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Erin Stewart: Potty training woes teach patience

On Erin Stewart's third and final round of potty training, her son is making sure she doesn't have it too easy.
On Erin Stewart's third and final round of potty training, her son is making sure she doesn't have it too easy.

It’s potty training time again at our house.

You know how some parents brag about how they potty-trained their kids in one day? How they never had one single accident after that day? And how they don’t understand why other parents talk about potty training like it’s, what, like hard?

Well, that was me, folks. I was that obnoxious, smug parent.

My girls seriously just put on big-girl underwear and never looked back. Sure, there were those few weeks where I had to remind them every 30 minutes to use the potty and there were more than a few “I have to pee, RIGHT NOW” moments while checking out at the grocery store, but all in all, it was kind of a breeze.

But karma has come to collect.

I am now the proud parent of a potty-training young boy who has clearly entered into a solemn vow with the devil to never, ever, do what I ask him to do. His dad can get him to use the potty. His babysitter also tells me how compliant he is. But he looks right at me and says, “No.” Every. Single. Time.

Plus, since he’s a boy, there’s some extra equipment this time around and we’re both trying to figure out the exact best way to aim and fire.

So, here I am. On my third and final round of potty training, at a total loss for how, exactly, to potty train. I’ve tried going straight to big-boy underwear. "With Paw Patrol! Your favorite! Isn’t this exciting!"

I’ve tried pull-ups. "See how it goes up and down so you can go on your own! How fun!"

I’ll admit, I have not tried the No. 1 suggestion from all my friends, which is to let my son run around naked and let him have a few accidents on the rug so he’ll learn. But I’m getting close because I’m running out of options.

Another friend of mine recently reminded me that he will get potty-trained. That he doesn’t know I’m on a timetable, or that his preschool won’t let him come in a month if he’s still in diapers. “Relax,” she said. “He’ll do it when he’s ready.”

So, I’m trying to relax. I’m trying to remember that all kids do things at their own pace, and pushing them only makes them anxious. I’m trying not to feel like a failure when all the other 3-year-olds are diaper-free.

I know he’ll get there (he has to, right?). And until he does, I’ll be here, cheerleading for every toilet victory and dreaming of the day when our house is finally, thankfully, a diaper-free zone.

What are your best tips for potty training a reluctant kiddo?