138: A Method to Avoid While Potty Training – Answering A Listener Question in this Your Child Explained Episode

Welcome! To listen to today’s episode, scroll all the way down to the bottom of this post and click the triangular “play” button. Enjoy the show!

I’ve been really wanting to do a show on potty training, but I’ve held back for a few reasons: one biggie is that I just haven’t found a great book on the subject, and another is that my experience potty training my oldest was really tough!

But recently I heard from listener Erika, who had this to say:
“I have to have the most stubborn child on the planet and have tried everything I can think of. Rewards, candy, bribes, consequences, charts, toys, reverse psychology. I am out of ideas and at my wits end.”

Erika goes on to say that her son has twice been completely potty trained – and has regressed. She’s very worried because he will start kindergarten in the fall and she’s concerned about the social aspects of that, harassment by other kids, etc.…

Very similar, in fact, to how I was feeling when my oldest was totally not into potty training!

And so today we take on possibly one of the biggest, scariest subjects in all of parenting young children…

Go to weturnedoutokay.com/138 for show notes and to listen to this episode!

Today’s show is brought to you by the We Turned Out Okay free guide to Handling Every Temper Tantrum:

With littles, meltdowns are hard to avoid.

So I came up with the HEART method to help you:
– remain calm
– stop worrying about judginess with public tantrums
– know you’re not alone

To calmly, decisively handle every on of your child’s tantrums, click the button below!

Click Here to Get the Guide


I told Erika that, instead of having a book to recommend (as I usually do when somebody has a question for me), for her I have one to avoid: Toilet Training in Less Than One Day, a book which I tried to use when training my oldest – it was an epic fail.

I tried so hard to follow all the directions in this book, and I had really high expectations for training; the end of that “one day” found my then-three-year-old running around upstairs, underwear-and diaper-free – and me in the basement, waiting for his underwear to be dry, in tears and being talked off the ledge by a best buddy on the phone!

That night, as I was returning the book to the library, I got the best advice I’d had yet:
“don’t worry about the potty training.”

We’re really lucky in our library to have several beloved librarians, and this advice came from one of my favorites, mom to several adult children. She told me: “little kids, little problems; big kids, big problems. Don’t worry about the potty training.”

Somehow that took a ton of stress off my shoulders! She assured me that my three-year-old would (eventually) be potty trained, and in fact it took quite a while longer for him. But he was fully trained by the time he went to kindergarten – as predicted by the librarian, and Erika, that is the advice I have for you today.

– Don’t stress. You rightly share that you know he has to at least have some motivation; remember that piece of knowledge as you work with him to get trained before kindergarten.
– Lots of kids have accidents, even in kindergarten; even if this happens to your son and even if he is made fun of, he will be okay… In listening to this episode you’ll hear me sharing about what it finally took to get me to willingly wash my face – at age 9! (Hint: it was peer pressure and not my folks : )

I hope this Your Child Explained helps!