My partner and I are currently experiencing a phenomenon called "the potty training phase" with our second child and, let me tell you, it has its moments. Some of those are the absolute worst because hello, messes on messes on messes, but there's a few reasons why potty training is actually the best. To be honest, they definitely outweigh the gross parts (for the most part, anyway). No, seriously. This is a real thing.
When potty training our first kid, a girl, I've noticed there are considerable differences. Our second child is a boy and five years separates them, so I've also gained a bit more patience and perspective. I guess it's a "live and learn" type situation because I've been more aware of mistakes made the first time around so not to repeat. However, every day I'm reminded that each child is different, regardless of age or gender, so to use a blanket blueprint is a huge waste of time.
If you've ever trained a toddler to use the bathroom, you'll understand how frustrating and downright disgusting it can be. It drains us of our energy, both mentally and physically, and can often make you think pull-ups are the way to go forever. I'm asking you, dear reader, to forget all that (at least for now). I'm here to tell you about all the amazing things that happen during this journey because they're there and should be celebrated. It's not all going to be, you know, roses or whatever, but the parts that are? Yeah, they're pretty rad. With that, here are some of the things to cheer about when you're right in the thick of potty-training hell.
Freedom Is In Sight
Once you begin potty training, the end is in sight. No more diapers, pull-ups, wet sheets, or accidents is the dream and, at some point, it will be your new reality. While I love all the goodness of baby snuggles and all that comes with those early days, potty training is a sign of freedom. Once your little one gets the hang of it, that's it; the baby days are gone and you're free to go where ever, whenever, without the use of a huge diaper bag (I hated that thing).
No More Expensive Diapers
Along with trashing that dumpy diaper bag, one of my favorite things about potty training is how often I have to buy diapers now — never — and how many pull-ups we go through per month (it's getting to be less and less and I'm thrilled). Both are expensive and even if you use cloth diapers, there's the mess that literally clings to your child's body like a lifeline. I won't miss any of these so I'm pretty grateful to save my money and my sanity.
It Gives You Time To Bond
I know it sounds weird, but going through this with my kids gives us something to bond over. I realize it's part of being a parent, but it's also kind of cool to be the one to teach them how to do it, only to have them recognize the lessons you're teaching them and thank me for showing them the ropes. It's arguably one of the best parts and, selfishly, when they go to the bathroom alone I know it's because of me. I did that. Yay me!
And I guess, props to them for, you know, rocking the whole potty training thing!
You Get To Flex Your Patience Muscles
Patience is not my strongest asset (at all). In going through potty training twice now, I get to challenge myself to be more patient. They are children; essentially blank slates when it comes to most things in life. While I do get frustrated and their bathroom time feels like it takes forever sometimes, it's my duty as a bad-ass mom to show them how to be patient by my actions. No, it's not easy, but in rushing things, I've found it only makes it take longer and no one wants to be in there longer than needed.
It's Cool To See Them Feel Empowered
Watching my son jump and cheer after going to the bathroom is pretty darn great. He's starting to see that in handling things on his own, not only does he have more freedom but he's empowered in his new found ability to go whenever he feels the need without me. I really like seeing how proud he is of himself. It shows me I'm doing something right (even if there's a mess to clean up afterwards).
You Are An Actual Hero To Your Child
Ever have your kid scream for toilet paper, to be wiped, or literally just for you to be in the room while they go? I have! When it's all over, I get a huge hug simply for being there. Did I do anything that special? I don't think so, but my son does and it's literally everything to know that. Potty training is really a pretty special thing, if you choose to look at it that way.
The Rewards Are Fun To Give
I've never had so much candy and small toys in the house before and it's great! Because we give out a small piece of chocolate after each successful "session," I can choose whatever kind is my favorite. I mean, I'm the potty training coach and coaches should be rewarded, too.
Plus, the toys give him something to strive towards. While this method isn't for everyone, it's worked for both my children and, again, I get to indulge my sweet tooth with them. #Winning
That Feeling Of Watching Them Accomplish Something Is The Best
While I know my son feels empowered, I feel empowered, too. Part of the whole parenting thing is teaching my children how to be independent from me. I need to know that if I weren't here, they'd be OK. Sure, learning how to go to the bathroom is probably on the low end of the scale in the grand scheme of life lessons I hope to provide my children with but, to me, it's just as rewarding to know they've done it by themselves than them graduating high school or following a dream.
Parenting is pretty amazing. Despite the lows, there are so, so many highs. Watching my babies grow into children who need me less and less is bittersweet. I know they'll thrive in whatever they choose to do, but for the moment, I love being the one here to inspire them and show them the basics of life. Even potty training.