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The Potty Training Fear

I have the potty training fear. As Emma approached two years old, people would casually drop into conversation when I am planning to potty train her. Apparently there is a bit of a deadline on this and I told myself that maybe we would do it this summer…Emma would be 2.5 years old. Now when I said this, it was mostly to stop people asking those questions and because ‘the summer’ felt such a long time away. It’s now the end of June. Wait, how did that happen?! So really potty training should start in the next month. But I’m not ready.

potty training fear - girl sitting on potty

I suppose at the beginning of the year, I thought I would have a few more things set in stone. Emma’s eating would have improved, and we’d have nailed the sleeping through the night situation so would be happy to welcome a new change. Well, let me tell you – Emma’s eating has gone backwards if anything (our CheeseString/Pom Bear game is strong) and her sleep…well let’s not talk about that. So no, we’re not ready for another change in our house, and the thought of it gives me the fear.

For some reason, getting to this new stage of potty training made me think back to that first night in hospital with teeny Emma, who was like a bag of sugar in my hands. So small and beautiful, and me so clueless as to what I’m supposed to be doing. The paediatrician came in to check her hips and commented on why she is wearing grey when she is a girl. My first experience of unwanted comments, but it was at this moment that I changed her nappy for the first time. It was all so new to me and I had the fear then too. I didn’t want to do it wrong and make her upset, but that meconium poo is as sticky as it comes. These days, changing her nappy is something that’s part of our everyday, it’s second nature to me.

Emma keeps tell me what’s going on in her nappy. I know our nappy days are coming to an end. She seems intent on following me to the toilet, so I explained to her once that Mummy was saying “bye bye pee pee” and now she has been giving me a running commentary of when she is doing “bye bye pee pee” herself. So it’s time folks and I feel completely unprepared for it, with a million questions popping into my head daily. First and foremost, what do I do about nursery? Will they continue the potty training on my behalf? I have an inkling they will nail it far better than I could!

The one thing I worry about is approaching it in the right way for Emma. For as long as I remember, she always gets upset if she spills something. I used to take her nappy off at the end of the night and if she did a little wee on the floor, she’d start to try to clean it up on her own. It upsets her to spill things, almost like she thinks she’s done something wrong. So I know I need to find the right way to teach her about the potty, as I don’t want her to be upset about it in any way.

Without a doubt, this summer will be the a time for new things in our house. The little lady will be using the potty and we’ll be sent into a state of panic when she mentions “pee pee” or “poo poo” to get her up to the bathroom as soon as possible. As a side note, she also needs to move to a cot bed so that’s another thing on the list that gives me the fear too. Above all, I’ve been looking at Emma thinking how fast she is growing; unbelievably so. Already growing into a little girl and not the teeny baby that could fit into the palm of my hand two years ago.


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  1. June 26, 2017 / 11:24 am

    Aaah I remember the fear so well! Nursery were brilliant with helping me out, I just explained what my tactics were and they followed my lead. Actually, they were great at telling me when they thought she was ready, before I properly started training her if that makes sense? I was clueless and obviously they have babies who go through the training stage all the time, so they’re completely on board with the signs 🙂 Like everything, you’ll do it and it’ll feel like a nightmare but then, before you know it, it’ll be something else that you can tick off as a success. But yeah, it’s another reminder that times are changing, which is a bit sad. Tip – get a travel potty and take it EVERYWHERE and don’t bother with pull-ups, they’re just confusing…I found you just have to commit to it and not do the whole “pull ups for trips out, knickers at home”. Lots of spare clothes and wipes and you’ll be grand x

  2. June 26, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    I’m sure lots of people will come along soon with proper advice—I’m pretty clueless! I’m sure its not possible to get it too wrong… (famous last words!) My friend has just potty trained her little girl and she basically said that it’s best to follow their lead, so if Emma seems ready she probably is. These children grow up too fast though! #bigpinklink

  3. mackenzieglanville
    June 27, 2017 / 4:47 am

    oh honey I totally understand, these new stages happen way too fast, they are exciting, but sad too. When my first born turned 13 this year I felt sad, but I looked at it like wow that is 13 years I have had with this amazing girl in my life and I remember when I was so scared that having a child would never happen for us. She was our miracle and as fast as things go I am so very blessed. Good luck with her changes, I don’t think there really is aright or wrong method just see how she goes and what makes her feel most comfortable. #DreamTeam 

  4. Tracey Abrahams
    June 27, 2017 / 6:14 am

    Im sure when you come to take that step it will all work out fine. I cant really offer any tips as it was a long time since I last potty trained. #dreamteam

  5. June 27, 2017 / 7:04 am

    I’m afraid of potty training too! I’m not sure if the Popple is quite there yet, since she only tells me AFTER she’s done a poo, not before, but I know it’s coming. She’s also in nursery four days a week, so I have no idea how we’re supposed to keep training consistent between home and there. I know people make it work, though – good luck! #DreamTeam

  6. June 27, 2017 / 8:59 am

    I’m pretty nervous about the potty training thing already and Hugo’s only 16 months! Trust your instinct, you can try, if it’s not right, wait and try again. Good Luck! #DreamTeam

  7. June 27, 2017 / 9:33 am

    Ekk. I can see why there is the fear. I would be right there too! Good luck. #dreamteam

  8. June 27, 2017 / 11:08 am

    I’ve got no tips as it’s so long since the Tubblet was potty trained. But I wish you luck!

  9. June 27, 2017 / 11:24 am

    Just go for it but take it at their pace, you will be amazed how fast and easy they can adapt to change X #dreamteam

  10. June 27, 2017 / 12:41 pm

    Go for it Bridget, if Emma seems ready. It’s the best thing ever, and gives them so much more independence. Crossing my fingers that you have a great nursery, as her experience there with potty training has a knock on effect. Once everything clicks, you will never look back. Thanks for being the bestest co host. #Dreamteam xx

  11. June 27, 2017 / 1:06 pm

    Bless you. The fear is a terrible thing. I bet you will look back and say I knew we would try and try and fail and fail and try and try until one day it clicks. Just need to make a start and she’s in the best hands of a loving mum. My mum told me to start at 12months, which I thought was a bit early but we got a potty at 13month and she went on it the first day. I put her on first thing in the morning, before her afternoon nap and bedtime and whenever I go. She took her 1st pooh in it on the 6th day. I by no means think she’s potty trained but she knows what it’s for and is getting used to it. #DreamTeam

  12. June 27, 2017 / 2:01 pm

    You’ll be just fine. We all find the idea of potty training a bit daunting to be honest, so you’re not alone there, but it sounds as though Emma is definitely ready and knows when she is using her nappy, so it may not be nearly so bad as you think. With Miss. D, I used a sticker chart so she could see how well she was doing and she nailed it in a couple of weeks. Miss. L took forever and I had to resort to bribery with giant chocolate buttons. It all works out in the end though. Go for it #DreamTeam xx

  13. June 27, 2017 / 2:18 pm

    My daughter wasn’t potty trained until two months before her third birthday. We bit the bullet as I was heavily pregnant and it went so much better than expected. Princess Polly Potty book was good and also Nina Needs to Go on youtube. Good luck. We’ll be trying in the next few months with Tristan. #dreamteam

  14. June 27, 2017 / 2:49 pm

    It’ll be fine once you start! I recently blogged about our experiences with it and we took a slower approach. Little H has been out of nappies for about 5-6 weeks now and we are mainly accident free. I felt anxious about accidents until they happened and then you realise it’s not that bad really and you just deal with it! You could consider a potty downstairs in a discreet corner until she has enough control to get upstairs? Good luck and just don’t make a drama out of any of it and it will go fine. The worst days we had were when I kept asking if she needed the loo. When I shut up it all started working!!

  15. June 27, 2017 / 3:08 pm

    You’ve got this. I remember trying on schedule with my son, who refused and then waiting a few months when he got it in 3 days! Good luck Yvadney x #DreamTeam

  16. June 27, 2017 / 3:33 pm

    Oh I am feeling this so much! We’ve got the potty, the dummy and the cot bed to tackle at Lighty HQ, and I’m starting to get the feels from everyone that I should be doing this all already. Same as you, I feel like I should do one thing at a time! Let me know how you get on please!! #DreamTeam

  17. June 27, 2017 / 3:42 pm

    I have three children…16, 9 and 5! I do not miss those days!!! #dreamteam

  18. June 27, 2017 / 6:52 pm

    I love this post! My youngest is 20 months and already I’ve had potty training comments from family! Approach everything in your own time, little lady will soon let you know when she is ready.

  19. June 27, 2017 / 8:45 pm

    Oh all the growing milestones that just seem to come all to once when they hit two don’t you think?! Emma will breeze it and there will be pimms on tap for mummy throughout the summer just in case! #DreamTeam

  20. June 27, 2017 / 10:18 pm

    There’s such a pressure to start potty training early and my folks waited and waited and made sure it was the right time for me. I was 3yrs old and we did it on the first attempt because I was old enough to understand and verbalise when I needed to go. Just go with the flow…excuse the pun 😉 #DreamTeam

  21. June 27, 2017 / 11:54 pm

    I remember it all very well! I remember the pressure. I remember the stress. I remember the regression. But what I remember most of all was the relief I felt when I realised that giving up was okay and it wasn’t failure. My one piece of advice would be, if it really isn’t working and you feel she isn’t ready (even though she may well be!) don’t feel bad for jacking it in. It’s not the end of the world. I did this and to my surprise, Little Man told me when he was ready. As simple as saying ‘I don’t want to wear these pull ups anymore!’ – the rest was history! Good luck Mumma. You’ll both do great! X #DreamTeam

  22. June 28, 2017 / 6:37 am

    In a similar boat with my 2.5 yr old. She’s definitely ready and has tried the potty out. She’s been enthusiastic about it but I’m not sure when I can face biting the bullet. I always seem to find a reason not to in this particular week because we’re going somewhere it would be awkward etc. Think I will get going in the next couple of weeks though. #DreamTeam

  23. June 28, 2017 / 6:50 am

    I had it easy with my son and he pretty much trained himself, I was dreading it with my daughter though and kept putting it off. We’re just coming through it now. The first two days were really hard as she doesn’t care about being wet AT ALL but after that she just got it. We still have occasional accidents but not many. I’ve been using pull-ups at night but we only have two left and I’m not buying any more so my nights are about to get fun! Good luck with it, I’m sure you’ll be fine, and nursery will continue it in for you. My biggest tip would be to introduce a potty or toilet seat without any expectation first, something for her to try out whenever you go to the toilet or whenever she wants to, you might find she trains herself like my son did x

  24. June 28, 2017 / 7:57 am

    I rememberer it like it was yesterday (16 years ago now). Back in the days I was into Gina Ford. Im not sure if she’s even around anymore,but anyway, I did her potty training book. She recommends not doing it until they’re 3 (I think mine were about 2 and 8 months). It was a case of staying in the house for 2 days I think, which was absolute hell but after day 2 we had it nailed. Never one accident. I was a bit of a control freak when they were younger (what am I on about?? Am still a control freak) so it totally worked for me! Good luck Bridget, take it at your own speed and don’t do it until you’re all ready 🙂


  25. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...
    June 28, 2017 / 11:53 am

    Zach says ‘doo’ when he has filled his pants but nowhere near potty training (only 14 months!) My eldest was reluctant to potty train but my daughter was fine and just did it with very little effort. #bigpinklink

  26. June 28, 2017 / 12:51 pm

    I must admit things were very different for us; Amelia moved to a bed at about 15 months because she was hurling herself head first out of her cot! She also woke up one day at 2 yrs 3 months and matter of factory told me that she wasn’t wearing nappies anymore. After 2 weeks and a couple of accidents she was totally dry. APART from night time, and exactly a year on she still wails “I’m not readyyyyyy” when I mention going pull up free at bedtime!! I’m sure you’ll all find your rhythm!! #DreamTeam

  27. June 28, 2017 / 2:04 pm

    Been there, done that! You’ve got this! #DreamTeam

  28. June 28, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    #dreamteam okay, time to share a mummy secret – you don’t need to know what your doing, you don’t need plans…because they call the shots. haha, i too was waiting until ‘summer’ and then J announced her wasn’t wearing ‘baba nappies’ anymore – 3 days before christmas and 24hrs before the world and his wife and her family moved in for the festive season – stressed didn’t come in to it. I hadn’t read the books, i didn’t own any pants and you know what – it was effortless, because he was ready.

  29. June 29, 2017 / 9:08 am

    I COMPLETELY get you on this one!! When we were potty training our son I was nowhere near ready and only tried it because of external pressure. I was so hesitant because I was expecting another baby and didn’t want to be battling with a toddler over the toilet whilst attending to a newborn. In the end it went disastrously so we went back to nappies and left it until everything feel more settled. Great post, thanks for hosting #DreamTeam xx

  30. June 29, 2017 / 10:15 am

    I had the same in hospital with a grey outfit! What on earth does it matter!? Good luck with the potty training! I can’t imagine being close enough to do it but time seems to fly by – I’ll be popping back for tips I’m sure! #dreamteam

  31. June 29, 2017 / 12:23 pm

    She is ready! The fact she knows and tells you what’s going on, mean that she’s pretty ready. We also did it at 2.5 yrs and in the summer. I simply let Noodle roam the house without anything on at the bottom. Then he had to do it “somewhere”. We also had the potty around for a quite a while before we even used it. He sat his teddies on and we put loads of stickers on it to decorate. We did go forwards and backwards a bit, I think that can be expected. Nursery was great. They are used to it, so they do continue with what you’re doing at home. But the best bit advice I got from a friend was to be completely ‘dead-pan’ about accidents. Don’t get mad, don’t question even if they’ve been doing so well for ages, don’t even say it’s ok. Just don’t react at all. Simply change them, clean up and get on with the day. That worked a treat after Noodle was starting to have accidents when he didn’t get his way with something. Also, don’t fret. It all happens at different speeds. Noodle is six and still has accidents at night! x

  32. June 29, 2017 / 6:29 pm

    I’m going through this stage with my eldest. It seems so strange that she once was so small and helpless and now she knows what to do. #DreamTeam

  33. Mom Of Two Little Girls
    June 29, 2017 / 6:42 pm

    It definitely sounds like she is ready, and summer is the perfect time. I chose days when we were at home (not going to the supermarket etc) and I would let them run around in their knickers. tip – buy lots of knickers! Girls actually hate the feel of wet knickers or clothes so they actually learn very quickly. As for nursery, you’ll find they do set toilet routines, so it helps if you try sync your timing with them – talk to them, I’m sure they will gladly share it. And then just constantly remind her. It won’t take long. Don’t expect miracles in terms of a 3 hour car ride etc, but small steps and she’ll soon get the hang of it.

  34. June 29, 2017 / 6:46 pm

    The best tip I ever had was, if you try it and they don’t crack it in 48 hours – they aren’t ready. It was the case for all of mine and I’m glad I never pushed it before they were ready. She’ll crack it in no time I’m sure, but she’s still only a baby! #dreamteam

  35. Musings of a tired mummy...zzz...
    June 29, 2017 / 9:43 pm

    I think girls are easier than boys, and 2nd children are easier than firstborn, popping back from #dreamteam

  36. thismumslife
    June 30, 2017 / 9:37 am

    These new steps can be so stressful, can’t they? I was thinking of my three year old when I was reading this-his eating is appalling, and also going backwards. He also needs to be moved into a bed, but he moves around so much in the night-like he’s possessed, that I’m sure he’d just fall out constantly! And he is also not yet potty trained. But, with the potty training, I’m trying hard not to worry too much about it-my four year old wasn’t trained until he was 3 months from his fourth birthday… He knew when he wanted to go-he’d pause and say ‘just doing a wee/poo’ then carry on. But he had an intense fear of the toilet-he’d scream until he was vomiting, if we put him anywhere near there. It got so bad that we paid a behaviour specialist to come and try and help. In the end, he just decided one day it was ok, put the pants on, and has never had an accident day or night since! So actually quite simple in the end! So I’m not worrying about the three year old just yet! I’m sure it’ll all come together for Emma, when you guys are ready. I think the key is not to buckle under the ‘she should be potty trained by now’ comments-good luck!!

  37. June 30, 2017 / 4:39 pm

    I am no help with this what’s so ever, sorry (my adopted kids came potty trained!). But I know how hard this is, I am sure you will do it! #dreamteam

  38. talkingmums1
    June 30, 2017 / 11:52 pm

    It happens far too quickly for my liking and the worst thing is not knowing how they will take to it. will they be the child that nails it in a matter of days or the child that takes months? I think the only advice I can give is not to push her if she’s not ready. But it does sound like she’s getting to that point x

  39. July 1, 2017 / 1:29 pm

    I have no tips as Ben isn’t any where near potty training but I feel your fear… Im so worried about his spraying also… this will be horrifying I am sure! #dreamteam

  40. July 2, 2017 / 1:40 pm

    For us, Big was convinced she would be in diapers well into the college years. She liked them and that was that. Then one day, as she does most things, she decided, oh, by the way, today I will use the potty. And there has not been one accident happily ever after. Now little, she was another story. Your button will be just fine! She will guide the way… #dreamteam

  41. July 3, 2017 / 4:29 pm

    I remember feeling exactly like this Bridget. I think Laura makes an excellent point above – don’t put yourself under pressure, just try her for a couple of days and she’ll either get it or she won’t. If she’s ready she’ll love it! Great tip about buying a lot of pants above too from Mom of 2 Little Girls. I’ll just add one more for you that a friend gave me: Buy and carry a small pair of scissors along with the spare clothes for the first few weeks. If you buy cheap pants and there is a “code brown” incident just cut the material at each side and file them straight under B.I.N. Much easier to get off and clean her up when you’re out and about just in case. Good luck lovely! In my experience with both of mine the thought of it is actually much worse than the reality xx

  42. August 16, 2017 / 4:33 am

    This post is so familiar to me, I’m completely the same. I feel that my daughter is sort of ready since she can communicate to me when she is going potty, but for whatever reason I’m not ready, I’m not pushing or making strong strides to get her there. Can’t help it, she’s my first and I want her to stay a baby a bit longer…selfish of me? Maybe. But there’s plenty of time to grow up.

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