Posted by: Hannah | 09/13/2012

The Great Potty Adventure, day 4

Or, with apologies to Douglas Adams, the long dark tea-time of the soul.

Today was the day where we ask ourselves “is this backsliding, or is this kid honestly not ready?”

We also ask ourselves if we get paid enough for this job, or if there is enough handsoap in the world to ever make me feel clean.


Louis is fulfilling my original prediction about his readiness and being a total potty-training pill today. He’s actually doing worse than he did Monday. Because we’re on day 4, I’ve stopped with the constant liquid input and mandated potty breaks – he resists them like fire, anyway – and am letting things happen as they happen.

And oh holy shit, are they happening. And yes, I chose that expletive intentionally. Louis has pooped in his underpants four times in five hours and peed all over the kitchen floor not two minutes after telling me he didn’t need to pee.

In fact he’s only had one successfully potty visit today, and that’s because I said “you haven’t peed yet this morning, here’s a book, you just sit there until you do, please”.

Also, his dad told me this morning that Louis has only used the potty at home ONCE all week; that he just holds it and holds it and HOLDS IT until bedtime when he gets a Pull-Up, that he floods with ridiculous amounts of urine. And he hasn’t pooped at all, which is of course why we’re having the shitstorm of 2012 here today – the plug is out, so to speak.

This is completely contrary to what his mom has been telling me, which is that he’s doing “awesome!” Uh, I suppose if everything going in the one diaper you’re wearing is awesome, then yes. But if he’s not going to the potty – or he’s only going because at my house it’s a game – then sir, you are not potty-trained.

However, this could just be the normal resistance – kids sometimes do great with a new skill or situation for a few days, but when they realize it’s going to be like that forever they push back. And I’d hate to lose any progress.

I don’t know. But unless I see some significant improvement tomorrow – and hear about some actual successes when he’s home this weekend – I think we’re done for now.


Pixie is a potty-training superstar now, both here and at home. Turns out giving her permission to use the big toilet was all it took; she’s been using it with intention all day. She had a poop accident just before nap, but I was busy with Baby G at the time and I suspect if I’d been available she’d have told me in plenty of time. Certainly as soon as I came back into the room she told me right away, looked very contrite, and asked to be cleaned up because it was “yucky”.

She’s wearing all of her clothes today and has gained “yes, you can play on the carpet” privileges. She’s pretty stoked about that. Carpets apparently are even better than Smarties.


What, you say? Luna’s back? But I thought you were done with Luna!

Yeah, so did I. But she had two pee accidents today – one while we were wading at the lake, she just spread ’em and let fly before I could stop her – and her overly-optimistic parents only sent her one pair of clean underpants, so I sent her home commando again.


This has been the hardest week of my dayhome lady career, so far. And yes, I’m including the weeks when I was too pregnant to bend over and pick up toys, or the weeks when I had that wretched kid who used to beat everyone up, or the weeks when I had Marie & her amazing stuffed elephants. I’m physically exhausted, emotionally drained, and stress-eating ALL THE THINGS.

If I come out the other end with Pixie out of diapers, I know that’s a significant accomplishment. But I can’t help feeling discouraged about Louis, and kind of frustrated by his mom and her inability to see that he is just not on board with this whole thing.

Hoping for a cleaner, less-smelly, and drier day tomorrow.

Edited to add: I had a long, frank chat with Louis’ mom at pick up today, and she’s agreed to back off on toilet training for now. She is well aware of the risks of forcing training – particularly with regards to chronic constipation – and has no interest in tormenting him if he isn’t ready. So we’re stopping with Louis for the next couple of months, when we’ll try again.



  1. Ugh. Sounds awful. I’m sorry there’s so much grossness. *sends virtual booze and hand sanitizer and bleach*

  2. Louis is ready physically, but very obviously not ready emotionally. Kids who withhold bowel movements are — you probably know this — at risk not just of killer constipation, but of encopresis (involuntary soiling), which can be a life-long issue. Can I hear a hearty “ew”?

    Tyler did this last year, and his parents and I agreed to back off entirely for three or four months. Eventually we went back to it, and Tyler trained quickly and with minimal fuss.

  3. *DISCLAIMER- I have no children, I am aware that I am largely talking out of my @ss on this*

    Makes me wonder what kind of pressure Louis’ mother is under. Can she truly be THAT oblivious to how poorly things are going in her own house?

    I’m curious about where Louis falls on the “developmental checklist” compared to her friends’ babies, and if that is stressing her out because she feels he’s behind.

    For example: My nephew didn’t crawl. Ever. He butt-scooted EVERYWHERE.

    My sister-in-law was getting tons of advice from people, telling her that he was “developmentally delayed” because he was 6/7/8/9 months old and wasn’t crawling yet, and that she should “Just MAKE him crawl”. Um…..okay? How is that supposed to work?

    One day, he just started walking. The Butt-scoot was a thing of the past.

    Then, suddenly, walking was “too advanced for his physical development”, because he was “only 10 months old” and she should stop him from walking by picking him up, putting him on his hands and knees, and making him crawl. The idea that a baby wouldn’t follow the “crawl at 6 months, walk at 12” formula set out by some random development calendar didn’t even register with these people.

    So, if Louis’ mom’s friends’ kids are all potty trained, and they’re his age or younger, I wonder if she’s feeling the pressure of “Oh, he’s X months old, he should be able to do X, Y and Z by now….”, without realizing that every kid is different, and they’re going to hit those milestones at different times. And that makes me sad, because parenting is hard enough already without feeling pressure and shame from all those external sources.

    He’ll get it eventually- it’s not like he’s going to go to college in diapers. But there’s no sense in forcing something he’s really not ready for- it just makes everyone frustrated and angry, and life has enough of that crap already.

  4. Regarding Louis’ Mom’s capitulation – thank GOD. With Eve and her one day a week daycare it was a bit of the reverse situation for us – her caregiver was urging us to train her and we were totally laid back about the whole thing. I’m laughing reading Kathryn’s comment about her nephew, though, because my kids were super-late crawling and walking. My doctor made an appointment for Eve at the children’s hospital even though I told her when I tried to set Eve on her feet she jack-knifed her legs straight out, which I was pretty sure took more muscular control than actually standing on them. The week of her appointment, she pulled up. Girlfriend’s no dummy. 🙂

  5. […] 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 though changing his frequent […]

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