Potty Training

Let the games begin. After a successful removal of the pacifier from all daily life (except sleeping), we decided to embark on attempting to get Ezra out of diapers. Now before I go any further, a bit of full disclosure has to happen: I hate, and I mean hate, poop. For each and every diaper that I have changed on Ezra and Liam, there is some sort of massive displeasure and gagging that occurs. Liam didn’t seem to care about my reaction too much, but Ezra laughed at me each and every time. With this background, you can imagine that venturing into a world where I would have to do more than just throw away a poopy diaper…and actually clean something has proven to be rather daunting. The full disclosure part of this posting closes as I say that due to what you have now learned, Ahna has taken the lead on this project.

This all started out with some attempts at introducing the idea of going to use the toilet to Ezra. You see, for the nearly three years of his life, he has shown approximately zero interest in going to the bathroom anywhere specifically. As a matter of fact, he cares so little about it that he’ll just go wherever and whenever he needs to…so when he doesn’t have a diaper on, it doesn’t phase him one little bit (a good example a little later). So the concept of generating his interest in using the potty has been something that thus far has been the sticking point – we haven’t even gotten to all of the other normal sticking points to potty training (the sounds, the flush, sitting still, wiping, the responsibility, etc).

how the counter adornments have changed...

The one thing that Ezra does seem mostly interested in doing is wearing underwear. The simple summary of our methodology for the training is this (adopted from Peggy): skip pull-ups and go straight to underwear. Spend a few days doing nearly nothing but sitting on the potty every 15-20 minutes. By having underwear on, it will create the discomfort and they will at some point want to avoid being wet or otherwise. After three accidents in one day, go back to diapers and don’t make a big deal out of it. Sounds logical, caring, and something that we can handle. The only hiccup to the entire program is if/when the child doesn’t have any care to sit still or any interest to continue….enter Ezra. We know that we can push, but the last thing that we want to do is to create a negative vibe surrounding going to the bathroom.

Ahna began training Ezra late last week (10 days ago-ish) and it went fairly well for the first couple of days. Ezra would enjoy the Toy Story or Cars themed garments, and if he peed he would look up from playing and say ‘uh-oh’ before immediately returning to playing. Although there wasn’t any use of the potty, the two of them were able to work out a way that Ezra would wear underwear while they were home and sit on the potty for always increasing amounts of time. There was no revelation made, but there was steady progress. Until one day when Ezra realized that he was in fact 2.5 years old, and the testing began. Following a massive meltdown by both child (Ezra) and parent (me), we have made a few concessions: we will slow it down a little. We will try to hang out in underwear for a few hours each day or night and not push the issue too hard. We will work on gaining momentum in the ‘interest’ phase of this process. And finally, two of us will work on our patience a little bit (I’m not going to say who those two are, but Ahna is not one of them).

So it slowly continues. Some days are better than others, and some days we just don’t even try a little. In order to try to stay calm, I keep telling myself another piece of advice that Peggy passed along (after someone gave it to her many years ago): he’s not going to go to prom in diapers. Now if there was only a simple piece of advice that I could remember to get through dealing with the poop….


  1. Okay. We are in the same boat. We know we are in the same boat. Only, for us, the screaming and tantrums began with the first concentrated day of potty training. All day. Every single day. For 10 days. And then yesterday, laughing and clapping and having regular number 1’s… with jellybeans as her reward (she gets to pick the color). I think that was her turning point. She got to pick the color. Of course, we’ll see how today goes. I’ll let you know. Good luck. Don’t give in or give up. He may not go to prom in diapers, but you don’t want him to go to kindergarten in them either 😉

  2. kim scott says:

    oh my gosh, you have made my day, pictures are wonderful, he is so precious. Little boys are so hard to train,here is a little help… put 5 or 6 cheerios in the potty and have him try to aim at them when he potty’s, this could be a fun game…also tell him that when he has on his big boy panties that he does not want to pee on ex: buzz light year, because he would be so sad…good luck.

  3. Sandra Hernandez says:

    Oh the memories. It was my mom that had the patience. She actually got my son to use the potty at grandma’s, but once home, it all went down the toilet. I don’t think grandma liked my response — “as long as he’s potty trained by the time he goes to college, I’ll be happy.” He did succeed however and is now 27. Hang in there! 😀

  4. Kjerstin says:

    Ezra’s going to hate you for the one picture someday. . . 🙂

  5. Diana Linden says:

    It was nice to see the three of you at Kinderkirche on Sunday!

  6. We tried it all – stickers, rewards, cookies anything to get Ian to sit on the potty. As the Dr. mentioned to me it’s a “I know I’m in control” thing for him. We did the underwear and were doing awesome and then enter pullups because we had a dinner at a friends house. We regressed so far back it was a struggle to get Ian back on the potty. I don’t like the poop (does anyone really?) so we’ve made a big deal about pooping on the BIG potty. Recently (he’s now 3) he’s started to have more interest. We have used the Gerber Reusable training pants now and they have worked. traps some of the pee. Anyway we are in the same boat – patience is key and it’s hard but he is starting to tell us and goes on the potty more regularly and we haven’t had to use a reward system. 🙂 Good luck!!!

  7. Val Haas says:

    This post has me laughing out loud in my office! I LOVE the picture of Ezra on the potty chair with a beverage in hand! After 3 girls, I will be watching your journey with Ezra with GREAT interest since I now have a 2-year-old boy. Peggy is a wise sage, isn’t she? I will let you in on a little secret…I had Peggy potty train my girls while I went to work. I think I’ll do the same with Anthony! I know, I’m not Mom Of The Year, but hey, do what works!! Sorry Peggy!!!

  8. Well, David hasn’t given us the tantrums. Not too often anyway… However, after probably 3 months of training, Katy and I have realized that it’s primarily us that have been trained. I’d say a 90/10 split between who’s learning more. I can count on one hand the number of times David has told us or daycare that he has to go potty and then goes potty. Otherwise, it’s entirely on us to prompt David to go. First it was every 20-30 minutes and now we’re up to about 60-90 minutes. But he still doesn’t pre-emptively notify us. Just a few days ago he got out of bed and walked cutely over to Katy’s side of the bed and whispered “I pooped my pants.” How’s that for good morning. And if he is running around outside or deep into play, forget about it. So, we’re still waiting for that light bulb to go on for David. I’m starting to think it’s one of those crappy CFL bulbs that take forever to get to full intensity! I will say that we recently drove to IA to see my fam and the pants stayed dry for the 10hrs of driving, so that was impressive. I think what David has learned over the months, is to hold it until he gets to the potty. So, as they say, baby steps…. Good Luck!

  9. Never gets old and seems entirely appropriate given you’re admitted reaction to poop. It’s the video of dad’s gagging while changing a diaper. Always funny!

  10. Jody and Norris says:

    It is never easy, and always frustrating! Our (MY) philosophy was always, if it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, stop and pick up again in a month or so. They get a little more interested each time. Best of luck!

  11. Andrea Davis says:

    I am so not looking forward to this. I am really hoping that it is true that girls are easier to train. Good luck to you both.

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