Potty training – Woe

I lost a round of toddler Top Trumps with Aoife’s lack of potty skill when she was about two and a half,  obviously this led me to think she was probably behind developmentally and the lack of potty skills would hinder her socially. She would go on to do badly at school and have no friends (you know, all those thoughts you have when the other mums brag about what their kids can do) and so decided we must get her on the potty.

With Aoife it was easy, she was the eldest so we didn’t have to work round the school run. I read lots of ‘Top Tips’ and armed with this knowledge felt positive.
We could lock ourselves away and just make it happen.
We chose a week and decided to not leave the house at all, Aoife would wear pants and if she had an accident she would hate it so much that she would realise the answer was to use the potty. Brilliant.
She would actually have an accident, she wouldn’t care less and she would just sit happily in her wet pants or throw them to one side carry on what she was doing.

We moved onto plan B, sitting on the potty to read a book or maybe even watch Little Princess or something. She would wee on the potty, we’d cheer wildly and she would want to go on the potty all the time for she loved the cheering.
She would actually just sit on the potty a while, watch her favourite show, stand up next to the potty and wee on the floor then settle back down onto the potty to read a book.

We then went straight to plan ‘Bad Parenting’, we ventured into the world of treats. Aoife would wee on the potty, we would reward her with a chocolate ball, she would forevermore wee on the potty and we would successfully wean her off the chocolate balls.
She would actually sit on the potty from 9am-5pm knowing that eventually a wee would fall out sooner or later and would be successfully caught in the potty, she would be rewarded and she didn’t have to try. She could just sit there all day being rewarded and catching accidental wees.

Eventually, after much carpet cleaning and disinfecting we realised she just wasn’t up for it yet and decided to halt proceedings. THAT was when she decided she would use the potty herself. She still expected a chocolate ball in return but, left to her own devices, she just decided to go for it. It was probably the audience and the persuading (and MAYBE the time we nearly lost her down the toilet) that put her off. We had been making too big a deal of it.

Now we’re coming to Seth’s turn, I see blogs and articles advising me of 10 sure fire ways to get him potty trained and I feel that feeling again, like we’re getting to the point where everyone else expects him to be trained. I don’t know whether to wait for him to decide or try to encourage him.
Though my BIGGEST concern with Seth is that he’s a boy!
Do I try to potty train him standing up or sitting down? If the former is the best idea then I don’t even know where to begin! Buckets all over the living room? Who says it’s easier with the second child!


This post was first published over at


  • Em Linthorpe

    Oh goodness, don’t remind me that I have to do the potty training thing again! My boy is nowhere near ready yet, but I like your point about boys, how does that work? I can foresee streams of urine flying everywhere in my future!

    • itsmeanniebee

      I imagine it’s a bit like when you turn the hosepipe on and it’s down the other end of the garden just flailing about. I guess we just cover everything in tarp and hope for the best!

  • Amused and Bemused Blog

    The first is always the hardest. I remember with my girl, we just let her go at her own pace and that was best. With encouragement, it worked well for her.
    Some friends forced it with their daughter, same age, and she had accidents everywhere as it became a big thing.
    You know instinctively what’s right, mostly it comes right with encouragement. My lad is younger and we did the same. Very similar outcome.
    Good luck!

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