What Potty Training is Teaching Me About Life

We are potty training these days.

I hate to even write that, because it sounds so official. If I wouldn’t tell anyone that we actually were, and things were going badly, we could just stop and try again later. Like in a year or two, after I’d recovered. (I’m not the hugest fan of potty training.)

But now it’s out there, and we will be official, and we will do it. Potty train or bust.

There are a couple of reasons why I have not been looking forward to this process. It takes so much discipline and commitment, and involves cleaning up so many messes. But most of all, I feel a sense of failure because I should know what I’m doing, but I don’t have a clue. I’ve done this all before, and I don’t really have an excuse for feeling so lost and uncertain as to how to proceed.

Anika uses the toilet every day, very effectively. But I don’t have a clue how we got to this point. I seem to have blocked that time period out of my mind. I remember that I did not enjoy it, but I do not know how we did it.

I had a lot of thinking to do before we started potty training Kaylia. I asked other people lots of questions, and read some books, and figured out a few things.

Basically, I figured out that this process will just be unpleasant. We’re dealing with poop and pee here. There’s no way around that.

I think that last time, with Anika, I tried to ease into the whole process as gently as possible, and avoid as many messes as we could.

And it took forever for her to catch on. No mess equals no motivation. For her or for me. And potty training went on for a year…I think. Like I said, my memory is quite foggy in that department.

So this time, I decided to accept the mess. To embrace it, even.

And that has made all the difference. I am actually anticipating the mess each day, because the only way Kaylia is going to learn to use the toilet is if she figures out that she’s tired of hot, fresh pee running down her legs, and decides to get her little butt over to the bathroom ASAP. (Thank goodness it’s summer – potty training accidents that happen outside are the very best kind.)

And so, this morning as I waited for the mess to occur, I was talking myself through this whole process, trying to focus on how much she’ll learn from these unpleasant experiences, and suddenly I realized how much I was embracing the concept of learning through pain. It’s the best way.

It’s not enjoyable, but pain and hardship teach us the greatest, richest, deepest lessons in life. Can I learn to anticipate the hard times because of the growth I know they will bring?

That’s a hard one! A load of poop in the panties of life is hard to deal with, but we must learn to make the best of things!

11 thoughts on “What Potty Training is Teaching Me About Life

  1. Enjoy the experience… I know that sounds strange… but I am learning too that pain is a good teacher and just think of how good things will be after the fact … no more diapers…. πŸ™‚

  2. “A load of poop in the panties of life”!? That’s a good one, Kendra…I’ll be giggling about that one for a long time to come! So true! I have to say that we took the “easy” road with potty training (if there really is such a thing) and just waited until O was tired of diapers. I was prepared to change his diaper until he was 4! πŸ™‚ Sounds ridiculous, I know. But true. Good luck, and if things are going south, don’t hesitate to take Kaylia’s lead and take a break…the thing I remember most about potty training is some wise words I read on the Internet about potty training not being a parent’s accomplishment, but fully a child’s. That was my mantra, and kept me calm.

  3. I’m convinced that potty-training is the very least enjoyable job a parent will ever encounter. And, take it from me, even if you’d remembered what you did with Anika, it would make no difference. I’ve done it four times and the fourth was just as much a mystery as the first. Maybe I’m just forgetful, I don’t know. I think every kid is on their own schedule…and it’s not usually anywhere near what the parent hopes. Just don’t listen to those people who say it can all happen in one day…they are only there to torment us “normal” people. But, be encouraged, in a year or two (maybe even a month or two), you’ll look back and think, “Wow…we did it! Diapers? I haven’t used them FOREVER!!!” You can do it!!! (Oh, and to anyone reading this comment who is ONE OF THOSE tormenters…please just don’t leave a comment for Kendra… A parent in the throes of potty-training CAN NOT handle that sort of advice!)

    • Well, I’m glad to hear that I’m not the only one who is not getting better with practice. Still a mystery after the fourth time? I’m comforted! And no, I will not listen to the one day potty trainers. I have never had that expectation, even for a moment, so we’re good to go.

    • Yikes, sounds like your experience was rather traumatic! I’m not feeling stupid yet, but I’m definitely not feeling like I’m the one in charge. I will need to tackle that one yet…

      • Yeah, it wasn’t fun, but amazingly, she did eventually do it! Thankfully the experience was much better with the second one!

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