Potty Training 101 or How to Close the Pool

February 28, 2011

Kim from Baby Feet is a three time mom, wife and super-awesome-crazy-funny lady who makes you laugh and cry in the same post. You’ll totally want to be her friend and have slumber parties, eat popcorn and gossip with her. She’s from Baby Feet, where she blogs about healing from major clinical depression and anxiety, life with three rambunctious kids under eight and her husband of 10 years.

I am thrilled to be guest posting for Diana today! Can I tell you how much I adore her? Well, no, I can’t because I don’t have that much room. I’ve actually known Diana for 10 years, as she grew up with my husband. Fast forward and here I am, blogging because of her and staying up late on the phone talking about all things cloth diapers, babies, blogs and husbands. Who knew? Anyway . . . When she asked me if I wanted to guest post I immediately jumped at the opportunity, and knew what I’d be writing about — a little something that happened to me over the summer.

When people see that I have three kids they assume I’m a pro potty trainer and ask for advice. Oh, I’ll give advice all right. But it will most likely involve Valium or wine.

I have three kids, two girls and a boy. My ‘Practical Approach &Theory Behind Toilet Teaching,” after two children, was this: When they are ready they will pretty much train themselves.

I slaved over teaching Violet, my oldest, to use the toilet. I cried. I bribed. In the end I realized I’d started her way too young. Sarah, my middle, and John, my last, are 15 months apart. That means I had two in diapers –cloth diapers. So my ‘approach’ to potty training Sarah was, “Is your diaper dry? Do I have a clean diaper for you? Wait, it’s blue. Ah, who cares.” Then one day, she took off her diaper and refused to let me put a dry one on. Two days later she was trained. Really. (Feel free to throw things.)

Everybody told me that boys were much harder than girls to train, so I fully intended to wait John out. I’d keep him in diapers until, he like, Sarah, just refused his diaper and basically trained himself. I repeated this to everyone as he passed his third birthday and was solidly in diapers. Mid July I noticed that while he had absolutely no interest in using the toilet, he had definite ideas of how he wanted his diaper changed. “You change me right here, Mommy.” and “Use that cream on my bum, Mommy” and he’d point to the exact cream he wanted. When he started to argue with me about how I was wiping him? I knew it was time.

But John was not going to give in. We spent days in underwear, with no accidents, but no urinating on the toilet. He’d make it all day totally dry, get in a diaper for bed and let loose. Then one day I set him on the toilet and began to negotiate. In the end, it went down like this: if he urinated in the toilet I’d take him to Sweet Lucy’s for ice cream. I said absolutely, even though Sweet Lucy’s is the most expensive ice cream shop in town. He suggested it, he wanted it, I was going for it. And he’d suggested a lot of things by this point, so really? I wasn’t worried.

We spent the next week at Sweet Lucy’s. That’s five nights, people. At $25 a pop. $125 for potty training bribes. Judge me. But it worked. (Ha!) The rest of the summer passed in a blissful haze of underwear and swimsuits that did not require those nasty swim diapers.

About the last week in August something changed. John just . . . stopped. He urinated everywhere. The only place he didn’t have accidents was at the pool. I was so thankful for that, because who wants to be that family? The pool had to be closed three times the previous year because of fecal accidents and I was so disgusted at the lack of parenting that this took. I mean, come on. Pay attention, parent your child.

So Labor Day weekend & the pool was closing for the year. I grabbed the kids and headed to the pool. We went to the kiddie pool because the big pool was just insane. About an hour later, I hear “Mommy, come here.” My radar went off. There, sitting in the corner, was my kid and . . .yeah. Talk about parenting your child. We were that family. Cue the lifeguard, the closing of the pool, the chemical shocking of the pool. Cue the sloped shoulder walk of this mom as she tries to slink out of the pool without being seen.

But, since I have three kids who have successfully passed the diaper stage, people ask my advice on potty training. Do I tell them? Um, well . . .

The pool opens for the season in just over 4 months. Do you think anyone will remember?


  • And The Oscar Goes To . . . : Baby Feet

    March 3, 2011 at 7:15 am

    […] I have super exciting news Diana, over at Hormonal Imbalances invited me to do a little guest post over at her place today. She’s all kinds of […]

  • Branson

    March 1, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Kim… can we have a slumber party? 😉

    I love knowing that I am not the only mom who uses the “wing it” approach to parenting! I love that you stood your ground when you decided to wait him out, and then changed directions when you needed to. And I don’t know… I bet plenty of parents spend more than $125 on books, pull-ups, etc for potty training and that is not nearly as much fun as ice cream! 😉

    1. kim

      March 2, 2011 at 8:47 am

      Branson, we are so getting our slumber on! 😉 And yeah, you’re probably right about the money. It was just that we spent it all at once, you know? So we knew *exactly* how much we spent. And that was crazy!

  • Kristy

    March 1, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    say what? Is it even possible to potty train WITHOUT a bribe?? 🙂

    1. kim

      March 2, 2011 at 8:46 am

      Not in my book! Bribes all the way!

  • Jen

    March 1, 2011 at 8:22 pm

    Bwahahahahahahaha!! My son is my oldest, and he took about a month and a half total before he was in underwear all the time, including bedtime. Now my daughter is 2, and couldn’t care less about going potty on the toilet. I think my son is taking the lead on training her though, because I somewhat gave up about a month ago.

    1. kim

      March 2, 2011 at 8:45 am

      I love that your son is taking the lead! Way to go big brother!

  • Alexia

    February 28, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Hahahahaha! Kim as usual you have made me laugh my butt off! What’s really funny is that all these friends have told me that cloth diaper babies potty train sooner. Good to know we’ll be in diapers for a while over here. Even better reason to use cloth in my opinion. Thanks for the sage advice and excellent mental image!

    1. kim

      March 1, 2011 at 8:21 am

      I heard the same thing about cloth babies being trained faster! I do know that I used cloth training pants for Violet and Sarah and they liked them & they didn’t absorb like a pull up so that really helped. But I’d loaned them out & the one I had left had butterflies on it, so when I was training John I didn’t have them on hand. (My husband was all, “butterflies? Really?”)The cloth trainers definately saved money though!!

  • Diane

    February 28, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Bwa Ha! Thank the Lord, we haven’t had a pool incident but there has been a lot of peeing in inappropriate places with two boys over the past several years.
    I have to say though, I don’t recall either of my boys being that difficult to potty train…or maybe I’ve just blocked it out. Yeah, that’s probably it!
    Seems a lot of people are talking about potty training today. Shell @ Things I Can’t Say has a linky over there for potty training posts today.

    1. kim

      March 2, 2011 at 8:45 am

      Yeah, so looking forward to the whole urninating in inappropriate places. I know that is coming!

  • Alyson

    February 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

    You are hilarious. Thanks for making my morning!!

    1. kim

      March 1, 2011 at 8:19 am

      Thanks, Alyson 🙂

  • Tammi

    February 28, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Too funny! I took the same stance to potty training as you…they’ll do it when they are ready. Seemed to be fairly stress free and quick for us. Although, I’ve been known to bribe from time to time too! 🙂

    1. kim

      March 1, 2011 at 8:18 am

      Bribes seemed to be the only thing that worked for John! Glad to know I’m not alone 🙂

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