I’ve been a little MIA this summer because I’ve been swallowed up by the layer of parenting hell that is potty training. Whoever determined that teaching a tiny person with an even tinier butt to sit on a toilet was easier than slapping a diaper on them and calling it a day was wrong. Very wrong.
So let’s jump right into the truths. You will find no glitz and glamor here- just the cold hard truth no one tells you:
- Girls can pee on a toilet seat too. And the floor. This trick isn’t reserved solely for those with a penis.
- You will sit on a wet toilet seat. This will happen many times before you are trained to check for pee before you sit.
- Wiping someone else’s butt properly while they are standing is basically impossible. Especially if you have to do it in a public restroom.
- You will know the location of every public bathroom from here to China.
- You are now either on house arrest or limited to whatever is within a 10 minute drive. Forget your favorite park with no bathrooms, because your potty trainer will have to go the second you leave the house.
- Potty training comes in stages. Pee on the potty, then poop, then nightime. It’s a miracle if you’ll be finished before they graduate high school.
- There will be regressions. Someone once told me a kid isn’t fully potty trained until 6. Hold me.
- Being afraid to poop is a real thing.
- You will now be a germaphobe. Don’t believe me? Just take your potty trainer and a sibling into a public restroom.
- The washing machine will be running 24/7 because everything in your home is about to be soaked in pee.
- It is a requirement of the potty trainer to completely disrobe from the waist down (possibly even the waist up) in order to use the restroom.
- There is not a public toilet seat around that will not swallow up your tiny potty trainer, so you’re going to have to hold them up to avoid them splashing in. You will also have to scream at the top of your lungs to any sibling(s) to stop trying to unlock the door while doing so.
- The grossest thing on Earth is trying to clean poop out of underwear. There is no sanitary way to get the soiled undies off the kid and it will plop on the floor.
Now for our tips to help combat some of these hard truths:
- Have your potty trainer sit backwards on the seat. Less splash and more pee actually in the potty. This move made possible by the need to strip naked.
- Get this toilet seat. It has a built in seat for smaller booties to keep them from falling in.
- Figure out how many pairs of underwear is a feasible number to buy, then double it. Maybe even triple. A third of them will be beyond saving and will be trashed. Another third will constantly be in some stage of washing and the final third will need to be waiting on deck.
- Stock up on candles, air fresheners, plug-ins- whatever you use to freshen up your house, by an armful because your house is about to smell like a farm in the middle of July.
- Dresses can complicate the process for girls, but if your daughter is like mine, a dress is a non-negotiable daily clothing item. Have her bunch up the skirt part and tuck it into the neck to keep it from dipping in the toilet or getting peed on.
- This is the best carpet cleaner around.
- Put a tiny potty seat and container of Clorox Wipes in the back of your car. Instant, semi-clean bathroom! because nothing guarantees the necessity for a bathroom like not having one available.
Potty training is not glamorous and is definitely not for the faint of heart. If it seems like it’s not going to happen, my advice is to back off. You truly cannot force it. We tried introducing it with Isla for so long and showed no interest because she just wasn’t ready. I felt the (perceived) pressure as she got older, but I knew there would be some delay because she has autism. She just wasn’t ready, but all of a sudden one day she was. I couldn’t even begin to guess what flipped the switch for her, but all of a sudden there we were and we hit the ground running. So just follow your kid’s lead. It will come and they won’t go to college in diapers.
Truthfully, the hardest part of potty training for me was to back off, say screw it to all the things she “should” be doing and just let her be. Actually, that’s the hardest part of motherhood for me, but that’s a different story! Now, I’m enjoying having one kid out of diapers and trying not to think too much about the fact that I still have one more tiny human left to potty train!