwear, a Pull-Up, whatever - it's like he's wearing a damn diaper. If he has to go, he just goes in whatever happens to be covering his butt. And I thought maybe after a few times of that, of walking around with this uncomfortable mess in his pants, he'd be broken of the habit - but no.

He couldn't. Care. Less.

And there's no end in sight. We're at a stubborn potty-training impasse. 

So learn from my mistakes, folks. Because only one of us should have to endure the embarrassment of carting a pantsless kid off to college. 


  1. This totally made me laugh and I can, because my 4 and a half year old JUST finally stopped having a minimum of two accidents a day. I have been potty training him since he was two. And the last year and a half he has only had pull ups on at night or if we had to be out of the house a full day. And he just this past weekend got the point and has only had three accidents in the last eight days. The sad thing is my two and a half year old daughter (who everyone said would learn quicker) has been potty training now for two weeks (no Pull ups at all only panties) and I have yet to catch anything in her potty. She will hold it for over 4 hours rather than try and pee in the pot!!!! I think I would like to hand in my resignation now please :)

  2. Wow. Reading those recaps, I'm surprised you managed to survive. It sounds like you literally couldn't take your eye off him for a did you eat?

  3. Too bad he's not a girl, you could just put him in a skirt and leave him underwear-less and have done with it!

  4. $H!T! I am actively potty training my 19 month old son (for the past month and a half). He is a potty exclusive pooper, but when he does it he forgets to pee. Never fails. Every time I pull up his pull up after a wonderful poop, he pees in it within about 5 minutes. I am now hoping that we haven't totally screwed ourselves starting so early, but I know he's capable. Say a prayer for me. I too started something I didn't really think about being ready for.

  5. $H!T! We've been working on it for about a month and a half. (my son is 19 months) Now I'm worried it was way too early and I have totally screwed us both. :( Oh well, what are you gonna do?! Thanks for TRYING to help.

  6. LOL, Cam and his little bare butt! He will eventually figure out that it's more convenient just to go in the potty and be done with it, but it sure is a hassle until then. Wish I had an easy solution for you.

  7. Oh, I despise potty training. It was so hard with my second. He did the same thing, going just fine when he was naked, but not when he was clothed. So you know what I did? I let him go naked all summer. Let's just say, there were not a lot of trips anywhere those couple of months.

  8. Now Cathie you helped me with Jason when he was three. I had been trying for a year. He managed to hide from me and I couldn't catch him. You babysat for me and in one day had him trained to pee on trees. Took a while to get him inside, But that snowy winter seemed to do the trick.

  9. All I can say is this post made me so glad I'm over that stage! Well over that stage!

  10. And I just started (and stopped) potty training my second on Friday. Our biggest problem is some medication the doctor gave him that is loose poo inducing. And not very conducive to helping the whole process. (Though to be honest, I'm not sure that's the only problem.) So we've shoved the whole thing off for a few days. Good luck! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for both of us!

  11. 2 weeks. 2 weeks of him being pantsless and it will work. I promise. I had to do this with Eldest--who would only go if he was nekkid from the waist down.
    We literally went NOWHERE for 2 damn weeks. But it worked.

  12. I'm not a mom, so I can't exactly empathize, but I found the story hilarious, and will keep that in mind when I do have children. Thanks.

  13. We have twins. We started when they were 13 months old. Now they are 25 months old and we're pretty much failing, failing, failing. Same issues - stubborn. Doing better with naked time but put anything on their bums and they get all faily fail. So I'm just going to say no to diapers and have them fail for months or years or however long this is going to take. Misery loves company so we might as well all be miserable apparently. I'm pretty darn fed up with this.

  14. Heya! I understand this is sort of off-topic but I
    needed to ask. Does managing a well-established blog such as yours require a lot of
    work? I'm completely new to blogging but I do write in my journal daily.
    I'd like to start a blog so I can easily share my own experience and views online.
    Please let me know if you have any suggestions or tips for brand new aspiring blog owners.

    Appreciate it!


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