Late to the Potty

I picked Bee up from nursery school one morning, not too long after the session had begun, and, still concerned about her adjustment to time away from me, asked her teacher how the morning had been. ‘Oh, great!’ she replied, “But she didn’t go to the bathroom today.”

I blinked. Then I blinked again.
“Does she usually?” I asked, so stunned that even my participle was left dangling. Her teacher assured me that she always did, and wide-eyed, I gathered my kid, and left.

Whaddayaknow? Bee was toilet trained. Just not for me. I decided that I had better rectify that situation. Bee was two years, seven months, and halfway to being toiled trained. I was sure I could handle the other half of the job.

That was almost five months ago.

Today, Bee is toilet trained.

At school.

But not for me.

Evidently, that second half of the job, you know, the part that I, her mother, am in charge of, is the difficult half. I do not have the perceived authority and organizational skills of a preschool teacher, the lemming-like pressure of a gaggle of peeing preschoolers, or those awesome teeny-tiny toilets in my corner.

Partly my problem is that I have not just bit the bullet, and gotten right down into it. I know what it takes – I have to just throw away the pull-ups, stay close to home, stick her on the potty every half an hour and mop up whatever puddles appear along the way.

Not too hard in theory. In practice however, I might as well be learning to fly a plane. With no instruction manual. Or co-pilot. In the dark. On little to no sleep.

Now, you guys know how crunchy organic I am when it comes to parenting, but seriously, I’m beginning to feel like a chump. Every time I put another freakin pull up on Bee, (‘Three princesses, Mama! Only three princesses!’) I hear my own mother’s cry of old school expectation, ‘Two years, two months! Two years, two months!’ over and over again in my head.

My mother-in-law is way too gentle to ever admonish us over our lackadaisical attitude towards peeing in the toilet, but no doubt she too is beginning to think that we are, quite frankly, just lazy.

And we are. Kind of. I don’t know what I was expecting. It started out that we were waiting for the cues that she was ready – predictable wet diaper times, an intolerance for staying in a dirty diaper, interest in what happens in the bathroom – but she indicated those things ages ago. Am I simply daft enough to think that she’ll just toilet train herself? Just interrupt her play on her own accord and excuse herself to go pee, negating any need for guidance or encouragement (or insistence) from her parents?

Well, she did eventually sleep through the night on her own. Of course, that took two and a half years.

Time for mama to buckle down, take out the big girl underpants that have been sitting in her drawer for six months, and just shit or get off the pot already. Heh heh.

Cross your (legs) fingers for me. It’s gonna be a long, wet week.



  1. OMG, I've been planning to write this post! We are in EXACTLY the same place. Sean is doing better than me--he's actually keeping her home today, and will insist she wear underwear all day.

    To tell you the truth, I was hoping her grandparents would finish the job while we were away. ;)

  2. Funny to be reading this right now, after chaning wet, big-girl underwear for one of the first times all of ten minutes ago. Without the pressure of any school or daycare, we seem to be waaaay behind schedule. I really want to train Pumpkin before the new baby arrives. So many people say that they will just do it when they're ready, but I'm no longer on board with that philosophy. Bribery is faster.

  3. First off I have to say that we can share the pull-ups - Monkeygirl only likes the ones with "Cindawella and the pumpkin coach". The three princesses? Meh...

    I am soooo in the same boat. This must officially make me a former Type A person. I keep hoping that it'll magically happen on its own. The wiping up at home wouldn't be bad. The washing of the car seat cover, not so exciting.

    We don't have the peer pressure of daycare or nursery school. And her best friend whom she adores (and will be 3 in August) is not yet trained either. [<----only hope of peer pressure]

  4. it sounds like she's totally ready. :) if only we could get someone else to do the annoying part of toilet training for us, eh? i so wished i could have sent isabella away for a week and have had her come home all underpantsed up ;)

  5. If it helps, we JUST went through this when Nate turned THREE!

    When he was ready, he was so ready. It happened the exact same way -- they told me at preschool -- of course, because we are twins, right?

    Now we've graduated to using the adult toilet -- mostly because I got so tired of dumping crap out of the potty, only to have it land on MY toilet seat.

    And oh, stickers did not do fark all. We had to bribe with candy. And I'm also crunchy granola. Whatevs -- it's a month of bulk barn cheapos and then no more.

    Now if only we could get him to stop wearing the pull up at night...

  6. erg. I don't envy you. We tried and tried and tried to encourage Mme L but she simply insisted on learning on her own time. In fact, when her teacher asked her when she would *finally* bet toilet trained, she actually answered, "On February 6th"...the DAY before her third birthday, because she promised us that she wouldn't turn three in diapers. But, by god, she was waiting 'til the last possible minute.

    And then...done. Night and day toilet training all in the space of a week. They're obstinate little f&*@ers, those kids.

  7. The Boy is almost 3.5 and he is still not completely trained, if that makes you feel any better. He wears a pull-up for naps (which stay mostly dry, sometimes) and a diaper at night. He goes all day without accidents, but will only pee at home or at daycare. He won't poo anywhere but in a diaper it seems.

    He did go from pull-up to underwear instantaneously though. No amount of encouragement would get him to use the potty one second before he was ready, and then bam! I'm all about the bribing with candy - we used jelly beans. Now we don't use them anymore though - he kind of lost interest. Wonder if it would work for the poo...?

  8. I was completely lackadaisical when it came to training Julia, and she did it with very little prodding from me. Good luck this week!

  9. You know what? My MIL said none of her kids were trained until they were 3 because there was another baby to care for. Like you have. So I wouldn't sweat it too much, it will happen.

    That said, I will say two things. One is that OMG does peer pressure ever help, it's what trained Pumpkinpie, so I'd build on that. Pumpkinpie told me and her teacher that she wanted to learn to use the potty so she could wear Dora undies like some other little kid, and it happened right away, as soon as I bought those undies.

    The other thing is that yes, you have to put the undies on and suck up the extra laundry once you decide to go ahead. I think pull-ups confuse the issue a bit, to be honest, so we went right from diapers to undies, and it wasn't many accidents in before it was done. Of course, that's how it worked for us, and I'm not convinced I had much to do with it, if anything.

    Sounds like she's ready to work on it when you are, but again, with a baby in the house, i don't see any need to make a huge hurry of it.

  10. good luck and God Speed!

  11. blah, blah, blogMay 22, 2008

    As we addressed this topic recently, my cousin noted that in cases of early toilet use, it is the parents who are potty trained!

    Prior to actually bearing child, I vowed that toilet training of said child would occur promptly. I looked, rather askance, at my niece as she easily zipped past her third birthday still sporting diapers. My sister-in-law was content to wait until her daughter was ready, and sure enough, when it happened it happened quickly and painlessly. Her second child--thanks to potty peer pressure--is fully trained of his own accord at two and a half.

    Well, suffice to say that toilet training has been nothing near prompt afterall. Mostly due to sporatic efforts on our part. Her interest in the potty comes in waves and occasionally I'll be inspired to put her adorable little panties on and she'll be thrilled to wear them, but mostly after a few moment of reading on the potty, it's 'Mommy, this potty doesn't appear to work'. Followed about 10 minutes later by, 'Oh look, my pee pee is leaking out on the couch'.


  12. She'll get there eventually! At least, since she's doing it at school, you know she CAN go potty! Maybe the big girl undies will be an inspiration to her!

  13. hey--my 3 1/2 year old still isn't fully potty trained. my mom is beside her self because we "don'try hard enough." but the teachers and the doc and myself just don't think it is a big deal. it blows having to deal with him and pull ups, etc. but it'll happen when it is time.


  14. Miss M was like this (knowing the cues but emotionally depending on the diaper) and in December we took away the diaper. She was fully trained in two days with only 2 accidents along the way. It helps if you can do it over a long weekend or a holiday.

    We had also stopped using diapers at night after she went for 3 weeks dry. Wouldn't you know it, she peed the bed twice in a week. Now she's back to wearing a pull-up overnight.

    Oh and we also had to dash out to Canadian Tire in downtown TO to buy a potty seat for the hotel toilet. Otherwise she would have kept her shit in until it was a diamond. The best 8 bucks we ever spent.

  15. Fingers and Toes and everything crossed for you.
    My girl did it when she was ready at two and - I hope this makes you feel better - now refuses to go when I ask and ends up wetting herself.
    Its lovely.

  16. Ya, Carter is in the same position at the moment. So much so that he's dry and entire day at school and they've requested actual underwear for him.

    The little bugger will NOT go to the toilet at home at all though.

  17. We are in the SAME situation! (As always with you and I!) It's awful. I don't want to totally traumatize the monkey, you know? And, she HATES the toilet. Keep us posted on how you're doing.... :)

  18. Now that all my kids are potty-trained, I can just be utterly glad that I never have to do that again. Yay, me.

  19. I just posted about toilet training Ramekin - the day after he turned 3 last month, I bit the bullet.

    ANd he, too, had been using the toilet at nursery fairly regularly, too. Or at least sitting on it with his friends. Just not for us so much. Grrrrrr. But he's now fully toilet trained... so I forgive him. ;-)


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