A few weeks ago at school pick-up, my son’s teacher remarked that he was showing signs of potty training.
I should have been ecstatic.
Instead, I responded:
My toddler has turned the corner between 2.5 and 3, so it’s not like the thought of potty training hasn’t crossed my mind.
But it was the first time someone outside our family had said it to me, so it registered to my ears kind of like an announcement over a public loud speaker:
HEY MOM, AT SOME POINT YOU HAVE TO GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER AND POTTY TRAIN YOUR KID.
Indeed, he has been showing “signs.” He’s been waking up dry, asking to use the toilet when he sees other kids go, and has already memorized the Daniel Tiger potty song from start to finish.
But let’s face it: I’m the one who isn’t quite ready.
Four months in, I’m still blaming it on the new baby. I know some people have the philosophy that you should move your oldest to a big kid bed and potty train before you have a second child, but ever since my closest friends promised they would still love me if I simply bought another crib, my transition philosophy has been: AS FEW CHANGES AS POSSIBLE. Isn’t getting a new sibling enough life upset for a two year-old?
Besides, when I picture potty training, it’s hard for me to imagine anything other than my life devolving into an endless dash to the bathroom every five minutes, with a nursing baby in one arm and a potty chair in the other. I picture leaving my groceries forlornly in aisle 5 while I search for one of those hidden-in-a-back-alley grocery store bathrooms. All I can imagine smelling is little boy pee on the toilet seat. Little boy pee on the carpet. Little boy pee on the front porch. So much little boy pee.
Having two in diapers might be annoying, but it does seem less daunting than that. Diapers, it turns out, are awfully good at giving me a chance to finish my coffee while I wait for my kid to yell during nap time, “Mommy! I got a poopy diaper!”
But, yes. I realize being able to use the toilet is a valuable life skill when possible (and it is certainly not an easy or quick process for every child), so I’m trying to gear up for the task.
We recently bought all the essentials for my son’s potty training foray: big boy underwear, a few pull-ups, a potty seat and a bag of M&Ms.
I’ve stocked a few essentials for myself, too: strong coffee, good-smelling carpet cleaner, and a trip to Bermuda as my reward if / when we have success. (Clearly the closest I’m getting to Bermuda with a nursing babe is via the screen saver on my Apple TV, but that will have to do.)
It feels like only yesterday I was trying to figure out which brand of newborn diapers to buy, and now that I’m finally an expert in bulk-buying diapers from Costco, I have to acquire a whole new set of skills that involves teaching my kid to aim.
That’s parenthood for you, though. Just when you tackle one hill, you find yourself staring at a whole mountain range ahead. Today, I find myself standing at the base of Mount Potty. From here, the terrain looks a little ominous … but perhaps on the other side I’ll be glad I didn’t stall forever. (Pun intended.)
Am I ready? No. But in matters of parenthood, I’m not sure being ready is ever an option.
So, send me your best tips and all the luck! We’re going in. May the odds be ever in our favor, and may the carpets be ever easy to clean.
Fellow moms, give me the scoop: What potty training methods have been successful for you? What do you wish you would have known before starting?