Weeks 19 & 22: Potty Training Ruminations

toiletWeek 19 – Potty Training Ruminations, Part 1

Before you think I have some fairly advanced aspirations for the twins, let me clarify. Miss Ellis has decided that it’s time to start potty training. She is 19 months old. We kind of think she’s crazy.

Here’s the deal – as long as she’s interested and shows signs of willingness, we’re going for it. To have her out of diapers before the babies arrive would be an amazing blessing for our budget. So, training pants are in, and diapers are out. (Except special occasions, like bedtime. And friends weekend. And church.)

Here are the things that made us realize she might be ready:

  • She was very interested in both of us using the bathroom. We have one bathroom in the house, and decided to keep an open door policy during this learning time.
  • Jason bought a plastic Prince Lionhart seat at Target that suction cups to the toilet. We figured it’d be good to have on hand, just in case. Ellie immediately wanted to try it out.
  • During the first three intensive days, it wasn’t hard to encourage her to use the toilet. She threw a few fits now and then, but was generally amiable to the idea of sitting on the potty.

We’ve decided to go with the three day method, which is nicely detailed here at a blog called Not Without Aim. (The author, Becky Olmstead, used to go to my church. She has potty trained 14 children – no small credential when it comes to this subject.)

 I’ll let you know how the process is going after a few weeks.


Week 22 – Potty Training Ruminations, Part 2

It’s not fun to hear someone tell you “I told you so.” It’s even worse when you say to yourself.

After three weeks of pretty intensive potty training, we are giving it a rest. Both Jason and I predicted Ellis was too young, but like starry eyed fools, we pictured a world with no more dirty diapers and little underpants fluttering happily in the breeze on the clothes line. So. Until Ellis regains her interest in the using the potty and ASKS to use it (instead us badgering her every hour on the hour), we are on potty training sabbatical.

Here are the warning signs you may want to watch for when deciding to call the game:

  • When your toddler makes a habit of kicking and screaming on the toilet, refuses to eliminate, and then throws wads of crumpled toilet paper on the floor, you might want to start keeping track of how often it occurs.
  • When your ever-patient friend and childcare giver sends you home with plastic bags of stain treated pants every day for a week, it’s time to assess the situation.
  • And when your adorable toddler suddenly refuses to even sit on the toilet, throws a fit, and then goes into the kitchen, takes off her pants, yanks off her diaper, and pees on the floor, it’s time to call it off.


It’s a little strange – this parenting and pregnancy thing at the same time. My attention is split. On one hand, I’m reading Mrs. McNosh Hangs up her Wash for the hundredth time and cajoling my toddler into peeing. On the other, I’m adjusting my pants, straightening up because someone’s elbow feels like it’s stuck in my left ribs.

This is only going to keep happening, I know. (The rib thing AND the parenting thing.) But there’s something daunting about parenting when I realize I will have to focus in on two different age groups of kids. Then again, life is all about balances, and here’s the truth of the matter.  I can make rice and stir fry veggies at the same time. I can kick around poem ideas in my head and write governance resolutions at work. I can fold laundry in a yoga pose and come away feeling relaxed.

The point is this: Multi-tasking is often mandatory in our lives. It’s rubber and road. And it’s possible, with a little practice, to do it well. And on the days when we don’t do it well, there’s always tomorrow. Or in the case of potty training, in another six months.


One thought on “Weeks 19 & 22: Potty Training Ruminations

  1. Abbie (our eldest) did the EXACT same thing. She started potty training on her own at 20 months old and then after a couple of weeks decided she was done with it – 6 months later she resumed interest and things went SO much better. With our second daughter I never once pushed the issue and she potty trained herself at 2 1/2 (ok, daycare helped some.) It was a way better experience the second time around when I didn’t ever force the issue – planning on doing this with our youngest as well. Someone told me that 2 1/2 was the magic age for girls so we’ll see. I think you guys are wise to wait – you’ll know when it’s right and she WILL eventually get it. Love reading your blog Rachel – thanks for the updates!


Join the conversation. What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s