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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.