Are you readying your little one (and yourself) for potty training? Do you find yourself overly nervous, procrastinating, or unsure if there will be a failure to launch? I’m here to tell my fellow mamas that while there could be good, bad, and ugly parts to this major parenting and growing-up milestone, you are about to experience some of your proudest and funniest moments when all is said and done (in the potty, I hope!).
It’s easy for me to say it wasn’t too bad — my oldest has been potty trained for a year. It’s almost like I’m looking back at that 15K I ran in the middle of summer five years ago — that little race in 85-degree heat? It was amazing! Bring on the hills! Seriously though, crossing that finish line was one of the biggest accomplishments of my life. Until I successfully potty trained my toddler. This, by far, has now surpassed any race I have ever finished.
All joking aside (and included), I’m here to offer a few learnings and chuckles that I had along the way.
1. Don’t set an age/deadline/date
My siblings and I were all potty trained by age 2, but I knew my oldest just wasn’t there yet. Though eager to ditch the diapers, I waited until he consistently gave me verbal cues to start the process. And with no particular goal date, other than my fantasy of ASAP, some of the stress melted away.
2. “#1” may come waaaayy easier than “#2”
Don’t be alarmed if your child has mastered going on the potty for one of the two options. We had peeing down for months and months before #2 became a success. And conquering the challenge of successfully doing both on the toilet took a great deal of persistence, bribery, and encouragement.
3. Mastering #2 might bring you back to the delivery room
My son refused to go #2 in anything but a diaper for the first several months of potty training. Regardless of my attempts to sit him on the toilet when he told me he was about to go, the diaper is the only place where he felt he could comfortably move his bowels. That said, one day I decided we weren’t going to use diapers, and this, coinciding with a friend’s birthday party, meant about 25 trips to the bathroom the first half hour we were there, with him holding my hands and saying, “I can’t dooooo it,” and trying to push simultaneously. And just like that, I felt transported back to my labor with him several years before. (Lo and behold, as soon as it happened, we both cried tears of joy.)
4. Get ready to really know public restrooms
Target, Whole Foods, restaurants, all the rest stops on the Pike heading west to NY (where my parents live). Yup, I know them well. Having a potty-trained child is both a blessing and a curse; now, every time I hear, “Mommy, I have to go,” when we’re out in public, I set off on a mad dash (children and groceries in tow of course), to get to the bathroom as quickly as my tractor cart will allow, praying that there’s a stall available that will fit at least two of us (with the option of leaving the door open so I can keep an eye on the the baby buckled into the cart while making sure my big guy doesn’t fall in the toilet).
The best part of this is when there is someone in the next stall, and my son asks (loud enough to be heard by the entire bathroom) what she’s doing in there and why certain sounds are coming from said stall.
5. Bonus: The second child, in seeing his brother doing this every day, might just want to try it soon, too!
My little guy is about to turn 2, and lately, he wants to sit on the toilet just like his big brother! He whips his diaper off, extends his arms to me, and waits for me to set him there. Perhaps we’ll be out of diapers sooner than expected! I’m not holding my breath, but sometimes magic does happen when you least expect it.
Whether your kids are already potty trained, you’re in the middle of the process, or you’re a few years away, I wish you a seamless journey and lots of luck! You can do it!