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How Potty Training Boot Camp Went Horribly Wrong

Submitted by Danny Grubb

Yes, I admit it. I fell for the promises of one of those "Potty Train Your Child in Less Than a Week" programs. I paid for the eBook and after reading it I was convinced that we had made the right choice. "This person knows what they're talking about" I thought.

At this point you should know that I never get caught flat-footed by telemarketers, infomercials or fast talking sales people. I know what things are worth and I can smell trouble a mile away.

This time my purchasing sense abandoned me. "Well if it works, that would be awesome. If it doesn't, we're out (an embarrassingly large amount of) bucks." I was optimistic as only a consumer of a newly discovered widget could be.

As it turns out I should have toned down my enthusiasm... a lot.

U-Day (Underwear)

Things were going ok, the twins threw away their own diapers (into a clean bag because we wanted to donate it to the daycare) and were quite happy to be wearing underwear. We praised them "Look at our big girls in their new underwear!" we said repeatedly.

We also kept reminding them to tell us if they felt like they had to go potty... over and over again we told them this as per the eBook.

So it went, one of the girls would start peeing on the floor and we would rush her to the potty to try and get at least a few drops in the bowl before she was done. This happened successfully only once.

But they wanted to practice for themselves. They were very excited with the whole idea of potty training so they would say that they had to go potty and then sit on the bowl for a few minutes looking genuinely happy but with no results. We would thank them for their efforts, flush and wash our hands.

Then It Happened

We didn't see it coming; we didn't even know it could from the eBook we had been reading. One of our girls literally didn't know what to do with herself. She started crying, wouldn't allow us to take her out of the bathroom and was going between the potty and the sink crying her eyes out.

At first we tried to help her out, telling her how good she was to go and wash her hands or sit on the potty, but things just got worse. She would be in front of the potty ready to get on and all of a sudden yell "No! No! No!" and walk back to the sink where she yelled "No! No! No!" again. We managed to remove her from the bathroom a couple of times to try and calm her down, but this went on for more or less 2 hours.

I didn't want her to hate potty training so we aborted. We got the diapers back out of the bag the girls dumped them in earlier. Trying to put the diapers back on the girls was also a challenge, but the tears subsided eventually. Our confused twin didn't leave our arms for most of the day that day.

What We learned

Firstly I learned that my gut needs a refresher course when it comes to the definition of "Too good to be true." Secondly I learned that these boot camp style programs, although likely successful for some kids, are not a one-size-fits-all solution (although they are clearly marked as such).

We are taking a slower approach now, less pressure and more pull-ups. A family member who is a pediatrician told me "It works better if going potty is their choice."

Have these programs worked for you or did you have a similar experience to ours? Please Comment!

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