How to Toilet Train Your Child Without Losing Your Mind

It’s not possible. Sorry.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk damage control.

You will need stickers. You will need chocolate. And it helps to have something to reward your child with too.

Before I launched into toilet training my daughter, I spent approximately five months avoiding all thoughts of the subject. Then I spent one week voraciously reading everything I could, before bravely declaring to my MOPS friends, “We’re doing toilet training! This week!”

I say that I “bravely” declared this, but really I just wanted to tell someone so I wouldn’t back out of it.

From the moment I got pregnant, the two things I dreaded the most were childbirth and toilet training. One of those things was not so bad, and one exceeded my worst fears.

(Hint: I have a photo of myself in labour, smiling.)

Somewhere along the way, I heard about “three-day potty training”. Immediately, I wrote it off as unrealistic.

toilet-trainingBut there I was on day three, bragging on a Facebook mother’s group about how my daughter had been dry all day, and taking herself to the toilet.

Oh, it makes me laugh now.

It also makes me want to go back and shake the shoulders of my past self, to warn her of the coming apocalypse.

We started toilet training before Christmas and we’re still going now, well into May.

I’ve had poo on my hands; poo on my face.

I’ve cleaned poo out of places I didn’t know existed.

I’ve thrown out perfectly good undies and trousers, because I was just so sick of cleaning poo off things!

I’m thankful for my MOPS friends, who told me on our first attempt, “it’s okay to go back into nappies if it’s not working”. We did just that over the Christmas holidays, when toilet training was clearly not working, and it relieved so much stress.

There were times that we were tempted to go back into nappies again this year. It seems my daughter’s pattern is to have a few weeks of dryness and successful toileting, and then a few weeks of either partial or total toileting chaos.

But I’m glad we’ve decided to stick it out. I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if it is only the size of a pinhead.

So, if your child trained themselves to use the toilet in three days, right before they turned two, and never had an accident again, I don’t want to hear about it! And I promise I won’t tell you how much I enjoyed childbirth.


Jess Harvey




4 thoughts on “How to Toilet Train Your Child Without Losing Your Mind”

  1. You are hilarious! This entire post is comedic gold. I love this side of you!

    My middle boy turned three on Feb 20 and my youngest turns two in three months so I am still down in the trenches with ya!

  2. Jess, I nearly cried laughing!!! I so identify with that, my youngest is in kindergarten and still getting m&ms for poos! Well done for taking the load off mums, and making us giggle.

  3. Very funny Jess! Yes, I had some similar experiences with my three!

  4. Really enjoyed reading your article, darling daughter!
    Very entertaining and yes I can relate to it…..3 times over!!!
    It’s not the only thing in child rearing that develops perseverance in our character!

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