Every thirty minutes during church yesterday, I poked my head into Vivi’s class and said “Potty?” We visited the church bathroom at least seven times before having success, a satisfying pee complete with a sturdy wipe, flush and wash. Of all the parenting activities that have tested my resolve, potty training is at the tippy top of that list. Now that I’ve survived it once, I realize that it’s not the end of the world, it’s just a somewhat difficult part of the world that will someday resolve itself. Heck, I’ve been potty trained for 30 years and there’s still times (thanks to two kids!) that waiting for a potty seems impossible.
As I venture down potty road with Vivi, the milestones involved in potty training are coming back to me, some of them funny, some of them a little messy, but all of them necessary in order to send a toilet trained human out into the world. Whether you’re in the thick of training, well past it, or just beginning, I think you’ll relate to some of the following:
(EDITED TO ADD: The first Facebook status update about potty training that absolutely no one cares about but yourself.)
First Time They Sit on the Potty 1 of 15
The first time that little bare butt hits the porcelain throne is a big deal, it's the first real life skill you teach them that will last them FOREVER. No pressure, really.
Plus, it makes them look super tiny. Then every once in awhile they'll dip in a little too far and get a panicked look on their face...
First Pair of Tiny Underpants 2 of 15
Tiny underpants are adorable underpants, especially when they have little critters on the bum. I can still remember being very sad when Addie outgrew her first pairs of underpants.
First Guests Over During Potty Training 3 of 15
We do our best to keep our kids dressed in the presence of company, however during potty training there isn't much time for formalities. If your guests have kids? They'll get it. If they don't? One day they will.
Just apologize for the nudity and carry on with your visit as usual.
First Diaper-less Bum Pat 4 of 15
The first time Cody patted Addie's bum without a diaper was also the last time, it's a totally different experience to feel your baby in something other than a big fluffy diaper, they feel so big and human.
First Successful Public Potty Stop 5 of 15
This one's a big deal because there are a lot of logistics in public restroom usage. Doors, automatically flushing toilets, bigger sinks and more to navigate. If you can get that first public visit out of the way, your options open up as to where you can take your potty training kid.
First Day Without Accidents 6 of 15
You start fantasizing about all the money you'll save on diapers, or all the time you'll save on laundering cloth. Diapers have probably become such standard issue in your day-to-day life that you're blissfully unaware how much freedom lies ahead of you.
First Check Out Line "I have to pee!" 7 of 15
Epic grocery store trip, mid-checkout, "I HAVE TO PEE" or worse, "I HAVE TO POOP!"
Tell them to wait until you're done paying and risk an accident?
Hand over your debit card to the cashier and ask them to finish up for you?
Abandon your entire shopping trip after apologizing to the line behind you?
Whatever the final outcome is, know that we've all been there at least once and it's the most terrible game of "Choose your own adventure" ever.
First Men’s Room Stop 8 of 15
The women's room was closed, the next closest restroom was a half mile away — I covered Addie's eyes and yelled "POTTY TRAINING TODDLER COMING IN WITH HER MOM! SORRY!" We ran into a stall and averted disaster. The possibility of this one becoming a reality is a rare one, but it's still very much a possibility.
First Dive Off An Automatic Toilet 9 of 15
It's 2013, you would think scientists would have automatic flush toilets figured out by now, but no. Until they do, toddlers will be diving off of them — pants-less and mid-pee — into the arms of their unsuspecting parent forever.
First Poop in the Potty 10 of 15
I'm trying to think if anything in parenthood was more celebrated than the first poop in the potty.
I can't think of one.
First "In The Wild" Pee 11 of 15
Sometimes you're out in nature and a potty just isn't around, plain and simple. Maybe you're camping, maybe you're stuck in the middle of nowhere, maybe you're a nomad. Eventually you're going to have to teach your little girl how to squat without peeing on their shoes.
This is where I envy little boys.
This is also where I mention that once you teach a child to pee in the wild, they may never bother with a bathroom again. Constant vigilance is required to keep them from peeing in plain view of the public whenever a patch of grass and the call of nature combine.
First Time Unlocking the Door While You’re Going 12 of 15
If you take a toddler into a bathroom stall with you, whether they are potty training or not, they are going to become enamored with the lever or lock. Chances are, they will unlock it while you are in the middle of doing your business and you'd better hope your foot is long enough to reach the door or everyone outside is going to get a show they didn't pay for.
First Port-a-Potty 13 of 15
Who am I kidding, no toddler I know will use a port-o-potty, they'll take one look or sniff into the black hole of blue liquid and slime and hightail it out of there no matter how badly they need to go and wonder why their seemingly sensible parent tried to get them to sit naked in such a nasty place.
See: "In the wild" pee above.
First Vacation Without Diapers 14 of 15
No packing diapers? No packing wipes? All that room in your suitcase/purse/(formerly) diaper bag? WHAT'S A PARENT TO DO? Enjoy it my friends, enjoy.
First Dry Night 15 of 15
Dry nights are the last elusive part of potty training, day training is pretty straightforward because they're awake and you're there to remind them to use the potty and use it often, but nighttime? That's a different beast. Sometimes it takes kids years while other times it only takes a few days.
Regardless, you'll remember that first dry night as a big bittersweet milestone towards adolescence.
Find more of Casey’s writing on her blog moosh in indy or her Babble Voices site Shutterlovely. She’s also available on twitter, facebook, flickr and Instagram. If you can’t find her any of those places? Check the couch, she’s probably taking a nap.