“Nobody Goes to Prom in Pampers” – Or Do They?


When we potty trained our daughter at 2 1/2, I felt like Super Mom. My husband and I made mimosas, hunkered down for a weekend, and she was fully potty trained by Sunday. Like… zero accidents… the poster child for potty training perfection. We were for sure patting ourselves on the backs and high-fiving for our excellent parenting skills.

And then we tried to potty train our son.

Let’s just say my Super Mom crown has been replaced with humility, stress, and plenty of tears. We’ve tried everything. All the books. All the online courses. Naked days. Going commando. Pull Ups. Sticker charts. Gummy bears. Chocolate chips. Earning prizes. Taking away privileges. Everything has had mild success, but nothing has stuck.

This morning was the straw that broke the camel’s back. My son was commando in his shorts and already three “accidents” deep by 10 AM, when he looked at me from across the room as a turd dropped out of his pants and onto the ground. I can almost laugh about it a few hours later, but at that moment I started crying. After a few questionable parenting choices (telling him no more TV, hiding his favorite airplanes, etc.), I took the advice of a few good friends: I put the potty, sticker chart, underwear, and all the things away. We tabled potty training. I told my little guy that he was going back to diapers and to just let me know when he wants to try again.

If it’s so stressful, why am I feeling so much pressure? Well, in addition to the research that says “60% of children will be fully potty trained by three,” I am anxiously anticipating the arrival of our newborn right at the same time our kids’ daycare closes for the summer. Like most other parents in Charleston, I’ve planned accordingly and signed our kids up for a few weeks of various summer camps. But, after reading the fine print, children are required to be potty trained before attending the summer camp we scheduled for four different weeks (Re: more than three accidents in one week = child sent home.) Without camp, we would go from having childcare from 8:30 until noon, five days a week, to nothing (plus a newborn). It’s overwhelming, to say the least. 

Back to the camp drawing board.

This is clearly the opposite of an advice column for potty training. I just want you to know that if you’ve been there, or if one day you are there, you’re not alone. Not every child is going to be potty trained by the age of three. And not every child is going to ditch the diapers in 3 days or even three months. 

Here’s hoping that my son does not, in fact, go to prom in Pampers. 


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