The Final Phase of Toilet Training

The Final Phase of Toilet Training

I think most parents have an unhealthy interest in their child's bathroom habits.  I can't count the number of times someone's eyes have glazed over as I talked about potty issues.  And yet I persist in talking about it. Why? Because, you know, it's sort of a big deal in my life.  Also, as a mom to two young children it's not like I've seen any good movies lately.  I'm sort of out of better topics.


Which is a roundabout way of warning you I'm about to talk about poop.  I apologize in advance for any embarrassment this may cause my child in her later years.

My daughter toilet trained when she was around 2 ½ years old.  I knew she was ready when we were at a provincial park and she became enamoured with the outhouse.  Any kid who can pee (enthusiastically) in an outhouse is a prime candidate for potty training in my book.  We worked with her daycare, and within a week or two she was completely out of diapers during the day.  Seven or eight months after that she was also dry at night.  Yippee!

But (or should I say butt?) that's only part of the story.  Being out of diapers is only the first step in the long and exciting journey towards bathroom independence.  There’s also the move from the potty chair to the potty seat on the big toilet.  There’s the eventual abandonment of the potty seat. And then there’s the biggie – the day you no longer have to wipe your child’s bottom.

When my daughter started preschool there were, um, issues.  The teachers weren't always aware of what the kids were doing, so needless to say her underwear wasn't always pristine. We decided it was time for wiping lessons, and stocked up on the flushable kid wipes.

Our kid resisted. Occasionally she would give it a half-hearted effort, but she was
worried about dirtying her hands.  And because of this worry when we ran out of kid wipes she’d use almost half a roll of toilet paper per bathroom trip.  Which, of course, led to clogged toilets.  So we relented.  Plus, really, wiping your kid’s butt is a cakewalk compared to dealing with dirty diapers.

But now my daughter is about to turn 4, and I have another baby.  The whole situation has gotten to be a bit much for me.  I have another kid in diapers as it is.  So I asked my big kid when she would be ready to wipe herself, and she said when she was big like me.  Which would be what, when she’s 10? 11? 24?  Good try, kid, but no dice.

So I’m off to buy more flushable wipes.  I’ve spoken with my daughter and explained that she needs to learn how to do this herself.  I will work with her, and offer my moral support, but I will not be doing this for her anymore.  She's agreed, but since I don't have the wipes yet it's still theoretical.  We'll have to see how it goes once it's game time. 

Any good wishes or helpful advice on navigating this final phase in the journey to independent toileting are greatly appreciated.  Clearly, we need all the help that we can get.


You can catch up with me on my blog at And I promise, I really hardly ever write about poop.