Skip to main content

Today's Family Magazine

10 funny things a parent potty training their kid would do

By Cheryl Maguire

I think we can all agree that there is nothing glamorous about potty training.  Besides the obvious ick factor, all the “potty lingo” is enough to make you want to let your kid wear diapers for the rest of their life.  BTW why can’t we just call it a toilet?  My spell check doesn’t even recognize potty as a real word.  The whole process makes parents a little crazy and causing them to do things they didn’t think they would ever do.  Here are a few examples:
1. Spending hours searching for potty training reward charts, then spending a ridiculous amount of money on stickers and new underwear.  The massive amount of potty training books all suggest reward charts and new underwear are a good idea to get your kid excited about the wonderful world of using the potty.  You are going to have to do something to entice them because why would your child want to give up his diaper?  They are living a comfortable life in their diaper—never needing to stop what they are doing to go to the bathroom.  So it is understandable why some parents might invest a large amount of time and money to cajole their young one to give up their diapers.
2. Allowing your kid to drink a gallon of juice.  Most parents know that juice is filled with sugar so they will limit the amount their kid drinks.  But all bets are off when it comes to potty training. If drinking juice helps increase their chance that they might successfully pee in a toilet (or anything resembling one) then it’s possible a parent might let their kid exceed their juice limit for the day.
3. And then you end up allowing your child  to eat a bag of M&Ms.  So the juice worked and your kid actually sat on the toilet, nothing happened but you are so excited you let your kid have an M&M even though it’s nine o’ clock in the morning.  This continues all morning and before you know it most of the bag of M&Ms are gone.  Even though you kid didn’t pee (you are amazed at his camel-like bladder)
you are thrilled your kid sat on the toilet 10 times.
4. You bring a portable potty wherever you go.  There are a bunch of different portable potties—some are just a seat while another potty has a pot at the bottom so it’s like traveling with a real toilet. Whichever one you own it becomes your new must-have item that is with you and your child at all times.  I bet you never thought you would want to carry around a potty seat before you had kids.
5. You map out all the public restrooms within a 30-mile radius.  When your child begins the delightful process of potty training you will quickly learn, when they tell you they have to go to the bathroom they mean right now, not a minute to spare to figure out where the restroom is located.  One inexperienced mom learned the hard way when her daughter peed in the middle of the aisle at Target.  After that you can bet that she mapped out every public restroom with a 30-mile radius of her house and could be at the nearest one within seconds.
6. You clean the public restroom as if you were getting paid to do it.  For some unknown reason, toddlers (and some older kids) love touching the walls, floor, toilet paper, toilet and anything else you don’t want them touching in a public restroom.  When they go to touch any of these items all you can do (besides screaming NO) is envision the germs multiplying on the surface and now your kid’s hands.  So you end up pulling out your gallon size antibiotic wipes, cleaning everything in sight, almost giving your kid a shower in the process.
7. You bring a pad of Post-it notes with you to cover the automatic flush sensor.  Those automatic flush sensors found in some public restrooms are a parent’s worst nightmare.  It’s hard enough with your kid touching every germ-infested surface and now the toilet flushes out of the blue scaring your kid to the point they would never want to attempt using it again.  The best way to prevent this situation is to put a Post-it note over the sensor.  Now you end up carrying with you a toilet seat, a bottle of anti-bacterial wipes and Post-it notes.
8. You bring an entire suitcase of clothes to prepare for “the accident.”  Since it is all a learning process your kid is most likely going to have an accident at some point.  In order to prepare for the inevitable you find yourself packing a whole wardrobe of clothes.  What if they have more than one accident?  What if they are hot/cold?  You just never know, so you pack it all.
9. You refuse to leave the house for two weeks because you are tired and just can’t use another public restroom.  Potty training is exhausting.  When you leave the house you bring a toilet seat, a bottle of anti-bacterial wipes, Post-it notes, and a suitcase filled with clothes which are tiring just thinking about it.  You don’t have the energy to map out the public restrooms and then clean/cover the toilets so it’s easier just to stay home.
10. Celebrate like you won the billion dollar lottery when your child actually uses the potty.  When your kid finally uses the potty you find yourself jumping up and down, screaming as if you just won the lottery.  Because in a sense you have, the freedom to leave the house again.
Us parents that have been there, feel your pain. Just know that you will get through this traumatic parenting endeavor and it will all be a distant memory (sort of).  Hopefully, you will finally be able to call it by its real name—a toilet and leave all that “potty talk” behind you.

Cheryl Maguire holds a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. She is married and the mother of twins and a daughter.