I am in desperate need of help. I need thoughts, good vibes, wine, beer and, if some wizard somewhere can pull it off, a truckload of extra patience because I am running low on it.
The time has come: a terrifying and awful time in parenting. Moments where once you proceed there’s no looking back. There are tears, late nights and early mornings. There will be moments of giving up and days where failure becomes the default setting of the day.
My just turned two-year-old son and I have set out on a journey; a journey parents everywhere face at one point or another. A journeyof triumphant magic, but also soul-crushing failure. Where days aren’t spent coloring and playing outside, but rather huddled into one room for what seems like it lasts longer than a lifetime prison sentence.
That’s right: we started potty training.
I went into this like I went into becoming a mother: oodles of optimism, countless hours of research and a preconceived notion of how perfectly it will play out. Its hysterical how I thought those weapons in my arsenal would carry me onwards and upwards through the years of infancy, toddlerdom and so on.
But, forward I marched thinking that because I stay at home all day with him we would tackle potty training head on and have it conquered in less than a week. Sticker charts and rewards systems. A themed potty seat with his four favorite reptiles on it. A themed potty book that has a button that sounds like a toilet flushing. I went into this with more planning and research than some generals put into planning and executing a war.
My plans, much like most plans when it comes to having the outcome be dependent on someone else, have crashed and burned. On the long, slow descent of the plans crashing and burning they passed my optimism, sticker charts, and pointless research.
There are so many ways to potty train that I have seen. You can use a seat that fits on top of your toilet seat. There are free standing potty chairs and seats so you can put them in any room of the house. There are little stools you can have to help them. There are books. There’s even desks where you can hook up tablets so they can watch movies or play games while they try to go poop.
As for how to tackle getting a child used to the concept of when they have to use the potty there is: having them sit after they eat drink, or I have heard to have them sit every (x) amount of minutes or degree of time. Some parents swear by the method of putting them in adorable, scaled-down versions of underwear and letting them wet themselves and once the kid starts freaking out over that, they start using the potty to avoid wet underwear- my college days will tell you that peeing in your underpants sucks. I wouldn’t know first hand, or anything, but a friend of a friend of a friend told me that.
My child was born six weeks early due to preeclampsia, but he is doing remarkably well and is excelling at everything we can set in front of him. We expected potty training to be no exception.
Day one started out with sunshine and flowers and puppies and rainbows and high hopes. We tried the every hour sitting him down. No luck. He would sit for ten, fifteen minutes then tell me, “all done. Wipe.” With nothing in the water to show for the time spent sitting.
He loves to wipe but we aren’t millionaires and toilet paper is expensive so instead of discouraging him from wiping I would sit on the floor and sing songs with him while I took apart two-ply toilet paper. Now, I can all most guarantee ONE of you reading this is thinking, “ha! She’s letting the child rule her instead of ruling the child.”
You’re absolutely right. With potty training I figured if it gets him to sit comfortably and find the experience enjoyable, he can have a factory full of two-ply toilet paper for those little buns.
End of day one I went to bed thinking it was a great start.
Day two, sitting on the potty and nothing. All. Day. Long. The bright spot of the night was after he sat for fifteen minutes, he ran from the bathroom to get his diaper on and stopped right outside of the bathroom to pee on his police ride along car. Accidents happen, and I expected them, so I cleaned it up and we put a diaper on. Go to bed, thinking maybe tomorrow a difference approach.
Day three, I put him in his boxer briefs that look just like his daddy’s. His daddy is his hero- and mine- so I thought he will see himself as a big boy just like daddy. Nope. Every hour on the potty and he peed in my room IN THE SAME EXACT SPOT three times. Scrub, scrub, scrub the floor. My back is breaking from sitting on tile in the bathroom, from cleaning and cooking and now I’m cleaning pee off the rug and doing laundry.
Potty training is awful. I review all the Web sites I originally looked at to verify I didn’t miss any steps. Fuck the rule books. I’m going rogue tomorrow.
Day four, no more underwear. Back to diapers and sitting on the potty with no results. At this point I have reduced myself to worst mother ever in my mind. I planned and am trying so hard and I haven’t had any results, not even a surprise pee he didn’t know was about to happen.
The moment he wets or poops his diaper he comes and tells me so he understands the concept but it isn’t translating yet to the potty. In the meantime my test subject, aka my child, has decided to forsake clothes and diapers. I try to stay one step ahead with a freshly laundered pile of rompers. He figured out how to reach his arm up through the leg hole, and tug until he rips the diaper off. He pulls it out with reckless abandon and tosses it, much like I do with my bra after a long day.
I switch to onesies. Apparently he must be reading baby hacks because he knew to pull the onesie down and off his shoulders and body.
As a last resort I put him in footy sleepers. He figured out how to unzip them.
The current state of my house: anarchy. You don’t want to wear a onesie? Fine. You don’t want to wear a sleeper? That’s fine. Please please please keep on your diaper. No? Ok, fine. He is in complete control. He smelled my optimism on day one and has knocked me down a few pegs.
Now I just chase him around with clothes. When people call they probably think I have lost my mind because all they can hear is, “I just put pants on you! Where is your diaper? We don’t pee on the dog, that’s not nice!”
It lasted a week and a half with no results. We are taking a few days off from potty training. Maybe he isn’t ready, maybe I’m not ready. My bank account is ready for a break from diapers, but Target is about to take a big hit in sales once I stop buying them, and I’m really not ready to stop supporting my favorite place like that.
He recently turned two so there is time. Until then, I’ll chase and clothe him, and keep reading success stories of how others that have walked this path have succeeded once their children were ready.
But, seriously, send wine, I need it.