The “my-size” training potty that looks like a real toilet… Don’t buy it. Yes, the one that has a gazillion glowing reviews. I was really excited about this potty. I thought, “This is going to be great! She’s going to love potty training because she gets her very own potty just like mommy uses. Plus it’s going to help her transition seamlessly from a little potty to the big potty because they look the same.” (As if my child were that dense).
Day 1 of potty training had arrived. And so, with great anticipation, I set up the mini-toilet for her before she awoke, and when she came downstairs to see her shiny, new,
porcelain plastic throne it was like Christmas morning! She was so excited. (She totally looked like the girl in the picture).
When she saw her potty, she got wide-eyed and was smiling from ear to ear, repeating, “Woah!! Cool!! Thank you, mommy! Thank you!” She was thanking me incessantly as she gladly pulled down her pants and sat on the potty. It was adorable, y’all. And I thought I had just aced potty training. HA!
About 2 hours later, I was already regretting this potty purchase…
Real Talk on Potty Training
Potty training. UGH. I hate being a nay-sayer, a discourager or one to sound negative… but, I also refuse to lie to you. Potty training sucks. At least it did in our house.
It went as smoothy as I’m sure it’s supposed to go. It’s not that we spent an exorbitant amount of time potty training, it’s not that my daughter didn’t “get it,” we didn’t even have a ton of accidents. It’s just a super un-fun process. I’d take diapers over potty training any day, but I can’t have a middle schooler in diapers, so here we are.
I speak of potty training in past tense as if it were a while ago and we’re in the clear now. I shouldn’t. We’re only a week in at the time I’m writing this. So it’s fresh. Amazon hasn’t had enough time to deliver my rose-colored glasses yet. The mommies who are telling you, “it wasn’t that bad…” or dare they even say, “it was so fun watching them learn!!” my guess is they’re weeks, months or even years removed. Or they’re just afraid of discouraging you with the truth. Or the more unlikely reason, they really did have a potty prodigy. And maybe you’ll get a potty prodigy! I will pray that for you.
So, sorry for sounding all doom and gloom, I just wished someone had prepared me a little more. I actually felt a lot of mom-guilt. I felt like I was failing (not my daughter) because I disliked the process so much. I felt like a bad mom… until I shared how I was feeling with several moms who had already gone through it, and they confirmed that yes, it indeed DOES suck. But apparently nobody tells you that upfront.
I will say one positive thing about potty training — it is really fun to see how proud they are of themselves when they successfully pee in the potty. Those 5 seconds are really sweet. And then the next 30 minutes aren’t so bad since they just peed and you aren’t too worried about them peeing on the couch, Googling how to get pee out of a couch, trying to remember how many “special treat” juice boxes they’ve consumed and when they last peed, coaxing them into the bathroom to “try” for the gazillionth time that day, or fishing MagnaTiles out of the toilet because they had to bring them with them to the potty and apparently thought they needed a bath… in pee water…
Anyways… I digress. (And I will end this on a positive note, I promise). But like I said before, we’re only about 8 days in with child number one, so I am miles away from “expert status” and have very little advice to give. Except these three things:
- Don’t do it when you’re pregnant and can’t drink. I say this jokingly… but seriously. In my opinion, this is your potty training necessities list: #1. Little potty #2.
Wine. Whiskey… If you really can’t avoid it, be sure to stock up on some extra-tasty desserts or non-alcoholic beer. Trust me. I am pregnant at the moment and wish I could partake in some liquor libations at the end of potty training days.
- Don’t buy the cute little potty that looks like a real potty if your child is easily distracted (aka, a toddler)… more on that next.
- Pick a “method” and stick to it. Also discussed more below.
Don’t buy the realistic little potty!
Okay, back to the story. So my daughter, Ava, absolutely loved the potty. She thought it was the coolest thing. “Then why,” you ask, “should I not purchase it?”
If your child is easily distracted… in other words, if you have a normal toddler… this potty is going to cause you more stress on the first few days than you need. Potty training is stressful enough, do what you can to limit that stress.
To a toddler, this toilet is a toy, not a tool. And again, not an expert here, but that is not what you want during potty training.
Ava was so intrigued by this contraption that she wanted to explore all of its possibilities… but the functional aspect of using it to pee in was very low on her interest list. Those “fun” features like the noise-making flusher, liftable seat, wipe storage and removable tank lid… yeah, they really are FUN. Way more fun than trying to learn to pee on a potty.
This was our experience…
- The noise-making flusher — THE coolest thing to a toddler. However, the flusher became an entertainment device during potty time, rather than a “reward” after she did her business. Before potty training commenced, I joked with my mom that I was hoping this potty would save us money on our water bill because she might stop flushing our real toilet so much. I should have known then… the flusher was going to be a toy, a distraction from the intent of the toilet.
- Liftable seat and tank lid — These are useless functional features (unless you’re trying to teach a boy to pee standing up… maybe?) that also become fun things to play with. Ava would lift the seat up and down, up and down, instead of sitting on it. And once she was finally seated on the potty, she enjoyed removing the tank lid, investigating it and trying to put it back on, usually backwards, which would end in frustration because it wasn’t fitting… so she then had to stand up and figure that out… And ’round and ’round we went.
- Wipe storage — Also useless. You’re not going to store wipes in here. It’s too small, and they’ll dry out. It just acts as another thing to open and close and put toys in instead of actually using the potty.
Eventually the newness and intrigue of the potty wore off, but that was a good 3-4 days into the potty training process. And while 3-4 days doesn’t seem so bad, the first 3-4 days are most definitely THE HARDEST part, so just do yourself a favor and don’t add to the stress and frustration of trying to get your kid to just. sit. and. pee. by buying an “interesting” potty.
Now, I’m not so naive to say that the basic potties won’t come with a certain level of distracting interest themselves, or that potty training is effortless with the “right potty.” BUT when there are way fewer fun things to do with the basic potties, the intrigue and distraction seems to fade quicker. At least that was our experience when we switched over to the simpler, Baby Bjorn potty.
I would recommend just getting this one from the start. It’s also easy to bring along whenever necessary. Nothing like lugging a realistic-looking mini-toilet around your neighborhood block on your first potty-training-walk. (We did not do this, just saying…)
Stick to a Method
I’m not going to say much on this, because again, not an expert. But the handful of mommies I’ve talked to who were successful in potty training the first time, within a relatively short amount of time, this is their main piece of advice: Make a plan and stick with it.
Well, I had no idea how to potty train a child, so I had no plan of my own. I had heard a lot of good things about the “Oh, Crap! Potty Training” book, and so that’s the method we chose. It seems to be working well for us so far. We’re around 8 days in and are having consistent success at this point even outside the house. Having read the book, it prepared me for possible roadblocks, hiccups, things to expect and strategies to implement, which helped me keep going when things got tough.
I will say, I am not a fan of the author’s “tone.” It’s a bit arrogant and maybe even a little crass at times. But if you can get past that and just see it as a method and tool, it’s worked well for us.
This post has taken me a couple days to write, and as I’m about to publish it, we’re 11 days in to potty training. Generally speaking, I would say the first 3-5 days were the worst, and they were really hard. But now that she’s started catching on, I feel like I can breathe again. We’re able to run our errands and have pretty normal days now. SO, while I still stand by the “Potty Training Sucks” statement, at least it doesn’t suck for too terribly long. It does get better. There IS light at the end of the tunnel.