Enough With the Potty Training

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I told you last week how we were starting to potty train Jayce. We dove headfirst into it, with timers, M&Ms, big boy pants, and high aspirations, but it just wasn’t working. Our first day was a nightmare, compounded by the fact that Jayce was incredibly tired and grumpy that morning, and nothing was going tohappen without some protest. But we pushed on.

Over the next few days we kept up the timer and M&Ms, but also added “cool Elmo potty doll” and “cool Elmo potty video.” I brought his potty out into the living room and let him watch the video from the potty. I let him watch a few of his favorite shows from the potty as well, and let him run around bare bottomed in between. He was pants-less for over an hour, and though he didn’t do anything to the floor or furniture, he also didn’t do anything in the actual potty itself.

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By the end of the week, we had made no progress at all. Not a single drop of liquid had made it into the little potty, and he had stopped telling me when he was wet. Even worse was that the battles were still in full force, with Jayce crying and saying “I no want to sit on the potty!“screaming, running from me, refusing to sit, slouching when I tried to get him out of his wet clothes, smacking me, yelling, etc. This was not my kid.

I was not at my best either. Though I obviously wouldn’t discipline him for having an accident or something like that, I was going to discipline him for the other stuff above. It was a week full of power struggles, tantrums, yelling and everyone being fed up.

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On Friday I called both of the women who lead the parenting classes that we’ve attended to see if they had any suggestions. I almost cried (both times) as I described our days and said, “This is just not Jayce, he’s not like this, and neither am I. I’m not one of those moms who is constantly yelling at her kids and stressed out by them. This is not what I want for my home. It’s just not working…”

I was relieved, and thrilled, when the most veteran of the ladies stopped me pretty quickly into the description of our day, and said, “Oh honey, it sounds like he’s just not ready.” She let me go on and would interject encouragement here and there, “Yes, that’s the right thing to do.” “I’m sure you felt that way and that’s fine.” “No, it’s not okay for him to act like that, and you responded appropriately.”

Both women questioned why we were trying to get him trained right now, and since there was no real urgency in doing it now in January, they both suggested that we put everything away for a few months and try again when it was warmer. Both admitted that training boys is a much more difficult battle than girls for some reason, and also assured me that he would get it. Chris and I had both assumed that it was time mostly just because Jayce is a smart kid and so aware of everything that is going on, and we assumed that he would pick this up pretty quickly too. But apparently we were wrong. It was nice to have an outside source re-inforce what had been at the backs of our minds all week, and to do so in a non-judgemental way.

So the potty is put away, along with Elmo, his video, and those cute big boy pants. We spent Friday afternoon playing with trains, cars, blocks, letters and books. We read, danced, snuggled and giggled, unencumbered by the timer that we had all grown to hate. We had a perfect weekend hanging out as a family and the battles of last week are now a faint memory.

On a side note, after I hung up the phone with the ladies from the parenting classes, I couldn’t help but feeling like they were parenting me a little bit. Like, when they hung up the phone, they weren’t thinking, “Oh, Jayce is having trouble with the potty,” but, “Oh, Erin is having trouble potty training Jayce.” All of that positive re-inforcement and talking me off of the cliff. Hmm…

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6 thoughts on “Enough With the Potty Training

  1. I just had to let you know, that you are okay!

    Our oldest wasn't potty trained until he was 3. It took a week. Done.

    With our middle it took forever! He was 2, I didn't want him in diapers with a new baby. He ran around naked all summer, peed outside and still does! And he's nearly 4!

    Boys are soooo different. They go when they want. They do what they want.

    Our youngest is 20 months and he is trying to sit on the potty and tells us when he goes – he wants to be like his brothers, but I'm not letting him grow up!

    You're fine. Just be confident in your decisions! I hope that didn't sound too motherly.

  2. Eli is nearly exactly a year older than Jayce. He has been potty trained for about two months. 🙂

    Honestly, I fought and fought and fought with Owen for months. Lots of moments of "bad mommying." Eli, I waited nearly a year longer (out of pure laziness) and it was so much easier.

    Thanks for being so candid about it.

  3. Cool post, Erin. I am SO glad you got that advice from those women! One of my biggest regrets with Avery is all the time we spent potty training her. We love our pediatrician but his advice at her 18 mo. appt. was to try it and if she seemed interested, go for it! Are you kidding me? But we didn't know any better, she was our first. We bought a potty right away and she went the first time we ever put her on. It took another 18 months until she was day-trained and a few more months until she was night-trained. I hate it that I wasted so much precious time with my first baby getting frustrated and upset and being a "bad mom" . It kills me to think about. But you live, you learn and now poor Tyson will probably be 4 before we even consider trying! He will just have to pretty much do it himself because I will not make that same mistake! : ) Glad you were wise enough to ask for advice and take it!

  4. I started reading your blog a few months back, I like your craft ideas, so I started following. But then your stories were so similar to my family (I have no kids, but a 4 year old nephew), and he lives right up the street and is over a lot. We struggled to potty train him, finally gave up, and then out of the blue this fall, he started and never looked back. Bribery, underwear, treats, nothing worked.

    Sometimes they're just not ready, so you're doing the right thing. He'll just hit a point and "get it" when you least expect it. Don't give up!

  5. Erin, I totally understand what you're going through. My son is the same age as Jayce(July '08). I started potty training and failed miserably. He ended up pooping in his underwears then he tells me he has to go to the potty. Very frustrating yet in school the teacher says he is doing wonderful with potty training. I guess at home is different for him. We've stopped as well and see how he responds once the teacher tells me he is going 100% in school. Many of my mommy friends(a forum a belong to that have kids all born July '08) with girls are all pretty much potty trained.


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