5 Things I *HATE* About Potty Training

Ah, potty training. What a crock of shit (quite literally!) you are. If someone could set up a training camp where they do the whole thing for you, they’d be millionaires. Why? Let me tell you why… 


To be fair, this is probably the one you’re most prepared for, right? It’s potty training, of course there’s going to be some mess. But nothing can prepare you for when, 2 weeks into potty training, your child gets a bit of an upset stomach. And announces, while you’re quietly eating some chocolate behind their back, “mummy, I’ve done a poo on the sofa”. Of course you have darling. Of course you have.


So, you’re feeling all smug. Your child no longer has poonamis. They’ve got pretty good at eating. Your change bag is streamlined. Gone are the days of 4 outfit changes, 3 bibs and 2 packs of wipes. Now, you leave the house with only a couple of nappies, a few wipes and a carefree smile on your face. But then potty training comes along and suddenly you’re hefting multiple outfit changes, antibacterial wipes, toddler wipes and a bloody travel potty every where you go. FML.


I debated long and hard over whether this should be first. But you can escape competitive parents, you cannot escape poo. So #3 it is. 

Even before you start potty training, other mums will casually ask you how old your child is, and then raise a discreet eyebrow, while saying in an oh-so-casual tone, “oh, and they’re still in nappies, are they? Our little darling’s been dry for six months now. But they’re all different, aren’t they?” while doing that smug, tinkly laugh competitive parents use when they’re rubbing your face in it. Try and refrain from punching them in theirs. 


Before you start potty training, you will swear that you will be the parent who won’t resort to a sticker chart or bribes to potty train your child. You’ll just wait until they’re ready. You can’t train a child, you’ll tell yourself. It will just happen when the time is right. 

Do yourself a favour. Buy a sticker chart. Get the bribes sorted. Because at some point, during some part of it, you will need it. And trying to create you own sticker chart at 3pm on a Friday when you’ve absolutely had it with bloody potty training is not the right way to go. Especially as said chart is going to take pride of place in your kitchen for a good few weeks (or, ahem, months depending on how often you like to clean…)


Before you embark on potty training, you’ll seek advice. You’ll do research on websites. Maybe buy a book or two. This is all just a delaying tactic btw. There is no training manual that will make the process any less painful. I know. I read them all. The worse ones, the one I put down only 1 page in, it was so awful, are the gendered ones. Girls, apparently, are much quicker to potty train because they like to be tidy. It’s not a training manual, it’s a time travelling device straight back to the 1950s.

The reality is that the best way to do it is the method your mum used. Your child will be naked. Poo and wee will go on places you never dreamed of. But after 3 or 4 days of them running around starkers they will announce to you that they’ve done a pop on the potty and you will feel prouder than if they’d just won an Olympic gold. You’ve got this. 

Rachel Millington is a mum of two. In her spare time, she works in PR, hanging out with people who are all a good 10 years younger and a lot more glamorous than her, which is terribly good for the self-esteem. She also volunteers for Mind & MumsAid, because she very definitely believes that maternal mental health matters. She can be found tweeting (/ranting about politics) @rachmillington and is also charting her absolute hatred and despair of the weaning process on instagram @mummyledweaning (whoever said it was easier second time around LIED).