Here we go, folks. I am going to write a long thing about potty training.
I’ve been writing about pregnancy lately, for obvious reasons, but I took a break from being pregnant this week to teach Evan how to put his pee and poop in a tiny plastic bowl instead of in a diaper.
Also, haha, just kidding, I did not take a break from being pregnant. I was still pregnant and potty training made my body hurt a lot. There was much urgent hurling of my body from place to place and abrupt lifting of a 35 pound person. It’s fine. I cried a bunch after he went to bed a few times from utter exhaustion, but whatever.
The thing is, during this week, I was thinking about the week before we started potty training. The week before we started potty training was not an especially easy week! There were arguments and tantrums like any normal week. I certainly didn’t mourn the loss of changing his diapers. Every week with a toddler is fucking hard so what’s the difference, really? At least if we’re potty training, we are making progress toward a brighter future.
Another reason I wanted to do this now is because Evan is very large (he currently wears size 6 diapers, the largest they make, and he will not fit in them forever) and he is really verbal, so he is likely going to be able to tell us when he has to go pretty soon. ALSO, I was thinking about when Evan was a newborn. When I was pregnant with him I was like “ugh get this baby out of me, I hate being pregnant,” and then when he came out of me I was like “put him back in, I need to sleep.” Being sleep deprived with a newborn is not going to be a good time to potty train. By the time the new baby is sleeping through the night, Evan will probably be around 30 months, which is generally considered to be the end of the magical window of best time to potty train. So decisions were made. By me.
The day before we started potty training, Billy finished reading the chapter in the book I got (Oh Crap Potty Training) and decided to tentatively suggest that maybe we shouldn’t do this. But I said, “shhh, we are doing it,” and then we did it and Billy faked his way through it, acting like it was something he wanted, because he is a saint.
My attitude about this probably has a lot to do with how much I love to control things. I’ve never had an eating disorder, but I’m kind of a prime candidate for one. I love controlling the things I can control, especially when certain areas of my life are utterly outside of my control (what? Pregnancy?). One of the things I can control is when my son puts his pee and poop in a plastic bowl instead of in a diaper.
So let’s talk about this. Let’s really get in the weeds, shall we?
Evan has been doing great! The first day, he peed on the floor 8 billion times and like twice in the potty. The second day he peed on the floor significantly less. The third day he wore clothes and peed on the floor only like one time, and peed in the potty lots of times. The fourth day he pooped in the potty! I was like, nice, we are done, hooray. The fifth day he went to daycare, peed in his pants once and pooped on the floor at home. Oh, I see we are not done, haha, obviously we are not done. The sixth day he peed in the potty many times and he pooped on some playground equipment because he was in a location that was impossible for me to reach when he made the poop gesture/face. Then he had some gastrointestinal distress that I just couldn’t with and I put him in a diaper at like 4:00. I wasn’t giving up, I was making a decision based on the situation we found ourselves in, but I felt like a failure and cried about it. This morning he had a major pee situation at the breakfast table because he had kept his night diaper mostly dry, which is a plus and a minus at the same time.
Much of potty training is training of parents to recognize cues and alter our behavior based on those cues. Just like sleep training. And probably common core math.
So there’s some cool stuff about potty training. The main thing is seeing how well they can do in a very short period of time. Their tiny brains go from knowing literally nothing about peeing and pooping, like it is a bodily function as natural as breathing, to knowing the feeling of having to go. That’s a huge leap!
You’re like “good morning, tiny person, today we are not going to wear diapers!” And they’re like “what is a diaper, even? Oh you mean that extension of my butt that has been attached to me since I was born?” And they let their pee out of their bodies like they normally do and you put them on a plastic seat and you’re like “put your pee in here” and they’re like “what is pee?” And then in a couple of days they get it. It’s amazing!
Anyway, yes, it’s amazing, and it’s very stressful, and I’m OBSESSED WITH IT. It’s all I can think/talk about. Sorry husband and coworkers and all other people I’ve interacted with in the past week. I’m boring, I can only talk about potty training.
But maybe potty training is a METAPHOR. For… Let’s see… What is potty training a metaphor for?
Life? Just when you think you know where to put your pee and poop, life comes along and? …no.
Relationships? Communication is very important so that you don’t poop on playground equipment? …no.
It’s not a metaphor. It’s just a hard thing we all did when we were very small. Life is a series of hard things we do, and this is one of the first ones. Other hard things Evan will have to do include playing a sport he is bad at because his dad likes it, reading a book that is boring because it’s his homework, playing with a kid who is annoying because the kid’s parents are friends with his parents, try to get good grades even though he gets a boner every 15 seconds, etc etc etc.
Life is hard, kiddo. You’re doing great.