Potty training seems like something we parents should get on ASAP. Not only is getting kids out of diapers a heck of a lot cheaper, but it’s also less messy and stinky. And I, for one, am all about less mess and stink.
We potty trained Alister, our first, relatively easily. I bought a book at Barnes and Noble about potty training boys, purchased a few water-resistant bath mats and Walmart undies, and spent my summer months off work getting him acquainted with the toilet. I was pregnant with my second and felt, even though he was only two, that getting Alister toilet trained was a must. I thought having two kids in diapers would be the end of the world. Alister took to it quite quickly, and except for a little regression when Ewing was born, has been using the toilet successfully ever since.
Ewing was a different story. Having suffered a stroke in utero, he has always been behind in reaching his milestones, and though many boys aren’t potty trained until sometime in their third year of life or later, we were anxious about getting him to use the toilet as soon as possible. Not only were we getting pressure from his preschool teacher (who doesn’t deal with diapers AT ALL), but our bank account was also getting pressure from the diaper and daycare expenses. Daycare becomes significantly less expensive when kids are toilet trained. Because why wouldn’t it? Nobody wants to play in a strange kid’s poo. That shit costs extra (pun totally intended).
We pushed and fretted and half-assed as well as full-assed our toilet training measures for almost a year until — finally! – Ewing took to it. Just like that. The same way he woke up one day and decided to crawl, talk, and walk. He just up and started using the toilet. And we were like, Sweet! So that’s finished then.
And then we were like, OMG, what have we done? Because as exciting and inexpensive as having a potty trained kid is, it’s equally as annoying. There are some really compelling reasons to delay potty training, starting with these:
1. Accidents become more like natural disasters. These aren’t cute little baby turds anymore. It’s like a Porta Potty has exploded in the Spidyman underoos and left zero survivors.
2. You can’t take a leak or a crap without a tiny person following you in there and asking if you’re doing a pee pee or a poopy and would you like a sticker or a cookie for that?
3. You become acquainted with every public restroom between your house and the grocery store.
4. Your child insists s/he doesn’t have to use the potty at the restaurant until the exact moment the food arrives at your table. For the next 10 years.
5. Your child announces loudly and without abandon that s/he has “to go POOPY!” at the most inopportune times — like in the middle of a church service or at a fancy party.
6. Going potty in public places becomes a boredom-relieving game for your kid, each round of which pushes you further toward becoming a homicidal maniac.
7. Your child continuously asks neighbors and acquaintances about their bowel activities despite repeated reminders that it’s not nice.
8. Flushing the toilet becomes so fascinating for your child that your water and sewer bill increases three-fold.
9. You have to leave a full cart of groceries at the front of the checkout line after an hour-and-a-half of shopping every third trip because junior is about to “peep in [his] pants” if you don’t take him to the toilet immediately.
10. There isn’t enough Spray ‘n Wash in the world to take care of the skid marks littering your kid’s laundry for the next half decade or so.
Related post: A Parent’s Prayer for Potty Training in the Digital Age