Potty training is a necessary part of raising children, but that certainly doesn't mean you will enjoy it. In fact, hating potty training doesn't make you a bad mom, it makes you pretty much like every other mom who has ever mothered (and certainly any mother who has ever potty trained). The messes; the stubborn refusals and subsequent accidents; the bribery; I mean, these are not moments that you write down in your kid's baby book or wax nostalgic about once they're over. (You may, however, be able to use those moments as fodder for bribery, once your kid is a teenager, not that I plan on personally doing that, or anything.)
My daughter has had a particularly challenging journey through toilet training. We didn't force the issue with her, and perhaps letting her take the lead wasn't the best idea (something we'll never know for sure) because it's been nearly a year now, and there have been more accidents than I can count. I have always tried to be extremely patient and understanding with her when she has accidents, because the last thing you want to do when you're potty training your kid is emotionally scar them for doing something pretty natural, but holy hell it's hard. It's hard to not yell when you discover your kid has been sitting in their own pee for several hours, on the carpet, either unable or unwilling to admit that they've made another accident that you'll be responsible for cleaning up. It's hard to not swear at the underpants you're cleaning poop out of again. All of it is hard.
So, don't despair if you find yourself thinking any of the following potty training thoughts. Parenting is messy, and it's never messier than when you're potty training. If you happen to have one of those kids who potty trained in one weekend? Move along, before someone here clocks you (I'm kidding, I'm just jealous and you should really teach me your secrets but only after you walk away because the jealousy is a little much now).
"Can I Just Keep Them In Diapers?"
Every parent has thought it, especially when they're deep in the messy throes of toilet training. We all sort of hope that if we keep them in diapers just long enough, one day they will magically take their own diaper off and say, "Mama, I'm done with diapers!" and never look back.
"I Don't Ever Want To Wipe Another Butt Again"
No one will ever accuse you of being a bad mom for being completely over the butt-wiping stage. Trust me. If you want to know a fun little parenting secret, the butt-wiping doesn't end when your kid can finally sit on the toilet and poop. Why? Because they will continue to be terrible at wiping their own butt for years to come.
"My Kid Is Disgusting"
Children have this lovely habit of possessing zero inhibition, so you can expect to be grossed out by all sorts of things that they do, including grabbing their own feces out of their underwear and showing it to you. Or so I hear.
"I Miss Diapers"
Things are so much easier when it's all contained. If there's an accident, it's likely your fault, because you put the diaper on too loose or one of the edges got all caught up in the folds of their bum or you didn't change a full diaper quick enough. Now you have to teach your kid autonomy and self-awareness, and that's always messy.
"If I Have To Put In One More Load Of Laundry, I'll Lose My Mind"
This does not make you a bad mom. This makes you a normal mom, and I have to tell you that you're going to feel like this for basically the rest of your life (or, well, for however long your child lives with you).
"My Kid Stinks"
At some point, you will get a whiff of your kid, and all you'll be able to smell their urine or, you know, something far, far worse. It's awful and it's normal and it's awful. Sorry.
"My Partner Is Totally Avoiding Coming Home Right Now So I Have To Be The One To Clean Our Kid Up"
You think your partner is a jerk when they come home late from work when you have a newborn. You need that break, right? Well let me tell you, there were multiple occasions while I was potty training my daughter, when I was brewing all kinds of conspiracy theories about why my husband wasn't home yet. Most of them involved him not wanting to take over the potty training.
"I'm Going To Vomit If I Have To Clean Another Pair Of Poopy Underwear"
If you think touching baby poop is gross, wait until you're scrubbing the skid marks off a pair of kids underwear. That, my friends, is the type of fun that knows no limits.
"I Give Up"
You are not a bad mom if you conclude that it's just all too much and decide to go back to diapers for a week or two (or more) while you regroup or research different methods. Every kid potty trains in their own time, and sometimes you just have to know when to say enough is enough, for now.
"I Love You, Kid, But You Suck"
I'm pretty sure that, aside from when your kid finally becomes a teenager, potty training has the highest potential for parental use of expletives. I have friends whose kids have smeared poop on the bathroom walls, have peed down the air intake vent, and have pulled poop from their underwear and handed it to them. It's OK to get fed up.