Why Is Potty Training So Effing Hard?

Why Is Potty-Training So Effing Hard?

I wish I had more control over this. I wish I had more control over their bodily fluids. (Actually, I wish they had more control of their bodily fluids.) I wish I had more control over my reactions to the news that said bodily fluids have exited their bodies, an event that necessitates my wiping them, cleaning them, and starting another load of laundry.

I wish I didn’t get angry. I wish I didn’t sigh in frustration. I wish my children felt comfortable telling Mommy the news. I wish they didn’t timidly approach me with an embarrassed whisper, knowing my reaction would be negative. I wish my automatic response was, “Okay! No big deal! Let’s get you cleaned up!” with a chipper tone and an optimistic outlook that the day was not ruined. Because they are young children. And this is what young children do.

I wish I were better at potty training.

I wish potty training did not make me frustrated to the point of shutting myself behind closed doors and bursting into tears.

I can wish for all of these things, but now that I am five years in and on kid #3, I know they will never come true.

What is it about this aspect of motherhood–this job that all mothers do—that so deeply affects my psyche? Why can a beautiful, 75-degree day be ruined by smelling poop as my 3-year-old runs past?

Is it because I am on kid #3 and since my children are close in age, there has never been a break from poop and pee?

Is it because after seven years of diapers, I have grown so damn resentful that this is my life? That each accident, each time I decide to keep or toss the underwear, each time I question my resolve and consider returning to pull-ups, each time I change the sheets that I just changed the day before, each time I wonder if it’s even worth the risk to attempt the pool with friends, each time I ask them to go potty before we leave and they promise they don’t have to go—each time this happens I am reminded of what my primary jobs are on a daily basis. Wipe. Clean. Cook. Pick up mess. Sweep. Wipe. Clean. Cook. Pick up mess. And I am just so freaking tired of it.

I am so effing tired of poop.

I am so tired of it being my job to deal with the poop.

I am tired of thinking about poop. I am tired of anticipating it—did he go yet? What if he goes when we are the park? The pool? During big brother’s 1st grade play? Do we have wipes? Back-up underwear? Swim diapers?

I am tired of fighting with my kids about poop. Do you have poop in your underwear? No. I can smell it. Do you have to go? No. Can you please try? No. I don’t have to go.

I am tired of finding poop. I am tired of finding it un-flushed in the toilet. I am tired of finding it smashed into underpants. I am tired of wondering why the house smells like poop and not knowing the source. I am tired of finding brown stains on myself and not knowing what it is or how long it has been there.

I am tired of people telling me not to worry because “she’ll get there!” or “he’ll get there!” I know they will. And the older ones have. But when I am in the trenches, on laundry load #5 for the day, out of clean underwear, out of swim diapers, out of pull-ups, out of wipes, and out of patience, all I want to hear is, “Here’s a giant glass of wine,” or better yet, “Here’s a plane ticket to somewhere else.”

I am tired of being angry at my kids for something that is not their fault. I am tired of resenting them when they’ve done nothing wrong. I am tired of wishing we were done with this because that means I am wishing away their early childhood.

But I am just. so. tired. of potty training.

This post was originally published on The 21st Century SAHM.