Things only survivors of potty training will know

It’s not like surviving the apocalypse, not quite anyway, but potty training can certainly be one of the more testing stages of bringing up baby.

Just when you thought parenting couldn’t get any harder, between the tantrums, refusal to eat anything not covered in batter and 4am wake-up calls, now it’s time to ditch the nappies.

These are protecting your home, your car and you from a whole world of mucky trouble. We’re supposed to just give them up one day and on top of all the other parenting “fun” we have to handle every day, cajole our child into learning how to wee and poo like a grown-up.


If you fancy a few tips and ideas I’ve learned along the way, check out these posts: 

10 ways to prepare for successful potty training

Potty training: 5 signs your child is not ready


If you’re going through the s**t storm that is potty training, here are a few things you will know:

“We’re only going to be out for 15 minutes” are the famous last words

You think just nipping out with your toddler footloose and nappy-free will be just fine. You sat them on the potty for a good 10 minutes before leaving, surely that’s a sign the bladder is empty.

But when you take a danger trip with a potty training toddler, with zero spare clothes, no travel potty and no emergency pad to soak up accidents in the buggy, this will be the moment they have an accident of biblical proportions.

Never believe your child

When you ask your child if they need to use the potty, their default answer will always be “no”. If you believe them, this is often followed with an epic wee all over themselves and the living room carpet minutes later.

You don’t own enough spare pairs of trousers

If you think 10 pairs are enough, you’re wrong. Your child will stun you with the rapidity they can pile through trousers in the first couple of days of potty training.

There are not enough public toilets

When attempting to potty train a toddler with a teeny tiny bladder, you suddenly realise that there are nowhere near enough loos in public places. There needs to be one every 10 steps at least.

Failing to plan means planning to fail

When venturing out into the scary big wide world with all of its potential for ultra embarrassing incidents and WTF moments where you no idea how to handle the mess that’s just been created, you have to have the kit.

If you forget just one thing, like spare trousers or a spare bag for the Potette potty, then you can guarantee you’re going to regret that momentary lapse in judgement. When it comes to potty training, sod’s law rules.

You become even more repetitive

Your repertoire of parenting phrases is expanded to include “do you need a wee”. It joins other popular phrases such as “no”, “stop hitting your sister/brother”, and “put that down”.

You cannot fear the bodily fluids

If you’re squeamish about bodily functions, then you have no business raising kids. However when it comes to potty training you reach a whole other level of physical contact with your child’s deposits.

I had to catch a poo in my hand because my toddler stood up at the crucial moment of doing a number two, just as my baby was crawling over, fascinated with what was going on. It was catch it or face the possibility of my baby getting there first. Not a proud moment in my life.

Bribery is king

Sticker charts work for a few days, but after the novelty wears off you have to bring out the big guns. This includes even more TV when you’re already full of guilt at the amount they watch, and chocolate. You’ll worry about ditching these bad habits later.

It takes sheer grit and determination

The nappy is the easy option. Potty training adds so much more time and effort to your daily life. And the trouble is we already had zero spare time to offer before the potty training started.

Getting through it, despite all the accidents on the floor, the cleaning up and the attempts to get your child to use the potty, is hard graft.

You have sympathy for the parents who employed someone to do it for them

A couple hit the headlines recently when they advertised for someone to potty train their toddler for them.

While it might not be for everyone, once you’ve gone through the mess, arguments, clean-ups and desperate races against time to find a loo, you may find yourself thinking it’s a good idea to outsource this particular parental joy.

Have you recently gone through potty training or are right in the middle of the chaos? Let me know how it’s going for you in the comments below.

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1 Comment

  1. January 5, 2018 / 1:57 pm

    Loved this post! You’re absolutely right that it takes sheer grit and determination (and patience 🙂 ) to potty train a child.

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