“Oh, it’s really not that bad.”
“Just do the three-day method.”
“It’s sooo nice to be rid of diapers!”
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hey had me. Hook, line, and sinker. I was convinced that potty training my two-and-a-half-year-old son was a great idea.
It was going to be smooth sailing, and I wouldn’t have to change, pay for, or even think about diapers for the foreseeable future. There I was, so naive to the actual truth of what I’ll refer to as the “Art of Potty Training.”
It was almost as if I was one of those single people without kids offering unsolicited (and absurd) parenting advice. Except, I was the one dishing it out … to myself. Well, let me tell you something ladies and gentlemen, the disinformation stops here. I’m going to tell you the brutally honest truth:
Potty training *expletive* sucks. It’s the worst. It’s the devil incarnate and has no place on the list of simple child-rearing tasks. I learned the hard way, so you don’t have to.
Rewind to my pre-potty training self. I was at a routine visit with my therapist the weekend before said training, and the topic arose. I mentioned it, briefly. But, it wasn’t something I needed to dig into. I wasn’t worried about it, I told her. I’m just not that kind of mom. It will totally be fine. I’m hiring a professional in The Art to help us. It’s a three-day approach. Etc. etc. … to infinity.
Fast forward to about six hours into ‘Day One,’ and I’m already regretting my decision to part with the Pampers. Full disclaimer: I absolutely love the woman we hired to help us potty train. She’s a child development expert that helps moms like me with a myriad of parenting hurdles from sleep consulting (my son sleeps like a literal baby now, thanks to her!) to establishing routines and well, potty training. Seriously, DM me if you want her info.
But, I digress. Everything was fine and dandy when she showed up and threw my son a “Potty Party” (see photos, so cute!). This was going to be, quite literally, a piece of confetti cake (…or so I thought).
It was the seconds, minutes, and hours after the aforementioned “party” that almost drove me off the edge.
You know those people that say it’s better to make sure your kid is really ready before you embark upon The Art? Those people are smart. Listen to these people.
Don’t listen to people that don’t know your child OR your inner-mommy gut instinct. Sure, any kid can probably be ready around 2.5 or so … if you force it. But, I truly believe in my heart-of-mommy-hearts it was too premature to introduce this milestone into my son’s life.
You guys, I followed the guidelines. I read potty-positive storybooks to him while he sat on his mini-throne. I acknowledged and celebrated every time I peed (and pooped), as did my husband. I bought potty presents as rewards. I danced around with jars of candy. I used stuffed animals and dolls– props included– to demonstrate proper form. I played instructional cartoons. I offered a variety of potty options– pick a color, any color! All whilst keeping a smile on my face and a positive tone in my voice.
Nevertheless, it JUST.WASN’T. WORKING.
Truth be told, I thought he would catch on and accept the idea way sooner.
I did NOT expect him to act out and essentially become a monster pretty much all day every day as a result of the process.
I was wearing my rose-colored mom shades. I thought the whole “stressing out about potty training” thing was so beneath me, and I couldn’t have been more wrong.
So now you’re thinking, “OK, so it all worked out in the end, right?”
This isn’t some, “I made it out of the abyss and lived to tell about it”-type blog post.
Instead, it’s a (hopefully) relatable story with a message that may ring true with you, especially if you’re struggling to potty train or make the decision of when to start. Here’s some sage advice– you may not listen to me, because, well clearly I’m not the utmost authority on the topic (HA!), but I’m going to share it nonetheless:
WAIT. Just wait.
Unless you need to potty train for 3-year-old preschool OR your child is literally pulling off their diaper and sitting on the toilet on their own, wait. I’m not talking about the slight “I poopeds” happening every so often. I’m talking legit telling you, to your actual face, that they want to start using the toilet and get rid of diapers.
Who knows, maybe it would’ve been just as crappy (pun intended) if I waited until he was at least three to try. But then again, maybe not. #Regrets.
Potty training tested our family mentally. We were all drained from the process. It’s not even the cleaning up the constant accidents or getting peed on; it truly is an emotional battle. And more than anything, I hated seeing my son so upset and frustrated about something that I couldn’t provide a solution for.
So I’ll leave it there. I don’t have an answer and can’t tie this story up with a bow. At least not yet. And that’s momming for you. Sometimes life tests you in the most unexpected ways. The solution isn’t written in a parenting book. For this one, it was in my gut.
We still talk about the potty, and it (gasp!) actually gets used, occasionally. But, there’s no pressure. We’re living stress-free in Pull-Ups, and that’s my idea of a happy ending.