Parents, you’ve got questions, we’ve got answers.

Or just as likely, we’ve got questions and you’ve got answers.

Challenge: Open Discussion

I Need the Potty Whisperer

Vote up!
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Email this article


Poop. Doodoo. Dump. Turd. Peepee. Urine. Tinkle. Wee. Whatever you want to call it, I'm seriously over it. How many nicknames can we give it before my kids start to care? How long does it have to cling to their bodies before they're ready for it to land elsewhere? How many low-riding diapers does it take for the bowels to move themselves on over to the toilet?

My twins are three. Yes, three, and nowhere near caring about potty training. Before you throw the mommy rule book at me, let me just say this: we've tried everything. Do you want to know how many tiles are on the floor in our bathroom? Yeah, me neither. But I do know because I've clocked more hours in there waiting for them to make the magic happen than I have in all the other rooms in our house put together, times a million. I've tried bribery with jelly beans, which lead to them spitting in the potty and demanding a bean because "there is something in there!" I've tried turning on the faucet for some sensory stimulation. I've tried little Nemo-themed potties that make real flushing sounds and potties so expensive I have to remind myself that it is an investment in their future—like a college fund for normalcy. I've tried stepping stools to the real toilet, so they can feel like "grown ups." I've tried letting them loose outdoors to defecate like cavemen and get in touch with nature. I've tried fun fancy big kid underwear, which they insisted on wearing over their diapers like a costume and lost their minds the one time they actually had an accident in them without the diaper safety-net. I've tried moving the potty in front of the television for soothing distraction and because I was tired of the bathroom floor. I've made star-charts and sang the praises of living the diaper-free life. I can sing you Elmo's Potty Time theme song if you like. Nothing happening, my friends. This boy and this girl are cool and comfortable just as they are, thank you very much. And it's killing me.


There's more to the story. They have an older brother who's five who is also not yet potty trained. The extenuating circumstance is this: he has special needs with limited mobility to get to the toilet and limited speech to tell us when he needs to go. And he, like his younger siblings, doesn't give a crap (literally) if his diaper needs to be changed. We're currently in the highest size most diapers go before moving to medical-grade. And it's freaking me out. We've applied through our insurance to get a handicap-accessible toilet. We are teaching him how to sign when he needs to go to the bathroom. We're working on it.


Long story short, I've never had to train a kid to use the john until now. And apparently, I suck at it. But that's okay, because we can't win at everything. So, it might be time to call in the professionals. There are such things, you know. They're called "potty whisperers"— like dog whisperers, but with poop. And they're not just for people like Jules Wainstein, who can't deign to train her kid because she doesn't want to clean up the mess.

Al Roker hired one and who doesn't love Al Roker?

The truth is, I need someone to come in to my house and teach my kids and me how to finally kick this thing, like a bad habit. We need a diaper detox. But I'm not looking for some drill sergeant to yell at them to use the potty "or else." I want someone who gets it. I want a specialist whose worked with my kind of situation with stubborn threenagers and also has experience with special needs. I'm not chasing unicorns. They do exist. And they might just be what saves us.

So, I've decided not to feel badly for not acing this thing. Because, you know what? If mothers all over the world can seek out lactation consultants for breast-feeding and pediatricians for teething and sleep specialists for night terrors, then surely I can ask someone for help getting my kids on the toilet, right?

This post comes from the TODAY Parenting Team community, where all members are welcome to post and discuss parenting solutions. Learn more and join us! Because we're all in this together.