Home » Why I’m glad I put off potty training my toddler

Why I’m glad I put off potty training my toddler

Potty training. Two words that surely must fill every parent with absolute dread.

Potty training. What an absolute pain in the arse, you are.

The three year old has now been completely ‘trained’ for over three months, and still I’m only just writing about it now through fear I will jinx it. So here goes.

I’m one of those mums who was never in a rush to start potty training. Not because I was a great believer of ‘they do it when they’re ready’ but because I have baby twins and the prospect of dealing with them at the same time as wiping shit and puddles of piss off my floors wasn’t exactly appealing. Even the fact we were going through 100 nappies a week didn’t convince me. Yes I did just say 100 nappies a week. WTF?? 

I wasn’t even that bothered about the old peer pressure thing of doing it when my other mum friends were starting. Some began really early – with the added advantage of childminders or nurseries helping, and I still didn’t even contemplate it.

Would my son be the only child starting school still wearing nappies? If my motivation, or lack of, was anything to go by, this could actually be a possibility.

But then he started making noises about being ‘ready’. He would tell me when he was doing a wee, then when he was doing a poo. Then he’d ask me to change his nappy. Seriously.

Then he started making moves to sit on the potty before bathtime, so I kind of had to give in and admit it was probably heading in that direction.

Being ‘ready’

Maybe it was time for me to just take the hint? It was all very well HIM being ready but what about ME being ready?? I was so not prepared. All I could see was weeks ahead of various potty training techniques, mess, more laundry, him being upset, me being impatient, and lots of swearing under my breath whilst chirpily telling him it was absolutely FINE to shit all over the floor for the fifth time that day. At the same time as inquisitive babies putting their hands in wee-filled potties or playing with shit-filled pants.


Oh how wrong I was.

He totally nailed it. And I mean, TOTALLY nailed it.

We started on the last May bank holiday weekend, two weeks before his third birthday, when the weather was nice and the Other Half could be around for three days to help out. I just couldn’t believe how well he did. On the first day he didn’t have one single accident. Like, WTF? How??

We stayed at home all weekend to minimise stress to all parties. I did what everyone does and asked him 5,492 an hour if he needed a wee. After the 10th time he started getting annoyed. After the 30th time he started getting REALLY pissed off with me, so I changed tack.

New rules

I introduced new rules:

  • We go to the toilet before snack
  • We go to the toliet before lunch
  • We go to the toilet before going outside
  • We go to the toilet before playing a game
  • We go to the toilet before reading a book
  • We go to the toilet before tea
  • We go to the toilet before scratching our arse

Okay, slight exaggeration but you get my drift. Most of which were totally ridiculous and didn’t last long, but it was the only way I could get an impatient toddler to attempt it.

And when I did eventually persuade him to try, nothing would come out. Basically because it was only about 20 minutes since the last attempt due to the new rules. Funny that.

Top tip though, run the tap. Second he heard the water, he did a wee. Worked every time. Total waste of water, but there were bigger things to worry about at that point.

Oh and OBVIOUSLY there were bribes. I’m not some sort of saint, you know. Giant chocolate buttons. One for a wee in the potty, two for a poo, three for mummy for, er, anything? These soon fizzled out though. Well for him, that is, he wasn’t bothered. Not for me, they’re my favourite.

I was exhausted after the first day – and couldn’t wait to get a nappy on him at bedtime to stop thinking about it.

This continued for several days and by the end of the first week, he’d only had five accidents in total. These were mainly when he was distracted playing, or one occasion I was sorting the twins and I couldn’t hear his ‘I NEED A WEEEEEEEE!’ shout. Kind of felt guilty about that one.

What I found weird is that kids just aren’t bothered about pissing themselves though? Or at least, he wasn’t.

The stress of going out and about

Leaving the safety of your own house and actually going out adds a whole new level of stress to it though, right? Despite having a travel potty in the car (handy but pain in the arse to carry when you’re already lugging what could be deemed as an overnight bag everywhere anyway), I still sped around in a panic, constantly eyeing up potential spots to pull over if and when those fatal words were screamed at me. Because it’s not like they can wait, is it? Once they decide they need a wee, they NEED a wee!

Although to be fair I’m not dissimilar since having three children in 2 years…

Weirdly he only used the potty for about a week before wanting to sit on the actual toilet, and even then the toddler seat only lasted another few weeks.

My god, what a bloody relief that was. I’m sorry, but is there anything as grim as scraping a sloppy shit out of a plastic bowl into the loo? I couldn’t do it without urging. I’d never make it as a nurse.

Although having said that, on the few occasions he did have an accident, removing poo from pants is a skill, isn’t it? And one that I definitely never perfected – as demonstrated when I somehow ended up catching a shit heading for the beige rug in my bare hands when trying to get his pants off. Yes that really happened. I will remember it always. That was the moment I decided saving a pair of cheap supermarket pants was SO not worth warm shit in my palm.

The main hurdle was being out with all three boys. I was forever looking for toilets for him to ‘try’ in, as we’d not quite conquered the cheeky behind a tree pee yet. And I always needed to make sure someone was with me to watch the babies when I needed to dash him off to the loo.

We were at motorway services during the early potty training days and the Other Half had queued for what seemed like an eternity whilst I tried to entertain three hangry children at a table. Just as he was being served, I had to shout and wave frantically across the concourse for him to ditch the order and get his arse back to the babies as the three year old needed a wee THAT SECOND. Or there was the time when we were on holiday at Trevornick and the Other Half was doing exactly the same, at the front of a very long queue ordering food. This time I left the babies with strangers on the next table who had been cooing over them. I mean, seriously, what were they going to do?

Them wearing pull-ups are SO much easier.

Dry overnight

After a few weeks or so I noticed his nappies were bone dry every morning and wondered when children are supposed to be dry overnight. I’d heard and read that it could take months and months longer even though they’d be fine during the day.

Again I wasn’t quite ready for the whole middle of the night bed/pyjama changing etc. I was up at least four times a night with the other two, I didn’t want anything else to deal with. Lazy, me?

But whilst we were on holiday at Bluestone it started to confuse him, having a nappy on at night and not during the day. He began to ask if he was wearing a nappy or whether he had to go to the toilet and after one morning accident when he thought he had one on but didn’t, I decided to bite the bullet.

I’m now TOTALLY jinxing it by saying, in two and a half months, he has NEVER wet the bed. Again, WTF?? I’m strict on him going to the loo straight before lights out, and immediately when he gets up, but he has a drink by his pillow that he sips from throughout the night and I don’t intend to remove it. He’s even woken me up a couple of times and asked to be taken to the toilet.

And about a month ago, he decided he wanted to be like Daddy and stand up to wee. Lovely, I thought. Here comes the mess, but he’s got such a good aim, it’s almost a shame it’s not an Olympic sport. The only time he’s peed up the wall was in some manky, dirty public toilets and to be fair, nobody would have even noticed the difference!

I am absolutely amazed at this boy. He has just completely smashed it and is proof that it was the right thing to not try when he had just turned two like others around him were doing. Waiting until he was nearly three meant he was basically so ready he was telling me what to do!

Although now he wants to wipe his own bum. I’ve not entirely sure any of us are ready for that one…

If you want some more potty training ideas, have a look at 3 Early Signs to Start Introducing Potty Training  over at Popitha- Life and Adventures with Twins. Or there are some great tips from other mums on Experts Advice: How To Potty Train Your Toddler.

For many families, childhood incontinence issues don’t end with potty training, and some children may face incontinence issues related to certain physical or developmental conditions. Some incontinence supplies can be delivered to your home. You can find out more about it here https://www.hcd.com/incontinence/special-needs-children/

*This is a collaborative post, so I may have received payment for including one or more of the links it contains about incontinence supplies.

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Lejla 22/09/2018 - 7:00 am

Our daughter also didn’t pee the bed. Friends asked for our secret and we would just shrug. I didn’t do a damn thing. She just kept herself dry. I was so thankful.

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 22/09/2018 - 7:12 am

It’s amazing how they do it! Bet they both wet the bed tonight now we’ve said that 🙈

Denise Lindsay 22/09/2018 - 7:37 am

I’m a while away from toilet training the little one so we will have all this to look forward to. Well done Three Year Old 😊 I think waiting until they are a bit older and ready is probably a better idea than trying to teach them while still quite young. I guess some of it can be down to competitive parenting, I see it already with weaning. How early they started eating, how much they eat, etc. I just don’t see the rush with everything 🤷🏻‍♀️

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 22/09/2018 - 8:42 am

Totally agree. I waited til the twins were 7 months to start weaning too – because I knew from first time round what a pain it is! I think with your first you’re keen to get on with it all. Not necessarily the same second or third time round!

Claire | The ladybirds adventures 22/09/2018 - 7:49 am

My eldest was hard work potty training! My youngest was 2 at the beginning of the summer and is showing some signs of being ready and some of really not being so we are going at her pace. The pottys are out and she uses them occasionally.

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 22/09/2018 - 8:42 am

Think that’s the best way, just be led by them!

Kelly Walton 22/09/2018 - 11:24 am

I never had a wet bed off any of my boys.I appriciate I was very lucky, Totally let them lead the way. They hit the point where they did’nt want to wear a nappy and were all told If you don’t want nappy you must use the toilet.

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 22/09/2018 - 10:49 pm

Sounds like that worked!

Emma 22/09/2018 - 3:54 pm

Wow this took me right back to potty training my son! Great read x

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 22/09/2018 - 10:49 pm

Thanks. Probably not a “phase” you’d like to relive 😊

Husna Shaikh 22/09/2018 - 6:16 pm

I am in the middle of the dreaded port training for my 3 year old daughter. I haven’t had to catch poop in my hands yet.. but now I know what’s coming my way! Lol thank you for sharing

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 22/09/2018 - 10:50 pm

Ha, just don’t try and remove dirty poo-filled pants by pulling them down. Just cut them off and ditch them!

Rachel Evans 23/09/2018 - 8:57 am

This gives me some hope. My twins were two in March, Isla has no interest at all, Oscar does really well if we’re in the house and he’s got no clothes on! But life gets in the way, we have to go out, with clothes on!! Hah. My eldest wasn’t interested until his was 3 either, so I’m hoping it just falls into place with these two x

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 23/09/2018 - 10:13 am

Such a bugger we have to put clothes on to go out! 😂

Daydreams of A Mum 27/09/2018 - 12:09 am

Got to admit I also after number one decided to wait ‘until subsequent children were ready’ (could no longer put it off) worked for us !!!Must be even more hard work with twins . Seemed to work ok. Youngest once virtually flooded Primark with the biggest wee wee in the till queue….but other than that…. #BlogCrush

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 27/09/2018 - 6:55 am

Oh no! That’s not good. Potty training is rubbish! 😂

Josie - Me, Them and the Others 05/02/2019 - 12:38 pm

I don’t think any parent is ever actually ready for potty training! I was the classic enthusiastic first time parent with my son and we tried regularly from 2, he wasn’t reliably dry till he was nearly four and I’m not even going to say how long nights took for fear of scaring people who are yet to face it! #itsok

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 07/02/2019 - 11:07 pm

Yes don’t scare us all!

Gemma - Mummy's Waisted 05/02/2019 - 7:13 pm

I’m so glad that I put off potty training my second (a girl), she just wasn’t interested and I didn’t want to push it. When she was ready then we were ready to, and it was a lot easier than I thought #itsok

Noleen Miller 06/02/2019 - 6:10 am

Potty training is the worst. So glad I’m past that stage. I think it’s important to follow a child’s Q to when they ready. Both my girls were fully potty trained by 3 and a half but still wore a nappy at night time. From the age of 3 they were completely dry and off the nappy at night, plus they had no slip ups by wetting the bed. Although they went to the toilet before bed time, we use to wake them up at 23h00 pm again every night to go wee. Yes my hubs and I use to carry them to the toilet and they would be sitting on that toilet seat fast asleep whilst making a wee. But that trained them to wake up in the middle of the night and it took about a month until they woke up by themselves #itsok

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 07/02/2019 - 11:10 pm

I’ve heard of friends doing that and they say it works.

Kate - The Mum Conundrum 06/02/2019 - 10:01 am

Haha I love the potty on head look! Ffs I am dreading going through it a 3rd time tbh. They say third time is a charm but frankly I’ve dealt with this shit (literally) twice already so I know what’s coming 🙈 xxx

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 06/02/2019 - 10:32 am

I thought the third child was supposed to basically just raise themselves?? Have I been LIED TO?? That’s it, I want my money back.

Momoftwolittlegirls 06/02/2019 - 2:49 pm

My eldest did really well. My youngest took forever.
Girls definitely DO mind peeing themselves though. I just remember going through what get like hundreds of pairs of knickers a week!
Good luck next time round!!

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 07/02/2019 - 11:10 pm

Think I’ll wait til the twins are 8…

Nicole - Tales from Mamaville 08/02/2019 - 1:29 pm

Lesson learnt the hard way with my son – it’s best to do it WHEN they are ready. Forget the age guides and comparing your kid with other kids, if your child is not ready, he/ she will just not co-operate and it will result in tears from both of you. And of course a LOT of cleaning up!
Great post and such cute pics:)

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 08/02/2019 - 2:46 pm

That’s so true!

Tracey Carr 08/02/2019 - 9:26 pm

I did exactly the same thing and just like you Helen, it worked a charm! I waited until my daughter was two months off turning three and then started the potty training and it was perfect. She was so ready for it just like your son. And exactly the same with the pull-ups, she couldn’t understand why I was putting one on her and after two nights refused to put it on. I was all ready for the wetting the bed but she never had a single accident! They really do amaze you at times don’t they? I think we totally underestimate them at times! #itsok

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 09/02/2019 - 1:41 am

I totally agree, they’re amazing! I’m definitely going to wait again for the other two. For once we’re winning, Tracey!

Crummy Mummy 11/02/2019 - 8:49 pm

I gave up potty training my middle one (a boy) then one day, shortly before his 4th birthday, he just woke up and did it himself. As a result I wrote a post on why I won’t potty train my youngest & I stand by it #itsok

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 11/02/2019 - 8:51 pm

That’s amazing – they definitely only do it when they’re ready! I’m certainly waiting to train my twins.

Danielle 08/03/2019 - 12:28 pm

Well reading this has made me stop stressing so much. My son is 2 and a half and we’ve been trying to introduce potty training but he’s having known of it, I was starting to worry as people around me had children the same age doing it no problem. I’m just gonna let him decide when he’s ready now.

Twins, Tantrums and Cold Coffee 08/03/2019 - 12:47 pm

Yeah just wait, I’m totally going to wait with the other two. It was so easy by then!


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