There are so many beautiful, magical moments of motherhood, but potty training isn't one of them. I'm just starting to potty train my toddler, and even though I've been lucky enough to have parents share their potty training tips and have used (or attempted to use) some shameless potty training tactics, I'm still, at this point, left questioning my sanity on a day-to-day basis. This is hard, you guys. In fact, it seems impossible and I'm fairly certain I am going to fail at potty training my kid and he'll end up packing a box of Huggies with him when he goes off to college.
As any parent who's been through it can attest, the stages of potty training are brutal. And no, not for the kid (trust me, they largely don't give a f*ck), but for the parents. Our emotions are so real. I'm pretty needy these days, constantly looking for validation from others to reassure me that just because my kid can't poop in the potty (and that he instead thinks that the kitchen floor is an appropriate bathroom facility), that I'm not a bad parent. Every parent needs to hear a few words of encouragement when they're potty training their kid, and I'm no exception.
But even when you have help and people are sharing tips and you're being told that, yes, it will get better and will eventually end, you'll still struggle to make it through potty training. Just like the first weeks and months of motherhood when you're postpartum and sleep deprived, our potty training-stressed selves really just need to know that what we're thinking and feeling is normal. We need a bit of help keeping in mind that we are not, in fact, uniquely failing at this very hard thing. And that just because our brain goes to the dark place or we feel pessimistic or we start to internally rage with the fire of a thousand suns, that doesn't mean we're horrible human beings who hate being parents. Getting frustrated is normal, feeling annoyed is only natural, and thinking hopeless thoughts is how you make it through the difficult stages with your sanity in tact (eh, more or less).
So if you're like me, trying to potty train a toddler and wanting to scream about 95% of the day, have no fear. What you're thinking when you're cleaning up the latest accident is seriously normal (even if that doesn't make it more enjoyable). In fact, here are 10 thoughts every mother has when she's potty training her kid, just so we can cover all the bases.
"I Need A Drink."
Kudos to the parents who can manage to make it through potty training without a cocktail in hand, because I am definitely not one of those parents. After you've mastered the art of internal screaming, you'll find it somewhat necessary to enlist the help of an alcoholic beverage (or seven). The average potty training time is three months. That's three months of silently yelling into the ether that was once your peace of mind while you scrub another poop out of your carpet. You might as well reward yourself with a drink.
"Diapers Aren't THAT Expensive."
I mean, really, is that bad that you have to buy a pack of diapers every other week? And cloth diapers; Sure, they're expensive, but they'll come in bigger sizes and you'll just use some of your kid's college fund to buy them when he or she turns 10. You could totally afford to outfit your kid with diapers for the rest of their lives, right?! This can work.
"What Did This Kid Eat?"
No seriously, what is that?! How in the world did that come out of my child? And why am I forced to study it as I clean it off of my floor or out of my kid's pants or off the wall, when my kid decided it would be fun to paint with?!
"Why Isn't Mandatory Potty Training Leave A Thing?"
Look, I know the United States is far behind when it comes to taking time off work to be parents during the more labor-intensive times — what with us being the only industrialized nation without mandatory paid maternity leave and all — but can the next president please add "mandatory potty training leave" to their platform? It's difficult, if not borderline impossible, to successfully focus on work when I'm too busy wondering about my kid's bowel movements, and the next place in my house I'm going to find them. I'm inching closer to the borders of insanity and my brain could use a much-needed break.
"Isn't There Someone I Can Hire To Do This For Me?"
Like a Postmates or Uber, but for poop? Turns out, hiring a professional to potty train your kid is an actual thing now. NYC Potty Training, run by a former applied behavioral analysis teacher, will teach your kid how to poop in the potty for you. It does come at a price, though: $1,750 for two days, $925 for one.
"My Kid's Going To Be Pooping Into A Diaper For Their Entire Life."
This is never going to work. It's never going to happen. So this is going to be my (and eventually their) reality forever. Diapers. From now until the end of time as I know it, just diaper all the time.
"I Need Another Drink."
Make it a double.
"How Do Human Beings Manage To Learn Anything?"
It's amazing that our species can understand quantum physics and put people on the moon and cure horrible diseases, when (at one point) we all failed to go to the bathroom in the appropriate place. Then again, some of us don't believe in climate change and think "look at how big my hands are" is an appropriate presidential debate topic, so I guess humans of all ages still have a lot of seemingly logical things to learn.
"I Should Have Invested In Cleaning Products."
If only I had the financial foresight to invest in some stock of all the hardcore cleaning products I'm using before embarking on the journey that is potty training. Because I'm pretty sure I'm single-handedly creating a significant increase in their profits.
"Wait, Actually My Kid Is A Genius."
And then, just like that, your kid successfully uses the potty (even once, even kind of a little bit) and they're a genius. They're majestic and their brain is boundless and they're definitely going to cure cancer.