Potty Training Success: Three Turds at the Brewery

Potty Training is no joke. We had two ramp-ups to potty training that both ended in a crabby toddler and over-stressed parents.

Last spring break we did the whole “lets just hang out naked and wait for the potty bell to go off every 10 minutes” approach. Sprocket was very confused by the pee coming out of his body and after three days and, literally, hours on the potty, he still wasn’t getting it.

Oh, Elmo.
He would sit and read books on the potty for hours….

I decided that I didn’t want my spring break to be cooped up inside, so we threw in the towel and had a blast for the rest of break.

Then, this summer we did another push at the beginning of July. We had friends in town and I was 8 months pregnant…not the ideal set of circumstances. Sprocket had a major backlash. He definitely knew how to go potty — he would sit, push 5 drops out, get a treat, dump the potty, and do it all over again. In fact, a couple afternoons resulted in my pregnant rear end doing stair repeats to dump out the potty 17 times! Damn you, split level! **Shakes Fist in Air** One time when Sprocket was trying but it just wasn’t clicking, I put a few drops of B’s beer in the potty, we made a big deal like it was pee, and then Sprocket proceeded to pee about 10 more times. It was clear…he knew what he was doing and craved success.

However, all this pressure made Sprocket act out. He started hitting and throwing fits (more than usual) and just seemed out of sorts.

I did what I do best…I read about it. I found a book about potty training based on your kid’s personality. It is called “Stress-Free Potty Training: A Commonsense Guide to Finding the Right Approach for your Child.” It starts with a quiz about your kid so that you can “categorize” them into one of the personality areas and approach potty-training in a way that fits their personality and individual needs. Sprocket was mostly a “strong-willed” child (haha…surprised?) and as a result, he had to be in control of the whole process. The book pointed out something interesting — it said that if we over-celebrate successes, then it becomes about us and not about Sprocket — which would lead to backlash and frustration around potty training. This was exactly what we were seeing. It also pointed out that the pressure and lack of instant success might turn him off to the whole thing. Again, this was the exact frustration we were seeing.

So, we left the froggy potty in the living room and took all pressure off. Sometimes he was interested in using it, but most days it was completely ignored. We would have a few hours here and there where he wanted to stomp around in underpants, but nothing consistent.

I accepted the fact that daycare would probably get the lovely job of potty training after I went back to work in November.

Then, it happened.

Our 6-year-old neighbor came over with a sucker. Sprocket said he wanted one and I replied that we only get suckers when we use the potty. So, he marched inside and peed in the potty.

Then, the next night he wanted to use it again.

So, on Friday, we decided we were all in. I put underpants on him in the morning and he only had one accident all day. He even pooped in the potty that night.

Friday Night Excitement!

Followed by 36 hours of holding his poop, which ended in a very full pull-up on Sunday night at bedtime and him refusing to even try to go poop on the potty.

I kept reminding him that he could get a sucker if he pooped, but he just didn’t seem to connect it. I didn’t think you could get more concrete than that. Then, we were snuggling in the recliner and I showed him a video on my phone of him eating his sucker after he pooped on Friday. It was like a light bulb went off. He marched upstairs and birthed the smallest little turdlet to get another sucker. He did the same thing 3 more times that night.

We felt like we were on the right track! This past Saturday, we went to a local Brewery to eat lunch and watch the ISU game. Sprocket went to the bathroom with Dad and peed. He also pushed out the smallest little turd. B helped him flush and started to pull up his pants, when Sprocket said, “No, Dad. I gotta poop!” He proceeded to take what B called an “impressive dump” consisting of three turds.

Parenting Win!

It has now been almost two weeks, and we are having more accident-free days and feeling pretty good about it. He still wears a pull-up at night and we are a-okay with that. He had his first dry day at day care yesterday.

Looking back, I definitely learned a few important lessons through this whole journey…
1) I needed to chill the eff out! I had worked potty training up into this big thing with lots of stress surrounding it. At the end of the day, it is not about me. It is about Sprocket, and me stressing out doesn’t help.
2) The people that say “he will do it when he is ready” are absolutely right…even though it made me roll my eyes every time I read it.
3) Okay, so maybe our failed attempts weren’t a complete waste. I think several months of having the potty around were good for Sprocket. I think with Spark, we will still have the potty hanging out, but just not put some much pressure on the process.
4) My kid is awesome. He learned this brand new skill that makes him more independent…and I am so proud of him for that.
5) I LOVE not having to change his poopy diapers all the time. Woot!
6) The book “Dinosaur vs. the Potty” is hysterical. Seriously, go read it. Thanks, Masinga!

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  • Thanks so much for sharing your story… Helps a lot! My daughter is almost 2.5 and I want her out of diapers soooo bad. That being said I know I can’t rush her and I know I can’t make her go potty as she is also VERY independent lol… I’m just not sure where to even start with her sometimes, When it comes to things like this… She always says she has to go pee when I go to the bathroom but instead just plays with the potty and takes it apart to see how it all works… So next week we will try this again and I will leave the potty where she has access and hope and pray she decides to actually sit on it. 😉