The Good, The Bad, and The Potty


Y’all, for the past month I have been deep down in the trenches, up to my eyeballs in chaos. No, I have not suddenly up and moved into a war zone. Although at times these past weeks my home has felt like such (yes I have a flair for the dramatic). You see, my husband and I have entered a new chapter of parenthood that has left us emotionally and physically drained; shells of our former toddler-loving selves.

Potty. Training.

For the love of everything that is holy, potty training could quite possibly have been the death of me. Like so many first-time parents I naively thought that in three days’ time my kid would be a completely functioning potty using human.

And she was. At home.

In the confines of our space, my little angel baby was/is doing FANTASTIC. She will happily sit on her Froggy Potty and piddle away … ten times in one hour.

How can one tiny human hold so much liquid?

After a couple of days of minor accidents, and maybe some major ones, (note: consider a potty in the playroom. Trust me.) I had the brilliant idea of uprooting my girl to the grandparent’s house for a five-day visit.

Yeah … let’s just say during our trip I bought many more pairs of training undies and a few bottles of wine for myself.

When we returned from our long weekend away I considered for a minute returning to diapers. I could change a diaper in my sleep and I have done so, many many times.

Maybe my girl wasn’t ready after all?

I was snapped back to reality after a trip to Target with my stubborn pee-pee-er. Once she spotted Bubble Guppies panties it was ON. With Molly and Una at our side, my girl and I threw away the diapers, rolled up the carpets, and set to work on potty training round two.

This time I truly engaged my daughter in the process. A few things that worked for us were:

  • Making a HUGE deal of each successful trip to the potty – Complete with song and dance and heaps of praise.
  • Having multiple potties around the house – Some people are grossed out about the idea of a potty anywhere other than the bathroom and while I would have totally agreed with them before this all started I am now very pro potty where your kid is.
  • Letting her decide which potty to use – We have no less than three potties to choose from and depending on her mood, my girl will choose the princess potty or the froggy potty.
  • Allowing her to pick out her own underwear – Take a trip to Target and let your child select their own Gerber Training Pants which are the jam for the early days of training. Made with thicker cotton than normal underwear, they make accidents a little less messy. After a couple of accident-free days we rewarded our girl with her Bubble Guppies panties.
  • Praising every attempt, but only rewarding her when she actually went.

When we finally achieved “number two” without me barring the door and forcing her to unload, let’s just say Mama may have cried and daughter might have gotten a new doll. Positive reinforcements were in abundance in the Wilder house!

The thing I have learned with potty training, which can also be said for many aspects of parenting in general, is there is no right or wrong way to do it. What worked for one kid might not work for the next. You might be friends with someone whose kid potty trained at a year old — good for them! You might have a child who won’t be ready until closer to four — this is totally fine too!

I was so worried that my daughter was “behind” that I stopped paying attention to her own cues. My girl was all about the potty for a week back when she was 18 months old and then the next week she was having none of it. So I let it go and stopped pushing her. I kept a potty in her bathroom and sometimes she would sit on it just for funsies or put her dolls in there. Other times she straight up told me, “hand me that diaper, woman!” When I stopped pushing so hard for the potty, she became more interested in it on her own.

I am by no means a potty training expert. My daughter still has the occasional accident and she wears pull-ups at bed and nap time. But, I am here to tell you there is light at the end of the urine-soaked couch cushion tunnel. Hang in there my friends. I promise your kid will be potty trained by the time they enter school. *fingers crossed*

 When deciding to embark on this great adventure ask yourself a few simple questions:

  1. Do you enjoy doing ten loads of laundry a day?
  2. Have you Googled “naked potty training?”
  3. Do you have a pee pee in the potty song?
  4. Are you stocked with cheerios for “target practice” or marshmallows for successful pooping?

 If you answered yes to any of these questions … Congratulations! You might be ready for potty training. If you answered no … you still might be ready for potty training. 😉

What tips worked for you when potty training your little one? Share below!


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Ashleigh always knew she wanted to be a mom, but a stay at home mom, not so much. At 26 she found herself trading in her lipstick and high heels for Burt’s Bee’s and nursing bras. The first of their core group of friends to have kids, Ashleigh and her husband Eric strive to maintain their fun loving lifestyle while simultaneously raising their toddler daughter. Luckily, Tiny Girl is an adorable extrovert who loves getting out and about as much as her parents. On weekends you can find the threesome strolling the aisles of Target, road tripping it to Charleston, or hosting friends in Irmo for epic board game battles.


  1. Great read! Reminds me of when Seth was potty training and we have him a temp tattoo for each success. After a few good days, he was looking tike a biker dude.

  2. This was super-hilarious!
    I “reward” you with a random potty training horror story from our family. It’s like how mothers always tell pregnant women their labor horror stories. 😛
    I had three in cloth diapers for about a year and a half. Oy. My eldest potty-trained, and then I only had two in cloth diapers. Yay for less work! But still lots and lots of laundry!
    Finally the twins were ready for potty-training. I did it in the middle of summer…. we could do lots of naked time on the covered porch. I put three potties out there– one for each boy. (Didn’t want the eldest to feel left out).
    It was going well. But one day, right after we came inside…..
    I was running the bathtub water when I heard yelping from the living room. W had pooped all on the floor! Of course I stepped in it, as apparently did he. He was filthy– it was “loose” and all over his backside. What to clean first? Kid or floor? Kid was dipping everywhere and screaming. So I literally hopped back to their room, where the diaper changing table is located. I hopped b/c I didn’t want to get the poo I had stepped in on our hardwood floors. W, however, did not get the memo. He thudded down the hall with me, and every left footstep left a poo-print. Considering he was two, his little legs made many steps down that hall. Siiiigh. So I FINALLY get him cleaned up. Then, more wailing from the living room. JA had accidentally stepped in the poo… and then jumped on the sofa in panic. Guess what was smeared on the sofa? So I clean his foot, then scrubbed the sofa, then scrubbed the floor– where the original poo violation occurred and up the whole hallway. I had literally just finished, so grateful and ready to take a shower, then I heard a third yell. “Please God, please God, no. Please don’t let that be what I think it is”. Yup. V had climbed on the bed, then wet his pants. And I got to start alllll over again.
    The day they became potty-trained was the best day of my life. Well, one of the top 10. 🙂

  3. I am going through this right now! We are in day 7 and still struggling some. She did great the last 3 days and now she has had 2 accidents today. Mom is worn out! I am sticking with it though because I know she can do it. Thanks for posting this, it is nice to hear others stories. 🙂

    • Thanks, Kelly! It can be so frustrating some days when the accidents out number the successes. We just had a morning at the zoo AND lunch at a restaurant accident free. You will get there! Good luck!

  4. What I will be perusing in the near future. I am planning on trying to get Wyatt AND Noah trained together. That may be way too much wishful thinking, but I will try none the less. Once Noah can walk and Owen is in Kindergarden.

  5. In Thailand they have a interesting trick mothers do where when they are still a baby the mom will watch and make a specific whistling sound during every time they see the baby pee. Then the baby will connect the sound with peeing and the mom can make the baby pee on command by whistling. Mothers can even hold babies as young as a year old over a toilet and whistles and get them to go. It doesn’t hurt the baby in any way or force them to go when they hear it when they grow older. When a 20 year Thailand girl who was raised that way was asked about what happened when a person whistled while she was a adult she said she didn’t pee automatically but when she heard the sound she did become aware of how much was in her bladder.

    • Wow, Brittany! I have heard of “elimination communication” or diaper-less potty training, but never the whistle technique. Thanks for sharing!


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