Potty Training

Potty Training

The Greek God(zilla) and I both took a week off work over Easter to start potty training with Zachy.

Well, that is not the only reason we took the week off but figured as we would both be at home for a week, then it was as good a time as any to make a start on moving him out of nappies.

Zachy had shown some interest in using the potty in the run up to his training.  Mostly when he was stripped down before and after his bath.  And, once or twice during.

He had also started to tell me when he had “done a big poo, Mummy”… whether it be in his nappy, or in the bath.

So, all the signs were hinting that he might be ready.

But then what?  I was not sure what I actually had to do next.

“Just whip the nappy off and let him roam free” was the general advice from friends and my new parenting bible, Twitter.

“But he’ll poo all over the carpet!”

“Put some sheets down”


So, I went to Boots and stocked up on two plastic pottys (upstairs & downstairs), one travel potty and 25 liners (out & about), carpet cleaner (for failed attempts) and a family pack of treat sized chocolate buttons (for successful attempts).

I bought a few packs of supermarket brand ‘big boy’ pants, which come up ENORMOUS by the way, but are also cheap enough to chuck straight in the bin should they come into contact with an accident of the number 2 variety.

I did not intend to spend my week off work rinsing poop out of someone else’s knickers.

Day 1 was a complete disaster.  He’d wet through 6 clothes changes before lunch.  Towards the end of the day, we just let him go commando and managed to catch a few stray tinkles before they landed on the carpet.

I think I broke the world record for repeating the following phrases, the most times, over a block 12-hour period:

“Do you need a wee, Zachy?”, “Do you want to do a poo?”, “Come on darling, do a poo for Mummy” ,”It’s ok, everybody pees their pants sometimes”, “You’re doing so well, just sit there for a little bit longer and you can have another chocolate button”, “Are you sure you don’t need another wee?”

We put him to bed that night in a pull-up nappy and I collapsed in a heap on the sofa, thinking that he was NEVER going to get it.

Day 2 was much more promising.  A tiny little accident first thing, but after that he was asking for the potty every time he needed a wee.

Although, he was more fascinated by the sound of his wee landing in the potty so did not actually sit down on it for long enough to finish each deposit.  Meaning he had an urge to go again a few minutes later.  And, again another few minutes after that.

Still no sign on a poo either and any attempt to even try for one was being strongly resisted.  But by the end of day 2, he was no longer peeing in his pants, on the floor, or on me.  I’d call that quite a good result.

On day 3, we had one poo in the potty but he did not like doing it at all.  I think it was only because I was home and could chase him around the house, outstretched arms swaying a potty under his bare bottom, that we even managed to get one in there at all!

Even though it was a successful aim and he received claps, cheers and chocolate buttons in return, I could tell he found the whole experience quite stressful.

On day 4, we drove to visit the Greek God(zilla)’s sister, BB, in Cambridge.  I timed the car journey around nap time and popped a pull-up nappy on but as it was dry when he arrived, I encouraged him to go for a wee on his potty and quickly changed him back into his big boy pants.

Later that afternoon, I could tell he needed to go number 2 because he became quite fidgety and said that his tummy felt hot, but I could not persuade him to sit on the potty, or on the big toilet.

He held it in for a bit, but eventually he pooped his pants and got himself all worked up into a bit of a tizz about it.

I think it is safe to say that poos were becoming a bit of a problem.

On days 5 and 6, he did not poo ALL DAY.  But did work out that he could pee just as easily standing up AND then watch it come out at the same time.

On day 7, we caught another big poo in the potty and celebrated with a whole pack of chocolate buttons.  I figured I might need to up the incentive…

But, the resistance is still there to number two.  He is still holding them in rather than letting them out.  He will now not even go in his pants or in his pull-ups, and he was on 2 twos a day before.

I don’t know what I can do to make him feel more comfortable about it.

“These things usually resolve themselves” said his nursery when we discussed his progress.

He’d had a couple of accidents at nursery where he had held back going to the loo for so long, that when he really really needed to go, he did not make it there in time.

“He is excellent at wee-ing” they added.

So, I have a toddler who is excellent at wee-ing but has a bit of a poopaphobia.

I do not think he inherited either trait from his father.

Have you experienced this with your children? How did they overcome their fear?

You can also find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter @Smudgerella


  1. April 22, 2012 / 6:24 PM

    This is really common Sarah. They can hold it for over a week – but it’s best nt encouraged, natch. The best advice I ever had was to put them straight into pants and let them wee and poo themselves. They don’t do that for long! And incidentally, I never used a potty for either of mine (2 boys) – straight to the loo. You’re doing brill. I would keep the night time nappies for a good while yet X

    • Grenglish
      April 23, 2012 / 7:53 PM

      Thanks Anya! He did a big one today but it took us over an hour to get him to sit down on the potty. He was running around crossing his legs and rubbing his tummy so obviously needed to go for ages. I’m sure he’ll get the hang of it soon, it must be so so hard for them but we have all been there and all got through it!

  2. April 22, 2012 / 7:25 PM

    Brilliant post! You had me laughing my head off at the beginning (sorry) and sympathising at the end! He’s doing really well! Can’t offer parenting advice as I have all of this to look forward to but I have seen a few children at nursery go through this and they all get there in the end!

    • Grenglish
      April 23, 2012 / 7:27 PM

      Thanks Charlotte, yes I have heard that this is very common and should resolve itself! I’m going to also give the sticker chart idea a go too, see if that helps xx

  3. April 22, 2012 / 10:39 PM

    I don’t know how old Zachy is but I had this with dd1 and she was just 3 when we finally did potty training properly (possibly late but we’d tried 6 months earlier and she just didn’t get it and I was heavily pregnant with dd2 so couldn’t cope with the mess). Anyway we resorted to sticker charts for poo only. She had to fill up a sticker chart by getting a sticker every time she did a poo on the potty (or loo) and when she had filled up the chart ( it was 10 -14 stickers I think) she got a big present – something she chose (can’t remember what it was now!)- this worked. We only needed to do it once – just got her over the poo fear!!
    Good luck!

    • Grenglish
      April 23, 2012 / 7:26 PM

      Thank you so much Rebecca! I am going to start a sticker chart – this is a great idea! Z is 2 yrs 7 months. Wees are no problem, but poos are harder, he is definitely holding them in.

  4. April 23, 2012 / 8:00 PM

    We had exactly the same, number 2’s became our nemesis. What worked for us was a simple rhyme and a sweet to go with it. Started with “is that a poo that I can see? If it is you get a key” and he got a big jelly key. Then we moved on to “did the poo make a splish, then you get a fish” queue a jelly shark! “if you see a poo fall, then you get a ball” …. chocolate football.
    My boy loved the rhymes and leant them as we said them over and over. Worth a go!

    • Grenglish
      April 23, 2012 / 8:05 PM

      What a lovely idea Lucy! He really loves songs too so it might just work! Thank you so much x

  5. Sarah Derrig
    April 24, 2012 / 6:43 AM

    We had the same problem with Sadie. She was great with the wee but not so great with the poo. The potty didn’t work, she was scared of it so we moved her straight to the toilet which helped. The BEST thing we did was put a chart on the fridge and every day if she had NO accidents then she could put a sticker on her chart at the end of the chart (started as a week, then 2 and now a month) she would get a present. This has worked wonders for us! After a few months of the chart program Sadie was great and we carried on with normal life. She started big school in September and was fine and then last term a new boy came to school who is the biggest bully a 4 year old has ever met. He would torment Sadieo on a daiy basis and this started the accidents again. She was so traumatised by this idiot kid that she would poo herself at school – something she hadn’t done in over a year! So we’ve started with the chart program again and over the Easter holidays we really made a big deal of no accidents and now she’s been back at school for the last 2 days and NO ACCIDENTS! It’s a hard slog the old potty training and for a while when she was 2 I thought Sadie would be wearing nappies until she was 12 but they eventually get it! Good luck! You’re doing everything perfectly!

    • Grenglish
      April 25, 2012 / 9:43 AM

      Oh no, poor poor Sadie!! Has it all been resolved now? Is the bully still at the school?
      I love the sticker chart idea – have set one up on our kitchen fridge and will let you know how it goes!
      Thank you for your advice xx

  6. April 24, 2012 / 2:51 PM

    Emma was scared well, shitless, of pooping to the point that she started to get constipated on our first attempts of using the potty. But she managed to get over it once she started to go on the toilet. We have no issues now! It will happen. My advice? Back off for a while and then try again in a few days/weeks. At the end of the day, potty training will happen when it happens for them, it’s not rush.

    • Grenglish
      April 25, 2012 / 9:40 AM

      Thank you so much for your advice. I think you are right – we’ll just let him take his time with the poos. He is much happier to go on the big toilet than on his potty so I will encourage that when he tells me that he wants to go.

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