How to Potty Train in Less Than A Year

potty train

HHAHAHAHAH! I seriously laughed out loud when I came up with the title to this blog post. I am the funniest person I know. Really. Oh, except for Alex. Because he makes great jokes like “Hey Eleanor, are you babysitting?”


I know. We are a crack up. It’s ok.

So we began potty training December of 2014. I was almost nine months pregnant. Alex was home for Christmas vacation. We were loaded with panties, boot camp potty training manuals and high hopes. We were all in. ALL IN.

I love the boot camp method. It is awesome. Three days and done. It could have been the absolute awesomest thing I have ever experienced…except it didn’t work. Not for Eleanor. Oh stubborn child. How I love thee.

We pressed on. Persevering through four months of accidents, anger, frustration and tears. Mine…not hers. Three days were awesome. Then two weeks of constant accidents. Then she had it. Then she didn’t. We road tripped to Missouri and no accidents. And then the minute we arrived she peed in her pants every.single.time.

By the way Eleanor, I’m sorry I’m writing this for the world to see. Please forgive me. I’m getting to the good stuff I promise. The real reason I’m writing it is because I really am so proud of you and want to celebrate your GIANT success with the world. Because spoiler alert…she’s potty trained!


What do I call potty trained? Less than one accident a day. And we are there. With a huge sigh of relief and the pressure lifted off my shoulders I exclaim: WE ARE POTTY TRAINED! (I am a mom, therefore I use pronouns like “we” and say the word “potty” too many times to count).

Ok, back to the story…In April we quit. We just straight up quit. I stuck a pull up on that girl in the middle of the day and we quit. You know what she did? She turned straight to me and said “Mommy, I have to go pee.” (Insert screaming face pulling out my hair here).

Her desire to use the potty didn’t last much longer than that. We reversed right back to diapers and I quit being angry at my two year old and it felt right. Here’s my first bit of advice…don’t be afraid to quit. Everything tells you that you shouldn’t go backwards. But you can. And it is ok. I promise. It is ok.

Next: wait until you are really, really, really ready to start again. Note that I said YOU, not her. Potty training really is all about you and your readiness, not your child’s. I truly believe this. I talked myself into potty training again because I gave myself an incentive. If we can get Eleanor out of diapers then I will quit using cloth diapers on Ru. Just like we give our children treats for potty training, I was giving myself one.


So in the beginning of August Alex and I set forth with the mission to potty train again. (Gah, how I hate cloth diapers!) We went back to our boot camp ways and the accidents continued. She just couldn’t grasp the concept. We were visiting my sister in Missouri and I begged her for her trick. Her daughter was potty trained and basically did it in a weekend. One day it just clicked. How? So while we were in Missouri and Eleanor was basically peeing all over everything I finally got the brainiac idea to take off the panties and let her run around naked. Somewhere along the potty training path I had been told to just put the panties on to teach her how to use them, and I never looked back. Finally I had the good sense to take the panties off and the first time Eleanor’s poop and pee hit the floor it was a game changer.

For nearly three weeks we let her run around in dresses with no big girl panties on. As long as she was naked she never had an accident. NEVER! Once we were really comfortable (weeks later) we finally started putting panties on and leaving the house. Then during nap time and bed time we put her to bed naked. Just one accident in her bed and I guarantee you Eleanor will do everything in her power to prevent another one. She still has accidents in her bed but they are fewer and further between. And it is worth it to me to not use pull-ups at all.

And now we are nearly through September and I am calling Eleanor officially trained. I can leave the house without worry. Sometimes I don’t make her go before we leave the house (gasp!) We can run errands and I no longer remind her at every stop to tell me if she has to go. Oh how sweet freedom feels!

Ok, so my last piece of advice? Celebrate, Celebrate, Celebrate! Drink that wine momma! You did good. Buy your kiddo something giant and expensive. After all, it’s gotta cost less than those pull-ups. And maybe even buy yourself something large and expensive as well. For me, well, I’m done with cloth diapers. I’m throwing the dang things out the door and Ruthie is going to sport the ever gorgeous Honest Company diapers now.


Clearly I don’t know the first thing about potty training. I basically never want to do it again and Ruthie is just going to have to figure this one out for herself. Or maybe momma will convenient schedule a week vacation and leave it up to daddy. He’s the stronger of us two. He can handle it. I’ll be sipping wine on a beach somewhere instead. Seriously though, potty training…the single hardest thing I have ever accomplished in life. Good luck to ya!

One thought on “How to Potty Train in Less Than A Year

  1. Pingback: What makes being a mom fun? | Tanya Kummerow

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