Nightmare on Potty Training Street

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potty training

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… potty training is the bane of my existence! It’s the nemesis behind the 5 extra pounds I carry around on my ass from “just one more glass of wine” at the end of the long, long days.

We’ve tried a princess potty. The big potty. Reading books about the potty. Reading books about the potty while on the potty. We’ve tried distracting her with Mickey. Bribery with candy. Promises of extra “chocolate cookie ice cream” after dinner. Cajoling. Demanding. Pleading.

I’m at a loss.

All the well meaning comments are getting a little cumbersome, too.

My kid was potty trained at 18 months. Awesome. Wanna potty train this one?

Isn’t it about time to potty train? Whaaa you mean I have to teach her that??

Isn’t she potty trained yet? Nah, we figured we’d wait and let her husband do it.

This girl… this girl is so strong-willed and has her mind made up that she just doesn’t want to sit her tiny little tushy on the porcelain throne. Before, she would sit and sit and sit for as long as I asked her. She only went a couple of times, but still, she planted her butt and didn’t move! Now, you’d think we’re trying to make her sit on a potty straight out of a horror movie.

Me: Come sit on the potty.

Diva: No

Me I’ll give you candy…

Diva *thinking*

Me Caaandyyyy

Diva Noooo

Me: Dora sits on the big girl potty

Diva: *blank stare*

Me: And Minnie and Mickey

Diva: I donnn wanna

Me: *takes her hand* Come on, just for a minute.

Diva: *commences screaming and kicking*

Me: Just stop…stop kicking!

Diva: AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!

Me: OK. Fine! But eventually you will have to sit on the potty.

Diva: I peed in my diapy

Me: *bangs head on wall*

In the end, I am sweaty and weepy. The neighbors are peeking out their windows. The dog’s ears are bleeding. Based on her reaction, you’d think the toilet was going to flush her down to live in the sewers forever and ever. It’s really very dramatic. Of course, would you expect anything less from “the diva”?

So, tell me, short of using duct tape, how the hell do you get your kids to sit on the potty?!

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  1. We had the same problem with my son. You would have thought the toilet was on fire the way he acted. At one point my husband found me crying on the floor of the bathroom with the iPad googling “My son hates pooping.” The best was the next day at daycare when they questioned me about it and acted as though we weren’t trying to potty train him. The teach said “we really need to make sure you are on board with this and trying to get him to use the toilet at home. Are you letting him wear diapers?” I am pretty sure my reaction was like a scene from the exorcist complete with head spinning and green pea soup. Unfortunately, we just had to wait until he was ready. One day, he just went in and pooped and came out with his pants around his ankles and told us about it.

  2. My daughter had a serious issue with constipation. The gravity pull from sitting on the potty was the only thing to help her go #2. She figured it out on her own and so will your diva! I’ll bet you $1,000 that your daughter won’t go to Kindergarten in diapers. You’re doing a great job raising your little diva!

  3. I never had this problem with my daughter, but I have heard similar stories. My mom would give me a little bag of m&m’s to get me to go potty. I don’t have memories of it, but apparently I was stubborn.

  4. Wow. I think I love my daughter even more after reading this. She got up a few months after she turned 2, on Thanksgiving Day actually, took her diaper off and threw it in the garbage. She looked at me and said “I don’t want one”. That was it. I didn’t have to do a thing. We hadn’t even started trying because I was freaking out over it in my head. We maybe have had less than a handful of accidents after that. She is 8 now.

  5. Honestly the only way I could get my son to sit on it was to put it next to his train table and let him have toys, snacks, and drinks while sitting there. He is also not allowed to wear pull-ups or diapers until bedtime. Underwear only when at home. When we leave the house it’s a whole new ball game though. He absolutely refuses to use a public toilet at all costs. All I can suggest is full time underwear at home. Hopefully she’ll get sick of feeling wet. Good luck. Hope this helps.

    • My daughter is showing all the signs for being ready so we started training this week. I put her in panties during the day and diapers at night. She loves wearing the panties, doesn’t mind sitting on the potty, and hates accidents (getting Minnie wet)… The problem is that this girl has a bladder of steel and won’t pee on her potty! Yes she has had some successes but she will hold it as best she can until I put that diaper on for nap time. Im giving her one more week before I’m willing to throw the white flag on this battle. If that ends up being the case I’ll either wait until she decides she wants to be like that Thanksgiving kid that lady above bragged about (I hate you so much BTW!) or her future friends can peer pressure her into it. Or maybe I’ll send her off to the next judgemental mommy who raises her evil eyebrow at my diaper wearing princess!

  6. I had the same problem with my daughter. We tried everything. She was I think 2.5 and one day she just went on her own. Didn’t want diapers anymore..

  7. I only had boys and my oldest was the same way. I decided to relax and not worry about it so much and so did he. A week or so later, he was out of diapers. She has to be ready and when she is, she will be so proud of herself.

    Great funny post!

  8. I think they just have to be ready! My oldest is pretty stubborn, and I knew trying to get him to go when I wanted him to wasn’t going to happen. So, we waited until he was almost 3 before we started throwing the idea out there and we let him take the lead. He was trained in just a few weeks (with the help of Hot Wheels cars as rewards, of course)!

  9. Jennifer Mae Hiles says:

    Haha, I’ve just started with my daughter. If I say, “go potty” she will run into the bathroom and sit on her potty. But if I try to take her diaper off or sit her on it after/before her bath, you can forget about it!

  10. A friend of mine was having trouble getting her little boy to pee in the big potty. She drained the potty one day and painted a bullseye in the bottom. Her son was so interested in hitting the bullseye, she didn’t have any trouble with him after that. I don’t think this will help with your daughter though.

    So anyway, is she the type that wants to have/do everything that everyone else has/is doing?
    If so, maybe a little reverse psychology will help.
    Everytime you go into the bathroom, tell her that you are going to use the potty and she can’t. When you are done, tell her that you got to use the potty but she didn’t. Make it sound more like something that she can’t have and maybe it will get her interested in using it???
    Do you have friends with young children similar to your daughter’s age? If their children are potty trained, maybe your daughter will see them having the ‘privilege’ of using the potty (and possibly getting a treat for it), and will want to try using it as well???
    I had 4 daughters and my oldest was the most difficult to train. The other 3 just wanted to do everything the oldest was doing and that included being able to use the big potty.

  11. that’s hilarious 🙂 Thanks for sharing this story and helping me realize I’m not the only mommy going through potty training hell. Recently she likes to sit on the potty just so she can wash her hands. I found that using the toilet seat works better for us then using a potty chair.

  12. First off, the image is hilarious. Great job!

    How did I get mine to sit on the potty? Well, I did think of duct tape and did lots of head banging myself. But in the end it was a reward chart from ChuckeCheese (they have a printable on their site). So in the end it was plain old bribery. Only my kid didn’t take to your standard m&ms or toys. Though I can’t give the chart 100% credit because we had worked up that for a long time by trying lots of different tactics but it’s what finally sealed the deal in the end. We even busted it back out when he later had some regression and it immediately got him back on track.

  13. Stephanie says:

    I don’t have any advice, but I have to have some wine myself just reading this and remembering going through that craziness with my 2, who are now 8 and 11 and have new craziness. Anyway, yes, it really sucks and it will seem to be drag on for a ridiculous amount of time and you will think you will need to be committed. All of a sudden, one day when you least expect it, the clouds will part, the sun will come out, and they will be potty-trained. I promise.

    • Stephanie says:

      Oh, forgot to mention the large puddles of pee that we left behind at TJ Maxx, Target, etc, when my son didn’t want to let go of diapers and I resorted to undies only. The only one uncomfortable and embarressed was me… !

  14. My last kid was the same damn way.. No big deal with the Thing 1 & Thing 2, but Thing 3 wasn’t having it. Finally, caught her fighting to get a turd out, swung her on the toilet, and held her down until it dropped. You thought I was drowning her, but as soon as it hit the water, she was like “huh, look at that” and it wasn’t ever a big deal again. She was 3 too, so it is what it is.

  15. My son runs and hides if I mention him and the potty. But he’s happy to come and play in the bathroom when I just want a little privacy!

  16. oh boy! you bet lol. I think that’s the worst experienced i had with my kids too. i’m glad they’re all potty trained now. whew!

  17. I am not looking forward to potty training when I have my own kids!

  18. Dealing with it in a humorous way looks like it’s working for you. I know I cried a many a day. Wish I were as funny as you. 🙂 Great post and hang in there with little Miss Diva. Oh and short of duct tape, for my second born, I literally had to GIVE UP trying at all. Then poof one day when I was babysitting another toddler (potty trained, of course) my daughter tried to follow behind her and sit on the potty. BAM, done!

  19. I am trying to potty train my daughter. I can get her to sit down on the little potty but she hasnt gone potty in it. My son wasnt potty trained until he was 3 1/2. He must have finally been ready I put underwear on him and he was potty trained in one day. Hopefully my daughter will be potty trained by the time she is 3 1/2.

  20. I hated potty training. My oldest wouldn’t drop one in the potty. We tried prizes, rewards, stickers, etc. Nothing would work. My AGW (Absolutely Gorgeous Wife) had an idea, she asked him to pick the day of “No More Diapers” and mark in on the calendar. He picked a week later, we marked in on the calendar in big marker. I told her if it worked I would buy her something nice. We X’ed the days off and on that day there was NO MORE DIAPERS. I was amazed and joyous at the same time. Needless to say there is something now known as the poop bracelet.

  21. I LOVE this picture and post. Potty training all of my kids was such a NIGHTMARE! I didn’t think either one of us were going to survive the training. Happy to say they did.

  22. Oh how I remember those days! I did two things that really helped my daughter get potty trained: One, I went out and bought her a pack of “big girl” panties and asked her if she wanted to be a big girl – she said yes – then began sitting on the potty more. As a little reward, she would get to wear the panties. Second thing I did was use a Dora doll she had that was about her size – using Dora as an example of how big girls use the potty and not the diaper. It took a little time and patience but it worked! Good Luck!

  23. I had problems with both and just decided they would learn when they where ready and stopped my and their suffering. It worked. I just didn’t care about the questions and the looks. My little man decided one day (at 3) that he was ready. He is five now and since that day he has had 5 accidents (including at night!). So forget about what people say and keep your sanity! 🙂

  24. If I told you, you may shoot me. The older two…pretty much trained themselves. lol Gage, well, he is interested in it, but he’s afraid to sit on the toilet. I need to get it done because he’ll be four in just a few months :\

  25. Haha. This made me laugh, sorry, I really am laughing at your expense, but I feel your pain! My daughter is 27 months old, was pretty much potty trained at 18 months, and then just quit going. Now, she goes every now and then, but she is stubborn! We are ECing the baby, so hopefully we don’t have to deal with potty training him. Good luck!!!

  26. So funny, I just wrote about this on my own blog! With Severus, whose interest waned quickly, we did books, toys, {I don’t suggest giving up your phone though, that’s a fight!} then upgraded to the actual toilet and he discovered flushing – which he loves. Still though, sometimes he’s distracted, or doesn’t want to sit so I started singing songs I made up about flushing. That made him sit for just long enough to stop resisting and go.

    It took us a few different attempts, but when we finally got it together, it only took him a week to get it down. If we calculated the time we tried before hand, it was about 3 weeks in total. Just stick with it!

  27. I struggled so much with training my daughter. Your post was like a PTSD flash-back for me! When I had my son, I told everyone I wasn’t even going to think about potty-training until he asked for it…in writing. He was older than 3 before he started asking to go potty, and we practically held a ticker-tape parade when he did! He was 3 1/2 before he really had a handle on it. (DD was about the same age, except I had been beating my head against the wall for two years.) Kids will eventually figure it out, sometimes in spite of our “training”. Great post!

  28. Have you tried letting her go around naked. I know that sounds awful but for out oldest child that was the only thing that worked. He peed on the floor one time and he didn’t like that at all, we made him clean it up and showed him to go in the potty which we had in the living room. After he tried one time he was completely potty trained in one week. Good luck, each child is different. I’m finding this out with our second child.

  29. Ive got no advice. BUT I enjoyed your colorful and descriptive posts! Thanks

  30. Bless you. I am so glad my last one is trained. But she was my toughest. She was stubborn with a Huge capital S. Like you, I tried everything. What finally worked was when I put cloth training pants on her( NOT pull ups because those are just pull apart diapers) and let her pee in her pants. After a couple accidents, she learned she hated peeing all over herself and then started running to the potty when she had to go. I’m also an advocate of waiting until they are at least 2 1/2 before the “official” training boot camp starts. I got serious with our training at three years old.

    The CONS to this approach is hanging out in an area of your home where there is no carpet or couches for a day.

  31. So glad I found you on TALU! Why do people make those kinds of comments about potty training? Either say nothing or nod sympathetically! Hilarious picture by the way! Loved this post!

  32. We had the same problem with my son! When we mentioned candy it didn’t even phase him. He could care less about candy, a reward that is out of his memory within a couple of minutes. However, we found a reward system that worked wonders! You know those little plastic animals, they sell them in plastic tubes at Michaels and some of the party stores. Well I purchase a bunch of them and we started calling them Potty Pets. Whenever my son went potty he got to pick out a Potty Pet. By the time we were done potty training he had a good assortment and could also name over 100 types of animals. How many 2 year olds can identify and ibex or a humpback whale? He loved taking all the animals out and telling us what they were and we would remind him that he got them from going potty. I think it worked for us because it is a reward that keeps on giving. Obviously this won’t work for kids that are really young or stick things in their mouths but we never had a problem with them. Good luck! 🙂

    There are lots of things like this out there but this is basically what we used:

  33. Sadly, I have no good advice. Give that whole husband plan a go?

  34. I can’t stand it when others boast about their early toilet training toddlers. I have tried every trick in the book and I still have problems with my child.

  35. I dropped mine off at my moms. A few hours of nana boot camp and my little one came back potty trained. I was super lucky!

  36. Every kid gets potty trained eventually. It doesn’t need to be a contest. I believe in waiting until they are ready and not forcing the issue.

  37. Honestly, they are ready when they are ready! They aren’t going to go to Kindergarten (hopefully) in diapers, so don’t worry! Just encourage and enjoy your kiddos!

  38. Don’t ya just love that people always know better than you and more than you etc?? I’ve been noticing this a lot in my life lately *ugh* Here’s my two cents… each and everyone one of us are unique! We all respond differently, act differently, learn differently etc. The Little Diva will be ready when she’s ready 🙂 I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be in wanting her to be potty trained. My hope is that one day she just turns to you and says “Mommy I went potty in the potty!” 🙂 And, all by herself *hugs* Hang in there!

  39. Our 7 yr old daughter really spoiled us. She was potty trained with little effort by the time she was 20 months old! It was fantastic! Jagger on the other hand, is 2 1/2 and is refusing to potty train. We started last year! It was so promising, within a week he was using the potty and we were loving it. And then… he stopped! It was like he had a “I know how to do this now, and I don’t want to” thought one day. His old cloth diapers are getting warn-out and frayed but I can’t bring myself to buy him new ones. I keep hoping he starts using the darn potty!

  40. Oh Potty training is such a nightmare! I do not look forward to doing this again with my daughter! My boys were bad enough and my daughter has a speech delay and doesn’t really understand most of what we say. There is no way in Hades I’m going to be able to have her potty trained by the time her brothers were.

    yeah, your trial..I can relate.

  41. My daughter was terrified of the *regular* potty. Getting her to go on the training potty was fine, but when she outgrew it, I moved it out and she wailed and sobbed that “her very own potty” was gone. What saved me was my sister buying her a Spongebob adapter to put over the toilet, and of course since it was from Auntie she was all over it. When she got too big to climb on it she stopped using it on her own….miraculously! Honestly I don’t know if she would have used it if I bought it for her, kids are finicky like that!

  42. My lil’ monster refuses to even think about going on the potty. She will be 3 in almost a month!!! She has been potty a couple of times at daycare, but she just doesn’t care about it…Love all the advice and reassurance on here. I feel a little better, especially when a coworker was bragging yesterday that her just turned 2 little girl is potty trained. grrr.

  43. Easton sits on the potty WITH his diaper on and pees in his diaper…. -_- We are getting there lol

  44. Robin Massey says:

    I had this issue w one of my daughters! Obviously they have to be ready but my daughter was ready and we had tried candy, stickers, pleading, yelling …. You name it. I finally got a toy she really wanted and put it above the fridge where she could see it. Then had a sticker chart, I can’t remember how many stickers but I think it was 30 or so. Anyway once she got all the stickers on the chart for going potty I have her the toy and it worked like a champ;) good luck!

  45. We used the method from It’s a little messy, it’s a little annoying, but it worked for us! Basically potty training bootcamp. Used it with our daughter at 25 months. A little scared to start with our son, but he’s only 20 months so I’m going to wait a little longer.

  46. Just found your site. Love it! So many parallels. Had PPD, First time mom of girl, love my 13 yr old boxer…

    Anyway, I am starting potty training this weekend. I too have a VERY strong willed girl and I am terrified that this is going to be a disaster! Looking forward to seeing your progress. Thanks!

  47. If it makes you feel better, my son super easy to potty train. My conversation with my daughter who wore underwear 3 days in a row with 0 accidents : “mom. I do not want to wear unders, I will wear diapers.” “why” “I a toddler.” “you can be a toddler and in unders. I will put them on you and you can go on the potty. If you pee in them it wont be comfortable.” “I just take em off if I pee in em’ silly goose.” When some one tells you, let me know to please. I thought girls were suppose to be easier to potty train 🙁 she’ll be 3 in April, so as you can tell this is ridiculous that I am still fighting her:(

  48. I’ve been a nanny for 3 years and worked in a daycare for 2 years and honestly, you can’t do anything with it until they are ready or they think it’s their idea. The best thing: skip the pull ups and put them right in underwear. They will feel uncomfortable and will want to potty in the “big girl potty.”

  49. Momma on the Rocks Momma on the Rocks says:

    Love all the advice! And it’s so reassuring to hear that I’m not the only one struggling with this!

    • I feel your pain!! my daughter is 4 1/2 and has not interest in going, no matter what I have tired:( I very much worried due to the fact she can start pre k in aug, and we are still in pullups!!

  50. My daughter began showing signs of wanting to train shortly before the age of 2. She is now 31/2 and still not fully trained. She has absolutely no problem with pooping in the potty. I know as soon as she’s done because she giggles and tells me the poop tickled her. My trouble is with her going pee every time. I used to stress over it. It will come in due time and with my diva it will be on her own time, not mine.

  51. I am going through potty training hell with my son who is 3 years 3 months. You are not alone. Thanks for the humor , I really needed it today. I know he is ready but after some progress he started to regress today….and I caught him playing in his own poop. I can’t even begin to describe this nightmare!!! I’m afraid my kid will be the first one to be in kindergarten in diapers!!

  52. I am in the same boat. My son is 3. He has shown plenty of signs that he is ready. But he has absolutely no interest in the potty. We live in an apartment so I can’t say “see that tree over there? It needs to be watered.” He has bad constipation issues. He just won’t go on the potty. I have tried staying in the bathroom all day for several days with him naked. He would just pee on the floor. He has decorated it to make it his own but he doesn’t seem to care. I’m at witts end. I don’t know how much more diaper changing I can handle. Next weekend I am introducing my almost 16 month old daughter to the potty. Not seriously trying to train. I don’t think she is ready. But im not gonna wait until its too late like no did with my son. And I do feel like its too late. He is gonna be a diaper wearing teen. I guess I’m just a little hopeless with training my son. The looks and comments I have gotten from people including family member… I just pray that it is easier with my daughter

  53. That sounds exactly like my daughter!! She’s 3 and refuses to try at all! I even tried to sit her on the potty and she made her back and waist completely straight and stiff. There was no way to make her sit! But when she needs a new diaper, she lays in the floor and takes the old one off, asking for us to change it. So we are biting the bullet and running out of diapers this weekend. She knows when the diapers are gone, she has to use the potty, so we went(on a good, more receptive day) to let her pick underwear and potty treats. Then we walked down the princess aisle and when she saw a toy and asked for it, I told we could come get it when she uses the potty. My parents even sweetened the pot by promising to come visit her when she’s potty trained. I’m still expecting lots of tears and laundry this weekend. Good luck to you!

  54. My almost 4 yr old daughter is driving me crazy. It’s like she is just lazy about it. She was all trained except for bedtime, now she will just pee herself randomly. I have tried candy, new panties, time outs, taking away toys that she can earn back by not peeing her panties. I am really close to losing it. I will pull her out of preschool if she doesn’t get this settled. Next I am going to sell the toys I take away from her.

  55. I just came across this blog after spending a whole day exactly like you described!!! I seriously llaughed out loud! It made my day so much better to know I was not alone.. Especially since ALL my friends said they did it in 3 days. We threw the diapers away and have been in big girl panties for 2 days. My diva doesn’t mind the wet panties though and could careless about any type of reward. I am exhausted.

  56. Girl I feel ya. When Christopher was potty training he actually ignored me when I went to pick him up from daycare. He cried to stay one time and it hurt my feelings so bad. I figured he was so outdone with me and the potty training that he didn’t like me anymore. So I let it go. I was trying to rush him because we were going on a cruise and I didn’t want have to worry about diaper changing. So much for that. He always been big and tall for his age so I was ashamed to change him in public. In addition to that, I was worried that the changing table bolted to the wall would fall down. So I’ll leave you with this well meaning comment, “Been there.” ~TALU

  57. I’m pregnant with my first baby (a girl, like yours!) and my husband and I already have premature dread about the potty training days/months/years. Luckily we’ve got some time before we cross that bridge!

    On a side note: I saw a hilarious craigslist ad from a dad who was trying to give away (not even sell) his little girl’s “singing potty”. Apparently it sings to celebrate going potty. He wrote that she was “terrified” of it and never went near it. I guess it’s one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but then when you think about having your toilet sing to you while you’re pooping, it suddenly does seem a little terrifying.

    Hope it’s going better now!

  58. You described my first to a tee and still not sure how we finally managed to Potty Train her. Now my second practically did it herself and still quite in shock on that one. All I can say is good luck and I feel your pain, believe me I do!!! #TALU

  59. So glad that I’m not the only mommy that feels unsuccessful in this area! Everything you described about your daughter fits my son to a T! He absolutely REFUSES! And when I try to talk to him about it or embarass him by saying all his friends and I mean ALL of them go on the potty, he just laughs. I’m starting to think three’s are worse than two’s. He is so hardheaded and I too get tired of everyone looking at me thinking I’m just blatently doing nothing or just planning on letting him wear diapers until he is in high school. 🙂 Thanks for showing me I’m not on this poopy boat alone.

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