A Single Dad’s Guide to Potty Training

So, I thought now that Noah is potty trained, I would share some of my expert advice with any of you other single or working parents. It can be a bit trickier for us since consistency isn’t always an option.

At first, Noah didn’t want to learn to use the potty. In fact, he was very much against it for quite some time, but by following these simple steps, he potty trained in no time, and now he’s a regular champion on the porcelain throne.

Dan’s Ten Potty Training Musts for Single and Working Parents:

  1. DO leave their diaper on until it is so heavy they can no longer walk. They will try to crawl even in this state. A few more hours should completely immobilize them. The inability to be mobile is incredible motivation for a child.
  2. DO use extreme measures of guilt. Son, you’re three. I knew a two year old who never peed his pants. Ever. I wish you could have seen him, he was something else. You have to understand that children desperately want their parent’s approval, so this is a natural course of action to take.
  3. DON’T rub their nose in their yuck when they do have accidents. Studies have shown that this is ineffective and only causes lifelong resentment. You may think it is a tactic that everyone uses, and many do, but trust me, it doesn’t work. Save it for the dog.
  4. DO stay positive. Always say things like, someday you won’t drive me crazy cause you can’t hold it, or I’m proud of you for still trying even though you just blew it big time. 
  5. DON’T spank your child when they have an accident. Change their diaper first or you might get poop on your hands.
  6. DO bribe them with huge rewards for big accomplishments, especially while you’re gone or at work. If you can go poop in the potty while I’m at work, I’ll give you this brand new super shiny penny, but if you go in your diaper, you have to give me that quarter you worked all day to earn. 
  7. DO involve your child’s imagination in the potty training process. If you don’t go pee in the next 30 seconds, a big old snake monster is going to come up and bite your bum bum, and no, you may not get off the toilet.
  8.  DO get your child involved in poop/pee clean-up activities. In fact, it works very well to make them clean up poop anywhere you can find it. Horse stalls, dog poop in the yard, subway benches, outhouses. Explain (with lots and lots of love) that just as soon as they learn to use the potty they won’t have to do it anymore.
  9. DO be consistent in your methods. You don’t want to confuse your child, and sending mixed messages only delays the process. If you choose the guilt method, make sure that you never lay off. If you choose spankings, gradually progress to more spanks and the use of items like shoes and ping pong paddles.
  10. DON’T give up! Potty training takes time for some kids. If it’s taking too much time though, always know that you can turn to a professional for help. Like grandma. Let her deal with the mess.

I hope those tips help. Just remember, DON’T listen to them. Of course I would never subject my child to such things. And since Internet parents are sometimes nutso, I better clarify that I do not believe in spanking, I do not rub dogs noses in their own yuck, and I don’t use ridiculous guilt to coerce my child into things. Glad we cleared all that up.

With Noah, the real trick was just waiting till he was ready, and then it only took one day. In fact, in only took about ten seconds. The magic moment happened when his slightly older cousin emphatically stated that he never pees his pants. From that moment on, Noah never peed his pants either. ‘Cause then he wouldn’t be as cool as his cousin.

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 1.4 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!