The Potty Files: Finishing Touches

Marlowe Martino jumps for joy to be finished with potty training!

I’m very (extremely! overwhelmingly!) happy to report that our “Potty Training” days have coming to an end– meaning that Marlowe is Potty TRAINED! Hallelujah!!! We had a bit of a dramatic time gearing up for potty training, and the trenches of potty training were a definite overwhelming mess at times.  I mentioned in my Potty Files series that I would take Sleep Training over Potty Training any day of the week– and I still feel that way! It’s been by far my most challenging parenting milestone.  I wanted to catch you all up on our last Potty Training chapter, and how we transitioned fully out of diapers.  Marlowe is now Night Trained as well (No Pull-up)! I will also remind you that I used THIS BOOK for training and totally love it! I highly recommend following it as closely as possible.

Marlowe Martino sits in her room with her potty chair

When I left off last, potty training was going pretty well at home and at school– except for the fact that Marlowe would NOT poop at school.  Kyle was referring to her as “Shit Break” behind her back, à la American Pie.  Let’s take a moment to give my husband a few golf claps for that stellar movie reference. She would wait until she got home and poop on the little potty. It was a quick fix, but obviously not sustainable.  Well, the day after I published that Potty Files edition, she suddenly started pooping at school! It’s as if she knew we were secretly calling her Shit Break behind her back and wanted to show us up! I arrived at school one day to pick her up, and they casually mentioned that she pooped on the potty.  I celebrated as if we had won the Superbowl.  From then on, pooping came as easily to her as pee on the potty, and things really started progressing.  Soon we were at the point where she would be in the middle of playing, and she would put her toy down, come over to us, and tell us she needed to use the potty.  Then it progressed to her just going and using the potty all by herself without even needing help! There was probably a week in between all these stages.  I got a step stool for the bathroom so that she could be a bit more independent.  She was peeing well in the “big” potty but still preferred to poop in the small one.

Marlowe Martino shows off her potty chair in her bedroom


A few times I got cocky and forgot to remind her to pee before we left the house or something and she ended up having a little accident.  She wouldn’t pee all the way, though, just kind of wet her pants and then look worried and say “Ummmm! I have to use the potty, Mom!!!” I would rush her to a bathroom and she would empty her bladder in to the toilet.  Aaaand then of course I felt like a giant jerk for forgetting to remind her about the potty because obviously I’m the parent in charge– and I should remember I’m dealing with a two year old and not a twenty two year old.  Whoops. Sorry, Marlowe!!! This piddle pad, and this portable potty, also saved the day a couple of times for last-minute potty needs while in the car.

Marlowe Martino is pictured in her bedroom with her potty chair

Night training was a different story, though. I kept putting a pull up on her at naps and at night time even though she was doing great with the potty.  I just figured it would be a huge nightmare to change the sheets in the middle of the night, and no nightmare at all to casually slip a pull up on her when she slept.  Then in the morning when she woke up, we would take her to use the potty immediately. After a couple weeks of waking up dry in the mornings, I started realizing that maybe I was giving her mixed messages.  By day, I was telling her “You’re a big girl! You have to be responsible for putting your pee and poop in the potty!” and then at night I was basically telling her “You’re a baby! Here’s your diaper!” So one night I had a little conversation with her in the morning when we were changing her out of her (dry) pull-up.  I said, “Hey Lowie, you’re doing great at not wetting your diaper at night time.  Do you think you still need to have this diaper at night? I think you’re big enough now that we can take it away.” She kind of looked at me, thinking, and then said, “Yeah, I’m pretty much done with this diaper.” (LOL).  That night, I put a little potty in the corner of her room: “Marlowe, here’s your potty.  If you wake up in the night and need to go pee or poop, or if you have to go pee or poop when you wake up in the morning, just go in here– and Mommy will dump it out in the morning.  DON’T dump it out yourself, please!” (This was secretly my nightmare: that she would be half awake at 3am and try to dump her pee out in the toilet and I’d end up with a urine flood in my hallway)

The first night we tried it out, I only slept like two hours– I was convinced I would be woken up in the night by a urine soaked toddler. But when she shuffled in to our bedroom at 7:30 the next morning, I rushed out of bed to bring her to the potty for her morning pee– and she very nonchalantly told me that she already went in her potty in her room.  Well, then! Sorry I didn’t realize what a grown up you were! LOL. It’s been like that every day since (about a month later)– and still no night accidents! I do have her pee in the potty right before she gets in bed, but then I allow her to pee at her own pace during the night and in the morning.  As far as she’s told me she only pees in the morning right when she wakes up.

Marlowe Martino jumps for joy with her potty chair

Sooooo….we’re officially done!  I’m so proud of Marlowe for accomplishing this huge milestone, and pretty impressed that we made it through.  If you had asked me on nightmareish day two or three of Potty Training if my kid would be totally trained just a couple months later, I would have told you NO WAY.  It really taught me that being present in the moment during these transitional milestones with kids is time much better spent than worrying about the future.  Once we got over one or two humps it was smooth sailing! The experience also definitely taught Marlowe and I how to communicate better with one another.  I had to respect and trust in her– and she had to allow me to guide her along and teach her a new skill.  We have both come out of it feeling very proud of ourselves! LOL.

How was your “finishing touches” period with Potty Training your children? Please share in the Comments below!


Marlowe Martino shows off her potty chair in her bedroom

Photographs by Courtney Ann Photography




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  1. Tina says:

    Hi Eva, so happy for you because i Also think that potty training is the hardest part of parenting… (i Also think that WE are probably really lucky if that’s the hardest part…
    So i had a similar experience with my little Scarlet… but after a month with no night accidents she peed in her bed three nights on a row… so i thought that actually she was ok when she didn’t have to pee during the night but when she had to it didn’t Wake her up… so WE are back to pull ups when she doesn’t want to pee before bed… Well hopefully at 17 she’ll stop pull-ups…;-))))

  2. Christina Alvarez-Key says:

    I might be in minority here but I loved potty training. I have two boys and it wasnt as bad as I thought it was going to be. A whirlwind weekend of staying home and constantly hanging out in the bathroom. One was easier than the other, making it through the night and such and the other still has night time issues but I know it will get better as he grows so no pressure. One is now a teenager and trust me, potty training was a piece a cake compared to other things. But its all relative!

    • Wow you are the first Mom I have ever heard say that! I’m so envious!! Hahaha

  3. Bonnie says:

    I’m a nanny, potty trained lots of kids and it’s always exhausting for me so I can’t imagine how it is on the parents themselves!
    My uncle became a single dad to his first kid at 56, last summer he literally flew me to Texas to spend 2 weeks with little Max getting the most of the potty grunt work done. It was hard for him to do it on weekends and then send him off to daycare, so 2 weeks full time really helped. A year later I think Max is pretty much done, but still wears a pull-up at night. My little brother actually had to wear one until he was 8 or so because of bed wetting issues, but hopefully Max will be able to go diaper-commando at night soon.
    They are visiting Boston in August, maybe I’ll be able to finish off night training during those 2 weeks with these tips!

  4. Amy says:

    Currently in the trenchs of potty training “baby” number 2. We’re rocking the pee but the poop is killing me!!!! Glad I’m not alone and hopefully there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

  5. Nina says:

    Hi Eva. You weren’t sending mixed messages at all. Staying dry in sleep is a completely different ball game from staying dry while awake. It is not something that children can control so stopping fluids or waking them up to pee is not the answer. It is a biological process that involves the secretion of hormones and it is not something that you can train a child to do. You followed Marlowe’s pace and took the pull-up off when she was consistently dry. That is the best way to achieve nighttime dryness. Kudos to you for meeting your child where she was developmentally. And congrats on the end of potty training 😉

  6. Tracy says:

    Congratulations! I have finished potty training my second child and it was a totally different experience than the first one. I am still reminding him to go when out or at camp but I don’t mind since it is reenforcing his going to the bathroom. I have a third one to potty train and I hope to get him trained sooner and more efficiently than the first two. I think it’s important for parents to know that potty training is a whole process with different parts that doesn’t happen from one day to the next but through the child gradually grasping what is going on. Understanding that and working through the phases that my son was made the process less intimidating.

    • I’ve heard that every child is different! Who knows what Major will be like! Ha!

  7. Heather So says:

    Yay for Marlowe!! That is very exciting! I am with you on the sleep training over potty training. I found potty training to be one of my hardest challenges thus far. It took us 3 months for our daughter to be potty trained at home and school. We are still clinging to the pull-up at night, but now with this idea of the potty in her room, maybe we will move to the final step!
    My question for you is – do you have a bar set up at the site of Marlowe’s big girl bed? Or did you already get rid of that? We still have a long bar up and I am thinking that will stop our daughter from getting up in the night to pee in the potty.
    Thanks for all your great advice and tips!

    • Hi Heather!
      She is currently in a toddler bed (crib converted) which has a railing built in. It is only half the length of her bedside, though, so she can easily get in and out. I don’t think the bar does much to impede them from using the potty. I would try it! A few moms have actually messaged me that trying the potty in the bedroom was what finally helped their children be night trained as well so hoping it works for you!

  8. Jessica Hulse Dillon says:

    I LOVE your idea of putting the little potty in her room. My kiddo has taken to taking her diaper off in the middle of the night or if she happens to poop in it which is no bueno. Putting a potty in her room would let her do her business.

  9. Robyn Bien-Willner says:

    Hi Eva, I’ve followed along with your potty training files as I’m in the trenches with my 2nd child. She is so funny and doesn’t like to go in public bathrooms/school potties and has started to hold her pee from 9-3:30 pm! It gives me such anxiety that she holds it that long – after consulting several pedS they all said she’ll have to figure it out and let her be!! She’s a little younger than Marlowe and on Friday she peed on the potty school – I celebrated like it was a super bowl win too! Hopefully she will keep it up once we get get back from vaca. Thanks for sharing Lowie and your potty journey with us!

  10. Meaghan O'Shea says:

    I have to admit I didn’t do much to potty train my oldest daughter. We tried, but it felt like she was resisting so we let it go. Then on New Year’s day, about a month after turning 2, she asked to go potty and that was it. She wore panties from that day forward. However, we did the pull up at night. She would be dry for weeks so we’d take it off and then she’d wet the bed days in a row. So back to pull up. Dry. Try no pull up and accidents again. Eventually we got there though. I hope the second one is that easy! ☺

  11. Braden says:

    Eva! When will my toddler and I be able to leave the house again?! We’re on Day 4 of the Oh Crap! method and I feel like we’re never leaving home again. She’s wearing pants again now, but more poor kiddo is a FREQUENT pee-er so I don’t feel like we can get too far away from the potty yet. We’re talking once every 20-30 min, and that’s back on her regular amount of fluids! We’ll try the park today, but I really miss our daily outings and seeing the rest of humanity. Please tell me or gets better soon! I don’t even want to talk about the poop battles we’ve been having. Also, thanks for your frank and honest assessment of this whole deal, it helps me feel less like an impatient mama! 🙂

    • Ugh I’m sorry!! I told you it’s THE WORST. It does get better. It reminds me a lot of those no-sleep newborn days when it feels like it’s going to go on for ever, but then it just gets better around three months? Kind of like that but thankfully more like three weeks. Good luck!

  12. Sareve says:

    Congrats mommy and Marlowe!
    I started potty training my daughter about a week ago and she’s doing great. I agree with you, the first couple of days are exhausting!
    After reading your potty file series I admit I’m a bit nervous that this won’t stick, she hasn’t had an accident since day two .. we’ve gone on long errands and even away for the day (brought the potty with us).
    She will only go in her little potty though, at what point did Marlowe use the ‘big toilet’?
    Oh and I ordered and used the book you suggested sona huge thank you for the suggestion!!

  13. Katie says:


    I am trying to mentally prepare myself for potty-training my son and am sooo nervous. Is there anything you would have done differently looking back on the experience or is there anything you will do differently with Major?

    Thanks!!! Xx