How to Fail at Potty Training in 3 Easy Steps

Potty training. I don’t want to fail at potty training.

I cringe at those words after the week we’ve had. But I’ll get into that in a minute…

#dailybocaavery is a little over 2 years old now and our pediatrician (and her school in the fall) recommended that we begin potty training this summer.  She had all the signs. Her diaper was dry after nap. She wanted to take off and put on her Pull-Ups all by herself. She even communicated to me whenever she pooped, so I would change her…promptly.

So, I finally had 3 days in a row where I could fit in some major time at home to tackle the task. At least, that’s what the book I read said I needed to do. Create a “potty training boot-camp” for my daughter that was low-stress and full of toddler strategy.

I was game and started preparing.

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First up: SUPPLIES

I purchased in advance (click to purchase via Affiliate Links):

  1. 20+ pairs of Frozen & Elmo underpants
  2. Baby Bjorn training potty
  3. Disney Princess potty seat
  4. Baby Bjorn stool for the bathroom to wash hands
  5. Flushable wipes
  6. Cleaning supplies & (many) paper towels
  7. M&M’s
  8. Elmo’s Potty Time on Amazon Instant Video
  9. Sesame Street Potty Chart with Stickers
  10. OXO Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty for Travel
  11. Wine (necessary!!!)


On Day 1, we rolled up the rug, “threw out” #dailybocaavery’s leftover Pull-Ups (but kept the Nighttime ones for nap/bedtime) and started our day. I made a big deal about putting the underpants on her, set her training potty in the middle of the family room and explained that every time my phone timer went off (every 20 minutes or so), she should sit on the potty and try to go.

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In between potty sessions, I brought out fun activities for us to do together and put on “potty-related programming” for us to watch on TV.

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She followed my directions explicitly (wahoo!) and promptly had 4 accidents in a row (which I cleaned up with a potty coach smile on my face). On the 5th try, we had ‘pee pee & poo poo’ success. #modernbocadad and I were thrilled!

We made a big show out of “saying bye-bye” and flushing everything down the toilet after every success, washing our hands and putting a sticker on her potty chart. We also offered her an M&M as a treat (which many parents have mixed feelings about, but it worked for us. Plus I got the extra! LOL).

I thought we were on the right track. But, on Day 2, I wasn’t seeing much progress and both she and I were getting majorly frustrated. After yelling at her for peeing RIGHT NEXT TO THE POTTY for the third time in a row (yes, I felt like a total a**hole. That’s why you need to buy the wine- FYI), I had my mom take over and we tried to figure out what to do next.

Our decision? Reluctantly pause…and try again in a month or two. :/

I feel like I failed. But why?

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Here’s where I think we went wrong…

1. I didn’t realize that my daughter looked surprised every time she had an accident. I was shocked that my super-smart daughter wouldn’t just run over to the potty once she noticed she was peeing on the floor. Conclusion? She’s not developed enough to feel the urge. Had I noticed this on Day 1, I would have paused the whole process immediately and saved us a lot of grief.

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2. I didn’t do it over a long weekend. Putting all of the training pressure on myself was a bad move. I should have enlisted #modernbocadad from the get-go to help me, so if I got frustrated with cleaning up or watching Avery like a hawk for “potty signs,” I could take a break.

3. I assumed that this would be a 3 day time investment. Wrong-oh-wrong. Even if your child is ready to potty train and grasps the concept over the estimated 72 hour period, accidents still happen. Your child will need your ongoing support! I purchased a travel potty for emergencies for when/if we’re on the road. I’ll also keep an extra set of clothes in the diaper bag and in my car in case the inevitable happens.

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So, now we wait. I’ll encourage Avery to use the potty while we’re at home going forward, but I am going to really listen for when SHE is ready. That’s the best parenting advice I can offer after this experience.

Wish us luck!


Disclosure: The links in this post are affiliate links. I will receive a percentage of the sale if you make a purchase by clicking thru to

3 thoughts on “How to Fail at Potty Training in 3 Easy Steps”

  1. I am very proud of your insight! Children & parenting does not come with a manual! ? You have to observe and listen to your Mommy gut! We all make mistakes and learn from them. Each child is an individual and they progress at their own pace! Just keep being loving & supporting ! ?❤️??

  2. Hang in there! My almost 3-year-old is on the cusp of being almost completely potty-trained. Like you, I thought the process would be a magical ‘3-day and done’ training process. No, no, and no! It has been a gradual year-long process for us with many starts and stops, successes, and failures. I’ve had to really work on “going with the flow” and celebrating the small successes like a day when she has no pee-pee accidents. We’re working on being comfortable going #2 in the potty at this point. It’s not easy! Hang in there! You’re doing great! (P.S. It’s Ashley I. from Boca High. 🙂 Love keeping up with your blog even though I’m a long way’s from Boca now!)

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