Toilet Training: Driving Parents to Insanity Worldwide


Those two words that all parents dread: Toilet training.

What the hell do you do when your kid just WON’T POO ON THE TOILET! I mean, trying to train a little person to pee and poop on the toilet and not in a nappy/undies/on the grass/in the bath (ugh!) is not a fun activity for parents in any shape or form (ha!) and boys can be harder than girls to get on board with the idea.

I started my oldest just after age 3. That could be considered quite late but everything I read said that boys can take longer to be ready and forcing them to start early if they’re not ready can be a battle of wills that ends up with the unpleasant side effect of taking longer, more accidents and regression. Cohen also had a few communication issues with his speech delay which spurred me to hold off (and he turned 3 in the middle of damn winter, not an ideal TT time of year!).

In the lead up he point blank refused to sit on the potty or the toilet or the special toilet seat for little kids we bought for the toilet. Nope, no, no. He wasn’t having a bar of it thank you very much. Eventually when he was about 3 and 2 months we just put him in undies and decided that was that. Of course, he hated having wet undies because he is the kind of kid who will stand in a puddle in the bathroom and get a wet sock and it will be the end of the world as he knows it. So wet pants? Terrifying.

It took only 2 days to toilet train him for wees and he’s had only a handful of accidents in that regard since then. It was surprisingly simple in the end and I think that come back to waiting until he was old enough to understand. He started standing to pee after a week and has done ever since. Which is great when you are out and about at the beach or the likes and they decide they really need to go to the toilet, like NOW but not so great when they get complacent about paying attention to where they are aiming (ie. not aiming for anything in particular and even spinning around mid stream at the sound of a voice to see who’s there).

Poos on the other hand? Poos will be the death of me.

He is now 4 and point blank refuses to go poos on the toilet and holds it for a night nappy. We have tried bribes. Charts. Punishment. Begging. Praise. Discipline. I think I may have even yelled at him (not my proudest moment). Nothing, I mean nothing works.

I asked him the other night what he plans to do when he is my age and his response was that he was going to invent a pooper scooper out of the grass and the twigs aC-toilet-training-nd the leaves and the rain and it was going to be a poo catcher to catch the poos. What the … where did this child come from?!

I think the only thing left to do at this point is just take away the night nappy. On one of my particularly tired nights the other night I forgot to change him from undies to a nappy before putting him to bed and I then had a very distressed little boy beside my bed in the middle of the night who had wet himself. He was distraught as he never wets himself so I’m a bit worried that we may have a recurring theme of wet = distraught = interrupted nights of changing sheets = very tired mama at work.

Why are children so damn stubborn?! The problem is though that the more you focus on this particular problem, the more of a complex he seems to get over it and the more stubborn he becomes.

I think the main issue is that he is using it as a means to being able to get back up after going to bed at night. He goes to bed and then about half an hour later we see a silouhette in the doorway of the lounge …

‘Mummy, daddy. I have a big problem. I just did poo poos in my nappy and I need you to change it. It’s the biggest poo poo you have ever seen! And the colour is brown!’

Every. Single. Night.

The other night he was grinning ear to ear with this announcement and I told him extremely exasperated ‘Cohen, this isn’t funny, you need to do it on the toilets like a big boy!’

Do you know what he said back?

‘Mummy, it is a little bit funny’

*Pulls hair out*

He is so smart and yet so damn stubborn! And he has an amazing sense of humour so he always ends up making us laugh which does not help the cause!

I am at my wits end with this child.


It is with great pleasure that I can announce that we have now sorted this very poopy problem! We had to sit in the toilet with him holding his hands and bribing while in equal parts encouraging and promising cheeseburgers and playgrounds and beaches and told him that the poos go to poo poo land where they join all the other poo poos (gross but it worked!). This of course led to a million questions ‘Are their poo poo people?’ ‘Yes’ ‘What about poo poo dogs?’ ‘Poo poo houses?’ ‘Poo poo McDonalds?’. You get the gist. 

Thankfully my second son has not had this same problem. Phew!

48 thoughts on “Toilet Training: Driving Parents to Insanity Worldwide

  1. I toilet trained my eldest at just over 3 (we had a 24 hour flight and I wanted him in nappies for that, so it was all due to returning from that trip) and it took 1 day – with 1 accident when he didn’t get to the bathroom in time. My 2nd took forever, and my third decided she wouldn’t wear nappies at about 12 months (which in my opinion is too early but she had her own opinion and just kept taking it off)…so I’m of the ‘do your best but it’s really up to them’ camp….
    Lydia C. Lee recently posted…What I learnt this week from the internet….(Race and Furniture)My Profile

  2. Oh Gosh! You poor thing. This does not sound like fun at all. We sent our three year old to bed without a nappy the other night and she of course wet the bed. I feel too tired at the moment to be re-making the bed every night. I’ll give it a few more months and see what happens. Good luck!!!
    Renee recently posted…Kids birthday cakes for dummiesMy Profile

    1. I feel ya on the being too tired Renee, that’s why I haven’t done it yet! That and the fact the weather has been far too rubbish to add more washing to the loads still sitting in the bathroom with nowhere to hang it out because we’ve had so much damn rain!

    1. How many brolly sheets would you recommend Amy? I just need some nice weather to tackle this next challenge or it’s going to be a washing nightmare!

  3. This is all in my future (just one 11-month boy for now), so no advice to offer. I just wanted to say that the image of your little boy turning around midstream to see who’s there made me laugh out loud a bit. Great that you, and he, can keep a sense of humor about it. I hope you find a solution soon!
    Robyn recently posted…CRAWLING – SO MUCH MORE THAN LOCOMOTIONMy Profile

  4. I know it’s annoying but he will work it out eventually. Our middle guy did this for a little while and in the end telling him he had to send his poos to poo land to be with their poo friends (boy humour) worked for him. He still waves good bye to his pops and says ‘see you later poo’. Gross! Good luck xx
    Claire @ Life on Wallace recently posted…Oliver + S DIY bucket hatMy Profile

  5. Reeve was relatively easy to TT. The poo thing on the toilet was a bit harder though. I know it took him awhile because he was just scared of it. One day I just sat him on there (when I was 90% sure he had to go) and waited. He carried on a bit, but I just sat on the floor next to him and chatted about something random. I said it wouldn’t hurt either. After that he was okay with doing poos on the toilet. I’m not saying this will work for your son too but it may get him over the fear of going. Also what Claire said above, works a treat. We make a big effort to wave goodbye to poos etc. Boy humour works with this. Good luck!
    Kelly recently posted…THE VERY FLATULENT MONSTER BOOKMy Profile

    1. I’ve had these deep and meaningful conversations perched beside the toilet telling him it won’t hurt and he can do it to no avail! Blah! TT sucks!

  6. Haha “it is a little bit funny.” They do have a way of getting smiles out of us especially when you are trying your best to stay firm!
    We toilet trained my daughter late (after 3) although that was partly due to the unusual living circumstances we had at the time – it just wasn’t appropriate for her to go bare-bummed all day long, which made things tricky. Luckily she was not a poo-holder. We did find that the only way to stop her wetting at night was to drop the night nappy and just make sure the bed was really waterproof :/
    Meryl @ Simple Family Home recently posted…My Spring Capsule WardrobeMy Profile

    1. Yeah that’s what i am going to have to do Meryl, just drop the night nappy and hope for the best! Yes, he is a pro at making us laugh the little monkey!

  7. I feel your pain. I had one that toilet trained over a six week period while the poop flew. And another who wore the potty as a cowboy hat or used it as a stable for her My Little Pony’s – anything but its intended purpose – and then one day she decided she was ready and toilet trained herself! Pop it by his bed at night and try to stay encouraging! It’s a tough thing for a little person to learn

  8. I attempted toilet training a few months ago when bub was just over 18 months and it went nowhere, she wouldn’t even sit on the potty after a few days so I gave up. She turned 2 a few months ago and has started showing interest in sitting on it again so I guess that means we’ll be giving toilet training another crack in the next few months. To be honest I’m not looking forward to wet pants and having all the extra washing, not to mention having to drop everything if we’re out and she needs to pee. I really don’t mind if she waits until 3 to toilet train. No advice on the poo situation sorry, I just hope I don’t have to deal with that. #teamIBOT.
    Toni @ Finding Myself Young recently posted…What its like being an allergy mumMy Profile

    1. I think some of it is a boy thing Jodi! Boys just seem to have more issues than girls, maybe because boys are always several months behind in mental development than girls or maybe just because it doesn’t phase them and they have some weird fascination with bodily functions!

  9. Oh I feel for you. Not there yet but a friend of mine had a bugger of a job TT’ing her daughter… still going around 4 as well. In the end kindy said that she couldn’t come unless she was TT’ed. I think! And she loved kindy so I think that got the ball rolling. Something they want, I suppose. But also some kids are just BLOODY stubborn. If his kindy isn’t insisting, is he excited about going to school etc? Maybe you could use that as a bargaining chip? But given I’ve never done it, I have nothing for you really 🙂
    Rachel @ The Mama Files recently posted…Things dads teach their kids when mum’s off dutyMy Profile

    1. Thankfully (or not!) he has a set time for poos and holds them until night time so it’s not affecting him at kindy at all as he is fully toilet trained otherwise. Stubborn is right! Aaaagh!

  10. I wonder how you would go, if you didn’t engage very much with him when you change his nappy at night? Kind of like when babies are new and you just feed and sleep without playing at night? If the poo is a reason to get up, and he gets a bit more attention, maybe the most minimal attention would make it less appealing?
    Just an idea! 🙂
    I can understand your frustration. ‘Big kid’ poos are just so gross. So much easier when they go to the toilet.
    EssentiallyJess recently posted…Kicking FOMO to the Kerb #IBOTMy Profile

  11. My little boy was ready at 2 but we went overseas for 6 weeks and it all back tracked and he could not be bribed. Easter this year so 3.5 yrs he finally relented I was actually away for two weeks but he was fully trained no nappy in 3 weeks we just removed the night nappy. We had a few accidents but that ok. We have 2 brolly sheets and they have been amazing especially for a vomitting child which mine is when he is sick. Sounds like cold turkey works for him (unless he really holds on and doesn’t poo at all) what a dilemma. I thought I would go bald but it has worked out.

  12. “Of course, he hated having wet undies because he is the kind of kid who will stand in a puddle in the bathroom and get a wet sock and it will be the end of the world as he knows it. So wet pants? Terrifying.” OMG I think I have said this before but WE HAVE THE SAME CHILD. Even today, he cracked the sads when we were walking over the wet grass because “I don’t like wet things”. I had to carry him. HAVE MERCY. And yes. Toilet training is the WORST. Urgh.

  13. urgh that sounds like very little fun 🙁 My baby is only just over 1 and there’s mothers in my mother’s group who are already talking about potty training! Its totally freaking me out! I’m hoping it isn’t super hard but at the moment she seems to have no concept of poos and wees so I think shes a while off. Good luck!!

    1. Yeah, wait at least another year I’d say, though girls are ready earlier than boys. Don’t be pressured into starting early! Every child is different.

  14. That doesn’t sound great… My boy is 2 and 3 months and toilet training is looming. He’ll occasionally sit on toilet or loo just for the fun of it, but most of the time he’s not interested. He communicates well, so there’s no issue there. Unlike your boy, wet or poopy nappy does not bother him in the slightest. I have to chase after him to change his dirty nappy otherwise he’ll happily wear a dirty one for hours.
    I can’t give you any advice other than asking for tips at the nursery or a specialist (not sure who would that be).
    Hope you’ll solve this one soon xx
    Joanna @mumbalance recently posted…Relax during pregnancy – How and WhyMy Profile

    1. Wet and poopy nappies never bothered either of my boys really until they got older! Certainly not at your sons age. Finn is 3 in December and only now tells me but if he’s busy or having fun he will deny it till the cows come home!

  15. Ok, so it might be a little funny for us reading! More so his attitude as opposed to the fact you’re struggling so much. I have this all to come and I’m terrified. Mine is two and a half now and I’ve not even attempted it yet, I’m waiting until I think he’s more ready. Great post! #sharewithme Ally xx
    Ally Messed Up Mum recently posted…Home Sweet HomeMy Profile

  16. Rewards charts were the only thing that worked for us in the end with toilet training. Stage by stage and then more and more stickers for a reward as we went on. Eventually the rewards charts were forgotten and toilet became a habit. Though at 3 and a third we still do have the odd accident, but they are becoming less regular. I know some who were trained at 2 and some at 4 – each is different. It is frustrating though, but such a relief when they eventually ‘get it’ 🙂 Best of luck xx
    Victoria (Lylia Rose) recently posted…Luxemme Gallia PlaysuitMy Profile

  17. Hahaha! Your kiddo is so cute. Toilet training is one of the most challenging trainings your child needs to undergo. You can try putting him in a potty first before the actual toilet. It could help him adjust.

  18. I am with you on the potty training from hell. I have two scenarios one child that won’t go on the potty and point blank refuses and the other one that still pees the bed even through his pull ups and even if I restrict him from liquids after 5pm and take him pee at 10pm. I have no words for the amount of bed washing and stress potty training is causing me. 🙁 I feel you. Glad I am not the only one. Thank you ever so much for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great round up and hope you have been enjoying the blog hop. #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Letters to Him & Her ~ #33My Profile

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