Potty Training

So the title of this post should be enough to inspire dread in mommies everywhere.
I am in the process of potty training my older Little, and a part of me feels like I may snap before I can get this kid to take a crap on the porcelain throne. They say you should focus on the positives, and yes, it was great the 3 times Little went pee in the potty and the one time Little did, in fact, grace the toilet with a poo.

What I'm not thrilled about is the 12...Yes, 12, pairs of underwear we went through yesterday...or the constant cleaning up... or the fact that my husband came home and thought he had the right to get short-tempered  after 2 accidents when I had managed to make it through the 10 previous accidents without blowing my top. I am also not sure how to handle the fact that today Little decided to willfully rebel against the whole process. Didn't matter how many suckers and popsicles I offered up, Little told me "No!"

As frustrating as it all is, I think I'm mostly overwhelmed with my own doubt. Partially because I feel like I don't know what I'm doing, but hugely because I'm not sure if Little's ready.

Everyone preaches at you to wait until their ready and make sure you don't make them do it too soon. They all say that, but then when your kid's the only one their age in nursery whose not actively training and whose parents aren't constantly bringing up their kids latest successes in human waste, they all kind of look down their nose at you. At first, you ignore it, but after a couple of weeks of the ribbing, it gets to you and you suddenly find this new found drive to get them out of diapers. But with every accident it leaves this little guilt monster in the back of your head questioning your motives as a mother, wondering if you're letting other people's opinion come before the emotional well-being of your child.

It's not just potty training that can be like this, parenting opinions can be an insidious poison that creep into your parenting and cast doubt on all of your greatest feats. We pay it lip-service, but gone are the days of "Mother Knows Best". Now everybody has strong opinions about what parents and mothers should or shouldn't be doing based on what their personal experience was or what a parenting magazine tells them. Personal experience is great, but it is subjective. No two kids are exactly alike, just because it worked on your kid doesn't mean it will work on mine. Parenting magazines are commonly full of unsubstantiated opinion, rarely more empirical than a personal opinion. Their is great discerning child development research out there, but the research isn't the end-all-be-all, either. My job as a parent is to find valid, well-supported information that then helps me to implement and personalize that information to each of my children as individuals. When some mom at playgroup wants to shoot her mouth about whatever article she read saying kids should/shouldn't use pull-ups or should/shouldn't have treats when they go in the potty, it is my job to digest that information, go home and look up the firsthand data myself and then come to a decision about whether or not my child might benefit from the information. Just because society completely economically and in social status undervalues homemakers, doesn't mean that I can't approach motherhood with a scientific methodology, although like a true artist I will also have to find creative interpretations to problem solving.

So today, I admit that I started potty training out of peer pressure, but we're going to kick the crap out of this process because like every desperate, dedicated mother out there, I will find a way to make this work. I'm sick of motherly guilt. I feel it over important and not-so-important things, but I'm determined to separate my decision making process from it. Little just had an accident, again. Back to clean-up duty.


  1. I don't have much to say except that I'm grateful you've started this blog. Sometimes, reading others, it just feels like my life is so imperfect comparative to these sparkling, awesome achievers. It's enlightening and helpful to read about struggles, and makes me feel less alone.

  2. I just found you and I love you. I've just started working on my depression and it's comforting to know that I'm not the only one.

    About the potty training, this was my experience with my son. We used cloth diapers with him the entire time and he still didn't fully train until three. I have to admit we weren't really actively trying to get there, but when he decided he was ready he was completely train in about a month. A lot of naked time helped my son be more aware of his body. I think when he had pants or underwear on it felt like a diaper to him so he had accidents. He slept naked for a year to help avoid nighttime accidents. Two nights ago he started wearing pajama pants by his own choice and hasn't had an accident yet.