Potty Training Round Two

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Major Martino stands on the stairs wearing his new big boy underwear as he starts the potty training process

I don’t think I’m being overly dramatic when I say that I had been dreading potty training Major since I finished potty training Marlowe. That puts us at about two full years of dread. LOL. I’ve written a few blog posts detailing the before, during, and after phases of Marlowe’s potty training journey– and I’m not quiet about the fact that it was by far the most challenging parenting phase for me. Potty Training is the worst! Now that we’re potty training Major, I thought I would share a post about the similarities, differences, and my takeaways this time around.

I’ll start by saying that Major expressed interest in being potty trained in January. And I don’t mean he was giving us some subtle cues that my finely-trained Mommy Spidey Sense was translating in to a desire to lose the diaper…I mean he was actually telling me “Mama, I don’t want a diaper. I want to go pee pee and poo poo in the big boy potty like Sissy.” Yeah…not much interpretation needed. At the time, we were about to move in to what was for sure the most challenging and uprooted four months of our lives as a family with our renovation– and I just wasn’t ready to do it. In what was probably the “wrong” parenting move, I told him we were going to use diapers for a while longer, and when he was two and a half (the same age your sister was!) we would take away the diaper. That simple, lazy move probably saved my sanity this winter/spring.

Major Martino sits on the steps of his connecticut home wearing his brand new big boy underwear and black socks

I finally bit the bullet a month ago. One day, we told him we were going to put big boy underpants on and we were going to give all the diapers away. He would have pull ups at night, and that was it! If you want to read specifically about my approach before and during the training experience– it is all linked here. I did rely on the same method I used with Marlowe, though their reaction to it differed slightly. I heard SO many tales before potty training Major about how boys were so much harder than girls to potty train– and to be totally honest, I was terrified. But I will tell you that I haven’t found him to be harder to train, per se. It’s just that the readiness and the mechanics have varied slightly.

The first day Major was in underwear, he seemed to really have no idea that he was about to pee. The first couple of times he would look down at his wet underwear and say “Oh no, Mommy! It’s wet!” As if it couldn’t possibly have come from his own body. By the end of the first day, we realized that we had to start putting him on the potty every 45 minutes or so to get him used to the sensation of peeing and having it go in there. After a day or so of implementing that, he started to tell us when he had to go to the bathroom! I didn’t experience with Major the same emotional resistance to potty training that Marlowe had. I chalk it up to a personality difference between them– but I also think that having an older sibling to aspire to really puts the whole things in perspective for the younger sibs.

Major Martino sits on the steps of his connecticut home wearing his brand new big boy underwear and black socks

As with Marlowe, the poop aspect of things took a couple of days. He definitely held his poop at first, and then would get kind of constipated. I’ve found that having him poop on the big potty instead of the little potty really helps. We currently have two little potties: one in the playroom for emergency style rush (I still prefer him to use the big potty if it’s not an emergency) and one in his bedroom for middle of the night pees. He will wake up and tell me if he needs to pee and I go in there and help him. I only go in and help because of his broken leg! I’m assuming that once the cast comes off he will be able to be more independent if he needs to go to the bathroom during the night or in the early morning before it’s wake up time.

And speaking of helping him, a week in to potty training, he broke his leg. And it has REALLY complicated things. I’m a huge believer in never quitting potty training once you’ve begun (I think it sends a confusing message), and so we’ve stuck with it. But it’s definitely made the process harder on everyone. He isn’t that mobile and can’t get on the potty by himself, making it necessary for him to voice his own cues, or for us to be hyper vigilant with him. I’ve been super impressed, though, with how well he’s done. He still has the occasional poop accident (you will remember that this happened with Marlowe also at first), but otherwise he monitors his pee well – and is even dry at night! I can only imagine that his success will increase when he can go walk and plop himself down on the potty at will. At least I hope so! In other news, trying to get poop accident underwear off of a two year old, with a full leg cast, without a serious disaster is quite the art form. I’ll be here waiting for my trophy…LOL.

Major Martino turns to walk up the staircase in his connecticut home, wearing the big boy underwear he received at the start of potty training

All in all, potty training is still horrible, but I feel way more prepared the second time around. I think also having him home this year to do it, instead of trying to manage Marlowe’s daycare routine and home routine in a way that would guarantee her potty training success, has made the process less stressful for me. Being fully in control of the “method”, so to speak, has been really helpful. I’m so proud of him for sticking with something so challenging and doing such a great job! And, let’s be honest, there is probably nothing cuter than a little boy in little tiny underpants. Ha! Do you have anything to share about potty training your second child?? Please let me know in the comments below!

Ps- these pics were all taken pre-leg break, clearly!

Photographs by Julia Dags

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  1. Mel G says:

    The good news is this is the last time you have to potty-train! It sounds like Major has a good handle on it, wtg!

    06.03.19 Reply
  2. Missy says:

    Thank you for this! I am dreading starting potty training my little boy (only 3 weeks older than Major!), he hasn’t had any interest at all. But I so love that since Major wasn’t at daycare or pre pre school it seemed a bit easier, since that is what we plan on doing too. And wow the cast/poop accident underwear – I cannot imagine!

    06.03.19 Reply
  3. Sonya says:

    Potty training has been by far the biggest challenge of parenting so far. Even more so than those first few months of sleeplessness and breastfeeding non-stop! It is the WORST! So kudos to you for doing with a cast on.

    You totally deserve a reward Mama!

    06.03.19 Reply
  4. Amy says:

    My first child was easily potty trained at two so I assumed that’s how it was going to go for my second. But she resisted and fought us until I finally stopped talking about it all together (this required some patience with her preschool teachers since potty training was required). Finally right before she turned four she just decided one day that she was potty trained and she never used a pull up or had a single accident. Now that my third child is potty-training age, I’m holding off a bit longer in hopes we can avoid accidents and pull-ups again. He’s definitely interested in starting, but like you, I know it requires some commitment on my part that I’m just not quite ready for.

    06.03.19 Reply
  5. Mary says:

    Eva hi! I was really anticipating this post since you left some hints about potty training Major! You are so lucky that Major has shown interest in potty training so early without pressure and now follows your instructions without being too fussy! AND with a btoken leg ! This is a budda kid indeed!!! My boy has turned three in February and he is only now starting to show big interest in potty training! So far he would scream if I tried to put on him underwear or even pull ups! He would not abandon his diaper !?Although he often wakes up dry and I tell him to put him to pee on the potty or the big potty, he firmly says “NO, in the diaper” and then he pees in the diaper!
    I postponed his potty training until this spring/summer because of the long winter and because he started pre pre school and I wanted him to adjust well before we focus on potty training!I never thought that it would be such a struggle cause I had seen my niece, now 5, smoothly being potty trained within a couple of weeks with very few accidents but I guess finally it must be harder for boys, so many mothers witness that.I am going to follow all the tips and tricks from your posts and from your reader’s comments, I hope some mom of a potty training resistant boy gives us some insight! Otherwise I will follow the shock therapy which will be throwing away the diapers without further notice which I guess it will be crazy but I dont know what else to do!!!

    06.03.19 Reply
  6. Meaghan says:

    Thanks for sharing. I was wondering how it went. My children are complete opposite. Daughter #1 woke up almost exactly 1 month after turning 2 and asked to go potty and that was that pretty much. So yes, I’ve been dreading daughter #2 because I knew I couldn’t get lucky twice. She is 2.5 and stays home with dad all day. He’s not making much effort and I just learned she fell in the potty one day so now she’s afraid of it. Poor child will never be potty trained I’m afraid!

    06.03.19 Reply
  7. Sierra says:

    Like you I was soooo not looking forward to potty training my son as I’d heard boys were more difficult than girls. That hasn’t been the case for us, thankfully! My son is about Major’s age and was definitely ready to nix the dipe- whenever he was in the process of pooping in his diaper, he’d go to his room, close the door and say, “I nee sum pwivacy” (which is literally the cutest thing I’ve ever witnessed!). We rolled with ‘naked booty’ style for three straight days and he did really well, maybe one or two accidents where he didn’t quite make it to the potty in time. Since then it’s been a breeze, though he still wets his pull ups at night. I am really thankful to be mostly beyond this phase of parenthood! Kudos to you and Major for tackling this while he’s in a cast!! ???

    06.03.19 Reply
  8. Devon Mendez says:

    OMG I’ve been waiting for you to share round 2 of potty training! I too have been putting it off with our 2.5yr old boy because it was so NOT fun with our daughter. It wasn’t awful but was just time consuming and exhausting getting up every night again after what seemed to be just getting into a normal sleep routine…but I digress.
    Any who, you have given me the “push” I need to just get it going with him because he asks to go potty all the time and we take him but he doesn’t do anything…ever. I’m hoping one he’s in undies and feels the wetness he will understand the sensation and start to actually go on the potty. I plan to start it next weekend, there, I’ve committed myself in writing lol!
    Thanks for always giving us the parenting realness!

    06.07.19 Reply
  9. Amanda says:

    Oh gosh. A #2 accident with a leg cast on??? I’d be cutting them off with scissors and throwing them away lol God bless you!

    06.10.19 Reply
  10. Amy Norton says:

    When I was a nanny, I potty trained a 2 yr old in 2 days with no toys – just taking her to the bathroom every half hour or so. Didn’t work on my son at all. I tried at 2, he didn’t get it, and we had a full travel schedule (by car) so I waited until he was almost 4 and used the bribe method. He only had a few pee accidents. We used pocket diapers but without the inserts so it felt more like underwear and he could unsnap when he had to pee yet if he pooped it was easy clean up. Several weeks later he had it all down (I don’t remember how long it took but #2 was more difficult and so I found a more enticing toy to bribe him with). Also, he wouldn’t poop in the little potty, so we got the seat that goes over the big potty, and that made all the difference.

    What no one talks about is at what age they learn to wipe themselves and actually do a good job! My son was a month into kindergarten before he could, only because we never thought about how helping him with a “safety wipe” made him fear going to the bathroom alone at school.

    If my comment is late it is because I don’t have you on instagram, but I still enjoy your blog and read new posts all at once, when I have spare time. 🙂 You are one of the 2 blogs I subscribe to. The other is thebudgetmom – which balances me wanting to buy everything you wear and endorse – ha! But loved the t-shirt post because there are very good priced options!

    06.21.19 Reply
    • Thanks Amy! And awesome share about your experience with potty training, thank you!

      06.22.19 Reply
  11. Susan says:

    My son, second child, was definitely more challenging than my daughter. A preschool teacher told me to do this and it totally worked. After they went peepee or poop let them put two drops of food coloring in the toilet. They get to pick the color and you just leave them in the cabinet over the toilet. “What color do you want to make your pee pee?” Crazy, but he was totally potty trained in a week.

    07.09.19 Reply
  12. Heather says:

    I trained 3 sons. The first announced at 2.5 that he wanted to wear underwear and he did … the second was slower but I don’t remember any drama. My third- I was sure he would go to kindergarten in pull-ups. Now they’re all grown and son #3 has a daughter in a joint custody situation. I started training her at 2ish and she loved being in undies. But at mamas house she was in diapers. She wasn’t staying dry constantly but enough that she was ok hanging around the house in undies. This went on for about a year and then mama started working on her. Then she went to being dry with mama and having accidents constantly with us. We coordinated reward systems- we never punished for accidents and only used positive reinforcement. We made sure to have identical potty chairs. Then she started being dry with us and having accidents with mama. This went back and forth for awhile. Now she’s 4 and… she’s doing almost perfectly. But she will hold her pee for HOURS- 8-10 hours. It’s been THE MOST complicated potty training experience of my life but I chalk it up to the custody thing.

    07.09.19 Reply