skip to site navigation

Potty Time

(Toilet training your parents-a users guide)

You gotta remember, parents know nothing. ‘Specially if you are the only kid, or the biggest, baddest, best and mostest in the house. They’ve never done this stuff before. Grandparents can be a bit more devious. Believe it or not, some of them have been toilet trained by their own children.

Toilet training some parents is a breeze – they hardly notice it is going on.

Others make a great big fuss about it; you’d think they were the first people ever to put a backside through a hoop. Parents are all different. It depends on what sort of person they are, and what stage they are at.

They can’t help themselves; it’s just the way they are.

Timing is important.

Just moved house? Forget it – you’ll be too busy re-organising your parents around you. New brother arrives? Not likely! Time to sabotage his milk supply and dismantle the house-plants. You won’t be able to potty train two grown-ups as well.

Let’s get real: it’s not going to happen overnight. It takes time and patience. You can’t rush it. A mate of mine was plonked on a potty at 4 months.

She had a wee without even noticing. The parents thought she was a genius! Duh! Oh, and check out those ads on the Internet: ‘Potty Training in 5 Hours!’ It takes an hour to get through the testimonials alone.

I dunno if it’s any good but I can tell you that it costs $22.70 US and they take American Express. Duh!

See, our parents can’t remember what it’s like to be our age. We toddlers have a really strong urge to learn stuff. It’s so strong it will carry on in spite of Dad and Mum.

All they have to do is sit back, and enjoy, but they don’t always realise this. We love to learn new things and practice them. It makes us feel powerful. We really like it when our parents copy what we do. We like it so much we’ll even let them do it first, if it keeps them happy.

Some parents don’t catch on that we are going to toilet train them. We have to let them know when we’re ready:

You gotta be able to walk. Give them a dry nappy after 2 hours. Copy something they do. Insist your toys are put in the right place. Help them undress you.

Be proud of your tower of blocks (even if you did it for them really). Show them your willy or your fanny and take a peek at theirs.

Stare and point at them, grab hold of theirs if necessary – that usually gets their attention. Use words: ‘pee-pee’, ‘poo-poo’ – they’ll love it! Concentrate and make that special face you have. O.K., they’re getting the hint. It’s time to make a start.

The Equipment:

Get you parents to take some toys and books in the toilet with them. If they don’t, hide in your room every time they say, ‘potty.’ They’ll soon cotton on. My mate Jed had having trouble training his parents.

So he turned to the grandmother.

He whisked her off to the shops, chose a special potty just for himself and scored new undies into the bargain. They left the potty in the bathroom for a while till the parents got used to it.

The Process:

Show them there’s a poop coming. You know, straining, shifting from foot to foot. Then let it rip before they can get to you in time. Ha! Ha! Let them watch you run around naked. Go to the toilet with them to see they put it in the proper place.

Next, take them to the potty and sit with your nappy on to begin with. Now, leave the nappy off. I guarantee you will have their attention 110%!

Some parents like to come with you to the potty every 2 hours. They sit on their own potty and read to you or watch you play with your shells. Some like to wait till you become lost in your thoughts and go red in the face. Then they ask, ‘Do you need the potty?’ What a silly question. Be sure to tell them ‘No!’ The louder the better.

But if they say, ‘It’s time for the potty’, that shows they are learning. Reward them by taking them to the bathroom. Always celebrate success. If no poop appears on cue, tell them they are learning – they usually repeat this back to you.

There are bound to be occasional accidents, parents all have them. Don’t worry about it. Always make sure they clean it up afterwards, though, and put it in toilet. I pooped on the carpet once, on purpose. Dad didn’t seem to notice. No fun at all.

After a few successful days, give your parents a bit more independence. Tell them you are going to the potty and they may join you in a minute to help clean up.

When they are coping with this, move up a notch. Go to poop in the potty on your own. Let Dad or Mum come in afterwards to check. It lets them know their still needed.


Usually these are due to the parents’ developmental stage.

Anxiety – they really want to succeed and need your approval

Fear – of the potty or toilet, or of their bodies. Take a real good look at them having a poop on the toilet. This will put them at ease.

Language – parents sometimes don’t use words enough. They seem to expect you to know what’s happening in your body without naming it for you.

Oppositional behaviour – they all go through this. Say the word, ‘No!’ as many times as necessary till they understand that removing you from the centre of the universe is not acceptable.

The Ego – they think they know when you should go to the toilet.

Never accept punishment.

Remember, in any battle you have the ultimate weapon: a never-ending supply of poop! You can withhold it. You can deposit it when and where you wish. The effects can be devastating.

It is a fight you will always win. Mind you, we can’t make Dad and Mum upset.

Only they can do that.

Luckily, most parents can be toilet trained without too much trauma.

Relax with them.

Make choices, feel strong.

Enjoy the praise. Put the shark in the nest.

Father & Child News