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Y’all. Can we just have some candid talk about potty training problems, please? Like serious, hold-nothing-back conversation about how freaking hard parenting can be, and how we make too big of a deal about milestones such as potty training? Here, I’m going to tell you the story of our total potty training failure. A major question I’m asking is when to give up on potty training. Because here’s the thing mama–you can give up–for a time, at least–and things will be okay.

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I definitely had to work my way through the guilt, both while I put Jack through our attempt at potty training, and when I decided to quit. I hope this printable workbook will help you like it did me.

If you’ve read some of our parenting articles. Learn about moving with kids, how to wean a toddler off bottle, and answer the ever-present toddler-mom question, “Does my child need speech therapy?”

I do TRY not to get hung up on milestones.

Why? Because other people created them, and I don’t want the outside world telling me what’s best for my kid.

And yet . . . standing on a chair waving my hands and shouting loudly . . . people pleaser and perfectionist over here!

So when it became totally clear that Jack was not ready for potty training, I had a hard time letting go.

But oh dear god was everyone relieved when I did!

Let me tell you about it. And hopefully help you with your potty training journey along the way.

Choosing The Best Time to Potty Train

There are all sorts of explanations of when to potty train. “Signs of readiness” is what I see them called most often. By waiting for your child to exhibit the signs of readiness, you can, supposedly, avoid potty training problems.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “current published toilet training guidelines in North American recommend:

  1. A child-oriented approach [to potty training]
  2. Not starting before 18 months because the child is not physically ready
  3. Starting when the child displays interest.”

We decided to potty train Jack when he had just turned 2, which is, admittedly, slightly earlier than the average, especially for boys.

But we decided to potty train anyway because he displayed a lot of interest and exhibited all the signs of physical readiness:

  • He asked to go potty (although he never actually used it.). 
  • He would say he needed to potty, so we’d take his diaper off and rush to the toilet, and he’d have an accident on the way. Clearly, he knew his body’s signals. 
  • He told us when his diaper was dirty. 
  • He loved sitting on the potty–climbing up, sitting, climbing down, flushing, washing his hands. It just seemed like time.

So off we went on our potty training journey!

Preparation for Potty Training

First, I read the books. I loved what I learned from 2 books.

We then tried all the things you’re “supposed” to do to prepare for potty training.

Oh Crap! Potty Training

And Potty Training in 3 Days