By Guest Blogger Marie Hunkele, author of  The Lunchbox Memoirs

There is an ongoing saga going on right now in my home, and it is about to be my undoing. It’s called potty-training, or “The Milestone That Will Never Happen.”

I pictured my children, somewhere, ohhh, between the ages of 2 and 3, waking up one day and boldly declaring that they were ready to use the potty. That’s how it’s supposed to work, right? Right?! WRONG. I survived potty training two kids, and that was hard enough. Now here we are with child number three, our youngest. The homestretch. All I have to do is get her potty trained and we will be rid of diapers (and that blasted diaper pail) forever and ever. AMEN. The only problem is #3 (aka Stinkbutt) is a stubborn little holdout. “The potty is BORRRING,” she declared. What? A pediatrician once told me the trick to potty training is to find what motivates your child. Oh, she’s motivated alright. Motivated to hold on to those diapers FOR THE REST OF HER LIFE.

Here is what “finding what motivates my child” looks like:
“Mommy, can I have candy?”
“Sure, if you sit on the potty.”
“Never mind, I don’t want candy.”

“Mommy, can I play on the computer?”
“Sit on the potty.”
“No thank you”

“Mommy, can we go to the zoo?”
“I’d love to. Sit on the potty”

“Mommy, can we go to Disney World?”
“Grrrr, why do you keep saying that?!”

“Mommy, can I have a pet elephant?”
“AAAAAAUUUUUGHHH!!!” (insert 10 minute temper tantrum)

Does anyone else feel my pain here? If not, then you are about to because I have decided to journal this saga. Someday, Stinkbutt will have a child of her own to potty-train, and I (along with this blog post) will be right there to remind her what she put me through help her.

November 11, 2014

PaintedToesI tried a new potty training technique because Stinkbutt is stubborn and not motivated by stickers, M & M’s or brand new Frozen underwear like NORMAL children are. The idea is that every time she sits on the potty, she gets a toe painted. But, she has to stay on the potty until the paint is dry. When she runs out of toes, we will do her fingernails. When she runs out of fingernails, she gets to paint my toes. Then my fingernails. If she’s not potty trained by then, well I guess my husband better start thinking about what color he would like his nails to be painted.

November 14, 2014

The nail polish thing got old and she just doesn’t care about sparkly nails anymore. So, I did what I told myself I wasn’t going to do which was to give her my iPad and let her play games. It was great way to get her to just sit on the potty. I didn’t even expect her to produce anything. Just sit there, for the love of God! I thought it was a brilliant idea, until 2 hours later, I realized I had forgotten all about her and had to peel her off of the potty because everything from her butt down to her legs had fallen asleep.

January 15, 2015

Ok, we slacked a little bit because of the holidays. The potty started becoming an excuse for hours of free iPad play with nothing to show for it. Plan Z: I bribed her sister to potty train her buy agreeing to buy her anything she wanted from the toy store. I really think I’m onto something here. Big sis is super excited to have this new responsibility. She brought out all of her stuffed animals and books and turned the whole event into this awesome dog and pony show. Stinkbutt LOVED it. I do too because that means, I don’t have to do anything. SCORE!

February 1, 2015

Big Sis is SO over her potty training job. I guess she thought that her efforts would produce immediate results. Now, she is making it painfully obvious to her little sister that she is only doing it for a reward, and it has all gone downhill from there. Stinkbutt got wind of the deal and is deeply offended. They are now hopelessly stuck in the hate cycle of their love/hate relationship. Stinkbutt has once again shunned the throne, and Mommy now has yet another challenge on her plate…


Thou shalt not fight.

February 24, 2015

Many times over, I have been told “They will train when they are ready” or “Don’t worry, she won’t go to kindergarten in diapers.” After months of gentle urging, I came to the realization that she will never be ready and that no, she won’t go to kindergarten in diapers. In fact, she won’t go to kindergarten at all BECAUSE she is in diapers. It is time for a potty-training intervention. We are currently cooped up in the house due to “snow.” Since we are all bored and miserable anyway, why not just get the potty training over with?


February 25, 2015

She is in the bathroom, weeping her little heart out because I made her sit on the potty. Life is hard.

February 26, 2015

Dare I say, things have been going well. Today, she surprised us all by (TMI Alert) pooping in the potty.  Of course, this warrants a text to Grammy and Daddy.


This photo has been digitally altered due to its graphic nature. You’re welcome.


March 2, 2015

The biggest problem with potty training a child who has older siblings is dedicating the time to do it. You spend so much of the day being chauffeur to the other children that it is tough to find the time. However, we have gotten this far and there is no turning back now. Sometimes, you just have to carry a kiddie port-a-potty everywhere you go. (Including the older kids’ dance class where I didn’t even think twice about the looks I was getting.)

March 3, 2015

Four years ago, I got Stinkbutt’s older sister to say goodbye to diapers by placing a Care Bear castle within eyesight, but just out of reach. That 80’s era Care Bear castle set me back 100 bucks on eBay, but it worked. So, I took Stinkbutt to Build-a-Bear Workshop and let her create a My Little Pony. She got to hold Princess Celestia on the ride home and give her one last kiss before I banished it to the top shelf.


Déjà vu, anyone?

March 7, 2015

She’s giving me the stink eye whilst sitting on the potty. Potty training sucks.

March 17, 2015

That moment when your kid starts to panic because she has to go pee pee WEALLY WEALLY BAD and you are stuck in traffic 15 minutes from home.


March 18, 2015

Dusted off Princess Celestia. It has been long forgotten.

March 20, 2015

I discovered pillows and a plastic stool stacked on top of an ottoman, presumably so she could reach the one diaper I accidentally left sitting at the top of her wardrobe. The lengths one will go through. Nothing dangerous about this at all.


This is what we call, “Reckless Ingenuity.”

March 31, 2015

Stinkbutt declared she will say good-bye diapers for good on her birthday, which is, ummm, tomorrow. She did start walking on her 1st birthday, so there could be some truth to this statement. We shall see …

April 1, 2015

She lied.

April 11, 2015

At the risk of jinxing myself, I am going to say that I think she is possibly on her way to being potty trained. She goes to the bathroom on her own and even stays dry through the night. (Get OUT!) The real test was going on a road trip to DC for three days. Guess what? She did not have any accidents. Not once. Well, except when she threw up in the mini-van at the beginning of our 7 hour trip back home, but that’s beside the point! The main thing is, she stayed dry! Of course we had to make some special accommodations…


Rest stop = kiddie potty in a cardboard box in the back of the mini-van.

April 24, 2015

Took a semi-potty trained child (who still will only wear pull-ups, not undies) camping at a music festival. When you are at a music festival, and your only choice of restroom is a port-a-potty, real restrooms (regardless of where they are located) become a blessing. It caused a lot of angst and misery when we told her we were not bringing her Kiddie Potty along, but by the time we got home, she was over her fear of public restrooms. Now we don’t need to haul around the kiddie potty anymore. WOOT. Oh, I forgot to mention that there was a certain irony to our camping location – a wastewater treatment plant, affectionately named Sewerfest.


Don’t ask.

June 19, 2015

What are all these used Pull-ups laying around the room?! I thought she was wearing undies. There’s no way she could have reached her Pull-ups hidden in her closet! I don’t know how she did it, and I don’t want to know what ridiculously dangerous lengths she has gone through in order to reach them, but she had us all fooled. To add insult to injury, she had an accident on the bathroom floor, and Big Sis slipped and fell in it.  That’s it. I’m really done now.


Little Troublemaker

June 20, 2015

Sensing my hopelessness, my husband took charge and made our child put on a pair of underwear today.  The torch has been passed to him. Good luck, Buddy!

June 21, 2015

Wait what? She got up this morning and put on underwear on her own  – just one day after Daddy made her do it. Huh? If I had known she would respond this quickly to her daddy, I would have assigned this task to him months ago! She is very proud of herself. I told her if she keeps it up for one week, we will declare her officially potty-trained, and Princess Celestia can fly on down.

June 28, 2015

MissionCompleteAaand she did it! At the ripe old age of 4 years and 3 months, she is officially potty-trained. I feel like we all just completed a marathon! Once she got a taste of how great underwear feels, she never turned back. I joke that my husband had the magic touch, but really, I think she realized how disappointed we were when we found the used Pull-ups. Plus, I think she was ready to hug Princess Celestia. I guess the pediatrician was right. She is not going to kindergarten in diapers after all!



Hasta La Vista, Stink Bucket!