Should I Give Up Potty Training?

I’m at the end of my tether. I can’t do it. I’ve failed and I DON’T want to fail but this potty training lark is so hard.

The above message I’ve just sent to my boss and team. I’m sat at Fazakerley train station, sweating buckets thanks to sprinting the quarter mile to try and make my train, trying hard not to cry and pissed off I’m not going to have time to grab a Starbucks (the highlight of my day).

Potty training was going brilliantly! WAS. We got Blake a potty a few months ago and some a toddler toilet seat inserty thingy you put over the main loo seat. He was asking to go to the toilet, dry after naps. Wearing pull ups and they were dry 75% of the time. We were over the moon! He was only 18 months. We got rid of his cot and put his mattress on the floor

We put his potty in the corner of the room and night time toilet trips were a success! It was all going a bit too well. Then one day he crapped on the rug in the front room just as we were about to leave for work and the childminder. It always happens just as I’m about to leave for work. It’s like he knows. Anyway, so he crapped on the rug, touched it, then proceeded to touch his shitty toddler fingers everywhere – the sofa, my jeans, the dog! It was a nightmare. And I shouted. Loud. I was nearly sick with the smell and was gagging. Poor Blake began to cry.

And that ladies and gentlemen is where our potty problems started. It’s all my fault.

Blake stopped doing his poos on the loo or the potty. He much preferred his pants. And he loved to touch it. I’ve no idea why but he loved it and also loved to throw it. He did it at my sister when she looked after him and I was mortified. I did not want a shit-throwing ASBO kid. No way.

I picked up a copy of Gina Ford’s ‘Potty Training in a Week’ book and started to read it. It seems good but I quickly realised it was my fault for shouting at him that he’d regressed. I was also putting Blake in pants with me and then giving the childminder Pull-Ups. I didn’t want to burden her with him having accidents. I had a chat with her and she agreed we were confusing him doing pants one day then pull ups the next and probably holding him back.

So, I went out and bought £25 worth of big boy pants. Cars, spiderman and robots emblazoned proudly on the front, Blake was excited and over the moon.


The first day in big boy pants was with me all day just the two of us. He had a few accidents in the morning but he seemed to understand quickly and the whole day passed without another pair of wet pants.


We’d been lucky so far that there hadn’t been any need to offer him incentives of treats. I’m not a treat giving Mummy anyway (read ‘neurotic food police Mummy’) and I didn’t want to bribe him. He’d been doing too well. Gina Ford advises to start a star chart and that seems to be incentive enough for now. Blake loves sticking his stars on and we make a huge fuss when he uses the loo or potty.


Last night Blake soiled himself, it slipped through his pants, he held it in his hands, the dog snatched it and then there was a farcical chase around the house to stop the dog eating the poo and stop Blake touching anything with his dirty fingers. I was shouting, Shaun was stressing and once again Blake got upset. Remaining calm is the thing I’m struggling with most but I know it’s doing Blake absolutely no good whatsoever and I’m feeling terribly guilty. I’m hoping some kind of super maternal shit force field is going to appear soon. You know, like Sonic the Hedgehog used to have. It will magically appear in times of fecal need – making me invincible and unflappable when dealing with bodily functions. I’ve got to toughen up. Hosing down his pants in the garden last night and this morning whilst wanting to throw up definitely felt like a low moment on this parenting journey!

I’m so tempted to give up and stick him back in nappies. I’m so fed up of it all. I know so many other parents who have just said to persevere and it will get easier. I know it will but it’s still difficult to cope with at the moment. I’ve got to be calm, consistent and patient. After all, he is still a baby and he needs me.

I feel like I’m drowning in a puddle of pee.

Tell me it will get better? Soon?


20 responses to “Should I Give Up Potty Training?

  1. Oh babe I’m sorry but I was laughing near enough the whole way through this post. Freya has been potty trained for nearly 2 months now and we still have highs and lows. He’s very young to be fully trained. Tyler was near enough 3 years old before he was trained and still isn’t dry at night.
    It does get easier. I would forget the pull ups unless you are going for a long car journey or something and keep the pants only.
    I can safely say every mum goes through the above and at some point every mum will shout at their child for weeing or pooing somewhere they ‘shouldnt’ if they say they haven’t they are lying.
    Keep going with it babe 🙂 your doing fab xx

  2. You may not like my comment much.

    Felix is 4 years, 2 months. I took him out of nappies at 3 years old. He was perfectly capable of using the potty/ toilet and I thought he was just being lazy and needed a bit of encouragement. So on went the pants.

    14 months later, HE has finally decided it is time. He finally understands his body and for two weeks has got to the toilet in time for every poo and almost in time for every wee. If I had my time over, I’d leave him in nappies. The washing, the fighting and the many failed attempts at staying calm just weren’t worth it. He did it when he was ready. He chose. All I could do was prepare him in advance and support him when the time came.

    • I like all comments Rachael! I appreciate them all and thank you for getting in touch. So, have you had pants and accidents for the last 14 months or did you go back to nappies until recently? x

  3. oh dear – I feel your pain – really I do. Give him and yourself a break, go back to nappies or pull ups for a few weeks. Re-set and have a go in another few weeks.
    Stop beating yourself up for getting grossed out – it IS gross. He will live and he will not remember you getting stressed out and shouty; if by some small miracle when he is 21 he turns around and blames you for his anal retentive behaviour, at least you have the comeback, ‘yeah and you liked to play with your shit’

    It will get better, but there will still be plenty of poo in your near future too….xx

    • You’re right – it IS gross! It’s bloody horrible. And yes I shall be taking the mick out of his shit obsession when he’s older.
      Thanks for your reply xxx

  4. I’d agree. If it is stressing you out and he’s really not getting it, I’d say he was not ready and the best thing you can do is give you both a break and go back to nappies. I trained Missy Woo at around 20 months because she showed willing but I still had a week or so of her weeing and pooing her pants – it was like she needed to feel what this did. Once she got it, she pretty much got it for ever with small steps back from time to time. Trying to force the issue just means the process takes longer and is more stressful. Celebrate when he does use his potty and try again when you feel ready. Monkey was nearly 3 when he got it – and he was only dry at night after he started year 1 when he realised he could stay dry at night. Every child is different.

  5. Oh Gem, I too could not help cracking up reading this! But seriously, you need to give yourself a break. He’s still only teeny, some babies only start to walk at 18 months. I think that you should take a break and try again in a few weeks, he is probably not fully understanding how it all works and thinking it’s totally cool to play with his poo. Take it slow and if it doesn’t work at this stage it’s not the end of the world. He’ll get there when he’s ready like everything else xxx

  6. Just put him back in his pull ups Gemma. You are causing yourself (not him, as said above you will NOT have screwed him up for life by getting upset about him feeding the dog chocolate logs). Peyton did NOT get it at all, she hated it when we first tried. I did it then because I was told she should be potty trained at 18 months. It was a massive fail. We put her back in pull ups after a period of hell for us all. A few months later she took the pull ups off, announced she wanted knickers and hasn’t looked back. To be honest you will probably do more damage if you force it when he isn’t totally ready. Remember, no kid goes to school in nappies, he will be ready when he is ready, and your dog will remain free of human feces.

  7. Please don’t give up potty training!! It makes for excellent bed time reading 🙂
    As for my ASBO Nephew… I love him, sh1t and all… unconditionally… and for making my evenings by driving his mummy to the brink of breaking point that makes her write like she is a professional writer!! xx

  8. I haven’t read any of the other comments but my advice would be to throw out the book! But then I do think Gina Ford is the devil in a dress! Trust your instincts. If you feel putting him back in nappies will be easier for a while do it. Go with your gut instinct.

    You’re his mum and no matter what everyone says you know best. My 1 st daughter wasn’t too easy to train and is still in pull ups at bed time. She’s 4. My 2 year old has potty trained herself and is nearly dry at nights.

    Of course things will get better for 2 reasons
    1. How many times do you see a 10 year old in nappies and
    2. You’re obviously a very good and caring mum, otherwise you couldn’t care less if he was in nappies or not or covered in poo or not.

    I too have to keep the dog away from the potty otherwise the dog’s in there in a second! Urgh!

    Good luck

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  11. Gem, god bless you – dare I say it – is he just not fully ready yet? Alex is 3 on Sunday and he has been out of nappies and confidentally using the loo after a good few months on the potty for about 6 months now. I too tried it when he was 18 months to just coming up to 2 and he was not ready. He completely went against me and I thought to myself ‘why am I stressing him and me?’ so I left it. With the help of a singing potty (see Laura Hughes) he just decided a few months back that it was ‘his time’ and he got it really quickly. A week of the potty and he didn’t want a nappy for bed. I can honestly say he has wet the bed 4 or 5 times in that period and that in my opinion is brilliant. Blake might just need a bit more time of nappies AND the odd potty trip too, but honestly don’t beat yourself up because he is still a baba. Nursery told me that they still have kids up to 4 who are not potty trained and wearing nappies and it is not a problem, kids are kids, they all catch up to each other eventually. It’s hard because Blake and Alex are our first babies so I think we constantly pressurise ourselves to do this and do that with them within a certain time frame when really, who says its right or wrong? I swear to god, when I have baby number 2 I am going to relax on all the stuff that I have stressed over with Alex! Basically, my words to you are, don’t stress – positive recognition for Blake everytime he does something good (star chart is perfect, love it) and just count to 10 in your head (I have to do this quite a bit!) when you feel like you are going to strangle Blake/the Hubby/the Dog. xx

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