potty training

You’re Not a Bad Mom: An Ode to the Late Potty Trainer

He’s still in diapers?!

Mine was potty trained at 18 months.

You must be so tired of buying diapers.

Have you tried awesome sticker chart and five point reward system?

Conspiratorial tone* So and so’s kid didn’t potty train until he was five! *collective gasp*

Back in my day we made ‘em tear out their own catalog pages and trek out back to the outhouse at two…in the snow…uphill.

My precious was potty trained in the womb and came out reciting the first twenty-six digits of pi.

The sanctimommy, your co-workers, the meddling in-laws, and even the well meaning friend sharing unsolicited advice.

Jane, the internet over sharer, has just posted her thirteenth brag, I mean post, about sixteen month old Johnny, the potty wonder child.

You start to feel the mom guilt poking at you like your busted underwire as you’re desperately trying to figure out how much longer Junior is going to fit in a Pampers size 6.


Odds are, if you have a child over three who has yet to master use of the porcelain convenience, you’ve been there. I’m just here to offer a friendly reminder in the midst of all the pressure and chaos: It’s ok.

Really, I mean it.

As hard as it may seem, take a deep breath. Remember, your potty training schedule, or even lack thereof is nobody’s business but that of you and your family. If Sally Sanctimommy isn’t buying the diapers and doing the wiping, she needs to stay in her lane.

potty training
Closeup of cute little 12 months old toddler baby girl child sitting on potty. Kid playing with doll toy. Toilet training concept. Baby learning, development steps.

First, allow me to “spill the tea.” Is that what the youngsters are saying these days? (Newsflash: I’m unapologetically uncool.)

Anyway, I’ll let you in on a little secret. None of my three kids potty trained before 3 1/2. Well, technically my youngest is just shy of 3 1/2, but so far the potty has been a literal no-go.

You know what? I’m not the least bit embarrassed or guilty about it.

Let the pitchfork wielding internet mobs pass their judgement, but long ago I chose to stick my fingers in my ears, ignore them, and do what’s best for MY family.

I will admit that I did try to push the issue much earlier with my first. I was overwhelmed by pressure and mom guilt. Let’s just say things didn’t go as planned.

Did we crash and burn?


(If you read that in his voice you’re my new best friend)

I tried all the methodology, bribes, potty seats, etc. There were tears, lots of tears, both his and mine. Nothing worked, and everything caused strife and anxiety.

He just. wasn’t. ready.

Now, I realize that some families face potty training pressure because of daycare and preschool requirements. If that’s you, I understand that you may not have the luxury of flexibility afforded to me by staying home.

I took a step back and realized it was quite simple for us.

What’s the rush?

Sure, you can list several convenience factors in favor of early training. However, nothing was worth the stress (both his and mine) that was created by forcing my kid to do something he just wasn’t ready to do. Once we decided to drop back and punt, a weight was immediately lifted from the whole family.

When I could sense that they were truly ready, the whole experience could not have been easier. Both children were able to easily communicate when they needed the bathroom, they were dry through the night, and the result was almost no accidents. It took less than a week of actual “training,” and they were good to go. Pun intended. Most importantly, they were happy and secure.

Maybe your kid is an over-achieving early potty training genius. If so, awesome, go for it! Enjoy the freedom and one less year shelling out for diapers!

potty training
Little girl on the potty in the room

If not, don’t sweat it. Your little ones are still amazing and in no way inferior. Don’t let your self worth as a mom and your parenting choices be dictated by social media’s sometimes unrealistic expectations. Trust your gut, and do what is best for them, not what the world tells you is best.

I promise, there’s no check box on the SAT for early potty trainers.

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