What No One Tells You About Potty Training

Potty training my son wasn't quite what I expected. Why? Because all of the books left out some details. This is what no one tells you about potty training.

Potty training my son wasn't quite what I expected. Why? Because all of the books left out some details. This is what no one tells you about potty training.

It’s that time parents of young children dream about – potty training! The end of diapers (for one) is so close. All I can think about is no more smelly surprises when I get random hugs from the boy. We’ll be down to spending a small fortune on diapers for just the twins.

Except, it’s not going quite like I thought it would. This whole experience is nothing like what all the books and internet “experts” said it would be like. So here’s my very unofficial guide. This is what no one tells you about potty training.

Don’t wait around forever for your kid to be “ready.” 

That’s what all the books say to do. Wait until he’s ready. Introduce him gently to the potty. Let him play on it and sit on it. Talk about it. Don’t push it.This is what has taken us so long. We’ve talked about going potty. Asked him if he wants to go pee on the potty. Talked about not wearing diapers any more. Threw in incentives and rewards. Told him he was a big boy now. Nope. Nothing. Nada. 

We started joking that there really were kids in college that wore diapers and he would be one of them. We joked that kids like him were the real reason for adult diapers. We were convinced that he’d never want to go sit on the stinking potty. 

He’s three. His automatic response for anything is “no.” So one day we just ditched the diapers and let him run around in his real underwear. I think he had one accident, maybe two, but that’s it. As soon as we quit covering his butt, he parked it on the potty.

You’re going to spend a lot of time in the bathroom, so you might as well get comfy.

The first few days of potty training, we literally just hung out in the bathroom. He was going commando or wearing only underwear. I didn’t want to clean up pee all over the house, and he needed to be close to the potty. We watched movies on the iPad. I brought in a pillow to sit on. We even moved his little play table and chairs in there so he could sit down and build with his legos. Make it extra fun and have a picnic in the bathroom! Thank goodness we had enough room in there for all that!

Potty training my son wasn't quite what I expected. Why? Because all of the books left out some details. This is what no one tells you about potty training.

Your kid may stop pooping for a few days. 

He totally understood that pee goes in the potty. He figured that one out very quickly. Convincing him to poop in there is a completely different matter. If he couldn’t poop in his diaper or pull-up, he didn’t want to poop at all. Just enjoy the silver lining of having one less stinky butt to wipe. Eventually, the poop will come out. Just cross your fingers that it’ll be in the potty.

You’ll feel like a 50s dad.

Remember way back when women would go into labor and the men would wait outside? You’ll feel like that. Pacing up and down the hall, waiting anxiously for the glorious moment when the bundle of joy finally comes out. Only this time instead of a baby, it’s poop. And yes, when it arrives you’ll feel just as proud as that new dad! Feel free to have that cigar – this is something to celebrate! Just don’t take pictures of it and post it on social media. No one wants to see that.

You’re going to need a lot of wine.

I think all the potty training experts are too politically correct to tell you this, but I will. You will need a lot of wine, so just stock up now. Learning to use the potty can be stressful for a little guy, and we all know how kids deal with stress – meltdown city. Not pooping for a few days would make anyone cranky. Plus, you can’t get anything done because every five minutes you’re running to the bathroom with the little one yelling “I want to poop!” It might be a little stressful for everyone, momma, so just have that glass of wine. It’s potty training, there’s no judgement.

You’re going to need a break.

As a potty training momma, you might not want to go anywhere for a bit. It’s hard enough convincing your little one to go at home where he’s comfortable, much less out in public in a strange place. And in the beginning he’ll be so unpredictable as far as time between the “I need to pee” announcement and the actual peeing.

What does this mean for you? You’re grounded, momma. Stock up on some goods (i.e. wine and chocolate), and prepare to be homebound for a bit. However, all this might start to wear on you. It’s all kids all the time. Call in reinforcements and get out of dodge. You don’t have to leave the house if you don’t want to (I’m pretty sure you will), but just take a break.

In all the parenting books I’ve read, and all the online guides and blog posts, no one mentioned any of this. So I’m here to help you prepare. We’re all moms, and we’re all in this together. Let’s help each other figure this out. What did you experience that no one told you to expect?

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About Samantha

I am a SAHM to three kids and a menagerie of pets. I love coffee, books, crafts, wine, cooking, and more coffee. Seriously, I couldn't function without coffee. Read more about me!


  1. This is awesome!!! We did the same thing with my oldest!! Put her in undies and all was good. The little one dragged us to the potty. She was ready before we expected it! (And she takes snacks in there!)

    • Hahaha! Snacks – love it! I have an awesome picture of him on the toilet with a toy catalog. I’m saving that one for when he’s a teenager!

  2. Love this because of the honesty. I admit I’m terrified of the potty training stage. I definitely understand your point of camping out in the bathroom for a while. Guess I’ll be happy to be a working mom at that point and have someone else deal with some potty issues all day.
    Julie S. recently posted…Gratitude and Goals Jan 22, 2016 #GratitudeGoalsMy Profile

    • Thanks, Julie! Believe it or not, it was actually kinda fun camping out in the bathroom. He got some good quality one-on-one time with each of us. Hubs and I took turns, and the boy was happy to not be sharing our attention with his sisters. Good luck!

  3. My twins are 3 and want nothing to do with the potty. I think I’ll try your method this summer. Heavy on the wine 🙂

  4. Haha. I love the 50s dad analogy. Hilarious. My daughter was three when she was finally became potty trained. She knew how to do it before then but was just too stubborn. Oh well. it always happens sometime.

    • Thanks! I definitely think stubbornness was part of what took so long for our son, too. If sisters got to use diapers, then why did he have to use the potty?

  5. So funny! Love this post! My children are all big and I remember those days of potty training. Now, my niece is 3 and I watch her a lot and we are going through the same things . She has no interest in the potty. My 11 year old is obsessed with getting the wee one out of diapers!

  6. My middle son didn’t potty train until 4./4.5 years of age. He has some DD so we went along with it, but I remember the days of just waiting for the phone call he went in his pants. (we also employed the “undies for you, no more diaper!” idea).

    And wine. I will be completely politically incorrect here and tell you if you want to make it through children, DRINK ALL THE WINE
    Lauren Jane recently posted…February Parenting Photo Challenge!My Profile

  7. All points are SO true! I laughed at the waiting outside the door and the lack of pooping for a few days because that happened with both of my boys!

  8. I have been in potty training denial, I’m too scared! 🙂 I love this advice though and I think with these tricks I can handle it … maybe!
    Erin recently posted…Why is Self Care so Hard? | Are You a Mommy Martyr?My Profile

  9. ha, this is all so true! I am out of these days, but cold have used it way back when! Great ideas

  10. This post is much needed. I’m about to start potty training with my son, and I don’t know where to start. It kind of just happened with my daughter because she was in daycare.
    Healing Mama recently posted…My Experience With A Doula Part 2My Profile

    • Good luck! It’s had to know where to start. We tried the talking thing for so long, and finally we gave up on that. We just removed the diapers completely and he was surprisingly okay with it.

  11. This is so funny! ha, I love the image of being like a 50’s dad waiting for the birth of his child. Perfect. My daughter is 1, so I will keep all of this in mind for the future. I like that you say not to wait for the perfect time; I think this is what my sister was doing with my niece and she waited way too long.

    • The waiting thing is so tricky. Maybe there’s no such thing as the perfect time. We tried waiting, but I think he was fully prepared to out-stubborn us.

  12. This cracked me up! I remember when my niece and nephew were potty training my sister in law went through so much of this (especially the issues with pooping – we had a whole family dance party when my nephew finally pooped in the potty!). It’s quite the adventure, isn’t it?
    Lauren English recently posted…Two Things To Do Before A Major Life TransitionMy Profile

  13. Man… I can’t decide if I’m more excited to not have to do diapers anymore, or dreading potty training my twins! 😛 This is a great list of advice, I’ll pin it for the future 🙂
    Katie {Always, Katie} recently posted…Momma Must Have: The Vintage Honey ShopMy Profile

    • I agree with you! One child was complicated enough! Later on things will get very interesting when it’s time to potty train our twins!

  14. You seriously made my day with this post! love the honesty and the fact that you’re clearly laughing about potty training too. Great job Mom!
    Rebekah recently posted…Motherhood Mistakes: Show Yourself Some Grace!My Profile

  15. This was a HILARIOUS read! Just what I needed today. I especially loved the part about getting comfortable in the bathroom. So true. My daughter is great about making sure all her animals go potty on the potty, but hasn’t quite figured it out for herself…

    • It’s a little ridiculous how much time we spent in the bathroom. But we had fun “camping” in there. It was all an adventure to our son, so he had a blast. And honestly, I wrote most of this post sitting on the bathroom floor!

  16. I pinned, stumbled and tweeted this as well! <3
    Lindsey recently posted…3 Step Process For Teaching ToddlersMy Profile

  17. Pingback: Why Moms Need Wine - Momma Wants Java

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