Posted by: Hannah | 09/12/2012

The Great Potty Adventure, Day 3

God, I’m bored with potty-training. Bored with doing it, bored with thinking about it, and definitely bored writing about it. However! I thought of another reason to write it all down; I’ll be doing this again, with two kids simultaneously, in probably another 18 months to two years. By then I will have forgotten everything I did if I continue losing long-term memory and brain cells at the rate I have been lately, so this will be a handy reference for me, too.

At least naptime is actually happening today. Pixie never did nap yesterday, and by pick-up time she was like a banshee, or possibly a character in a bad 19th century British romance novel, because all she could do was flounce, sob, and pout.

Today was an epoch! I am allowing them to wear pants AND underwear. This is BIG NEWS, people. They still aren’t allowed on the carpeted areas of the house, though. I’m optimistic, not crazy.


I think I can safely say that Louis is trained for pee. He knows when he needs to go, remembers to ask, sits, pees. He’s still struggling with pants on & off – parents, this is a big part of the whole potty experience and please, start teaching your children as early as you can how to remove their own clothes. He has good control and is well aware when he has peed. 

Poo, however, is a whole different ball game, and I’m trying not to cringe or get too worried yet, as it’s only been three days – but every single poo he has this week has landed directly in his pants, and he has never once confessed. Today he looked me right in the eye and said he was not sitting there in his own poo, but since no one including the dog wanted to be within five feet of him I knew he was the Vile Smell culprit.

His mom tells me that his older brother took a while to get the whole poo thing, and I know both of my older boys did, too – as did Very Quiet Boy and The Boy Who Was Here for Such a Short Time He Didn’t Get a Cute Nickname. So while I wish he was better about it, I’m not overly concerned yet, and unless he backslides big time in the next couple of days I think we’ll call him good to go for daytime hours.


Pixie is another story. Yesterday, she stayed dry for me all day, pooped in the potty twice, and did fine (except for the histrionic sobbing every time she sat on the potty, even the one time it was her idea.)

At drop off time today it was another story – her mom looked very frustrated and said “I don’t know what magic touch you have, but this is NOT WORKING for us. She won’t tell us when she needs to go. She screams like I’m murdering her when I put her on the potty. She won’t pee in it, then I let her up and she pees all over the floor.” At this point the poor woman got actual tears in her eyes and said “I just think she must like you better, because she certainly doesn’t care if I’m upset or not!”

I wanted to give her a hug except it would have been presumptuous. Kids are rotten little jerks sometimes, and this is a prime example. It’s easy for me to keep things light and detached when she throws a fit; after all, she isn’t my kid. Potty-training is a hugely stressful process even when it’s going well; the American Academy of Pediatrics says more child abuse occurs during potty-training than at any other developmental stage. Kids can only really control three things: what they eat, when they sleep, and whether or not they use the potty. That’s it! Everything else is ultimately in the hands of the parents. So boy, when kids figure out that they are driving the bus, they will sometimes use it to run their parents down.

Anyway, after her mom left I said “OK Pixie, we need to use the potty before breakfast!” Immediately the whining started. I walked her into the bathroom and she pointed at the toilet. “Big guhl toy-yet! Pixie use big guhl toy-yet!”

Now, I do have a toilet seat insert and a step stool, but I prefer that kids not use the big toilet until they are older and can safely navigate the whole process without falling on their head (or directly into the bowl, which did happen with a kid here once). However, I’m also a big believer in doing what works. And also in not listening to that child sob & wail every time she feels the urge to go. So I allowed it. She plopped down like she’d been trained for months, peed, announced she was ‘all done’, and marched herself out to the table for breakfast.

And that’s how it’s been all day – as long as she can use the toilet, she’s fine. If she even thinks she’s headed for the potty, I might as well skin her with rusty razors.

Now, Pixie has developed fantastic control in just two days. Monday, she couldn’t make it through a fifteen-minute interval without an accident; today, she can easily handle an hour between potty visits. The trouble is, I’m not seeing any intention from her at all; if I tell her to go pee, she goes, but in three days she’s only taken the initiative once.

This is kind of half-assed, but it’s still better than diapers, so I’ll take it. I know she has the physical control for initiative, she just doesn’t much care to stop what she’s doing and head for the bathroom. I don’t mind reminders every hour or so – at least I don’t think I do – but we’ll see how things are looking on Friday.

I also don’t want her poor parents to snap like twigs over the whole process. It’s up to them, really. But I hope I can convince them to stay the course. Parenting means making decisions about which hills you want to die on; potty-training is one of them. She can do it; she’s physically and cognitively ready; she’s just trying to see if she can manipulate the situation.


Luna has completely forgotten that she ever got unnecessary Smarties for peeing. Last week, she was literally bursting into tears every ten minutes and wailing “Pee! PEEEE!!!!” – then she’d try to make me take her to the bathroom even though she can actually run the whole process herself. I honestly thought she had a bladder infection and even mentioned it to her parents!

Now that she doesn’t have the expectation that I’ll pay out like Vegas, that behaviour has completely stopped. She goes when she needs to, without drama, the end.


Ron went back to preschool today, so he wasn’t here all morning. Although he was a little quiet when he got home – lots of new kids this year, and he is an introvert – he says he had fun and is excited to go back on Friday.

I envy him, having a three-hour break from potty-training. Wish I could go to preschool.

Baby G

He warrants his own update today, because he is pulling up on EVERYTHING this week (makes leaving him alone for two minutes while I’m in the bathroom extra-challenging). Today he tried it with a plastic piano, and it promptly jerked forward, bashing him right on the bridge of his cute little nose. He got a small nosebleed and a cut, and pro tip: eight month olds do not understand cold compresses, nor do they want them on their faces.

He’s also cut two teeth this week to go with the four he already has, and I don’t know what he needs so many goddamn teeth for. He also likes to yell – not cry, YELL – from 5pm until bathtime, which means dinner every night is an exercise in cramming as much solid food into his maw as possible just so the rest of us can hear ourselves think.

Oh, and that moment when you go to get your baby up from his nap, and you walk into the darkened room and he’s standing in the crib for the first time? That moment where he suddenly looks like a little kid instead of a wee baby? Yeah. That, too.



  1. What a tiring week. I am exhausted just thinking about all that potty training. A couple of points: both my kids were “poop” trained a good six months after they “pee” trained. This was frustrating. Mark used to go into the bathroom, take off his underwear, put on a pull-up, and then poop in it. WHAT THE HELL, KID? Jake just pooped in his underwear. This went on until he started preschool, he had just turned three, and he suddenly started using the toilet. You can imagine what those six months were like for me. So many poopy pairs of underwear. I was powerless to stop it. Honest to god, those kids run the potty training show.

    Also – Jake never ever used the little potty. Only the big one and only if he could stand to pee. Probably this is why he pee trained so quickly but was so slow on the poop draw. He hated that little potty with a passion, but why, I don’t know.

  2. “When kids figure out that they are driving the bus, they will sometimes use it to run their parents down.” Did you coin this metaphor? It’s BRILLIANT! I am so quoting it. Brilliant … and funny. Mwah-ha.

    Pixie sounds like Grace for the passivity. (For the DRAHMAH, she’s Jazz all over. I would call this the worst of both worlds, you poor thing, you.) I wondered if Grace would ever pee without being instructed to, but she did get there. I’ve no idea how long it took… not that that has any relevance whatsoever to how long it might take Pixie, anyway.

    All in all, it sounds like you’re making spectacular progress. I was intending to start with Poppy and Daniel, but Poppy is having a Very Tough Time adjusting to New Baby (there’s a post coming on that), and Daniel’s now part-time, because HE has a new baby at home. I think they both have enough stress in their wee lives right now.

    Meantime, well done!

    • @Nicole – yeah, it seemed like I was rinsing poopy underpants in the toilet forever, especially with Ron. Lord, that kid was stubborn. And for example, I just had to interrupt myself typing because I smelled That Smell and sure enough, Louis had assumed the position. *sigh* This will test all my reserves of patience. It’s bad enough with your own kid, but with someone else’s – UGH.

      @MaryP – yes, I did come up with the metaphor on my own! At least, I think I did. :p Please feel free to use it as and when it is useful. And yes, Pixie is an odd combination of passive and overly dramatic. I think of her teenaged years and hope to god they don’t live next door anymore by then.

  3. […] Louis failed to grasp either the importance or the fundamentals of toilet training last time around, I was in no hurry to attempt it with him again – even […]

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