The unexpected moments that happen every day are one of the true joys of parenting. Of course, kids are endlessly curious and they notice things in strange new ways that we, as adults, can sometimes take for granted. Potty training is full of those “uh-oh” moments that give you no option but to laugh your way through them in order to stay sane. We asked parents to share their worst-yet-best potty training stories because nothing says you’re a parent like cleaning up after a potty training attempt gone wrong.
Shari, a New York City writer and mom of two, had this memory of potty training her son when he was three and her daughter was six: “My daughter was really protective of her little brother, so she wanted to be the one to give him his reward every time he went to the potty. This was great over the weekend, but when she went to school on Monday he refused to let us flush whenever he went to the potty because he wanted her to see it! It made for a pretty long and stinky day!”
Setbacks like this can happen to everyone. Amy, a mom in Brooklyn, recounted the time she was potty training her then three-year-old daughter Emma. “We had an entire week where she went on the potty every time and never had an accident, and we thought we were done. That was it. I took her grocery shopping with me and sat her in the cart like I always did. At some point, she told me we should buy some Pull-Ups®, but I told her she wore underpants [now]. She then proceeded to pee in the cart, and all over the groceries underneath her. I should have listened to her and picked up more Pull-Ups!"
Michigan-based mom Lisa may have taught her son how to aim into the toilet too well. “We followed this advice we saw online about using O-shaped cereal in the toilet bowl to help your son aim into the toilet. He loved it. But later that afternoon, I heard a ton of giggling coming from the kitchen and when I went in there, my son had spread his cereal all over the floor. He was showing his sister how he hit them with his pee! The worst part was actually keeping the dog away from it.”
Rob, a New York father of two, shared a story about potty training while traveling. "I was driving on the interstate when my 2-year-old suddenly had the urge to go pee. I quickly pulled off onto the side of the highway, rushed him out of his car seat and led him to a semi-private area. I turned around to shield him from the view of oncoming cars. When he told me he was finished, I turned around to see that he had peed all over his pulled down pants and even got his shirt too. I was so worried about his privacy that I forgot to help him aim."
Even the most prepared parent can’t possibly be ready for every mishap and oops moment that comes up while potty training. But, you’re not alone. Learning to take these accidents in stride is part of parenting, and if nothing else, you are left with funny stories that you can recount for years.