Potty Training: Domestic Disaster Style

I'm not the type of person who has the time, nor the patience, to deal with modern parenting. I'm more old school. I'm the mom. I'm the leader of the pack. The boss. Sure, I give my kids a voice and respect their opinions, but in the end, I'm the parent. Period.

This old school approach to parenting has, so far, worked in my favor. Just as it has for millions (and millions) of parents before me throughout the ages. My kids are polite and mannerly to the point that we get complimented on their behavior, literally, almost everywhere we take them. I'd go into detail about their incredible behavior, but I have a separate post planned for that. Instead, I'm going to focus on my old-school, domestic disaster, approach to potty training.

When it came to potty training Jesse, I tried the whole 'I'm going to watch, and take cues, from her so I can judge when she's ready' style. That lasted about a week. Like I wrote, I lack the time and patience to parent that way. Especially that she was three years old and still in diapers because I had to first fix me before I could properly raise her. But once I'd put the pieces of myself back together, crap got real in our home. And it was damn time she got her butt out of diapers.

In May 2008, with pre-school looming ahead that September, I took Jesse to the store and let her pick out a bunch of panties. Armed with our treasure, we returned home and I prepped her that, come the next morning, she would no longer wear diapers. Obviously, she didn't grasp this concept because she was three years old. But, she hugged me, and was super excited that she'd get to wear her new pretty panties.

So far, so good.

The next morning, when I took off her diaper, I put her in her panties. While she ran around the apartment thrilled to pieces, I took the extreme measure of throwing out her remaining diapers.

Every last one.

I don't half-ass things. When I do something, I go all in.

Go Big, or Go Home.

Throughout the day, I repeatedly asked Jesse if she had to use the bathroom. Each time I asked, she told me she didn't have to go. Yeah, okay. She ended up peeing herself nine times, and pooped herself once.

Keeping in mind I'd tossed out her diapers, I expected her to wet the bed. Especially that first night. But, I was pleasantly surprised when she woke up dry. During the second day, she peed herself six times, but pooped in the toilet.


That second night, she woke up dry as well.

On the third day, she used the bathroom room every time she had to pee or poop. I considered this a smashing success. 

If It Worked the First Time...

I took this same radical approach with Tyler when it was time to potty train her.

As I'd done with Jesse, I took Tyler to the store and let her pick out an abundance of panties. When we got home, I explained that "today is the last time you'll be in a diaper". And because she, too, was three, she also had no clue what I meant.

The next morning, I ripped doff her diaper, and put her in panties. The kid was in heaven. She loved everything about not wearing a bulky diaper. And she cried her eyes out when she peed in them. She thought she 'broke' them. I promised her I'd wash them, and they'd be good as new. That soothed her, and on we went with our day...

It, legit, took one day to potty train her. One. That was it.

Nor did she have a single accident during the night.

I Didn't Overthink It

These days, parents overthink everything. I do, too, when it comes to certain things. But stuff like potty training? No. They had to get out a diaper, and I wasn't going to drive us all insane trying to get them there. I know each child is different, but for me, this cold-turkey method worked 2 out of 2 times with incredible success. Do I recommend this tactic to everyone? No, but it sure did save our sanity by making toilet use a matter of fact issue, and not something we had to gradually lead up to. When I felt they were old enough to confidently get out of diapers, I made a 'mom call', and took control of the situation. I didn't shower them with gifts when they used the toilet. I gave them a high-five, and congratulated them for "going potty like a big kid".  I made not being in a wet diaper/panties the reward.

Every kid is different, and I know I got lucky with mine when it came to potty training. Thankfully, I never have to go through that again!