Potty training is not for the weak. It takes a true badass to deal with the messes, the tears, the frustration, the thrill of success, and the agony of inevitable defeat. So, honestly, it shouldn't be surprising to learn there are plenty of potty training moments that prove you're a badass mom.
My partner and I decided to try potty training our daughter at 18 months. Then again when she was a 2-year-old toddler. Then, again, at two and a half years of age. Advice varied from, "Cut her off from diapers cold turkey," to, "Wait until she's ready, because she'll let you know." We tried a wide variety of strategies, including the three day boot camp method, leaving a potty in the bathroom and hoping she decided to sit on it, bribes with M&Ms, letting grandma try for a weekend, and finally ended up giving up and letting her wear diapers again. Surely she wouldn't still wear diapers to college, right?
In the end, it was a combination of consistency, positive messaging, Elmo's potty training episode on Sesame Street, and reinforcement from daycare that did the potty training trick. When I confidently began to potty train my son, I learned the harsh reality that what works for one child may not work for another. That lesson can sting, especially when poop is involved, but it's a lesson that's worth learning (I guess). Both my children are, thankfully, out of diapers for good, but with a baby on the way I have a couple of more years of diapers ahead of me. Good thing I am a badass mom, right?
When You Spend Days Trapped At Home With A Naked Dictator
Many potty training methods recommend that you stay home for the first few days for some naked toddler time, to make things easy for you and your young learner. Unfortunately, staying at home (usually alone) with a tiny, strong-willed toddler, desperately trying to get them to pee or at least sit on the potty, is akin to a hostage situation.
No matter how much you love your child, mommy needs adult interaction and is so tired of teaching you to clean up puddles of pee. So, yes, at time she (read: me) feels like hiding in the bathroom alone with some chocolate and a good book. Fortunately, these moments teach badass moms to stock up on snacks and/or wine, charge their cell phone, and rely on tried-and-true allies like Daniel Tiger and Elmo (because their potty training episodes don't make you want to stab yourself in the eye).
When You Catch Poop In Your Bare Hands
Potty training is definitely not for the weak stomached. Between the messes, accidents, wet beds, and poop-filled underwear, you get your fill of "gross" moments in parenting.
These moments let your inner badass shine. I remember seeing my daughter go behind a chair to poop. Everything moved in slow motion as I hurried and extended my hands to catch her soon-to-be-flying feces. I made it. Not sure if that was a win or a loss but, you know, I made it.
When You Get Everyone Dressed And Loaded Into The Car And Your Toddler Announces That They Have To Go Potty
Everything is a production when you have a toddler. You pack your vehicle (or diaper bag) full of several changes of clothes, underwear, shoes, wipes, post-it notes to block the automatic sensors on public toilets, and snacks. Inevitably, the moment you get everyone dressed and buckled into their car seats, someone says, "I have to go potty."
This is also true whenever you go someplace with no public bathrooms or only port-a-potties. It doesn't really matter if you make everyone go before you leave the house. The good news is, of course, that you're such a badass you effortlessly unload everyone from the car, take care of business, and get to your destination (well, most of the time, at least).
When Your Mom Tells You That You Were Potty Trained At 16 Months
When I was potty training my daughter, it seemed that every time I spoke with my mother the age at which I was potty trained somehow got younger and younger. How? Why? Are you sure? Unless you are giving me some great tips for success, I don't really want to hear about how easy it was for you. Badass moms learn to take tackle these moments with grace, simply say thank you and, against all odds, not even roll their eyes.
When Your Toddler Wets The Bed, And It's Your Bed
It's bad enough having a toddler come to bed with you most nights. After all, sleeping with a 30-pound octopus is no fun, especially when they empty aquarium-sized bladders on your duvet.
Badass moms learn to accept a little pee in their beds and layer mattress-covers and fitted sheets for a quick, in-the-dark late-night clean up.
When You Get A Call At Work That Your Child Has Gone Through All Of Their Extra Clothes At Daycare
Being a working mom is hard. When you have a toddler, it seems like you can't send enough changes of clothes and Batman underwear. Badass moms learn to have extras everywhere. My son has been potty trained for over a year, and I'm pretty sure I have underwear in my glove box and my purse. Still.
When You Discover That Your Child Has Been Pooping Behind A Chair
Peeing on the potty was easy for my daughter (not that she always did it), but pooping was another story. One morning, I learned that she had selected a spot behind a living room chair as her personal pooping place. Badass moms take a deep breath and order a steam cleaner online, then show their toddler where poop goes. Again.
When You Have To Make A Diaper Out Of A Sweatshirt At The Store
When you have a toddler, you have to learn to be flexible, or face the consequences. Potty (and poop) accidents happen, usually miles from home or the nearest store.
I have had to make a make-shift diaper out of a sweatshirt, a towel, and a torn up fleece blanket. A maxi-pad and duct tape also work. Just call this badass mom, MacGyver.
When Your Crying Toddler Begs For A Diaper
Cue: big crocodile tears. A tiny voice asks, "Please, can I have a diaper, mama?" Badass moms don't give in, but choose to bribe their kids with candy instead. Or, they only give in when their baby is weeping and clearly sad. Can't you see that she needs a diaper? Just this once.
(Next time I will be firm and consistent. I swear.)
When The Tenth Person Today Asks You If Your Child Is Potty Trained
There are things you should say to a potty training mom and thing you should definitely keep to yourself. Don't assume that you know anything about me or my child or their readiness to pee in the "big kid" potty.
Badass moms know that every kid is different and will learn in their own time. They never lose it when nosy people ask them sensitive questions or imply that they are not working hard enough. Well, at least not in public.
When You Finally Sing The "Yay Potty" Song
It will happen. It might take days, weeks, months, a dozen sets of Wonder Woman underwear, 200 stickers, countless tear-filled nights and judgmental stares, but they will learn and you will feel great.
Badass moms are not ashamed to sing, dance, give high fives, and celebrate their success (and their kid's success, for that matter). Even if "celebrating" means breaking into a very passionate song and dance about pooping on the potty. You can do it, badass mama. Just be sure to meet your toddler's demands for M&Ms.