Today I was in the playground with my just-turned-two year old when she asked to pee in the toilet. The mom next to me said, ‘That is so great!’ because she apparently has a child who is happy to pee in her diaper. Or she because is certifiably insane. Or because she hates me.
Having a potty trained toddler is the worst. A potty trained toddler will wait until you are at the very front of the return line at Costco on a Saturday morning to tell you she has to pee. She will wait until you and your other children have sat down to a meal at the last table in a busy food court to tell you that she has to go NOW and that it’s an EMERGENCY.
Her unwillingness to pee in her diaper (or the bushes) will be the reason you have to leave the park on a beautiful late summer afternoon. Her unwillingness to wear a pull-up in the car will be the reason your husband refuses to travel with you and the children ever again. Her ability to work the system will be the reason she is able to make what should be one trip to the bathroom (for one Smartie) into five separate trips, timed five minutes apart, for five Smarties (my kid could teach Dr Kegel a thing or two).
My plan had always been to potty train after she turned two, so when my toddler started expressing interest in using the toilet early this summer, usually while we were at the pool, the beach, or driving, I really had no issue telling her to pee in her diaper. I wish that I had a diaper to pee in almost every day (please don’t judge—find me someone who has birthed three or more kids who doesn’t feel that way) and I truly couldn’t figure out why she would want to squander a privilege like that. In other words, even though I might have appeared lazy and negligent to onlookers, I was actually looking out for her best interests. But as she turned two last week, I now feel like I actually am being negligent by not allowing her to use the toilet when she wants to. So we are officially potty training. I guess.
Anyone who tells you that potty training is the hard part has not finished potty training (or has one of those really smart but hard-to-train cats). The hard part is the after, when you realize that you will never again be able to make plans that don’t involve stopping at multiple public bathrooms and that you now have to allot an extra four hours to get anywhere (unless it’s winter, then you need to allot six). The hard part is coming to terms with the fact that you will never again make it to the front of a very long line-up and realizing that the sanitary napkin disposal in every public bathroom will always be mistaken for a tiny, wonderful toy box. The hard part is realizing that you unknowingly enjoyed your last uninterrupted meal (and that it was a cold, soggy veggie burger). The hard part is trying to convince your hysterical toddler that the automatic toilet that will not stop flushing while she is trying to pee is not as scary as it seems. The hard part is holding your toddler over an outhouse toilet while planning how you will rescue her if she falls in.
I am not suggesting that I never wanted my toddler to be potty trained—I just thought that I could put it off until the nice weather was done. Or until she is old enough to get a transit pass so that if she needs to use the bathroom while we are out and about she can meet me at home.