I want to write this while I’m still in the trenches, before Roo is totally potty trained and I can look back on the whole experience with rose-colored glasses. This is NOT a “Tips and Tricks” post. We’ll revisit that another day. Possibly titled, “Here’s a Whole Bunch of Potty Training Ideas. See What Sticks.” That title’s open to revision.
I wrote a Facebook status a few months ago stating simply, “Potty training is the worst.” Folks, I’m here to tell you, a few months older and wiser, it is still the worst. I’m so thankful for where we are now: she only wears pull-ups at night and is starting to make it to the potty on her own instead of always on my insistence. We even took a trip to my brother’s house about 5 hours away, and she stayed accident free the whole time! So, I am really, really proud of her and how close she is to being potty trained. I’m always reminding myself, “She’s only three. She is a toddler. She’s doing great.”
That Facebook status garnered reactions from parents in all stages of parenthood- from those about to suffer through it to those who have earned their freedom from diapers. So here is my salute to all of you who have dealt with potty training in some way, shape, or form. For those of you with unicorn children who potty trained on their own at age 1, or told you “I don’t want diapers” and never had an accident again: you are extremely lucky and I envy you. (Thought I’d have something snarky to say? No, because everybody has their own challenges. Be nice.)
Why is potty training the worst? Okay, I highly doubt it’s the worst part of raising children, but it’s been the biggest challenge that I have encountered in these 3 years and a couple months. It’s probably not for the reasons you think, either.
- Cleaning up other people’s bodily functions is not a big deal. That part doesn’t phase me. Well, except one really terrible poop story that I won’t share on here for the sake of my three year old making friends in the future. But we sanitized and survived.
- Laundry, laundry, laundry. Honestly, laundry isn’t a big issue for me. Come clean my bathrooms and I will do your laundry. Let’s work out a deal.
- Having to try every trick in the book for motivation and rewards is all part of the game. Even when you are thinking “But you would potty for a sticker yesterday! Why are you upping the ante, here?!” Just suck it up and change to a different reward, no matter how many sticker charts you have made. She’ll probably circle back to it anyway.
Potty training is the worst because it forces you to see how these 3 foot tall (well, mine is, but she’s super tall) little people are really, truly their own beings, not just an extension of you. It forces you to see that no matter how hard you may try, you can’t make something to happen just because it’s on your timeline. Potty training is the worst because it can turn your sweet, loving little girl into a cranky potty monster just at the mention of “let’s just go try to pee pee.” Or, she’ll refuse to get off the potty unless just the right person will help (usually Mommy or Nana). It’s the worst because as soon as you think you have a handle on this and the kid’s almost got it, you have a day of 5 accidents.
It’s the worst because when once your kid is really getting the hang of it, you think back to all of the struggles and the tears, and realize that she was going to get it when she was ready, and you should have just relaxed a little.