Family Life

My Toddler Has Zero Interest in Potty Training. This is Why I Don’t Care

I’ve told my toddler I’ll buy her whatever kind of underwear she wants when she uses the toilet. I’ve put her on the potty and promised her a vigorous rendition of The Potty Dance, if she eeks out just a few drops. Meanwhile, she has yet to demonstrate any real interest in potty training. I don’t consider resisting diaper changes an interest in potty training. And that’s fine with me. Here’s why. 



My older child, who is now five, started using the toilet at two years old. Over the past three years, I have given hours of my life to the discussion of her bathroom needs. Do you have to go too? Are you sure you don’t have to go? It’s a long drive. Please try before we go. Can you hold it till we get home? Do you want me to come into the restroom with you or wait outside? The amount of time and energy I’ve spent on this line of conversation is astounding. I’m ok with limiting it to one family member at a time. 



Sometimes I think my older child strategically waits until my grocery cart is completely full to announce she must go to the bathroom. Right. Now. While I realize my toddler might be the type to use the potty before we leave the house without being asked, she very well might not be. I’m not a betting kind of woman when it comes to taking my kids grocery shopping. Between lamenting my lack of a CDL when maneuvering the car cart, and hating the sound of my own voice saying “No” (no marshmallows, no sugar cereal, no, not even the one with Dora on the box, no getting out of the moving cart), I lack the reserves to manage two children’s urgent bathroom needs.  



Gone are the days when I dashed out with my phone, my keys, a chapstick, and my wallet shoved in my coat pocket. In my bag, you’ll find all that, plus Tic Tacs (a handy, if sugary, bribe); baggies of sliced apples, if I’m on my game; a bag of beef jerky or applesauce pouches; a change of clothes for each kid; and a pinecone someone asked me to hold for a minute. What difference do a couple of diapers and some wipes make? 


  1. I’M LAZY 

I masquerade as laid back and efficient when I am, in fact, uptight (I want my house clean!) and lazy (I don’t want to actually clean it!). These qualities don’t lend themselves to diving headfirst into the labor-intensive, messy endeavor of potty training. Instead of listening to a podcast and making dinner while pretending I can’t hear my kids fighting and decimating the playroom, potty training would require constant vigilance, close attention to both the clock and the child. Meanwhile, because my toddler refuses to use the potty, I’d have to add cleaning human excrement off my floors to my to-do list. And don’t get me started on the atrocities of managing a poop-y underpants situation. 



I don’t remember what it’s like to be two years old. But I’m guessing it’s pretty disempowering–even if you’re lucky enough to score caregivers who meet all of your basic needs (and some of your desires, including your demands to wear a tutu and tights in the dead of winter). You’re at eye level with a typical adult’s mid-thigh. You can be scooped up and carried to an undisclosed location without notice or consent. You’re at the mercy of grown-ups 99 percent of the time. I don’t see the point of adding toilet use to the long list of things you can’t control.



My toddler is my second and, most likely, my last child, which makes her my baby forever. I realize it will be just a couple of blinks before I’m putting her on the school bus with her big sister. Diaper changes give me a chance to kiss the velvet skin of her little potbelly, to squeeze her scrumptious thighs, to marvel at her unlined, chubby feet. Also, there’s nothing quite like the sound of her high pitched giggle when I tickle the back of her knee. 

This article was originally published in March 2023.

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