How to get out of Potty Training Purgatory — A Comprehensive Guide

Have you been trying to potty train your toddler? Do you feel like you’re locked in a small cage with an animal who isn’t rational? Then you’ve come to the right place. I’m here to help you get out of potty training purgatory with this comprehensive guide. My experience in potty training will surely give you the boost you need, just follow this simple guide.

  1. Get this book and read it cover to cover, maybe even two times. While reading it, you may feel like the author is conveying you’ve been doing parenting wrong up until this point. That is accurate. Read the reviews, the negative ones will give you an idea of how I landed in purgatory.
  2. Pick a potty. You can get this, or this, or this.
  3. Realize those potty’s don’t work.
  4. Get an actual toddler toilet like in elementary school. We opted for this one by American Standard and truth be told, our daughter has some special needs and mobility issues so we wanted to make it as easy as possible for her. The size worked. Point for the parents! But the toilet opening was still too large.
  5. Try to make it work.
    Splash down
  6. Stay positive!!
  7. Grab coffee.
  8. Ask constantly, meaning 100 times an hour, if they’re dry.
  9. Praise them when they are.
  10. Tell them to let you know when they have to potty. The book says not to ask them if they have to go, and certainly don’t sit them down on the potty. Wait until they tell you. Signing for potty
  11. Have your bribes ready. Candy didn’t work for us, but presents kind of did. Luckily, Christmas just happened and several presents haven’t realized their full potential. Like this backpack. Backpack bribe
    Or this Frozen costume.
  12. The following may happen: hands in the toilet, flushing for fun, peeing a tiny bit right before getting on the potty, holding the rest of your pee for hours, throwing a portable toilet, falling sideways onto the bathtub, crying (by everyone), living in the bathroom for 12 hours a day.
  13. Stay positive! You can do this…I think.
  14. Your toddler may have new demands. Our hair bow hating girl needed to wear all her bows. At the same time. Just go with it. Your battle is the potty, not matching bows.bows
  15. Since we’re just wearing panties and a t-shrit, your toddler may think it’s a good time to go commando with two pairs of skinny pants. Again, these are battles that you don’t need to fight. This offered a much needed comedic break and was a huge breakthrough and new milestone of dressing oneself.IMG_2706
  16. At this point, I feel a diagram may be helpful so you know what’s needed within reach — notice that Mom is not pictured. She’s on a caffeine kick rocking back and forth in a corner.diagram
  17. Call your husband and demand a new solution to the potty since she keeps splashing down or throwing the rigged, unhinged portable potty.
  18. Thank God for your best friend who told you about this, and thank the good Lord your husband can install anything and that it works with the tiny toilet.
  19. It’s almost bedtime, so have your wine ready to counteract all the large iced coffees you’ve had.
  20. Ponder how you were every potty trained.
  21. Realize your child hasn’t pooped all day, but keeps telling you they need to.
  22. Put them in bed. Be hardcore, no diaper. NO pull-up. See #1, the book, and remember you’ve been parenting all wrong.
  23. Put your child down for bed for two hours, put them on the potty when they tell you they need to go.
  24. Put them to bed after they haven’t gone.
  25. Wake up from 3 a.m. – 5 a.m. at your child’s leading and try the potty.
  26. Fail.
  27. Clean two wet beds.
  28. It’s now 6 a.m. and your child has indicated the day is starting, wake up irritated and try to make coffee.
  29. This is the smallest amount of sleep you’ve had since the newborn days. Your child slept for 4 1/2 hours and hasn’t pooped.Sleeping
  30. Start day two.
  31. Oh, right…we’re still in potty training purgatory.
  32. Thank me for being the most honest person in your potty training journey.

In all seriousness, every child is different; I’ve heard it, said it, loathed it, believed it and tried to accept it. Do your best and do what works for your family and don’t give up. Luckily I have a helpful husband, mom and a group of girls I can text with to help me through. Hopefully a full trained potty post will follow this one sometime soon. Until then my friend sent me this mug and I can’t wait for it’s arrival (in 1-2 weeks). When it arrives, I’m praying Reagan is potty trained, other wise…the latter will be true. I love Jesus

**Update** Day two, Reagan peed on the potty twice and stayed dry for 12 hours at night. Day three she peed when she woke up AND pooped all by herself. Maybe we have been parenting all wrong.


Haven’t been in a writing mood lately. The last time I wrote was after Thanksgiving, and I couldn’t publish it because it was just a hard post to put out there. I clicked ‘publish’ today and I hope you read it here.

For the past month, Rob and I have been going back and forth to the beach. Taking some much needed time to restore our souls from the day in, day out grind of life. Parenting can wear you down. And being a special needs parent can be so challenging and frustrating.

hand in sand

Over the past month, we’ve allowed ourselves to just sit and look out at the vastness of the ocean. At night, we open the door and listen. Sitting, listening and looking at God’s creation, quickly allows us the realization that we are so small. We can see that God’s got us. And when the days of disciplining and living in toddler land reach a peak because it seems like we’re not making any headway and we’re just treading water…God’s holding us. He’s still providing us with hope.

Physically viewing something so majestic for an extended amount of time, like the ocean, watching the waves crash, watching the tide come in and go out, every single day, I know God is in control. My life might feel chaotic, like rough waves and rushing waters, but God is in control. And maybe things don’t make sense to me, because I can’t physically see how they could make sense. But God tells me about the things that are unseen…and in that realm, there’s a rhythm, there’s the truth that God’s working all things out and he’s finishing the work he started in me, in Rob and in Reagan.

As a mom to a feisty special needs little girl, I feel that sometimes I’m dealing with things waaaay above my pay grade. I get frustrated, I grit my teeth, I raise my voice. I feel bad. I question my tactics. I pray I’m not messing this child up and then I pray for real (as I pour a glass of wine) God please help me!

I feel like how Reagan tantrums and acts out is sometimes how I act toward God. But I don’t wannnna do that, God! That’s too hard, God! I don’t really know if your way is the best way, God!

And what I need to remind myself of is this

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears. Phil 1:6 (MSG)

And also to have hope:

But hope means that we must trust and wait for what is still unseen. For why would we need to hope for something we already have? So because our hope is set on what is yet to be seen, we patiently keep on waiting for its fulfillment. Rom 8:24-25 (The Passion Translation)

God is going to complete the good work in me. And I can have hope in its fulfillment. The fulfillment that will happen in this life, and in the next.

I read two devotionals this morning and that’s why I decided to write. They both impacted me so I want to share them with you. I pray that when hard days happen, that I will remind myself that God’s working on something in me, and also in the people around me. He’s not going to give up on me. He is as consistent as the tides coming in and out and I can fully trust God with my everything.

Great Work

What Is Unseen – Eager Expectation Series – Part 3



Here’s the Reality with GA-1

We saw Reagan’s new neurologist a couple weeks ago. We really like him. As he was examining Reagan he asked us what the MRI said since he didn’t have the records yet, and we let him know that the entire basal ganglia was damaged.

He seemed to be disbelieving of that.

“Both sides though?”

“Ummm…Yes? I believe so. It’s pretty substantial damage,” I said.

The Dr. had just finished examining Reagan. He took her on a walk, then picked it up to a light jog and asked her to keep up. He took her up and down some stairs in the PT area, and asked her to point out the nose on a really tiny army man. She did all of that. He had asked her to grab a tape measure and pull, with each hand. I can imagine that the Dr.’s wheels are turning…both sides of her body are working, she’s able to point to something tiny, she’s able to walk, climb stairs and keep up a fast pace…I need to see this MRI.

chasing reagan

Reagan’s genetics Dr. came into the appointment and pulled up the MRI.

“Oh. WOW!” Was the neurologists first response after viewing it. It seems we had conveyed correctly. One thing he said that caught Rob’s attention was the fact that there was no bleeding on the brain.

“I’m sorry, what?!” Rob said. “That’s a possibility?”

Both the Neurologist and genetics Dr. agreed. GA-1 attacks the basal ganglia in a crisis, and there can also be bleeding on the brain. GA-1 can wreak total havoc, as you all know since you saw it do that to Reagan. But a brain bleed can do much more harm than what was done to Reagan.

Over the thanksgiving holiday, a little member of the GA-1 community that I’m a part of passed away. The boy was very close in age to Reagan and without providing the full details, he did pass away due to GA-1. Any number of neurological things could have happened in the crisis that took his life. And in reading that mother’s words, I had to deal with the fact that that scenario is a reality. Even though Reagan has had a crisis and we’ve all witnessed how it took everything away, and watched together as our incredible God continues to heal her and bring everything back, it stopped me in my tracks. I became paralyzed with fear.

It’s the winter time, and flu season, and I’m taking Reagan everywhere. To stores. To the grocery store. To the beach. To preschool. To church. To people’s homes. What if that happened to her? What if we lost her? 

Ever since Reagan’s diagnosis and more so since her crisis, my mind has gone on these wild tangents. Instead of dreaming about her first day of Kindergarten, I wonder what I would do if I had to plan a funeral. It’s terrible to say. It’s also a horrible reality due to GA-1. I have to snap myself out of those moments and cherish the moments I have. I trust God. I really, really do. I’ve had to, and I also want to.

Rob and I do everything we can to keep the hurricane winds of fear away…the winds that try so hard to blow our candle out, and the wind is always blowing. Sometimes we’re good at keeping the wind away, other days it creeps in and blows our flame out and we have to reignite it again. I believe Reagan’s crisis allowed us to just live in the moment, to do more things with Reagan and to trust God more fully. Reagan’s crisis made us realize we are not in control and we can’t control her GA-1. The wind will always blow, which means we require more adjusting and honing and moving closer to God.

This holiday season, I’d ask for you to pray for the family of the little boy with GA-1 who lost his battle. Pray for all the GA-1 families and families living with rare disorders, diseases and disabilities. Pray for those who’ve lost loved ones. This time of year can be tough…but we do have hope in Jesus. We don’t have to live in fear and we can trust in the one who gave his life for us. He conquered all fear and death when he came to this earth and gave it all.