"Give your children regular doses of Vitamin "N," as in "No." "

Abandon Potty Training?


We started potty training on a Saturday three weeks ago using naked and $75. The first day was rough but we stuck to it and the next day our daughter only had one accident. Unfortunately, we had to send her back to daycare on Monday, so we sent her back wearing a pull-up (mistake). Three weeks later and we have taken huge steps backward. We leave her naked in the evenings. She often refuses to go sit on the potty when we tell her and when she does, she cries the whole time and keeps trying to stand back up. We find ourselves continuously telling her to sit down while she is on the potty. We tried putting her in underwear but she constantly had accidents. My wife is 33 weeks pregnant and I don't like seeing her go through this stress. We are considering stopping altogether and resuming in a couple of months. I do believe in the N75 method but I feel like we have made too many mistakes to keep this up.


Never fear, you have not messed up the process to the point of abandoning it. In fact, abandoning it now will only make potty training that much more difficult in the future. Take a deep breath and think back to the other milestones your daughter has accomplished such as walking, using a cup, feeding herself. All of these skills took time to learn and there were bumps and messes along the way. Yet, most parents handle walking, feeding and dressing oneself naturally and nonchalantly, while dreading and stressing over potty training. I think the main issue with potty training is the mess. No one like cleaning up bodily fluids on a regular basis whereas we don't really blink an eye at spilled milk or smeared spaghetti.

Let's talk about the big elephant in the room - your anxiety over getting this process over and done with before the new baby. I completely understand. However, your anxiety is causing you to micromanage the process, which never turns out well. I am going to suggest instituting a bell. When she is home, set it for one hour intervals (or whatever time works best for her natural schedule.) When the bell goes off, say cheerfully but calmly, "it's time to sit on the potty." Then take her to the potty and WALK AWAY!! Do not stand over her, do not tell her to sit, do not enter into the power struggle. She knows what to do. In fact, she has shown you that she knows what to do. So, show her that you are supremely confident that she will do it.

Don't worry about underwear at home until she is consistently using the potty. For some reason, children have no problem going in underwear, diapers, or pull ups. Naked is the way to go.

Finally, each child is different, learning and mastering skills in different time frames. One of my sons practically potty trained himself, the other had to be gated. Same parents, same method, different children. So take a deep breath, let go of mistakes made, and remind yourself this is no different than teaching her to drink from a cup. You will do great.

Trinity Jensen
Certified Leadership Parenting Coach

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