Oh boy… welcome to my worst nightmare.

About a year ago, just before my oldest daughter turned two, I decided that it would be time to start potty training.

I am a bit of a Pinterest nut so I had seen plenty of articles on there about “Training Your Child in Three Days”, “Potty Train in 1 Day”, or even “Potty Training Your 18-month-old”. What??? I will tell you right now, this is not going to be one of those posts.

Obviously, I thought that these methods were going to work for anyone and potty training would be easy as can be.

WRONG. So very, very wrong.

Potty training has now become my arch nemesis.

At almost three-years-old, I have tried to potty train my daughter about 8 different times in the past 10 months. I have learned plenty of what NOT to do when potty training… hopefully this post will soon be followed with our potty training success story. No promises though.

potty train

How Not to Potty Train

The first thing I learned is that one method of potty training is not going to work for ever single child. I am really happy for all of those people who can potty train their child in 24 hours and never have any issues after that, but if I have to see it one more time I might scream! You have to take potty training as it comes based on the needs of your individual child. For some, those easy and quick methods might work. Congratulations! I wish I had that luck. But don’t feel bad if your child takes more time than a weekend to learn this brand new skill.

Rewards may not always work either. I thought for sure that since my daughter has such a love for sweets, the M&M’s, marshmallows, and chocolate chips that I offered as a reward would work. I was absolutely wrong. She was even more upset when she couldn’t have them after screaming about having to sit on the big girl potty. That was an entirely new fit and another round of tears that had to be dealt with.

Another huge thing that I have taken from this potty training nightmare with my stubborn child is DO NOT FORCE IT. If you try to make your child potty trained when they aren’t ready they are most likely going to get really frustrated with it and/or totally despise it. My child screamed every single time I put her on the “big girl potty”, both the seat and the potty chair. She didn’t want to have anything to do with that thing for like 7 consecutive months. I kept trying to make her feel better about it but she just was not ready then. She is a really smart little girl and knows exactly what’s going on. I should’ve known if she was getting that upset about something that she understood, it probably just wasn’t the right time.

I would say the biggest thing to not do when trying to potty train is be impatient. You are going to really have to hone in on every bit of patience you have to clean up the messes that will be all over, to do the constant laundry of big kid underwear that they think is a diaper, and to listen to the whining or screaming that may come along with it. You may have to prepare yourself for a battle in the beginning and patience is the only way you will come out somewhat sane.

I am 4 months pregnant with twins, so potty training is now a necessity. She also seems to be ready and much more receptive to the idea now that she’s a little older and since we’ve taken a 3 month break from trying to potty train at all.

Here we go… back to big girl panties, urine on the floor, and cleaning number 2 out of underwear before washing 6 pairs a day. I am going to make a “potty sticker chart” this time around and hope for the best!

Wish us luck! Hopefully this time we will be successful:) For all of you parents out there who struggle with potty training or have an older child who just isn’t there yet, you aren’t alone! Don’t feel bad about it and don’t let others whose young kids have been potty trained since birth make you feel inferior.

I would love to know: What are your tips on making potty training easier?

*Cheers to the lessons in patience we learn as parents*

joanna at motherhood and merlot