Potty Training: The Big Lie

Milestones.  We obsess over them, and I’m no different.  First smile, first tooth, first spoonful of sweet potato, first step, first word…..it all leads feverishly to that final hurdle, the effective end of toddlerhood, the beginning of kidhood and the glorious release of Mom and Dad from the practical, nitty gritty, constant hands on care of their child.

Potty training.

Except its all a bunch of crap. Quite literally.

Despite honestly never minding diaper changes and my openly acknowledged fondness for the odor, some would say stench, of my son’s poop, I still made potty training a life goal on par with getting into college.

It’s called potty training, but we, the trainers, train just as hard as our tiny students. It’s us sweating blood over the whole thing.  They just kind of put up with all the nonsense until they don’t remember what they are resisting anymore.  We, in the meantime, have gone completely bananas.  We pick an age and freak out when the child isn’t trained by that point.  We read how-to manuals, buy gadgets, adhere to theories. I did stickers and then M&M’s.  I used a potty chair, then tried a stool and toilet seat. Why isn’t it working? When will it work?  We make ourselves mental because we simply must get that damn kid potty trained.  I mean, if they are potty trained, then they go to the bathroom All. By. Themselves. And angels descend from the clouds to sing a lilting chorus, because potty training makes everything Easier.

Except it doesn’t. NOT AT ALL.

Here’s the thing no one points out to you when your child is still defecating in his diaper- you change it, gross or not, and this is my thesis here.. when YOU want to change it.

See that?  Yeah, no one says a word to you about that when you’re buying a potty chair with a freaking iPad holder attached to it! Silence.

Picture this, a mother, let’s call her..Heather Bogolyubova, is cooking at the stove.  The dish needs to be stirred continuously or it will burn and a certain proudly toilet trained three year old suddenly announces in a panic, because it always induces panic, that he has to do poop-poop.  Now, Heather trained this young lad. It went pretty well too, if she does say so herself, and therefore he can miraculously deposit the poop in the toilet all by himself. But, and this is the thesis again, he Can. Not. Wipe. His. Own. ASS.

Potty trained kiddo or not, you are still wiping poopy butts. The difference, the really miserable difference, is that now, you have to do it exactly when the poop comes out.  No matter what or where you are. And many, many, many times a day.

And that sucks so bad.

Diapered toddler pees at the restaurant?  Keep on eating parents!  Change him after dessert.  Diapered baby has a poop at Target?  Keep on shopping!  You’ll take him to the restroom in a bit. It’s all up to you.  But not for the parent of the potty trained child.  No, your days of freedom are done.  Ha!  That’s the big lie!  The idea is that a child who can go to the bathroom by himself will free the parents, but the opposite is true, because they never go by themselves- you always have to go. They whine for you to come, they need you to wipe their butt or they just want your company.

The middle of the night.  Diapered?  Keep sleeping.  Potty trained?  You’re up and at ‘em.  Sometimes twice before the sunrise.
Out to eat?  You’ll leave the table a minimum of three times. Diapered?  Not an issue.

While you’re dressing, reading, watching T.V., talking on the phone, doing laundry, feeding the baby, curling your hair, shopping, biking… the kid will interrupt you and you have no choice but to drop everything and go.

Oh it just makes me crazy.  I feel so duped.  Wasn’t I supposed to enter into a parenting Nirvana the day he stopped using a diaper?

The other day, on a family stroll through the quaint and incredibly packed streets of our summer resort town, Mr. Potty Trained suddenly squealed out ” I have to pee! I have to pee!”  I tried, ” Okay, Luka we’ll walk home now (plans be damned) can you hold it?”  This was met with,
” IhavetopeeIhavetopeeIhavetopee!!!”  So we stopped and let him pee.  Well, my husband did, as I fled to a safe and anonymous distance.  I watched him wiggling nervously out of his little shorts, so afraid to ‘Have An Accident’, and saw the stream arch out and through the posts of a wrought iron fence.  And what, Dear Readers, do you suppose was on the other side of that fence?  A church.

A church.

Potty training makes your child desecrate churches.

Do I need to say more?  I’m starting a movement.  Don’t Ditch the Dipes! Or, Put Off the Potty! Or, What the Hell You Still Have To Wipe Shitty Bottoms Anyway And Use Countless Repulsive Public Bathrooms!

Who’s coming with me?

Heather Bogolyubova

About Heather Bogolyubova

Heather Bogolyubova has an un-pronouncable last name. A Maine native, she's returned to the Pine Tree state after several years in New York. Now, she's a newlywed, has a new baby, a new job, and lots of fancy shoes she can never wear in the snow. The job: Stay-at- home mother and wife. Its hard. She's going to tell you all.