Potty training is bullshit. And that frog toilet can go to hell.

by Janelle Hanchett

I’ve been a mother for 14 years and have 4 children and the only thing I’ve learned is that “they” are pretty much always lying. Everything “they” promise will happen does not actually happen.

Breastfed co-sleeping kids are not “clingy.” Sleep-trained kids do not burn puppies. Formula doesn’t crush souls; homeschooling doesn’t create teenagers capable of speaking only in Minecraft code.

They walk when they want. They talk when they want. They eat food when they fucking want, and they almost all turn into Perfectly Standard Humans. I mean, not to us, of course, to us they are glittering pillars of genius resulting from, that’s right, our excellent parenting choices.

I can’t wait until I have children-in-law and grandchildren so I can tell them how to parent perfectly like I did. EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE ME SO MUCH.

But still, sometimes I forget that “they” are full of shit. Even still. It pisses me off every time I do it. How do I do it? I don’t fucking know. My brain is like a weak-ass sieve.

For example, a few months ago, my obviously overcommitted husband bought a frog potty from Target. I was like, “Mac, dude. He’s not even two. WTF is wrong with you?”

And he said, “Well I see no harm in trying.”

See now that is immediately where parents go wrong. The key is to look for opportunities to NOT TRY, not seek out opportunities for excellence. Be a hero in other areas, assholes! Not parenting! Shit.

So I told him, “Okay well this is clearly your gig because I have no interest in attempting to potty train a kid this young.”

“Have you ever potty trained any of our kids?”

“Well, no, but you never know when I may spring into action and frankly I feel implicated by your premature frog-toilet purchase.”

Then he walked away. People walk away from me a lot.


Much to my surprise though, Arlo started showing all kinds of interest in the frog shitter. Mac stuck him on the thing when he first woke up, because apparently that’s a thing you do when you’re “potty training,” and lo and behold the toddler would pee. He even pooped a few times. He even did it when we were on vacation in Tahoe.


We stuck him on it, and he went! Over and over again! Wheeeeeeeee!


Then we forgot about it.

Yeah, that fucking happened. We forgot about it. We simply stopped doing it. I woke up one Sunday and realized it had been two to three weeks since we stuck him on a toilet gleefully bartering candy for excrement.

The frog was full of lint and toys. Uh oh.

So like any reasonable person, I immediately blamed it on the child. He regressed! He went through a phase then forgot!

When that didn’t soothe my nagging discontent, I got on the Google “to research” and ended up reading about how “if you miss the window, you’re totally fucked and they’ll end up 12 years old peeing down their own legs in gym class and not in a fun way.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s basically what “they” said and BECAUSE MY BRAIN IS A WEAK-ASS SIEVE I forgot “they” are always lying, I PANICKED because I HAD RUINED MY CHANCE FOR POTTY TRAINING.

In terror I committed myself to potty training the toddler NOW. I can’t miss the window! I missed the window! THE WINDOW MY GOD THE WINDOW.

(Arlo is 26 months old. This entire thing is fucking ridiculous.)


So I googled, “How do you potty train?” And set myself aflame.

With devotion.

First, I tried to put him on the frog potty again because it worked so well before, but now he hates the frog potty and insists upon sitting on the full-size toilet with his legs out, clinging for dear life to the toilet seat. He just sort of hangs there and looks at me for a few seconds, demanding “candy” while I squeal “pee or poop! YAY!”

But now he’s learned to say, “not working,” which he repeats to infinity beginning about 9 seconds after getting on the toilet.

As if he’s fucking powerless. Sometimes he demands that I shit or pee WITH HIM which is impossible because he’s dangling over the toilet himself and there’s no room for me.

Sometimes I walk away and leave him there hoping he’ll get bored enough to do it but instead he starts flicking the toilet water with one hand while clinging to the seat with the other and screaming for his older sister to join him for “swimming.”


The next day I muster all my energy and gleefully ask him “Do you want to go to the potty? Let’s try the potty! Omg big boy! YAY! Let’s do it!”

He grabs my face, looks me dead in the eyes, tilts his head slightly and says flatly, “No.”


Nobody likes you, Arlo.


Then I remember how Georgia potty trained because she refused to wear clothes and didn’t like the feeling of pee down her leg, so I take his clothes off and he ends up taking a shit 10 minutes later on the top of the kitchen trash can while pulling things out of the junk drawer as I cook dinner.

This is the point at which I realize potty training is bullshit.

If you are dealing with a human who a.) sits naked on trash cans while sober and b.) has no problem taking a shit on it while playing with pencils and ear plugs, there is no hope for you.

 Nobody can work with that.

This is not a regular human. This is an individual outside the bounds of toilet-trained capacity and it is absolutely time to focus on doing nothing again.

The kid is only 26-months-old. Someday he will use a toilet. Someday all humans use toilets. In the grand scheme, what’s a year or two? Damn you Mac and your high standards.

And fuck you, frog potty. Fuck you. You can’t shame me into action. I know better! I’ve been a mom for 14 years!

I’m a motherfucking expert.

Oh, you wanted me to poop in the toilet? No worries I actually just took care of that. In my diaper. WHY ARE YOU CRYING?

Oh, you wanted me to poop in the toilet? No worries I actually just took care of that. In my diaper. WHY ARE YOU CRYING?


  • Tamara

    Not enough money in the world to make me go thru potty training again. Just no.

  • Lynda

    This is so true.

  • Evie

    Oh my gosh – HILARIOUS! thanks for instantly putting me in a better mood.
    By the way, I totally agree – fuck the frogshitter.

  • Emily MacGregor

    I’m right there with you. They will do it when it’s time!!

  • Josie

    Holy shit (no pun intended) I literally just came out the other side of this hell hole.
    My son will be 4 the beginning of September and I had started panicking because he still had NO interest in using the potty. We did it all. The little seat you put on the big toilet, the little plastic urinal, get rid of the diapers and use Pull Ups, he even picked out his own little car potty and big boy underwear
    And then a bunch of big ‘ol bunch of NOPE from his royal highness. Arrrrrrgghhh!! Then one day a couple of weeks ago, he came in and told us he had just taken himself to the toilet. Totally non chalant, no biggie, whatever. Other than a few accidents here and there, he is using the toilet full time during the day, Pull Ups at night (because let’s be real, that’s not gonna happen for a few more years).
    Seriously. Just hands off of it, not worth stressing.
    Maybe an Elmo potty book, my husband swears up and down that’s what did the trick. Lol

  • Kimanne

    This was fucking hilarious. My next tattoo will say, “My brain is a weak-ass sieve.” Because yes.

    We have the same frog potty. I don’t think it’s achieved much. Still trying to train a now 4-year-old with speech issues and other issues. He has made some progress, sure. But mostly he doesn’t always care to tell us when he needs to go. If he is ever fully potty-trained, I will do naked cartwheels in the front yard.

    • Erin poole

      Thank god yours is almost 4, were in the same boat here. Barely any speech among other things, they make pull ups in a size 10 right? Haha! Good luck mama keep plunging along!

  • Michelle Adler

    I am reading this at work and trying with all my might to not let anyone know I am dying inside from trying to hold in my laughter. I am actually choking on my muffin. Frog shitter. I can’t breathe. Janelle, you are my hero.

  • Carrie B

    I love this. LOVE. My son was nearly 3.5 years old and I was CRAVING the day he was potty trained because his daycare cost would go from $253/weekly to $209/weekly. That’s $44 a week people! $2,288 a YEAR. But bygorry, NO. Nothing worked. Then one day he said, “Hey, mama? Today I will use the potty and wear my Paw Patrol and Ninja Turtle underwear. Today… I am a Big Boy.” And he was potty trained. The end. F.M.L. That’s my kid.

  • Wren

    This falls firmly into the parental discretion/ choose your own battle/ no right way category.

    I happen to excel at potty training (to the point where 26 months seems really late). But, my kid still won’t eat food with color in it, secretly brings matches to school, and is well-acquainted with the ipad.

    It isn’t magic, it is work; and we all chose where we want to spend our precious, limited patience and effort. Mine was on not moving poop around with my hands.

    • Kerry

      It isn’t magic, it’s work? Really? Like you can “work” enough with an obstinate 3 year old and force him/her to potty train? That sounds like a great time; fun for all!

      “26 months seems really late”? You just had to sneak that in there, right? Please die in a hole. No, really. I’ll wait. And please stop trying to sound all kum ba ya when really you’re dissing anyone who doesn’t potty train before 26 months. We’re not fooled. JACK DANIELS!!

      • Anna

        It’s actually myelination. It’s not work. It’s not magic. It’s just the normal development of the brain and the peripheral nervous system which allows children to consciously control their urethral and anal sphincters. You can’t force nerves to myelinate faster. Unless you’re a neurophysiologist. In which case, get on that for us would you already?!

    • Leslie

      I literally starting crying from laughing. Holy crap. Potty training really is bullshit. Thank you – I needed this!

  • Nicole Clark

    Ha! Just listened to three women at the gym discuss this exact topic. One was trying to say how VITAL it was to start potty training as early as possible and her oldest was trained shortly after could sit up on her own (I call bullshit) and her two others were trained by 16 months. The other mom was near panicked because her 20 month old wasn’t trained yet. Finally, the third spoke up. She very calmly said she couldn’t really remember when her son had potty trained but her daughter, who was in kindergarten last year, would go on the potty at school everyday but refused at home and always wore a diaper. It was only a week ago that the daughter finally said, ‘I guess I don’t need diapers at home anymore. They’re kind of uncomfortable.’ I thought the first mom was going to need a diaper!!! It was priceless. I couldn’t stop laughing! Kids are much smarter than we give them credit for.

  • Kari

    LOL….love it, and Arlo!

  • Dalia

    My lil boy who is 25 months old has been “potty trained” for about 2 month. Because he’s a special little snowflake and a genius and so am I, of course. Yaih us!
    I still can’t believe it is really working, but fact is that I can’t deal with pooped-in diapers. I have 2 kids and have had maybe 30 poop-diapers between the two of them, since birth (yes, a loooot of running to the bathroom those first few months of life…!) I don’t know how you people do it, but shitty diapers are something I can’t have in my life, so I’ve had them poop in a potty (or….other stuff) practically since birth. Not the whole “ec” deal but the don’t poop in the diaper, yes. It’s worked for both of them and I’m so grateful for that because really could not have dealt. Of course this only works because I get to be with them pretty much all the time (no daycare etc).
    So yaih! Good for us, I know. We have other issues like tantrums and shit but I still excel at parenting and he is still a genius and also, I’m an expert so let me give you some advise and tell y’all how it’s done..won’t ya? Ahahah just kidding.

  • Kristy

    No joke, potty training is the thing about parenting I dread the most. I didn’t want to have a little pot to constantly clean, so I just got the seat with handles that can sit on top of the toilet. So far, my son (who only turned 2 last week) has been willing to sit on it 4-5 times. He knows you pee & poo in the potty. And he is very eager to make sure I get some toilet paper to wipe with every time he insists on going to the bathroom with me. But forget actually *going*. I’m not forcing anything (even though it would be AWESOME if he’d decide in the next 6 weeks that diapers are dumb because I’m about to have another kid & we use cloth), but I’m also not thrilled that this is a very real thing we’re going to have to manage soonish. The “everyone eventually uses the toilet” thought is going to have to get me through it.

  • Jenn

    Potty training is the absolutely most soul-destroying aspect of parenting there is. It caused me stress and anxiety deeper than a thousand absentee fathers and adulterous husbands. (I’m guessing, I only had one of each, but the potty-training kicked both their asses in the agony department ????). You’re 100% correct, fuck it all, Arlo will one day use a toilet appropriately, or at the very least may have a future career in slightly off-putting performance art. Keep buying diapers and toss that f’n frog potty ASAP! ????

  • christina ihloff

    So funny! I am down to one child and also wondering how I ever did it. It was over and done with with all three by 2.5 but I am pretty sure I used tactics not mandated by any parent that is actually nice.

  • branjo

    Totally sucks. Totally futile. Fuck it. They do it in there own time.

    After months of fits and starts and half assed attempts, my nearly 3 year old simply decided one day that she wanted to wear underwear because her best friend from daycare wears them. Thank you peer pressure! And thank you Ella’s mom and dad!

    I plan on putting even less effort into it the 2nd time around.

  • Tracey

    I am sooo glad I didn’t join you and Kim (NBM) in the 4th child adventure. Potty training sucks frog potty! *ahem* I mean… Good luck with that.

  • Joanne

    My son turned 3 in May and has reached the point where he will pee and poop on the potty…as long as he’s naked. If he’s wearing a diaper/training pants/underwear/any kind of bottoms, forget it. We tried putting him in underwear thinking he wouldn’t like the feel of being wet and would be more compelled to use the potty, but he’d just pee himself and run around in wet pants all day. Zero fucks given. We’re trying to figure out how to transition him to underwear, but I’m a hair’s breadth away from saying fuck it and just letting him be naked forever. He’s also TERRIFIED of the toilet which makes trying to get him to go the bathroom anywhere but his pants while we’re in public exceedingly difficult.

    However, I’m an elementary school teacher and I was talking to a colleague of mine who’s taught Kindergarten for the last 20 years and she told me that in all her time teaching she has very rarely seen a child come to her class in diapers. Kids will have the occasional accident because it’s a new place and a new routine, but they all turn out to be perfectly healthy, well-adjusted little humans.

  • Frankie Gonzalez

    I love this and I love you for saying things that we all think, but are too chickenshit to say out loud. My kids are 29, 27 and 24 so I have very little recollection of potty training them and I refuse to get involved with the potty training of the grand ones because the little recollection I do have of potty training is months and months of pure hell. No thanks. This is on y’all. 🙂

  • Brandi

    So…I also just bought the frog potty, and I also have a child who is not yet 2 when I bought it. This one is number 5, and I only hit ‘the window’ with one of the previous 4, or perhaps, I only had one of the previous 4 who wasn’t a real pain in the ass at potty training. It will happen eventually, we know this. Good luck.

  • Danielle

    Needed this.
    Best part…the trash can….
    Just wait till he’s 4.5yo and doing it…. because that’s my life currently….little stubborn assholes are just that… no changing them, ugh!!!!
    Good luck!

    • Sally

      The Trash Can!!! OMG I laughed so hard I just sucked the pepper jack cheese I was eating while reading this up my nose! And holy shit does that burn!

  • Gretchen

    Best advice I ever got from a friend with a zillion kids: They don’t make diapers with college logos for a reason. Hang in there, he’ll get it. He did. He’s 13 now and doesn’t shit on the trash can.

  • Kim

    Absolutely love this. We have struggled with my second child. He kept pulling the wool over our eyes. He got the peeing down to a T, didn’t want to pee in the potty but was happy to do it in the toilet, then when he got big enough he wanted to do big boys peeing standing up. Great, so we thought…the pooing is a different matter. He refuses to poo in the toilet or a potty but only in his nappy ???? We tried everything, bribery, reward chart, books about kids pooing in the toilet, softly approach, bad cop approach. He even didn’t poo for 3 days when we refused to put his nappy on. He has super powers, as we broke before he did! He’s now 4 and we still have some good days but there are more bad days at present. I keep having to remind myself that one day he will get it as there are no 16 year olds pooing in a nappy ????????

  • Kerry

    I will admit that I didn’t even encourage potty training with my second child, let alone push it. Diapers aren’t awesome, but it’s also not awesome when they start wiping themselves. Diapers I can contain – a 5-6 year old with poo on his hands, on the toilet, and shitty tp on the floor makes me want to run screaming from the house. My oldest is 8 and finally has the hand of it, but it’s a trying transition for a germaphobe! LOL

  • Oana

    I wouldn’t even dream of starting The Training before the third bday… No matter what my romanian mother says , who is from the school of “train them when they can sit up” (but that’s because they didn’t HAVE diapers in Romania in the seventies, they had RAGS that had to be scrubbed and boiled). Once that fateful day arrives, I buy a lot of junky little toys… And gleefully exchange them for excrement! It worked wonderfully for the first two, the third just turned two so I have one more year before I get to take multiple trips to many public bathrooms. No rush.

  • Sheila

    My child is four. FOUR and still uses pull-ups. I missed the fucking window. She shits and pisses in the damn pull-up and won’t use the potty whatsoever. I get more stressed from my mother because “you kids were trained by 14 months!” UGH Her pediatrician says she wont be going to college in diapers…. I think she took that as a CHALLENGE!

  • Axelle the french reader

    “Nobody likes you, Arlo” !!! You make me laugh SO hard !

  • hk

    Our 1st kid loved that fricking frog potty when he was only 14 months old. He’d sit on it and poop or pee (into his diaper still, but would run and sit on the potty to do it) and we were all WHEEEEE OUR CHILD IS A GENIUS WOOOHOOOOOOOO.

    He was finally stopped wearing diapers when he was 4.25 years old. And big enough to use the toilet. Now the frog potty lives in the trunk of our minivan for road trip emergencies only. Even our 2-year-old seems to instinctively avoid it. (The 2yo uses the toilet occasionally, and I still catch myself thinking “WE HAVE A GENIUS CHILD NO MORE DIAPERS WOOOOOOO” *EVEN THOUGH I SHOULD KNOW BETTER*.)

  • Krista

    Hahahahahha!!! I love this!!!!
    “They are fucking liars”!!!! I have 4 kids too, all of whom potty trained whenever they fucking wanted despite my neverending “advice” from other moms!!! Just so happens both my girsl were fucking genius and both my boys were too lmao cause they all did it whenever they fucking wanted!!! 1st was 2(girl), 2nd was almost 4(boy), 3rd was just 3(boy) and my last one, the golden child was 20 months… But ffs she didnt walk till she was 22 months!! And still cant go by herself now cause shes tiny and refuses to use a damn potty lol they go whenever the fuck they want to…. Again, they are all little smarty pants’ because they have us runnin around like idiots when they are just gonna go whenever the fuck they want to anyway!!! Night time training… A whole different ball game!!! P.s thanks for the laugh, it was much needed lol

  • Charlie

    Thank you for making me laugh today!! My son pushed me off the toilet when he was age 23 months & told me it was his turn to go. We had an argument and I told him he had to pee in his diaper. I didn’t want to toilet train. So, I had the opposite problem. Except at 2 1/2 years he decided he didn’t want to use the toilet at preschool anymore and he went back into diapers. Wtf?!?!! Don’t judge me people. You can’t force a 2 year old to do anything against his/her will. And I like diapers. I don’t need a toilet trained 2 1/2 year old because I already had a toilet trained 23 monther and it was overrated. He’ll use the toilet when he wants to.

    • Krista

      Lmao!! Love it!!!

  • Kris

    My son trained early-ish. Know what that meant? I got to awkwardly wipe his ass on the potty until his arms got longer & more coordinated! I might copy that ‘no harm in trying’ bit to my husband as HE was the one that brought out my son’s old potty when our daughter was 18 months! Since we are moving & this house is for rent, I used the showings as a reason to throw it back in the garage 😉

  • Renee

    Omg !!! I’m on the shitter now an this is just what I needed! My 3.5 yr old smart ass lil Angel beats the breaks off her older sister. I just got done screaming at her for shitting on the floor after, AFTER she just went pee in the toilet !!!!! FML yet she does wear lil Elsa panties to bed all fucking night and , not a drip on Else until the rooster starts her shit in the AM !!!! ARLO YOU ARE DOING GREAT! Thank you, from a very tired an pissed off 80%. No fuck that , 95% of the time mother of two.

    Fuck it Raelynn will go when she gets dam well fucking ready & Fuck Elsa too!!!!

  • Rachel Ferro

    I searched this one out because I’m on the verge of melting the fuck down about my almost 3 year old who has decided he is never pooping or peeing on the potty again. I just begged his teachers at daycare to tell me to calm the fuck down.

  • Tiffany Leiper

    My son will be 4 in 2.5 months and I’m about to lose my SH*T!!!! WTF?!??! I just spent 45 mins in the bathroom reading to him every “reccomend” potty book, singing songs, talking about poo and pee and watching f-ing YouTube videos. This is why I will only have one child. Potty training is BULLSHIT!

  • Taylor721

    My son will be 4 in 2.5 months and I’m about to lose my SH*T!!!! WTF?!??! I just spent 45 mins in the bathroom reading to him every “reccomend” potty book, singing songs, talking about poo and pee and watching f-ing YouTube videos. This is why I will only have one child. Potty training is BULLSHIT!