How to keep your sanity while waiting for your child to go potty?

Last week my son, Connor, came home and told me he went potty in the big boy potty at school. I was shocked. So shocked that I called his teacher to confirm Connor’s story.

Sure enough, Connor did go a little in the potty today. The class celebrated with Connor and of course, I made a huge deal about the success.

Connor’s Potty Training Woes

Potty training has been a big mountain for Connor. So, if you are climbing that mountain right now with a little one you are not alone. It is frustrating, stressful, emotionally draining, and expensive when you are buying pull-ups for a big 5-year-old.

There are so many potty training nightmares out there. Just look on Pinterest if you don’t believe me. The frustrating part of our potty training journey with Connor is that right before his 3rd birthday he was almost fully trained when he caught an infection. This infection turned into a big and traumatic emergency including a trip on a jet. At this point, Connor had not been officially diagnosed with autism but we knew the signs well enough to know the probability was high. The emergency combined with growing sensory issues derailed potty training completely.

So, as you can probably tell, when he came home from school and said that he had gone potty I was ecstatic. After almost three years of working with Connor, it is finally starting to click that the potty is not completely scary. The light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine. Realistically there is still a long road. Next fear to conquer, underwear. No joke.

My Tips for the Waiting Period

  1. Above all, PRAY- I know many people think I’m silly but I pray for this potty training struggle. Even Connor prays for his potty training.
  2. Patience
  3. Love
  4. Understanding
  5. Show the potty is nothing to fear
  6. Don’t Compare – every child is designed to be different for a reason.
  7. Encourage sitting on the potty – if the child has been through a traumatic experience I recommend not forcing the issue. Maybe offer small rewards (i.e. stickers) for just sitting on the potty.
  8. While at the store look at big kid underwear. Explain when the child is ready he or she can pick out his or her own underwear.
  9. Use potty train books, apps, or games on a smartphone to teach the going potty process

Our Next Step

Our next step with Connor will be introducing a potty watch we have purchased. This method isn’t for every child. The reason we are going this route is that Connor has a big fascination with time and wearing things like watches.

Whenever I get frustrated, I start to think Connor will never get out of pull-ups I take a deep breath and remember a phrase my mother-in-law says often.

“This season will pass and you’ll want it back.”

That’s crazy, right? Who wants potty training days back? I know, but if we count down all these seasons that seem hard at the moment we will regret it later and maybe even want these times back.

Today the Lord has made. I will REJOICE and be GLAD in it even if it includes pull-ups.


  • I’m getting ready to start potty training my daughter. I been putting it off but I think she’s ready. Thanks for sharing this I will need it!

  • Wow there are a lot of useful tools to help. I’m working with my son on this right now and just today he sat down, would not wait, stood up and then pooed in the shower..and then stepped in it…..#cleanuptimeisallthetime

  • The waiting period tips are great. Wish I had read this before.

  • So many good tips. We finally just trained our too busy to stop for potty breaks four year old and it was definitely an exercise in patience. Glad to know it’s not just us! <3 jamie

  • Thank you so much for sharing your potty training story. I love your tips especially the first one that includes prayer. We did make prayer a part of our toddler’s process.

  • Indeed Potty training and potty fears are one of the challenge many parents feel. I’m glad your child was able to cope up with the fear. Potty watch, well, I need to read about it.

  • My now 11 year old was the hardest child to potty train so I am dreading this time when the baby is older. Lots of prayers for your potty training experience!

  • Ugh. Potty training is again in my near future and I am NOT ready. I too want to be in the moment, not wishing it away so am waiting a little longer to be sure we are BOTtresdy for the challenge. This IS the day the Lord has made-a way I start most days! Thank you!

  • Thank for sharing this! I am a bit nervous about potty training my child which starts this week

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