There’s a phase somewhere in the first four years of your child’s life that fills you with a sense of dread before it happens and you immediately banish from your memory as soon as it’s over: potty-training.
Before potty-training, you live with the freedom that diapers give you. Go anywhere you like with no sense of bathroom urgency, never having to dash across a Target or pray for a highway exit while yelling “Do you really need to go?!”
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After potty-training, you turn off the Amazon wipes subscriptions, finally throw out that disgusting Diaper Genie, and make it rain all that money you’re saving on diapers. You take for granted that your child can generally make it to a toilet without being prompted or asked every 10 minutes.
But during potty-training, you’re in No Man’s Land. You’re stuck at home with a pants-less toddler cleaning up urine with a smile pasted on your face, and the world just keeps moving on around you. They’re going on about their lives while you make up songs about pee, come up with bigger and bigger bribes, and keep Oh Crap! Potty Training on your nightstand as leisure reading.
You simultaneously have too much advice from people whose kids were “potty-training themselves at 15 months” and yet no one can really tell you how to do it for your kid. They just unhelpfully tell you “They won’t go to college wearing diapers!”
From one potty-training mom to another, I see you.
So here’s to you, mom carrying a potty at the playground. You thought ahead and came prepared. You’re committed to potty-training and don’t care who knows it. Good for you for getting out of the house, even if it’s not glamorous right now.
Here’s to you, mom worrying about every bowel movement. Constipation is no joke, and you know that the only thing worse than not pooping in the potty is not pooping at all. Time for more prunes, mama!
Here’s to you, mom who sees that potty dance the second it starts. Maybe it’s a super power or a sixth sense. Or maybe you’re just working really hard at paying attention. Whatever it is, no accidents on your watch!
Here’s to you, mom who used to say no bathroom talk at the table. Now you’re yelling about poop and pee pee across the house, texting your friends about it, and happily making it a dinner conversation. Politeness can wait; you’ve got bigger lessons to teach.
Here’s to you, mom pulled over on the side of the road with the liftgate open and a pooping preschooler inside. Your quick thinking saved your carseat and probably your whole day. I see you — but I’ll pretend I don’t see you.
Here’s to you, mom who has to change your kids’ clothes because they had an accident while you were out. It happens to the best of them. And here’s to you, mom who forgot the change of clothes at home. It happens to the best of us.
Here’s to all of us out here doing the thing, making these tiny people into big people. This stage is exhausting and unrelenting, even though we know it’ll be over soon. We’ll be on the other side of potty-training before we know it, watching someone else rush past us in Target as their kid does the potty dance.
And when that day comes, be the one who lets them cut to the front of the bathroom line or leaves with wet hands instead of using the loud scary hand dryer. Listen sympathetically as your potty-training friends talk about poop over brunch, and most importantly, never ever tell them not to worry because their kids “won’t go to college in diapers.”