Potty training isn’t for babies. No, really. You have to wait until your kid is in their toddler years to start. Joking aside, it isn’t an easy time in anyone’s life and being scared of potty training is normal, for both kids and parents. For the toddler involved, it means a complete shift in lifestyle. After they’ve spent one, two, or even three years doing their business inside of diapers and having one or both parents change them, they’re expected to suddenly hold back what’s always come naturally to them. Now they have to ask for permission to pee, and have to go to a specific room and sit on a specific chair, and well, who wouldn’t be overwhelmed?
As the parent, it’s our job to make the process as comfortable and seamless as possible. We have to act like this is a new, fun activity for our child. Deep down, however, many of us are pretty freaked out. Potty training is the start of a whole new way of life for us as well, and provides us with a new set of challenges coupled with the glimmer of hope that freedom, even freedom from changing diapers is within our reach.
Sometimes we want to throw in the towel while, at other times, we just feel guilty for all the thoughts we have about potty training that we wouldn't dare share with our toddler. Those looking for some comforting words, and the necessary reminder that you're not a bad mom at all for feeling sufficiently scared about this new transition, please read on. You're not failing and you're not alone and you're not doing feelings that so many, many parents haven't felt before.
It Takes A Lot Of Patience...
If you’re the sort of mom that gets easily overwhelmed and frustrated, you ain’t seen nothin' till you start potty training. Pleading with your child to join you in the bathroom, convincing them to finally sit on their seat, and then sitting for minute after minute in hopes they “go,” will wear anyone’s patience thin. If you don’t lose it during this process, please feel free to shoot me a Tweet and tell me how on earth you managed to keep it together.
...Not To Mention A Whole Lot Of Time
Perhaps it’s because I’ve just started potty training my son, but the reason it’s going so slow is it just takes up so much time. When you’re constantly strapped for time, because you have deadlines to meet, laundry to wash, and dinners to cook, having to spend 20 minutes every couple of hours, in the bathroom, is a lot. So yeah, you’re not an awful person if you’re already crunched for time and potty training isn’t going as scheduled.
It Can Get Messy
I haven’t gotten to this part (yet) but I’ve heard the horror stories. Potty training can get unpleasant, what with all the bodily functions often happening outside of the safe receptacle that is a diaper. If you’ve got a sensitive nose, I don’t blame you for being terrified of potty training. Hopefully you’ve got a partner that’s willing to help out with the mess.
Two Words: Public Accidents
Speaking of the messes that occur at potty training time, not only do accidents happen in the bathroom and bedroom, but they also happen when your little one is out and about. Nothing, and I mean nothing, sucks more than arriving to your destination only to find your little one has peed right through their clothes and onto their car seat. You’re not a bad mom for feeling this way. We all feel this way.
Changing Diapers Is Just Easier
Just like your toddler probably feels like going in their diaper is easier, as a mom, you probably do, too. You’ve already got this skill down, after all. Changing oh, 5 or 6 diapers a day, 365 days a year, adds up and makes you a professional at all things diapers and wipes. Wanting to stick to familiar things is perfectly normal.
Your Toddler Might Regress
This is the worst. I started potty training "lightly" some months ago and my son definitely regressed, would not so much as enter the bathroom, and stopped letting me know if he had peed or pooped. You don’t want to have to deal with taking five steps back after one or two forward. Sadly, however, that’s the nature of the potty training beast.
It’s Yet Another Expense
You might think that you’re going to start saving money by ditching the diapers, but what about the new underwear that you’ll buy (many of which you’ll end up having to toss)? What about all the cleaning supplies and ruined pants and socks, even shoes? More toilet paper (especially because toddlers love running around and wasting the hell out of those rolls)? Yeah, it's not so cheap. Children are never cheap, you guys.
If Your Kid Takes A Long Time, You Might Wonder If There’s Another Issue At Play
When a child has a delay in reaching a milestone, you always end up wondering if there is another issue at play. Small bladder capacity and infections can delay potty training. Or your child might have a more complex issue that’s hindering their potty training progress, such as a sensory processing disorder. While that might seem scary to those unfamiliar with such things, it really isn’t.
It Means Your Kid Is Reaching Yet Another Milestone
No mom wants their baby to grow up so fast. Just when we’re getting used to them learning to hold their baby bottle, it’s already time for them to move on to solids. Just as they learn to walk, they’re suddenly wanting to run and join peewee soccer. What gives with these kids?! In all seriousness, it’s OK if you’re scared that potty training means your baby is growing up quick. They all grow up quick, and we’re all frightening and excited by it. You’re still doing good, mom.