The One Piece of Potty Training Advice I Wish I Would’ve Listened To

It took us seven months to potty train Kennedy.


When we started potty training, I was 34 weeks pregnant, thinking I would just “get this out of the way” before Caroline arrived. Rookie mistake, people. I thought Kennedy was ready. She showed all the signs, and was interested in it. She’s a smart girl, and learns quickly, so why not potty train?

Needless to say, we’ve done it all.

3 day potty training in 12 days with no success. Sticker charts. M&Ms. Incentives. Running around bare-bottomed. Timers every fifteen/ten/five/twenty minutes. Having a stuffed animal wear underwear and practice with the animal. Pull-ups. No Pull-ups. Diapers at night. No diapers at night. Getting her to throw away said diapers. Bringing back the diapers from the store because “we can go buy more.”

We potty trained with a small potty chair, a potty seat, and straight up on the potty itself. I read all the books. The 3 day potty training book, the potty training in less than a day book. We downloaded all the apps –  Potty Time with Elmo, Once Upon a Potty. We watched ridiculous YouTube videos (she hated that one). I Googled all the dang time –

“potty training 2.5 year old”

“how to be consistent during potty training”

“3 day potty training isn’t working”

“what to do when your toddler pees on you”

“wine delivery” – scratch that, I was pregnant.

“does Sonic sell their ice?” (YES. Yes they do.)

We have begged. Pleaded. Bribed. I have cried more than I should over excrement. I kept my cool and lost my cool, over and over.

Potty training still took seven months.

I posted on Facebook and Instagram about how we were potty training, and everyone had their bragging stories of how, “Billy Bob was trained at 2 months old in one day! You’ve got this, mama!”


But through some of these pieces of advice, there was one that really stuck out to me once we got through the trenches.

The ONE Piece of Potty Training Advice I Wish I Would've Listened To

“She’ll do it when she’s ready.”

Seems like the simplest and DUH thing ever. But hear me out.

When you’re potty training a toddler, there is no light at the end of the tunnel. When you’re seven months in and she still is using this as a power struggle, it never seems like she’ll be ready. You’re questioning your ability to parent and your sanity. Hearing others say, “She’ll do it when she’s ready,” doesn’t help at that moment.

Let me tell you something.  One day at the beginning of February, Kennedy decided she would use the potty and be in total control of her body. We haven’t looked back to diapers or Pull-ups – not even at night. This happened because we stopped urging her or telling her to go. We stopped “training” her. Greg and I focused on giving her praise for other things that she did and spending quality time together without talking about the potty.

I recommend you don’t get to that point in your potty training adventures – where you’ve trained so long that you have to “untrain.” Please, don’t be like me. That advice up there? It applies to you, too. I clearly wasn’t ready. Give yourself a break. Focus on other things. That doesn’t mean you have to forget it completely – just don’t let it consume you.

Listen to that one piece of advice that I wish I would’ve listened to. They’ll do it when they’re ready.

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