Potty Training Isn’t For The Weak

My wife, Mel, had the summer off, so it was now or never to potty train our 3-year-old, Aspen, before going back to daycare. Not everyone has the option to wait until they figure it out.

It’s basically been urine soaked hell. All wet spots have been suspicious, and nothing brown on the floor was ever chocolate.

Ultimately, potty training our 3-year-old has looked like:

Running down the hallway, a child crying and leaking fluid, all the while I’m crying, “In the potty! It goes in the potty!”

A short blond child hiding in the pantry to poop her pants, and then denying that she obviously pooped her pants.

Me fantasizing about how I might one day, years later, poop my pants in her pantry out of revenge.

“Is it time to use the potty?” becoming such a refrain that I accidentally asked a coworker.

Celebrating her first time pooping in the toilet as though it were an acceptance letter from Harvard Medical School.

A little girl in pigtails peeking under every single stall door, and giggling.

Her kicking off her Peppa pig shoes while sitting on a public toilet, so I had to crouch awkwardly to put them back on, my face inches from all the nastiness a shady gas station has to offer.

A half naked child sitting on the toilet like the thinking sculpture, her face full of concentration and determination to get the job done, and me feeling a short swell of pride that maybe, just maybe, she was figuring this whole potty thing out, and I could finally shampoo the carpet.

Getting text messages like this from my wife, “She went 1 and 2 in the TOILET!! 🎉🎉🚽🚽🤜🤜.”

A pile of wadded up toilet paper on the floor because when it come to unrolling toilet paper, 3-year-olds are a lot like cats.

A child grunting, prominently announcing that she is “pooping” in a quiet church, and the the whole congregation being forced to listen to a forceful whispering argument where I repeatedly asked, “Why didn’t you put it in the potty?”

Treats, stickers, and long term success plans resulting in toys, only to feel used when she walks into the living room pointing proudly at a massive wet spot between her legs.

Pulling into a McDonald’s because she announced that she need to go potty as though it were an emergency, only to have it turn into a bait and switch, and she didn’t need to pee, she was trying to trick me into getting a happy meal.

Visiting the library, her in new Peppa Pig underwear on my lap, reading a story, only to feel an unsettling warmth on my crotch, and once I stood, suddenly questioning who actually wet their pants.

Waking up in the early morning to hear her open the restroom door, climb onto the toilet, and do her business on her own, all the while me listening to her tinkle as though it were the most satisfying sound in the history of ever.

It’s been quite a ride, but she’s doing it. And I’ll be honest, I’m proud of her for figuring it out. Very proud. Very, very proud.

Potty training isn’t for the weak.

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