There have been two distinct times in my life when I remember thinking, “I will only have one child.”
The first time was somewhere in the middle of the two-hour process of pushing my first son into the world.
The second time was when I was potty training said firstborn son.
I know what you’re thinking. How can a twenty-hour non-medicated labor elicit the same vow to never reproduce again that potty training can?
Because potty training is just the worst. The absolute worst. And here is why:
1. You can’t physically make someone go to the bathroom
As in, you can’t force your child to expel bodily fluids. No matter how awesome your bribing (er, mothering) skills are, you can’t physically make someone pee. And once your kid figures that out, he will exploit that knowledge to the best of his little toddler brain ability. And he will own it.
2. Your patience, which may have already been short, will be tested. My goodness, will it be tested
You will so want to scream and threaten your child as they have accident after (seemingly intentional) accident but you can’t. Because that would scare her to death and further motivate her to not do her business where it needs to be done. So you will put on your Mary Poppins smile and remind her gently and sing-songily that, “we only pee-pee in the potty!” And you will do this over and over and over again. See what I mean?
3. They choose the worst times to go
Are you already running late to pick your kindergartner up from school? Perfect! Now is the exact time your potty trainee will need to go poop. For twenty minutes.
4. You and your house will feel disgusting
The thing about accidents is you really can’t control when or where they happen. And so you will be running around with bath towels and rolls of paper towels and plastic garbage bags attempting to keep your house somewhat sanitary. You will feel like you are living in a toilet bowl.
5. You have to follow up on every single call for the potty. Discerning whether it is real or a false alarm is almost impossible
It will take your child approximately .04 seconds into the first night of potty training to realize that saying he needs to go potty will delay the typical bedtime routine.
And you know what’s the worst part about it? You have to take them. You have to. Because the fourteenth time of going back into the bathroom he actually will poop and you will think to yourself, “I’m so glad that did not happen on his sheets!”
You will be forever stuck between just wanting to tell him “no! you can’t go potty for the fifty-third time!” and so grateful that you actually did take him.
6. Laundry. Oh, the laundry.
It’s not just the soiled underwear. No, no. It’s the cleanup towels, the wet washcloths, the dirty pants, socks, even shoes, the countless sets of sheets and mattress covers. Don’t fight it, just surrender. It’s easier that way.
7. Potty breaks are priority #1.
You will literally drop everything when you hear the words, “Mommy, I need to potty!!” I have held my daughter on the toilet before, naked and dripping wet from my own shower that was cut short just because she said these magic words.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, will get you running like the threat of poop on your floor.
8. You will become well acquainted with public restrooms you swore you’d never use yourself.
The gas station? Yep. The port-o-potty next to the playground? The hole-in-the-wall restaurant you had to enter just to use their restroom, the one with the dingy toilet and dim, flickering fluorescent lights and no soap or paper towels and a faucet that constantly drips? Yep. Just…yep.
I love being a mom. I really do. But the weeks of potty training my two children will go down in history as some of my least favorite times ever.
My suggestion to you if you’ve never potty trained before is this: stock up with as many Lysol wipes as your bathroom closet can hold– it’s about to get real.