We tried this over the break:It didn’t work.

At all.

The problem with this is that I’m a strict potty-trainer. I’m serious about it. Potty training is my “thing.”

This is my system:

1) buy the most appealing panties/underwear at the store for the particular child you are potty training. (Elmo, Spiderman, Dora, etc.)

2) ooooo and ahhhhh over how amazing they are (yes, the underwear)

3) put them in a special place until the designated “potty day” (show the child the upcoming date on the calendar, count down the days, talk about how excited you are, etc….and don’t schedule ANYTHING else for that day or the few days after…that’s of course where it gets tricky…but I try my best)

4) on the designated day, say goodbye to diapers and get ready for lots of accidents

5) have said potty-trainee sit on toilet for endless hours and drink gallons of liquids

6) give stickers on a sticker chart AND a skittle or m&m every time there is a success

7) talk excitedly about the reward (decided together beforehand) that comes after the sticker chart is filled

8) try not to freak out more than completely necessary at the messes involved

9) enjoy your newly potty-trained child

One extra note: once potty training starts there’s NO GOING BACK. Diapers are gone (except at night and for naps). No matter how hard and frustrating it gets, I’ve found the longest it really takes if you’re serious is three days, and to me it’s worth it to have a few agonizing days to get results.

Simple, right? It’s worked like a charm four times. It was hard work, but seriously, bring it on if it’s gonna help get rid of those diapers.

But not this time. This time I gave in. Even with my three older daughter cheerleaders at my side.

Lucy doesn’t get it.

And I’m left to wonder:

Am I pushing her too hard? (even though I waited way longer than I did with my other kids)
Should I have given up so easily after two days of messes?
Did I let her quit trying because I’m labeling her with a syndrome and not expecting what I should?
Was I wrong to try when she really can’t pull up her pants yet?
Have I become a push-over?
Am I just a sucker because Lucy is my baby?
Should I stick with it for longer and drive us both nuts?

I don’t know.

What I do know, however, is that someday in the future Lucy is going to kill me for posting that picture…

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  1. My Jamison had some delays too and it took her much longer to potty train. It's like she just didn't get it. She'll get there. Love the picture though!

  2. love the picture…and i am going through the same thing…times 2…with twin girls who are 2.5. one is dry all day, but will not go #2…she did today in big girl underwear, but that was the first, so i put her in a pull up, so she would go #2…didn't want to do the pull up thing.

    the other one tells me she doesn't have to go potty on the potty because she has a diaper on…i really need to work harder at it, but wow it is a lot of work!

    thanks for sharing your tips/process…i love it and this what i just need to do!

    love your blog too!

  3. That is a fantastic system! Thank you, I will be using it with my almost 2 yr old soon. I agree with you, I will go through a few really hard days to be done. I have been "changing" long enough ha! We JUST, I mean in Oct-Nov finished pt our 8 yr old son. YES, 8. He just couldn't get it, and I often wondered if I was using the diagnosis as an excuse too, but he finally got it and I am on cloud 9! We finally had a teacher that told us to put him on the potty with his favorite thing (movie for him)and have him sit a while with it a few times a day. We did that for a week. The next week he had to sit with out it, but got to watch after he went. It worked like a charm. I wish I had thought of it years ago! Best wishes to you, it will happen!

  4. I am loving your blog!!! Can't remember for the life of me how I found it, by I love it!
    My oldest child (age 17) has some pretty significant delays and wasn't potty trained until she was 5. Her preschool teacher made a huge deal about how it was TIME to be potty trained and that just traumatized her, something I'll regret always. (By the way, my next four "typical" kids were all potty trained at age 2). I say it'll happen when she's ready and with a child who is cognitively delayed, you have to wait until they ready. Just my two cents 🙂

  5. Sorry, no answers…I just want to encourage you. I would have given up too. The messes are so hard to deal with, so maybe diapers are okay for a while. I'm guessing she's probably going to respond to your method (which, by the way, is almost exactly what we did, so of course I love it.) but later than the others.

    Praying for patience for you as you learn with her…

  6. even if she didn't have a syndrom all kids are just different and you toally know that. you were just lucky the last 4 times.

    tristan AND jenna both potty trained themselves at 4 and 3 1/2, i know it's late but i always felt like who's really training who when you're fighting with a 2-2 1/2year old/ all i had to do was ask and when they were ready to wear underware they said sure and NEVER had accidents and NEVER wet there bed at nap or bedtime. i think their brains were just ready. tatum was a whole different story and i still can't talk about it. see…different! you guys are fine and so is lucy, be easy on yourself. and she is TOTALLY going to kill you for that picture but i do love those squishy little buns.

  7. Ah…those were the days. I had one difficult but on time, one late and difficult but once he had it, he HAD it, and one that trained himself. Go figure, all I can say is that they're all different! But, when Lucy hates that picture, tell her how much we all loved it, SO CUTE!!

    Better luck next time, sweet Lucy!

  8. I am just curious when your others where potty trained. 2,3?
    Your family is adorable. Sper ca sunteti cu totii bine. Iti mai aduci aminde de mine? Madalina Icleanu aka Maddy Sanders now.
    Te pup!

  9. Hi Shawni, I love your blog. I don't usually comment, but I love this post. I admittedly am the worst potty trainer in the world. My first child just got it, no thanks to me. My second child, a boy, didn't get potty trained completely until he was 4 1/2!! It was a year and a half of pure torture-I was terribly inconsistent and overwhelmed. We moved across the country and had another baby during that time, made it much worse!! Now I need to get by 2 yo potty trained and I am dreading it!! UGH!! Thanks for the tips, though. I'm going to do it right this time!! My baby is going to be potty trained at 18 months, I'm determined!!

  10. this is literally THE best post i have ever read.
    you pretty much summed up my thinking process when it comes to EVERYTHING in motherhood. and i adore having your potty training steps as a reference to when it comes to MY potty training adventure.
    you are hilarious and down to earth and i freakin' love you!

  11. Number three nearly killed me too. My baby and I babied the heck outta him. I just finally said, it is what it is and he won't go to kindergarten in a pull up or a diaper so whatever. Once I gave up the stress of doing it, he came around and did it himself!

  12. I have potty trained many children too! I was a nanny for 10 years so I have definately done alot of it! I use the EXACT same methods and it worked awesome on both my girls! (until my one daughter got constipated once, whole other story, but the pee part, she was great with)….
    I say maybe she just isn't ready, it could be for all the reasons you listed, but she will come around when she is ready and then you probably won't even have the 3 days of messes, she will just DO IT! you are such an awesome mom! seriously, I really really admire you so much! you are a great role model! tara

  13. My son started showing interest at 18 months. He pooed first and then he peed in the potty. But nothing on a regular basis. I followed his lead and never pushed. He pulled back for a while and showed no interest. I still offered, but he said no. At about 26 months we got a potty with a sticker chart and he LOVED it. I told him if he could fill up his chart he could have a big boy bed. That did it. He filled that chart in (70 stars) within 3 weeks. He got his big boy bed, he was proud. Still wasn't ready for undies (we tried a few times), but we were getting there. Two and half months went by. He would go pee on the potty a lot and never poo'd his diaper, but we were still have accidents. One day we were in Walmart. I told him – let's go look at the big boy undies. He found Wolverine ones and just HAD to have them. I told him he was not allowed to wear them or even OPEN them until he didn't have an accident for 7 days… of course he is too young too understand the time, but each day I would tell him only 5, 4, 3… days left! And he would get so excited. Finally the big day came – he was jumping up and down, so very excited. We put them on and haven't been in pull-ups/diapers since (except for bedtime – naptime he wears undies). It is great to only have one child in diapers and not two. I say follow her lead. She'll let you know when she is ready. She must know she is your baby! Ther is always one odd duck out. 🙂 Whew – that is quite the comment.

  14. I potty trained Clara and Eliza before 2 and right after 2 and there are down sides. For an entire year, they can't get themselves on the toilet by themselves because it is too high to climb. She's a smart princess, she'll get it and drive you crazy in the process.

  15. You've said it before, you know the answer..you're the Mom and Lucy's Mom knows what's best for Lucy — you did PERFECT!
    Let that girl have diapee's for a while longer — although what a CUTE tooshie!!

  16. One of mine was well over 3 and refused to poo in the potty. She loved to swim so I refused to let her swim until she used the potty for her poo. She had to just sit on my lap and watch the others swim. Cruel, I know, but I was desperate and I was afraid of her pooing in the pool. It took two weeks but, by golly, it worked. Good luck, even after seven kids I don't have any more advice than that. Potty training and teaching them to drive, in my mind those are the two biggies. Tough but worth it in the long run.

  17. I agree– you were just lucky with the other four. Cam was horrible so I tried your method and he did even worse. I think there isn't just one foolproof method for all kids. Each of my three responded to something totally different.
    Don't despair! This is just making you more compassionate for all the rest of us who had to try eight different method to get our kids to go where it goes. 🙂

  18. It will happen when it is meant to happen. Let it go! She is perfect as she is! The picture is simply adorable! If anyone judges you for having a non-potty baby just point out the older ones are all doing pee pee and poo poo in the potty. My oldest is almost 30. I especially like to tell doctors this. They inevitabely ask how old he is and I tell them 29 and 1/2.

    At least I get a good chuckle!

  19. I wish it would only take 3 days…
    I was really wishy-washy about it when my son turned 18mo, inconsistent and lazy. Now he's 2 1/2, and I'm expecting #3 in June. I really don't want/need 3 in diapers, so I'm pushing it now. It's been one week with diapers only at bed and nap time (sometimes he stays in undies for nap) but he's only earned 3 stickers so far. He poops in his diaper before we've gotten up in the am, and he's having so many more accidents than successes. I want to give up, but do not want him to be in diapers when the new babe arrives.
    …I feel like you. Am I just pushing too hard? Would it be best to wait until it's his idea, and just hope that it's soon?
    I don't know what I'm doing…
    Anyway, good luck to you if you stick with it, and good luck if you try again later. I'm sure it will happen eventually.

  20. I think you intuitively know what Lucy is capable of because you are her mother- syndrome or no syndrome. You are not a pushover. You are respectful of her unique needs. I have 2 typically developing children and one who is delayed. Sometimes, he's needs extra pushes. Sometimes, he needs time. I try very hard to listen to my mommy gut because no matter what the experts say, I am the expert on my own child. I think I read that in a book somewhere….

  21. You and I have the exact same technique…and it has always worked for me too…which leads me to believe that Lucy needs more time…my magic time was always 2 years and 3 months give or take…but I think if you wait another 3-6 months and try again it will work.
    LOVE that picture.

  22. hi shawni. you don't really know me, but i am a friend of saydi's. we met in jerusalem, my name is kristen anthony. i randomly stumbled onto your blog and read this post. as a mother, about to potty train for the first time, i just wanted to ask you what age you think is the best age to do it? i hope you don't think this is weird, but if you have a second, i'd LOVE to know! thanks!!! (kkanthony@gmail.com)p.s. i got to your blog thru kara jayne kelly's.

  23. ahhh my favorite subject. Sophie was just potty trained a few weeks ago. She is three and a half. I tried several times with a similar routine as you. No dice. I waited a few months and would try again. Finally, it just clicked. It will click in her own time. I LOVE the pic.

  24. Thanks for sharing! I never got this right – potty training was very definitely NOT my thing! Just want to encourage you to be patient with her – actually I think you are really patient already anyway. good luck!

  25. Just found your blog…such great insight on potty training! We are getting ready to do it in our house soon. I better get the Thomas underwear ready!

    Your kiddos are so cute by the way!

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