I've said a lot of stupid things in my day, about a plethora and wide variety of things. I'm not proud of it, but I'm human and I make mistakes and what I was once so sure of, sometimes, turns out to be incredibly wrong. I'm not above eating crow and there comes a point, in everyone's life, when you just have to suck it up and admit fault. That time is now, kind reader, because the stupid things I said about potty training before I had a kid need to be talked about. Unfortunately.
I can't say I'm that surprised that, when it comes to potty training, I was wrong about the majority of the long, seemingly never-ending process. Parenthood is unpredictable at best, and so far my time as a mother hasn't been even a fraction of what I thought it would be like. Sometimes, it's better than I could have imagined. Sometimes, it's ten times more difficult that I could have prepared for. Until you're in the thick of it, you just don't know what you're getting yourself into, and potty training is no different. I remember starting this process so cocky and confident and just completely sure of myself. It was going to take me a week; it was going to be relatively painless; it wasn't going to be messy and I was going to be able to ditch the diapers in no time at all. Ha ha. Ha. Ha. Oh, I'm so stupid.
Ignorance might be bliss, but it sure does make you dumb. I learned a lot when I was potty training my son, and the lessons are on-going as we've recently hit a few snags and have found ourselves in need of diapers. Again. So, with that in mind and in the name of painful honesty, here are just a few of the stupid things I said about potty training before I had a kid. Ugh. This one hurts.
"How Hard Can It Be?"
It's hard to admit but, yes, I used to think that potty training would be relatively easily. So many people are quick to share their "my kid was potty trained in three days" stories, that I thought I wouldn't have a problem at all. I would set up a routine and use chocolates as positive reinforcement and, before I knew it, my kid would be potty trained and all would be well.
Oh, what a fool I was. Correction, am. Still am. Definitely am.
"It Shouldn't Take That Long"
I didn't realize that potty training was a very long, very painstakingly slow process. The average time it takes to potty train a toddler, is three months. Three. Months. Yeah, that's not a short amount of time, and when poop and pee is involved, those three months (on average) can feel like three long, smelly and messy years.
"If A Kid Isn't Potty Trained By The Time They're Two, Their Parents Are Lazy"
I owe an untold number of parents a very real, very heartfelt apology. What in the ever-loving hell was I thinking? Honestly.
My kid is two years old, and he's partially potty trained. That means, yes, he does use the potty but not all the time, usually not at night and not when we're out and about. In other words, it's a work-in-progress and we're not completely ditching the diapers any time soon. I don't consider myself a "lazy" parent in any capacity, and I definitely don't think I've failed in some way just because my son isn't potty trained as a two-year-old. Nope. This is going to take a while, dear reader. I'm in it for the long haul, I guess.
"Bribery Will Do The Trick"
If only it was that easy, my friends. If only.
I have tried everything under the sun to get my kid to use the potty consistently. Sometimes a chocolate or a toy or a sticker will work. Sometimes, it won't. So, simply promising some goodies if my kid uses the porcelain throne on a regular basis isn't enough. I have to come up with new ways to encourage him to use the bathroom, and I have to stay consistent. Easier said than done, I can assure you.
"It's Not That Big Of A Deal"
But it is. It is in that it's a big milestone. It is because it means I can stop buying diapers. It is because it means I can stop changing diapers.
Is it a big deal if my kid isn't potty trained by a certain age? Well, it depends, but not really. There are moments when you should pay attention to your kid's accidents and there are signs that there might be something bigger going on, and those all warrant extra attention. However, for the most part your kid will learn when they're ready.
Still, it's a big deal. Not having to deal with a diaper is a big damn deal and I didn't really realize just how excited I would be to have a kid poop in a toilet, until it became the one thing I really really wanted to have happen. Use the toilet, kid. For the love of god use the damn toilet.
"If It's Messy, You're Doing It Wrong"
Nope. Chances are, if it's messy you're doing it right.
Sadly, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. I was just starting to introduce my son to the idea of potty training when he decided to take matters into his own hands. After a bought of silence that never bodes well, I went looking for my precious cherub, only to find him in our kitchen, diaper torn off, playing with his poop and using it as some sort of artistic medium. I was not amused.
Yes, it was a good sign that he wanted and could take his diaper off and that he realized he had gone to the bathroom in his diaper, but I didn't really see the positive of the situation in that particular moment. It took a while (and long after I had scrubbed the human feces off my kitchen wall).
"You Can Potty Train Your Kid In A Week..."
Oh man, I was dumb.
"...If Not Sooner"
No, really. I was the most dumb. So much dumb, it hurts. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
"Once They're Potty Trained, They're Always Potty Trained"
I didn't realize that, like sleeping, there are potty training regressions. Oh, yes, my friends. Just because your kid has mastered the potty once or twice or even for a steady, consistent amount of time, doesn't mean the pee stains and random poops are behind you. Your kid will probably go through a potty training regression because, well, parenthood is just the most fun.