Pushing Four & Still Not Potty Trained: A Working Memoir

Now this is not for the parents whose children potty trained with relative ease around the age of two. I’m sorry, and I hate you. This is for the parents who are still sneaking out of the drugstore with size 4T-5T pull-ups, wondering if they’re on the verge of having to move into the adult diaper aisle, child in tow, ducking like bandits. You look back at your child as your rush him quickly through the automatic doors…is he growing a mustache?

This is for the parents who are desperately pulling out every bribe in the toddler-approved book to get their child to sit on the damn toilet. This is for the parents who have ditched the diapers, and holed themselves up in their homes for three days while they let their child run rampant and make every piece of furniture their toilet except for the actual toilet because that’s what like 10 damn articles said to do! This one is for you. I’m here, I’m with you, I’ve read the articles, listened to the podcasts, and I can’t effing figure it out either.

Now, I don’t know if many of you share this particular frustration, but my son knows how to ‘go pee pee/poo poo on da toiyet”. He knows when to go, he knows how to tell me when he has to go. He can, for the most part, hold his pee through the night. However, he seems to lack consistency, especially while he’s at daycare. He has also completely flipped the script on me, and knows he’ll be rewarded if he goes. So, if he’s feeling like gummy worms, you better believe he’ll be forcing out a poo 10 times in a night to receive 10 gummy worms. That one feels like my fault. I mean, at one point I got so desperate, I think I bribed him with a hamster. Don’t do that, okay? They won’t forget.

So to the parents who have found themselves in the position of still potty training a three year old, four year old, even five year old… to you I say, I see you. I know you wish you could stop spending like $10-$15 a week on new pull-ups. I see you pulling your hair out every time your kid tells you they need to go pee while they’re peeing onto the floor. I know you’re praying for the day all you have to deal with are skid marks on some undies from a poor wipe, as opposed to a full blown poo in fresh “PJ Masks” underwear from Target, or Mecca, as it’s more popularly known.

Your child can, in full sentences, tell you all about how the poo in their pull-up doesn’t feel good and they want you to take it out. You wonder to yourself, have they cracked some sort of social code? Am I going to be doing this well into their teen years? Well, don’t worry, most pediatricians and other parents assure you this will not happen. Your kid is going to want to go. They’re going to want to have their independence. Experts note that it is important for your child to feel as if they are in control of their body. Just be encouraging, and enthusiastic, which is actually pretty easy. Seriously, you’ll never be this excited over poo in your life.

My son, who turns 4 in November of 2019 is still in the midst of his potty training, and I’m really hoping I’m not the only person who is the parent of an aging pants-pee-er. So, let me know if you’re out there!