I’ve known from day one that my daughter has a mind of her own and she will do things on her own time. So whenever friends would share their experiences potty training, I would casually file them away for somewhere down the road. You see, she and I have talked about ditching diapers for quite some time and she is adamant that she still wears her diaper. That’s cool. But just last week, my independent almost 3-year old had an announcement: “I need to go potty.” Needless to say, I’d been putting off this process and was not prepared. No underwear, pull-ups or a potty ring (apparently potty seats are SO last year). I didn’t read all the “how I trained my toddler in 3 days” articles, I just used my God-given mom instincts and dived right in. And you know what? It’s not awful or impossible. It’s a journey she and I are both embarking on together, and it makes me just a little sad my baby is growing up. Here are some of the real things I’ve learned so far.
1. For The Next Few Weeks, Life Is Over As You Know It
I didn’t realize before starting this process that my life would revolve around potty training. It is an issue that is ever present on your mind as you gamble on leaving the house with big girl underwear on (theirs, not yours), just how long you can leave them with the gym daycare, picking between underwear or diapers for nap time and the list goes on and on. If you thought you could just think about potty training only while they are going to the bathroom, think again. You are thinking about it way more than your toddler.
2. You House Will Smell Like Pee. All The Time.
Let’s get this out of the way: there will be accidents and probably on your carpet or upholstered furniture. Of course you’re going to clean it up right away, but we all know that urine is an odor that sticks around. Just get used to it. Clean the area, spray with some vinegar, sprinkle with baking soda or borax and just open a window. Until you have a proficient potty-user, this is life. Spring on some carpet cleaning in a few months and your house will be as good as new.
3. Both You And Your Toddler Will Be Wearing Pee, At Least Once.
Speaking of accidents, chances are you will catch your toddler mid-pee at some point. Your natural reaction is going to be to grab them and haul it to the bathroom where they can finish the job on the toilet (which you totally should so you can minimize what we just discussed up in #2). This means there will be some, umm, dispersement of their “accident” flying through the air as you carry them. Don’t worry, this will just be a like a flashback from their newborn days. Make a pile of laundry and plan on doing nightly loads for a few weeks!
4. All Topics Of Conversation With Any Adult Will Involve Potty Training
Oh, you don’t like talking about bodily fluids with people? Well get over it because you will be sharing every pee and poop story with anyone who will listen. Why? Because you’ve been cooped up in the house for days and the most frequent phrase out of your mouth is “do you need to go potty?” and it’s bound to spill over into your adult conversations with friends, the clerk at Target and of course, your spouse.
5. Never Leave Your Toddler Alone.
If you’ve gotten used to being in the other room while your toddler happily watches Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, those days are over my friend. At least for a few weeks. Your toddler sees an opportunity when you aren’t hovering over them with incessant asking of potty questions, and they will use it to their advantage. Do they have a favorite corner? Because if so they are going to high-tail it over there and probably go to the bathroom in their pants.
6. Remove All Rugs And Bath Mats From The Training Area.
On second thought, just remove anything of value that you don’t want peed on out of the way. That means couch pillows, beloved blankets and nice clothes. Don’t let your toddler on your bed, and lay towels down wherever they plan on sitting or playing. A friend of mine said she laid plastic sheeting down all over their carpet. Not a bad idea! Sure, you can leave all of those things around, but just don’t be surprised when you’re calling out upholstery cleaners.
7. Get Ready For Mood Swings.
No, I’m not talking about yours. Your sweet toddler is learning a very important task in potty training, and in turn they are relinquishing something they have had control over their entire lives until now. It’s emotionally and physically draining, and they are likely going to be a crabby patty until they get the whole process down. They will be disobedient, argumentative and cranky. But they will also be so, so proud when you’re doing the “hooray you went potty” dance. Hang in there, mama!
8. Everyone Will Give You Their Two Cents, Just Do What Works For You.
In case you hadn’t noticed, every child is different. Well-intentioned moms and even more Pinterest articles will give you all sorts of must-do’s in this process, but you’re the mom and you can decide what works for you. If you want to use Pull-ups, go right ahead. Maybe you only want to potty train in the afternoons- that’s great! Toddler doesn’t want to go #2 in the potty yet? Then put on a diaper and let them do their business. Potty training isn’t done overnight, so don’t feel like you have to be the potty gestapo!