My son is brilliant. He articulates things that most 3 1/2 year-olds would never be able to express. He is wild, carefree, and FULL of life. He builds things out of tinker toys that blow my mind daily. He can single handedly dismantle an entire appliance with a screw driver and a good stick. And he is the best snuggler I know. But this child WILL. NOT. POTTY TRAIN. I have attempted to “train” this child 3 times. Each time there was zero success. I mean ZERO. From the moment the diaper comes off, it is a full on invitation to pee whenever and wherever he wants…and it usually happens within five minutes of the wardrobe change. Each time, after a few days of not leaving the house, and of chasing him around with a bag of M&M’s, I quit. Here is why I quit worrying about potty training.

1. I became an angry mom.

Like really angry. Like my kids didn’t see me smile at ALL while that child was in underwear peeing all over my house.  I let myself get so tense with worry that he was going to pee on my husband’s precious new carpet that I let the joy of our days at home together slip away. Not worth it.

2. The reason I REALLY care is all pride.

When my friend’s 2 year-old can potty train in a few days, and my 3 1/2 year-old is still in diapers, I find myself comparing. Not just comparing my tactics to her tactics, but comparing our CHILDREN. Why is her child so compliant? What is wrong with MY kid? It’s easy to feel like I’m a bad mom… like I missed something along the way. That’s just plain stupid. God made every single child different. He happened to make mine as strong-willed as they come, and as smart as a whip. I cannot sit there and look at every other child we encounter and think about why mine is still in diapers. It’s better for all of us if I put the pride aside.

3. He really WON’T go to prom in diapers.

As much as it feels that he will right this second, my son WILL learn to use the toilet like every other “grown up” person does. I came to realize that the minute I stop caring, and the minute I stop trying to explain to people with a look of dismay why my son “refuses to potty train”, the better. He WILL decide he’s ready. And when he does, we have a lifetime supply of Spiderman underwear waiting.

Today we got to spend the morning with some amazing friends who happen to have three “big boys” that Doc LOVES to play with. As we were getting ready to go home, I changed his diaper while the big kids were nearby. They were shocked to see that Doc was in diapers. They talked to him about it explaining that diapers are for babies. I’ve said these same words a hundred times before…but something about hearing them from “big boys” makes it stick. Doc decided this afternoon that he wanted to put on some Spiderman underwear. And he managed to keep them clean and dry for TWO HOURS. This is a new record. He told me when he had to potty, and he didn’t throw a fit about going in to the bathroom to take care of business like he usually does. I think this might be a breakthrough. I have hope!

So tonight, I’m thankful for big boys who lovingly encourage little friends to take that step away from babyhood. And I’m really proud of my Bubba.

potty training

Do you have any words of wisdom about potty training a very strong-willed 3 year-old? I’d love to hear what worked for you!

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2 Responses to Why I Quit Worrying About Potty Training

  1. Laura says:

    He finally wanted to be diaper-free! That’s great! I think for us, it’s keeping her motivated and happy. A sticker chart and candies did not work for us.

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