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Potty Training – What do I wish I had known?

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How many parents have read Gina Ford, or other parenting bibles, and instantly felt their hearts sinking in despair at what an awful mother / father they are? 

Looking back on it, what do I wish I had known about potty training??    NADA, NOWT, NOTHING    I wish I had never bought a parenting book.  I wish I had never listened to all the “I potty trained my daughter at 9 months, look how clever we are na na na na na brigade, as they look down their expensively designed sunglasses, and flutter their pretend real lashes.” 

What do the “experts” know about baby development anyway?     

The majority of the ones who tried to give me advice on my children were childless, or had children without special needs, and their experience was theoretical, or  based on their babysitting skills with relatives and friends children.   I really didn’t know ANY other mums back then. 

I look back and wonder why I listened to “the experts”.  I wonder why I felt so inadequate when I couldn’t get my children to fit into these moulds that society was telling me that they should have slotted into.    I couldn’t understand why my round pegs didn’t fit into the neat square boxes that made up the whole of the “right” way to parent a child, and ensure they were raised to be happy and healthy.

My biggest bugbear was the toilet training lark.  No1 was a blur.   He was potty training while I was learning to juggle two others in nappies and he had to come off them for my sanity.  I have no idea how long it took to do, and that was pre parental bible bowing and scraping, but I don’t remember it being that long.

Being a challenge to change nappies so often, I bought several parental tomes.  I decided to take their advice and I began potty training N02 when he turned 18 months.   Much ado with praise, bribery, silly high pitched voices,  mucho clapping and clever boying.     

 I would sit No2 on the potty, and try to change the nappy of No3.  Before I knew it, No2 would be running along the corridor, weeing on the way.  No3 would then giggle and whip off his happy to join in.  I’d catch No2 and sit him back down, he would then get back up, put him back, up he got.  Yo-yo city.  It was the single most stressful thing I remember as a parent.   To all of you who potty trained in a few weeks, and think you have been dealt a hard blow, get over yourselves – it is your child who was ready. 

No3 I was fit for.  I couldn’t face the potty training so “drum roll please,”  I just didn’t bother, AT ALL   I put it off, and off, and off, and off.   It was getting dangerously close to the time when he should have been starting nursery, and I was beginning to get to the slightly panicky stage that he might not get to go, but I needn’t have worried. 

At the age of nearly 3, he duly saw a friends child go to the toilet, and he decided he would never wear a nappy again.   He didn’t use a potty, and went straight to a toilet.  It was so easy, I could write a book on potty training. 

What do I say to the rule books?  


You’re a waste of time and money, and people could be playing with their children rather than reading up on whether they might or might not be doing things the “right” way.

6 thoughts on “Potty Training – What do I wish I had known?

  1. This did make me laugh.

  2. I am GF-ing number 1 right now (you can read my diary on my blog if you are interested) I know so many people feel the same way you do but I am battling through anyway. Don’t know why, oh yes I do – Control Freak!! 🙂

  3. Couldn’t agree more. Stuff the books and the advice. The kids know when they’re ready. It does help if you have a carpet you’re planning on getting rid of soon (so that they can wee all over it) and a hot summer so’s they can run around for a couple of months with no clothes on though 😉

    1. Summer is great if you can work it then. No2 when I was trying to follow the books was a summer starter, then nappies had to go back on in winter..

  4. I remember thinking potty training was going to be a doddle! We have always made a big thing about Tillie doing a poo from her being a few months old and from her being 9 months old she even clapped everytime she was doing one, which is what we have always done. She even did a poo on the toilet when she was 9 months old we were gobsmacked. Honestly we were on holiday, she hadn’t done a poo all day, she was in the bath splashing and she pointed to the toilet i put her on it and she did one. I remember shouting Nick to come and have a look! haha I resisted taking a photograph….just!! hehe

    Anyway at 16 months she did a couple of wee’s on a potty. She is now 18 months and i’ve given up completely she wee’s all over the floor, she still tells us when she is pooing and even says weeing but she has no intention of using the potty or toilet and to be honest the more i’ve tried the more put off she has become and I never want to frighten her and I’m not a pushy mum. Like i said we have always told her when she is pooing so she does know what she is doing but is just not interested. The time will come! I’m dreading the dashing to find a toilet when she is learning hehe x

    1. When they are ready, they’re ready. Love the 9 month old poo on the toilet. Fab.

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