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"Expert" Tips: Potty Training

how to fail at potty training

If you happen to follow along with HTV on the Facebook, you probably saw my exciting announcement a while back.

Hollow Tree Ventures
The baby used the potty today!!! I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I'm pretty sure this means I never have to change a diaper again.

Sadly, it hasn't gone quite  as smoothly as I'd hoped.


While I was filling the bathtub on the evening I wrote that, she ran off through the house, naked as the day she was born, and left a wet spot on the living room carpet.

Now, to the untrained eye that might look like one of those dreaded potty training "accidents," but in the eye of a mother, whose sight is often tinged with desperation, this is a significant and meaningful step in the right direction. It's what we call "progress." It counts as progress because the puddle was only about 10 feet away from her potty (so close!), and because (as predicted!) I did not have to change her diaper.

So, to anyone out there struggling with potty training, take some advice from me, an Expert. How can you, after minutes and minutes of effort, realize the dizzying level of success I've described above?

It's simple, really: just talk to your child. Calmly and rationally explain what you'd like her to do. We're trying this approach, and Maddie quickly showed strong signs that she understands the results we're looking for. For instance, when her dad told her how great it would be for her to "put her pee in the potty," she immediately snagged a diaper out of the trash so she could comply.

 photo potty_zps73d56d69.jpg

If that fails, you can motivate your toddler with the promise of wearing Big Kid Underwear. This is especially effective for tots with older siblings who can assist you with repeated sing-song, highly animated reminders about how marvelous underwear is - and with the money you save on diapers, you can help pay for the older child's therapy!

My toddler bought in to this incentive right away, and I'm proud to report she's already happily wearing her Big Girl Underwear!

All six pairs.

At once.

Over her diaper.

I hope you enjoyed yourself while you were here - and I hope you come back! Please share inappropriate giggles with me on Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, or subscribe via email so you don't miss a thing!


  1. I am also an expert it seems, my daughter sits on the potty several times a day. Wearing her diaper and sometimes all her clothes because she refuses to take anything off when she sits on the potty.

  2. Haha!

    She's pretty enthusiastic about going on the potty, as long as you ask her. Now if we could only devise a way to tell when she's about to pee.

    And then she does a lot of "no diaper, walking now." Our carpet is crapola anyhow. It might as well be pee-scented too.

  3. I keep telling myself these are all small baby steps in the right direction, but GAAHHHHHHHH! I'm not a patient woman. :)

  4. The peeing got easier. The pooping has not. I swear my five year old is going to get kicked out of kindergarten this fall. For pete's sake kid, go in the toilet!

  5. Oh, I hear ya! My 4th son (yes, 4th) at 3 years, 9 months and 21 days finally pooped in the potty after a mere year of training. This was a HUGE breakthrough for us because he has been terrified of the potty. And today, he was holding it (poop, not the toilet) and asked for the diaper.
    I gave it to him. I would rather he pooped in the diaper for another year (please, oh PLEASE not another year, though) than to go through severe constipation because he is afraid of using the potty for #2. Constipation will NOT lead to succesful potty using, I know, from sad experience. Time to load up on smoothies. Every meal if possible.
    I am grateful for the easy bowel movement 2 nights ago. I will take my small victories where I can. And I will continue to pray that he will lose this fear of the toilet, that my over-the-top rewards will be enough of a lure to gap that bridge between fear of this scary john, and the prospect of candy and 4-wheeled toys that Disney so shamelessly promotes. It worked once. Please, please I pray let it work again!
    Sooner, rather than later would be VERY good.
    Good luck my friend!

  6. SocialButterflyMomJuly 2, 2013 at 8:40 AM

    Hilarious that she put on all 6 pairs over her diaper. Is she preparing for the zombie apocalypse?

  7. The kid does enjoy walking around diaperless. You'd think that would motivate her, but apparently those few minutes after each potty break are enough air time for her.

  8. My older daughter had a similar pre-potty-trained fascination with underwear - she used to carry every pair around with her in a pumpkin-shaped Halloween candy basket (for an entire summer). What can I say? My kids are weird. I think I know where they get it...

  9. Oh dear, good luck! My youngest son had a similar fear, because in an attempt to get him to pee I gave him all the apple juice he wanted, and instead it gave him diarrhea. Sorry, kid! He eventually got over it - hang in there, you're doing great!

  10. There's a huge mental poop barrier, isn't there? That didn't sound right, but you know what I mean.

  11. Oh my, I have a recently turned 2 daughter as well! We started the "3 day potty training bootcamp" two weeks ago! Haha three days!? How is that really even possible!? Thanks for the comic relief! I'm trying to be chill about the whole thing and just go with the "flow". Too bad not much flow is going on. ;)

  12. You got that right! Three days, huh? Boy, wouldn't that be nice?!?

  13. The EXACT same thing happened to me!!! She likes wearing her underwear over her diaper lol!

  14. I'm torn, because I want to get her potty trained, but then again the undies over the diaper are so dang adorable!

  15. I could write a book...on the subject. Lord. Both of my kids tested the limits of what I thought was even possible. With my son, I wrote a post called, "Potty Trainwreck". With my daughter, at 3 she was a-ok with peeing..but refused to poop in anything other than a diaper. So, I made a deal with her and would give her a diaper when she asked...then after a few days told her she could have the diaper but she would need to wear it while in the bathroom. After we were successful with that I upped the ante and told her she'd need to sit on the toilet while wearing the diaper...then after a few successful days of that -- I cut a hole in the diaper but didn't tell her. The look on her face when the poop fell through the toilet. I thought we were home free. No dice. My kid refused to poop without a diaper...for months she'd ask for the diaper and watch as I'd frantically cut a hole in the bottom of it while she hopped a round saying, "I gotta go, mama!" And I'd sigh as I watched all those teeny tiny polymer crystals hit the floor. progress...

  16. Such a creative solution! I might not have to lock her in the bathroom after all! ;)

  17. I have many, MANY ideas. Just email me if you'd like to hear 'em. ;-)

  18. BadParentingMomentsJuly 6, 2013 at 10:50 AM

    After fretting and pushing the issue for 1 and 2, I did the opposite with #3 and finally, she gave in and potty trained herself which makes me either the laziest or the most brilliant parent alive.

  19. We're working on it too, with our son. So far, I apparently can't stop calling them "panties", which my husband informs me is just wrong.

  20. Success = Brilliance, no matter how you got there.

  21. Hahaha! The first step is admitting you have a problem. ;)


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