Family Tips & Tricks

Potty Training In 18 Months: My Blunderful Experience

October 25, 2015


Bug, one of the first times she used the potty. She was 12 months old.


“I will NEVER have 2 children in diapers” this was my overall personal motivation to start potty training my daughter early. I don’t like diapers and as my daughter got older I just became sick of the process. I wasn’t pregnant but I knew it would be good to start sooner rather than later.

Yes, it took me 18 months to potty train my sweet daughter and let me tell you why- simple really, she was a pain in the butt! She was so head strong and was smart enough to realize that she was really the one in charge so she strung me along until I all but pulled my hair out! BUT, I’ve never had 2 in diapers!

Now, that being said, I started her exposure at 12 months and chucked the diapers altogether a few months after her 2nd birthday (4 months before Little Bear was born) so the 18 months computed to a 2 1/2 year old being potty trained.

I’m not going to re-tell the tale that was “my 18 months of potty training” because that’s boring and only of interest to people potty training. Quite frankly, the last thing that I want to do is relive that poo horror show. I decide that for this post, I will give 3 tips for the things that worked for me and then share a few stories of the things that didn’t. Because let’s be honest, those are always the best stories.

I read a few books, but the one I started with was “diaper free before 3“. It was a recommendation from a good friend and fellow educator.  It was great, but there were some things about the program that just didn’t work for myself or my daughter. It was an awesome foundation though.


  1. Based on the personality of your child, rewards are acceptable. It’s the age old trick with training and even though every “expert” on earth recommends against it, they clearly did not have had a child crapping their pants 3 times a day! I used stickers and books (every 5 stickers she got a new book). I also used chocolate chips or M&Ms.
  2. Readiness is a real thing on the child’s part but it’s mostly for the mommy. I had a month where Bug was having 2-3 accidents a day and so many people told me “she must not be ready” but I  was.  I was willing to put up with the pain of the accidents because I knew that it would end sooner rather than later and if I gave up and waited for her to be “ready” it would be a lot longer in diapers. No one likes sitting in their own crap- that’s why babies cry when they need to be changed and why toddlers bring you diapers when they are ready to be changed. You decide when you are ready, and go from there.
  3. Although, I am convinced that my daughter was out to get me and was trying to make my experience the worst possible, I don’t think she is quite that devious. So don’t let it get to your head if you feel your child is constantly outwitting you at the Potty Games (Hunger Games pun intended).


  1. Make sure that if there is ever an “emergency” where going potty outside is needed that you explain very extensively that it is exclusively for “emergencies”. I had all too many times where I would find Bug  running outside to go to the bathroom because I took her outside 1 time when she had to go and the one  bathroom was already occupied. Then, it became the thing to do when she was playing outside and didn’t want to take the time to come in. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in my back yard, at a public park, at a public pool, or anywhere outside really where my daughter hasn’t stopped, pulled down her pants, squatted (just like mommy showed her) and peed…not to mention the few times she took a nice duce too. I was so proud.
  2. Never underestimate the ability your child has to store urine. We were once at church and I literally took her to the bathroom 4 times. The 5th time I told her I wasn’t going to take her again and so she looked at me, gave me a smug little smile and proceeded to pee on me as I held her. She was so lucky that we were in church.
  3. Never trust a child who hides in a corner or gets quiet. Although Bug never did this routinely, if it ever got quiet I always got subconsciously excited because I could get a load of dishes or laundry done. But it was always followed by the horrible reminder that she was busy pooping in her pants.

One time while my mom was watching her she pooped on their driveway- gross…my mother was kind enough to leave it for me to clean up when I got back. I took Bug out to talk to her about it and I said: “oh my gosh, who pooped right on the drive way?” her response: “I think the dog did” Me: “Really? the dogs don’t usually poop on the driveway” Bug: “she did, she came right up and pooped on the driveway” Me: “are you sure? ” Bug: “Yes!” Me: “this looks a whole lot like your poop” Bug: “maybe it’s my poop, maybe the dog didn’t poop on the driveway, maybe I did”.

Thoughts going through my head: Maybe?! Really kid? You just lied about your own crap! As though I wouldn’t know! You blamed it on the dog?! The only thing the dog had to do with this is that baboo (what she calls my mom) had to keep the dog from eating it!

What actually came out: uncontrolled laughter….which didn’t help the situation. But how could I not?

About a week after Little Bear was born I fully experienced the wonder that is being peed on by a boy…it was pretty much all over me. My response was uncontrollable laughter which as you moms out there may know,  resulted in me full on peeing my pants.  By the time my husband came into take care of the baby who was still peeing on me I had peed myself. As I ran to the bathroom, Bug was on her way too.  I told her I had to go first…..needless to say, it ended with me standing in a puddle laughing my ass off, Bug standing in a puddle slightly horrified and amused, and Little Bear who had showered himself and was screaming. The only one with their dignity intact was my Husband. Thank you natural childbirth!

My Reality: Although I had so many moments where I wondered why I started so young with Bug, I am so happy that I did and I fully plan to do the same thing with Little Bear. It was so worth it.


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  • Reply Mary Clare October 25, 2015 at 5:59 pm

    I am sitting here laughing my little hiney off!

  • Reply Stephanie V October 25, 2015 at 11:49 pm

    Oh yes. I’ll forever remember the incident at the park. I loved that we could laugh together about it. We’ve had so many accidents. Recently had the sleep walking boy come in our room and pee on our rug. Once again, a laughing moment.

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