First, start with a lot of paper towels and a good detergent.
Potty training is the last huge rite of passage into childhood that your baby will have to overcome. Chances are, if you are on your first kid and just coming up on potty training, you’ve been bamboozled into believing that things have become a lot easier since those early newborn days of complete and utter befuddlement. Sleep schedules are kind of figured out, cries have been deciphered, words are being used and some activities are even being performed solo.
You’ve probably let your guard down.
Potty training comes with all the unknown uncertainty of those first few newborn weeks, but with a much bigger and much more strong-willed child. There’s also a lot bigger messes to deal with because toddler poop.
(This is where I take a break to talk to those of you who potty trained your child in a day and they never had an accident ever – good for you, hooray! This is not the case for a lot of people, including me. Potty training NEARLY KILLED ME DEAD the first time around and had someone let on that teaching someone to use the toilet would lead to my undoing, it would have made the whole process a lot more bearable. “Expect the worst, be pleasantly surprised when it’s not as awful as you expected” is a good philosophy to subscribe to in potty training.)
Some kids will take to peeing on the potty with no problem, but never get their poop in there no matter what you do. I talked to a woman at church yesterday that said her fifth son has been potty trained on #1 for over 7 months, but when it comes to poop? She finds it in every corner of the house except for in the toilet. Other kids hold in #2 until they become really sick (nope, not kidding), while others seem totally oblivious to pulling their pants back up, ever. Then you read all these articles that talk about the psychology of potty training and you’re pretty sure your kid is going to be the only one still in diapers freshman year.
Vivi is kind of ready, she’s figured out the concept, she even pees fairly regularly on the toilet — except when she doesn’t. First-time parent Casey would have already had a breakdown by now, second-time parent Casey shrugs it off and congratulates Vivi for being more than 6 months ahead of where her sister was on the whole potty training thing. Look, it’s not easy, except when it is. But a lot of times it isn’t.
If it is? Hooray! You dodged that parenting bullet.
If it’s awful? You’re not alone. It can be really awful. And it may make you cry, and that’s okay. You’re not alone.
But it does get better. Eventually.
If you need me, I’ll be right here with a roll of paper towels and a tiny pair of clean underpants.
Good luck, potty training parent. We can do this.
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.