MOMENTS WITH ME3 {Tales of Potty Training}

Potty Training…where should I start? I’ll begin with my profile – my husband and I have 2 wonderful little boys (5 and 3 years old). My 5-year-old was completely potty trained by 3 and continues to have little to no bedtime accidents (insert hallelujah and praise dance). On the other hand, my husband and I are in the fourth month of potty training my 3-year-old and we’re not quite there just yet.

Our experience - let’s just say that potty training my two boys has solidified that my emotional range is intact.



One day, I feel defeated after picking up my little one (LO) who has bag of soiled clothes from daycare, and the next day, we’re singing the potty song after he has a dry day (i.e., going to the potty all day without soiling his clothes). It’s a rollercoaster. To give you a glimpse into this journey, I’ll briefly summarize our potty training stories and end with some key insights that helped me and my LOs along the way.

Wooden Boys Easter Pic 2018_3.jpg

First, let me state that each child is different. My 5-year-old responded very well to the move from diaper, to pull-ups and finally to big boy undies. He absolutely hated the feeling of accidentally peeing in his underwear. On the other hand, when we started potty training my 3-year-old, he did not care if he had an accident in his diaper, pull-up (which is prolonging the experience in my opinion) or big boy underwear. We’re still a work-in-progress with my 3-year-old son, but I’m starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel because he’s following his friends at daycare (good peer pressure) and starting to prompt us at home when he feels the urge to go.

By now you must be saying “Potty training…sounds fun!” Well, I won’t promise that it’s the most pleasant experience for you or your children, but I can offer a few tips that I’ve learned along the way:

* Partner Up: I have found working with my husband and our daycare on a potty training approach (when to start, how often, incentives, etc.) has been very helpful. Find someone (husband, boyfriend, sister, mom, daycare, etc.) that can carry the load with you. I can promise that you will have many laughs, but when you have frustrating days, you can push each other through it.

* Do Your Research & Consult Your Physician: You’ve probably heard of many methods: 3-day potty training, training-pants transition, rewards-based training, etc. We believe that choosing what is right for both your child and YOU is the best option. My husband and I are busy almost every weekend, so the 3-day method never worked for us. Trust me, we tried it with the 5-year old months before his 3rd birthday and we failed horribly. After that experience and talking with our physician, we took the slow and steady route with both kids. In the end, my 5-year-old responded to the non-pushy rewards-based method, whereas my 3-year-old simply likes the idea of just saying “big boy underwear” and singing our potty celebration song after he finishes the deed.

* Work at a Healthy Pace for You and Your LO: I remember thinking that I had to train my kids before they turned 3 years old. As I heard other parents brag about their kids being in underwear at 2, I internalized this as standard and thought I failed when it wasn’t happening for my kids. We would try to get him to go to the potty and he would resist (kicking and screaming). It wasn’t the right time and in fact, it was causing reversion. Ultimately, we stopped and tried again a few months later. Magically, it worked – no more crying and fighting the process.

* Ignore the Judgement: Take in the helpful advice, but disregard the judgements. For us, it was familial; our mothers would say things like, “you were potty trained by 2” or “what are y’all doing; why is it taking so long?” This goes along with the insight above. You know yourself and your LO best. Trust your instincts and shake off the negativity.

* Practice Patience: Many times, I thought to myself, “I’ve gone through this with one child, why does it seem like I’m failing this time around? Is he ready? Are we not trying hard enough?”. Then I thought of something I tell my oldest son all the time when he wants something right now, but he can’t have it…let’s exercise some patience. I’ve found that once I stopped the pressure, on myself and my sons, and accepted a pace that worked for the family, I felt better and the potty training got easier. For those out there who are faith-based, I recited the serenity prayer many times. If I can’t change the fact that he had an accident today, why let it affect my emotions, which in turn affect my child’s emotions. Just accept it and move on.

May the force be with you during your potty-training journey!


A Mother Still Experiencing the Potty-Training Journey


• What’s been your potty training experience? Is there anything you learned from this blog post that would’ve made it better for you and your JOY?

• Do you have advice or insight of your own to offer?

Work Headshot 1.jpg

Crystal Wooden is from a small town called Phenix City, Alabama. She received both her undergraduate degree and MBA from the illustrious Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Working for a firm that is listed amongst the 100 Best Companies to work for (via Fortune), Crystal creates talent integration strategies for newly purchased venture and acquisitions. She is actively involved in her church and committed to inspiring others through various ministries.

“Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:16

Ashley Hunt