Why I QUIT Potty Training

If like me, you’re a researcher when it comes to kids, you’ll have read time and time again how once you commit to potty training, you need to stick with it. It’s obviously really that if you start swapping back and forth between nappies, pull ups and using the potty or toilet that the poor trainee is not going to know whether they are coming or going.

Back in January, facing a long stretch at home for the incubation period of chicken pox, we embarked on what would be a four month mission. Jess had shown so many signs of readiness. She had used the potty at bath time, knew when she was wet/dirty and asked to have her nappy changed. She had also started to take an interest in other people going to the toilet…myself especially (lucky me).

I’m Ready

So after swotting up online and in books, the night before, I created a sticker chart, got out some choc chips as mini rewards and positioned the potty/toilet seat/wipes/entertainment. I was ready. It felt like the night before an exam. The first few days were pretty typical; lots of accident but also lots of chances for rewards. Stickers sometimes motivated her but chocolate chips definitely had the desired affect.

By the time the chicken pox had come and gone, I was feeling confident enough to brave an outing. I lined the car seat with a plastic bag and towel. We made sure she’d been and then it was go go go. Arriving at my folks with a dry child and more importantly, a dry car seat felt like a victory. We were getting there. After a month she was having a few accidents a week, which again, from what I’d read, was still pretty normal.


For the next two months, little progress was made and looking back now, I realise she really wasn’t taking much responsibility for getting herself to the potty. Maybe once or twice a week, she’d surprise me and run to the potty shouting she needed to go. However most if the time, she went to an unplanned routine. When she got up, before nap, after dinner and before bed were the times I’d figured out that she needed to go and if she didn’t go at roughly those times, she’d have an accident.

Knowing accident were imminent, meant I was eagle eyed at these points and I can see now, I took her more times than I should or otherwise bribed her to sit and try. It’s clear now, she wasn’t doing it herself so why did we persevere? Well it’s because I’m stubborn and hate failure. To give up would have felt like I hadn’t done it right. Also because if our little routine, she wasn’t really having many accidents. We even managed to keep up the charade for long car rides, flights and holidays. I’d convinced myself it was still working.


Three months in and we started having an issue with sleeping. She didn’t want to wear a nappy/pull ups but understandably, didn’t have the bladder control for an allnighter. Result…lots of wet sheets and upset in the wee hours. We felt our only choice was to convert from cots to beds. With twins, that brought a whole other set of problems with it. Those clips of twins in and out of each other beds are cute but jeez it’s exhausting.

Breaking point

Everything came to a head this week. The ‘testing twos’ stage was hitting hard, bedtimes were a battle and on a family visit, the potty training that I thought I had nailed, unravelled before my eyes. In our week stay, I could count the successful trips to the potty on one hand. We also experienced what I can only describe as tantrum wetting, where she’d get herself so wound up she’d wet herself.

After yet another accident at the airport, I was determined to get back on track but the following day, Jess was digging her heels in. Our routine had disappeared and when I reminded her, she stood there and wet herself right in front of me. Later that day, after another reminder she took herself behind the sofa and again wet herself. When I asked her why, she said she’d done it on purpose.


Enough was Enough

I started to spiral. The relative calm of a month prior had evaporated. Every aspect of the day now left me feeling clueless and second guessing myself. I no longer felt confident in the decisions I’d made and was making. In utter frustration, I put her back in a nappy. She clearly wasn’t going to play the game anymore and why should she. The pants were put away.

It’s actually feels quite a relief. Maybe I could have brought it back but then maybe we’d still be in the same position in another few months. Honestly, I really am disappointed. There are so many case studies that seem to troubleshoot all sorts of hurdles but none quite fitted ours. My plan now is to just wait and let her choose when she’s ready. We need to do what’s best for us and for now nappies are a small price to pay for a bit of my sanity back.

Anyone else had a similar experience? Please tell me it’s all going to be ok.



When potty training just doesn't go to plan, its ok to just quit. Sometimes they are just not ready but they will get there when they are.

8 thoughts on “Why I QUIT Potty Training

  1. Your not a failure your doing a fantastic job with your girls this is just a set back and all will sort itself out in the course of time, each child is different and no matter how much research or planning if their not ready it ain’t happening chin up and battle on your doing fine, never a failure love you always x x

  2. We’ve pretty much stopped potty training our daughter for now as well. It got to the point where I she’s not wearing pants, she will go to the toilet on her own but as soon as we out anything on her, anything at all that touched her bottom, she just goes in that. After months and months of this we also decided to let her go back to diapers until she lets us know she’s ready. You’ll get through this and I think one day it’ll just happen on its own and she’ll decide she doesn’t want to have a wet diaper on anymore. Hang in there momma!

    1. I’m really hoping so. I was quite surprised she was fine to go back to nappies. Maybe that just shows she wasn’t ready. We’ll get there hey x

  3. Yes!! Mine started brilliantly then went downhill – we tried on and off for 1 1/2 years!! We were actively investigating what to do if he started school! Luckily it eventually clicked – then being dry at night took another 2 years!!

    I don’t have any words of wisdom (clearly) His nursery definitely were part of the problem and I’m sure we made it worse by asking all of the time!

    My second is coming towards the age we could start but I’m planning on sending her to grandma to do it 😉

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