By Dakota Finley
Trust me. Don’t. Nothing will make you yearn for the days of changing diapers faster than poopy underpants, pee on your carpet, and mini toilets in every room of your house.
Fine if you must toilet train your small human, but wait. Wait until you’ve seen every telltale sign that they’re ready and then wait a little longer. Wait at least, at the very very least, until they want to. Forced potty training is a thing of nightmares.
When you’re waiting for that time—the time when it is actually a good idea to potty train—you’ll be buying size 4 (or whatever “large” size) diapers, and you’ll feel like the cashier is judging you (they aren’t) for having THAT old of a kid still in diapers.
While you’re waiting to potty train you’ll only see kids younger than yours who are ALREADY wearing undies. You’ll suddenly be blind to all the other 3-year-olds (or almost 3) who are sill in diapers. Every time you change a diaper and wrangle that wild toddler to the floor, you’ll remind them that big girls (or boys) go potty in the potty, but they’ll stare back you with big glazed eyes because they do not care. Let them not care. Forced potty training is a bad idea.
But all you can see are rainbows and butterflies and potties, so against your better judgment, you go for it.
While you’re in the middle of the hell that is potty training an unwilling participant, you’ll stay home for days on end, you’ll pump them full of liquids, and you’ll have a potty chair in the living room and small bowl of their favorite candies on hand to offer as a reward — to bribe them. It’ll work here and there, but mostly you’ll have accidents, screams and tears (both yours and the trainee’s).
You’ll have what feels like 100s of tiny pairs of undies to wash, you’ll have desperate pleas with your spouse because “its your turn!” and you’ll be blowing up the friend group text for any shred of wisdom they have to offer. You’ll scour the Internet for every potty training article, every tip list, and every secret to potty training. You’ll even go old school and check out every book with the word “potty” in the title at the library as if you are studying for a final exam.
Finally, you’ll find yourself on the phone with your mom — crying, begging for back up — and she’ll tell you to give it a rest, “don’t force it,” but you’ll ignore her because you’re all heart-eyed over the thought of getting out of diapers, of making it to the promised land. You’ll find yourself in a battle, and come hell or high water you’re going to do this (although you are currently experiencing both hell and high water).
Ultimately, what you’ll do is draw out a process, which can supposedly be done in a long weekend (or so I’ve heard). You’ll traumatize yourself and said unwilling participant all because you’re sure they’re ready—they just don’t want to. They’re strong-minded. They’re stubborn. And maybe they are, but then, so are you.
BUT once you endure ALL of this, months later you’ll probably (hopefully) end up with a potty trained little kid … just ask me how I know.
About the Author
Dakota Finley is a 28-year-old former case manager recently turned stay-at-home mom, from down a dirt road in Colorado. She’s a momma to two baby girls and a fire wife to her high school sweetheart. She lives for summers at the lake, sour beers, her morning coffee and cheetah print. She writes from the trenches, on her phone with a baby asleep in the crook of her arm, because she loves it.