Toilet-training toddlers


Outside in backyard and on driveway where family members and neighbour kids are playing and fixing bikes.

Toilet training toddler walking around in underwear and crocks. Potty nearby.

Mommy periodically reminding toddler to “pull pants down to pee” and “use potty or toilet to pee”.

Toddler busy playing with children. Twice she pees in her pants. Twice we change the pants and she goes back to playing.

Close to supper hour, on the driveway beside the house:

Sonja: “Mommy, I got poops in my pants”.

Me: “Oh no Sonja. Take off the pants and we’ll clean you up.”

Sonja: “Mooooommmmyyyy, I got poooooopppps!”

Me, to DH: “Oh, she’s got diarrhea…”

Sonja: “I got DIARRHEA in my pants!!!!”

Me: “Sonja, when you have to make poops, where do you go?”

Sonja: “NOT in the diaper. ONLY in the toilet so I can say bye-bye poops.”

Me, while cleaning her up on the driveway: “Don’t move, I have to finish cleaning you up.”


Moral of the story?

Kids are loud.

Extended neighbourhood will know about child’s bodily function.

Post-toilet training saga (or, there is poop everywhere)

Just because you think the toilet training is done does not mean you will not have to deal with poop again.

Today, there is poop everywhere in my house. Or at least that’s what it seems like.

On the floor. On the clothes. On the toilet seat. In the bathtub. On the preschooler. On the baby.

Because apparently, if one has a messy one, the other one has an accident. Simultaneously of course. And while one should be napping.

Naps are canceled for today. It’s either that or listen to incessant crying, screaming and tantruming. And I’m not in the mood.

I’m looking forward to a blissful evening of peace and quiet. [visualize eyerolling and hear big sigh]


I had plans to paint the hallway today. And prep food for dinner. And set up my newly painted livingroom. And organize my new little antique sewing box from Switzerland. And put pictures up.

Instead, I’m doing laundry.

Post toilet-training sagas

So your kid is finally toilet trained. He’s out of diapers, pees and poops on his own using the proper facilities, mostly remembers to wash up afterwards, and sleeps through the night without wetting his bed.

Great, you think.

Except, the saga continues in oh so many more ways. Ways you never thought about BEFORE you had babies. And toilet-training-aged kids.

Here’s my list of how the saga continues:

Pooping ALWAYS happens during mealtimes. You FINALLY get to sit down, take a sip of your very delicious wine, take your fork into your hand, eat one bite of the still hot food, when the ordeal starts:

3yo: Mommy, I have to make poops.
me: Ok, go ahead, you know where the bathrooms is.
3yo: But mommy, I need you to watch me make poops.
me: Go ahead, call me when you’re ready for wiping.
3yo: But mommy, I NEED you to STAY with me….!!!
Me: (look of exasperation, a quick few pulls of wine, a longing look at the still hot food)

If by some miracle pooping doesn’t happend during mealtimes, it happens during the next meal preparations. Particularly during a messy part, like when you use your hands to mix up ground beef to make hamburgers.

Pooping requires an audience. The request comes in like this:

3yo: Mommy, I have to make poops.
me: Ok, go ahead
3yo: But mommy, I need you to watch me make poops.
me: You go ahead and get started, I’ll be right there.
3yo: Mommy, look what I made!
3yo: Mommy, this is a stinky one, let’s flush it now before you wipe me.
3yo: Mommy, did you see how many I made? A whole family of poops!
(this goes on for some time)

The bribes used during toilet training are by no means forgotten. In fact, it is essential that you keep them handy for the forseeable future. Because inevitably, the refrain will sound something like this:

Mommy, always after poops we have candy.  But mommy, we ALWAYS have candy after poops. Mommy, daddy says we get a new car after pooping…

Edited to add:

Then there is the dribble situation. He’s a boy, but he pees sitting down. He won’t use a training seat anymore, or a step, so I’m left to wonder how he gets the drops of pee on the toilet seat. I guess this is practice for me for when he pees standing up and, um, aims.

Perhaps this is a mom thing, because I have noticed that it doesn’t seem to bother his dad. But what is it with the twisted underwear? I guess I shouldn’t complain since he gets himself back together after peeing, but I cringe when I see his crooked pants. You know, the zipper kind of off to the side…so then I inevitably crouch down to help fix the pants, which leadsme  to noticing that his underwear is all bunched up…doesn’t that stuff bother him? It bothers me just looking at him dressed like that…

I never imagined that this situation would continue on, and on, and on…Now my next question is this: when exactly do you start teaching your offspring to wipe? And since we’re asking questions, when exactly is a mother “secure” in trusting her kid to wipe properly, then clean up properly afterwards? Should I be teaching him to wipe now?

So while the 3yo is doing all of the above, I started the 9 month old on this.

How to toilet train a kid in 12 steps

Dear me:

Please follow this advice with your second child.

1. Take the diaper off the kid.

2. Do not buy or use pull-ups.

3. From the money you saved not buying pull-ups, buy cheap underwear. Allow the kid to choose the underwear him/herself.

4. Allow the kid to wear the underwear, or nothing (depending on where you are).

5. Use a potty, a toilet seat, or both. Place the potty (if using) wherever you or the kid feels it will be of most use. Move it wherever you/she/he wants to move it to. As often as you/they want.

6. Clean up the messes without fuss.

7. Learn to recognize the kid’s  body language when peeing or pooping is imminent, and use words to encourage to go to the potty or toilet in time.

8. Use bribes. Or not. If you use them, you can call them motivators if it makes you feel better.

9. Bring with you, once the peeing is getting better, extra underwear, pants, socks, plastic bags, wet wipes and hand sanitizer wherever you go. (The bags are for placing the wet and or soiled clothing into.)

10. Prevail. Your kid will learn.

11. Adjust your rules, expectations, and hopes as often as you need.

12. Blog about it if it makes you feel better. A sense of humour will help maintain your sanity.

Wee hours

Scene: Mommy’s bedroom. Baby in bed with mommy, nursing. Pitter patter of little tot feet.
Time: 6:05 am

Tot: mmm…mommy….

Mommy: hi Benski, you wanna come and snuggle with us?

Tot: (incomprehensible)

Mommy: take Nuggi out of your mouth, I can’t understand you.

Tot: I got poops in diaper.

* * * * *

I am soooooooooo unimpressed. Who could possibly stay in a good mood after cleaning up S**T in a diaper of an almost 3 year old kid before the coffee maker kicks in? HUH?


Perhaps now that he’s mastered pooping in the toilet (mostly!), I can move on and write about other things in my life.

I’m sick of poop.

How has he mastered it? Well, grandma was here. And she told him a story about a little boy named Benjamin who had a big poop in his belly. And the poop was lonely because he had no other poops to play with. Because the little boy Benjamin didn’t want to push him out.

So he did. He pushed ’em out and now he gets to buy a new car at the “car store” (aka Zellers, which is like Walmart or Target).


Reporting on the Pooping Policy

Ok, so our new pooping policy seems to be working. At least to some degree. If pooping in the diaper is considered ‘working’. My aim here is to get him to poop in the freakin’ toilet for crying out loud, but at least, he’s adhering to pooping in the bathroom. Even if it IS into a diaper.

But there are some new developments, involving certain inconveniences (for the toddler, not me).

Initially, I thought if I would give him a book to read, or one toy to play with, I could entice him to remain in the bathroom to do his business. But then during a cleaning frenzy I removed that stuff and never put it back. I figured, why make the bathroom a playroom? He should do his business in there and move on with life OUTSIDE of the bathroom. All I need is two persons of the male species to occupy the bathroom for extended times around here, instead of just one (and the other one is being trained too, on things like courtesy flushes…but I digress).

Anyway. Today, something else happened, involving a bathmat. Or, the lack of a bathmat.

Toddler: Mommy I need a diaper.
Mommy: Ok, let’s go to the bathroom
Mommy then hands him the smaller toilet seat and offers to put it on the toilet, in case the toddler wants to try and poop in there.
Toddler: Noooo, I want a diaper on.
Mommy: Ok, lie down on the floor, I’ll put it on you.
Toddler: I neeeeeed a bathmat here.
Mommy: There is no bathmat today, it’s in the wash. Lie down so I can put your diaper on. Or do you want to sit on the toilet?
Toddler: Nooooo….
Toddler commences various forms of delay tactics.
Mommy: Take off your pants so I can put your diaper on then, I don’t want to stay in the bathroom all day.
Toddler pretends he can’t pull his pants down, makes whiny noises, whimpers and grunts.
Mommy starts to leave.
Toddler: I need my diaper OOOONNN!
Mommy: Pull down your pants and lie down on the floor so I can put your diaper on.
Toddler continues with delay tactics.
Mommy leaves.
Toddler starts to whine louder.
Mommy: Close the door, I don’t want to listen to your whining. Call me when you’ve taken your pants off.
Toddler closes the door, then opens it and comes out.
Toddler: I need help (to take the pants off).
Mommy, exasperated, decides to help him since he asked. Both walk to the bathroom.
Toddler: I need a towel here.
Mommy: No towel. You have 2 choices, sit on the toilet or lie on the floor.
Toddler lies on floor, gets a diaper on.
Mommy: Close the door and let me know when you’re done. Don’t come out until you’re done.
Mommy goes back to the kitchen, not far from the bathroom, to continue IM-ing friend about other exasperated situation (lively exchange about discipline, punishment, and positive reinforcement).
Toddler opens the door, closes the door, opens the door again.
Mommy: Are you done pooping?
Toddler: Not. Yet.
Mommy: (who can smell some odours) Close the door!
Mommy continues IM-ing with friend.
Toddler: I’m done now mommy.
Mommy: (sighs) Ok, I’m coming.

Boy, I’m REALLY looking forward to teaching him about wiping his own butt.

Tomorrow he starts his first day at a Montessori Casa Program, the equivalent of a preschool classroom. His Montessori teacher from the Toddler Program upgraded him because he’s ready to try new challenges, even though he’s not 3 yet. But, there is an expectation of more independence in Casa, so it will be interesting to see how he handles it. I have every confidence that he will benefit tremendously from that environment, and hope that the use of the toilet at school will transfer to our home.

Perhaps it’s time to remove the potty completely and just leave the toilet for him to use.

Note to self: start training infant this summer. She’ll be 5, 6 months old.


Toddler comes out of his room during quiet/nap time and says:

My bum is itchy.

Mommy goes to check it out. May be a doghair or something. 

Resume normal activities.

A few minute later, toddler (who is peeing but not pooping in the potty) brings mommy a diaper.

Mommy has a choice: either go through the whole crying, screaming fit and have him end up pooping in the diaper anyway, or put the diaper on him immediately.

Mommy puts diaper on him, goes back to the kitchen.

A specific odour emits out of the toddler’s room.

Mommy enters the room and sees the toddler standing near his bed, holding on the bed post, with big eyes and an expression on his face that might be interpreted as fear (of what? who knows. his poops? knowing that mommy is disappointed he’s not pooping on the toilet or potty?), concentration (the poops are sometimes stuck), and confusion (why is this pooping such an ordeal?).

He says:

You, you, you leave me alone, mommy.

Well, we all want privacy during number 2. What I’d like to know is why I can’t have any, even during number 1.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go change a poopy bum.

PS this stuttering is a new thing. I may need to google it to see why he’s doing this now, and how long it will last, and whether I should mention something to him about it, or be concerned, or not.